Mobile 360 Photo Apps for Android & iOS: Turn Your Phone Into a 360 Camera
When you're still on the fence about forking over a huge sum for a decent DSLR camera, and aren't sure if you'd be completely invested in 360 photography, don't you wish for some mobile apps that you can take 360 photos with? Wish no more! We've picked out the best for you to try out today.
Even though you aren't necessarily a Google Street View Photographer or a regular contributor, you can still utilize its functions to easily produce panoramas on your mobile device. Tap on the orange camera icon at the bottom right of the main page, and tap on "Camera".
You will see a yellow dot around your viewfinder after you launch the camera within Google Street View. Move your phone around to make sure the circle in the viewfinder captures the yellow dot, which will prompt the camera to take its first shot. Move about for the second dot (hint: it should be at the center of an adjacent shot with an approximate 20% overlap with your previous shot).
Do this until you've fully taken an entire photosphere, and GSV will automatically stitch your panorama together. The stitched panorama can be uneven from different camera angles and color distribution, and can't replace a carefully produced panorama through a DSLR setup——at least for quite a bit.
FOV is a rare find. It's surprisingly stylish and simple to use. It has a very intuitive workflow but is the nightmare for shaky hands and there's no way you can manually stitch your shot and mine didn't turn out so hot.
To start, just press start. Same as Google Street View, you can follow the yellow dots and wait for your camera to take a picture automatically as the dot is fully encircled. You can undo a shaky shot, and when you've finished, press the green check button to proceed to a preview of your panorama. From the second screenshot below you can already tell that this shot was a fail.
The grid button on the left takes you to your library where all your shots are stored; the planet button takes you to featured images taken with the app (or so I assumed), which are pretty much never updated.
FOV also made this video to give you a full walkthrough on how to use this app.
After having snapped your shot, you can access them in your personal library, share to Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp, save it to your camera roll or just text it to your friends and family.
For iMessage it takes about 5 seconds to load the image. You can't drag on the screen, so instead you have to turn your phone to different degrees to view the whole shot.
For iOS, there are another two Chinese apps that you can use to take true 360 panoramas, but the interface might be a little hard to crack without being localized, also you will have to put up with ads. We've included them here anyways:
Horizontal 360 Panorama Apps
Although these apps have 360 degrees in their title, they only take horizontal panos. So if you're looking to capture a full, all-directional/720-degree photosphere with zenith and nadir images, don't be misled by the title.
These only take horizontally circular images, which you can tell by the sample images below. As you can imagine, the output can't be a full panorama when you only go sideways. However, if you'd still like to try them out for regular circular panos or find an okay alternative to your phone's built-in pano camera, check them out below; please note that VeeR does NOT support this panoramic format as it's not truly 360.
Panorama 360 Camera
The app is compatible with iOS/Android and for a horizontal pano it works fine. Launch the app, and you will see a prompt for aligning the two arrows on your screen. Move your phone up or down to for them to overlap and you can start capturing a shot.
Of course, if you try to fake the camera out by deviating ever so slightly from the horizontal rule across your panorama, the app will instantly remind you to get back on track.
If you keep a steady hand during the shot, your panorama will turn out really decent. You can save your panos to your photo album or share to Facebook if you log in with your Facebook account.
Compared to Panorama 360 Camera, Spincle has much worse image compositing capabilities. For some reason the record button felt a little laggy and unresponsive when I tried it, and the pano output was pretty crooked, never mind the entire shot was somehow tinted with a yellowish retro tone despite sufficient normal lighting.
Excuse the desktop mess. Photo was taken when I was writing this post (meta!). As you can see, there is a range of stickers and visual effects you can apply to your pano for the editing stage. Once you've finished, you can choose to share to Facebook, Instagram or save the shot to your album.
What's really nifty about Google's Cardboard Camera is you can record audio at the same time you panorama is taken. You can toggle it on or off at the bottom right of your screen. Follow the orange arrow down the middle of your screen, and tap on the check mark when you're done. You can access your panorama under your photos. The Cardboard Camera is expectedly very steady and smooth.
You can bring out your panoramas, and insert your phone into a Cardboard to watch the scene. If you recorded with audio the experience would be even more immersive. You can export your panos to your Camera Roll or create a link to share with others.
Apps not to waste your time on
We've marked out these mines to save you a couple precious minutes of your life. The myriads of 1-star ratings and poor hands-on experience both prove this list to be valid.
Twister is more like a camera app with a 360 pano feature instead of a dedicated app. You can access this function through turning a control wheel and selecting 360 degree photos, which you can bring out by tapping on anywhere on the screen except for the camera button.
The function is laggy (I tried 10-something times for it to work once), lacks proper instructions and alerts, and it didn't output anything after I wrapped up a shot but asked me to purchase a $2.99 360 Bundle or a $1.99 360 Panorama package first. No thanks, my phone's camera will do just fine.
The app's interface is also significantly below average.
This app is a joke. It's almost 2018 and I was shocked to learn that my device wasn't supported because it wasn't ANCIENT enough. What surprises me even more is how particular it is about the models it works with, not to presume how big the market for 4S/5+ users still is. Not only did Sphere prevent me from recording panoramas within the app, it also wouldn't let me upload any panoramas that I already had on my phone.
Also you have to sign up/log in to use the app, which was an incredibly painful process for me.
This paid app would be a waste of your one buck.
Not true 360, has an ugly interface, and offers nothing that your built-in camera can't.
Not true 360, also is buggy. This falls into the horizontal panorama category but with poorer execution.
This app has an ads infestation.
Take your phone for a stroll and take some nice images with your new apps after reading this! Don't forget to upload to VeeR, or share with us on social media! Follow us @letsveer on Twitter and Instagram to be the next shoutout.
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!