Panono: A $1799 Tossable Panoramic Camera
Panono is panoramic camera designed in Germany and manufactured in Poland; ever since the concept was born, it’s been on the radar of tech enthusiasts. After only managing to ship out far more than 400 units(for the indiegogo supporters), marking the million dollar Indiegogo project a flop, the company filed for bankruptcy but was soon saved by the Swiss-based private equity investor Bryanston Group AG.
The camera is a ball embedded with 36 3-megapixel camera with a diameter 70% the length of an iPhone 7/an average-sized hand, these cameras will be activated and take a panorama at the same time when you press the shutter button, or if you choose to throw the camera, when the motion sensor detects that the camera has reached the highest point and picks up 0 acceleration. Software then stitches all 36 images into a single 108-megapixel photo, which is then viewable in 360-degrees either on your smartphone or on the web.
The camera can take quasi-aerial shots, and takes care of the zenith and nadir of your images nicely.
Panono has a diameter of 11cm/4.33in and weighs 420g/0.926lb. The camera is black, encased in a plastic case with 3 green rubber bands to prevent it from slipping.
It comes with a tripod stick for you to mount the camera on a tripod, if you find the idea of tossing a $1799 ball camera that’s not fall-proof dicey (Pa! No NO!).
With 36 3-megapixel camera, Panono can take up to 108-megapixel images. It supports 16k (16384×8192) images maximum.
Panono doesn’t let you shoot 360 videos yet.
Storage and Battery Life
Panono has a storage of 16GB, and can store up to 600 images. Knowing that your panoramas will typically be saved in the cloud, this is more than enough.
In terms of battery life, the camera can take around 200 panoramic photos with one charge.
Panono has decent compatibility and works with iOS 7 and later or Android 4.2 and later.
Download the “Panono” app and connect to your camera.
Parameters and Controls
There’s only a shooting button on the camera, but once you’ve connected the camera to the mobile app and set the camera to M manual mode, you’re able to change the shutter speed, IOS and white balance. The camera also supports HDR photography.
The app still remains to be improved though. You can’t access live-monitoring, also the absence of a light meter makes it a shot in the dark for beginners to measure exposure; because of the huge amount of data being saved for each panorama, you need to wait for about 20 seconds before you can snap a second image.
Ways of shooting
There are four ways of taking photos with Panono.
Toss up the camera by 1.5m to 4m and it will take an image at the highest point. If you don’t live your life on the edge, try to find a place with some sort of buffering such as a lawn.
Hmm, pretty mediocre. Probably because the throw wasn’t strictly vertical. Learn from us and try to avoid shaking or spinning the camera, as such movements typically result in an incredibly shaky shot, or make the camera unable to take a photo at all. You have a great chance of nailing an awesome pano with decent lighting, but for dark environments it’s more of a tossup. (Forgive the pun!)
We don’t recommend this method because your hand will get in the way of multiple cameras as the shot is being taken, also having the cameras too close to you will distort the image out of proportion.
3. Selfie Stick
Best solution for shooting under regular settings. The selfie stick helps stabilize the shot, and prevents the cameras from being covered by your hand. Considering the number of cameras Panono has, aligning moving objects is a challenge, as you can see double of most people moving in the shot when it was taken.
4. Tripod Mount
You can connect your Panono to a tripod using the tripod connector they provide. We suggest using a tripod under poor lighting, lower your ISO and slow down the shutter speed.
Shooting and Stitching
Panono uses cloud stitching to process data from its megapixel cameras. Follow these steps to edit and export your images.
Step 1: Connect Panono to your phone through Wi-Fi settings
Download the images taken to your phone (each takes 1-2min), which will disable lockscreen temporarily. It does not allow break point resume upload so be sure to stay on a stable network.
Step 2: Disconnect from Panono and switch to Wi-Fi, and upload to the cloud
This typically takes 10-40 seconds but could be affected by your internet speed.
Step 3: Stitch in the cloud
Stitching and rendering take 10-15 minutes but multiple images can be processed at the same time. You can share to Facebook and Twitter from the app, but Facebook doesn’t recognize these panoramas as 360 photos and only shows previews in a regular 2D format.
If you want ultra HD originals from your photo shoots, you can export your images on Panono.com. You can choose between 16384×8192 px and 8192×4096 px. These copies contain really fine details which gives you a lot of wiggle room if you load them into Photoshop and Lightroom.
One of my 360 images after being edited:
In summary, Panono is a nice prosumer bordering on professional 360 camera, but the prohibitive price might be the biggest limiting factor in expanding its market.