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Photaf review by royblumenthal

Congratulations to Oren Bengigi for this stunning app.

I tried the free version first, made a test panorama, and immediately returned to SlideME to buy the pro version.

Thanks Oren!


There are two modes of use... automatic shooting, and manual shooting.


When using automatic shooting, if you've got a reallllllllllly steady hand, or you've got your Android device on some sort of swivelling tripod, you'll make brilliant panoramas first time every time. The app has two spirit levels -- top and side -- to keep you on the straight and narrow. And it displays a big green arrow telling you which direction the phone needs to move. When you hit the sweet spot, a camera icon appears, the phone beeps, and, if you're using autofocus, the phone camera does its thing, and clicks. And you then move the phone.

A small picture-in-picture bottom left of your phone screen shows you your alignment. I reckon this is one of the areas Oren might be looking at improving in the next release... The pic is too small, and impossible to see anything accurately enough for placement and registration of the next panel.

When you've taken enough pics, you just click the 'Stitch' button bottom right of your screen. And your panorama gets made. The app will automatically stitch your pics once you've reached the maximum 9 or 12 pics (depending, I think, on the angle your stipulate in the settings).


Manual shooting is a heck of a lot less finicky than automatic shooting. You can pretty much guess where to stall the camera. You then press a big ass button bottom centre of your screen, and the camera takes a pic, and you're ready to move to the next pic. When you're done, you hit the 'Stitch' button.

The trouble with manual mode is that it's absolutely impossible to work out how much overlap each pic needs. I think Oren would do well to improve the small picture-in-picture tracking screen bottom left to give an indication of desired overlap.


There are two ways of viewing your pic.

The first viewing technique is just a gimmick, and it's really quite avoidable. Unless you LIKE motion sickness. It requires you to move the camera about an axis... the same axis about which the camera moved in the taking of the picture. Blah.

The second viewing technique is much better. You click the menu button, and tell the app that you want to use your finger to do the moving. And you just swipe and pinch and all the things you've grown to love about looking at pics on an Android device.

Viewing your pano by swiping is really very lovely. It makes the scene look richly three dimensional, and gives you a sense of really being 'in' the scene. Very cool.


One of the biggest strengths of Android is the ability to share things. This app makes full use of the sharing-power available. Hit the 'Share' button, and every app on your phone that allows you to upload an image will be listed. For instance, I use both Tweetdeck and Touiteur for my tweeting needs. So both show in the list. I've frozen Peep (on my rooted HTC Desire, using Platinum Backup), so that doesn't show, cos it's not active on my phone. But everything else shows. Such as Facebook, Gmail, and so forth.

I sent a test pic to myself using Gmail. And the process was smooth and seamless.


Photaf Pro gets a 5-star rating from me for several reasons.

Firstly, it's the only Panorama app on Android that comes anywhere NEAR the power and ease of Panoman, an app for Symbian devices. While Photaf definitely still needs work, it's a good 720 degrees ahead of anything else I've seen or tried on my HTC Desire.

Secondly, the panorama-stitching is really well done. The only time I can see seams in the stitching is where I've gotten my overlaps wrong. When they're right, the pic is marvellous.

Thirdly, this US$4 investment makes good use of your phone's capabilities. I don't OFTEN need to make panoramic pictures. But the times I've WANTED to, and COULDN'T, cos I didn't have an app to do so, have actually COST ME bucks. Besides that, I actually LOVE a good pano.

Thanks, Oren. I'm looking forward to your next release!