Panono Panoramic Ball Review

The Panono Panoramic Ball is the leader when it comes to panoramic cameras. It is a sphere (ball) with a whopping 36 cameras on the inside that automatically stitches the 108 megapixel master piece together. An accelerometer that ensures the picture is taken at the apex of the throw.

Panono Panoramic Ball Review

Features & Specifications

  • Size: A ball with an 11cm diameter.
  • Weight: 300 grams
  • Connections: USB port and Wi-Fi
  • Cameras: 36 x 3MP fixed focus cameras
  • Storage Capacity: 16Gb, or up to 600 pictures
  • Angle: 360° x 360°
  • Protection: Able to withstand at least a 5M or 16 foot drop

Test and Review

The Panono came into being as the result of irritating his hiking buddies so much that the inventor looked for an alternative solution to taking 360° panoramic pictures. The concept was investigated and developed for the Master’s Thesis of Jonas Pfeil at the Technical University of Berlin.
The cameras are triggered by one of three possible methods. The first, and perhaps the most fun way, is by just throwing it straight up into the air. The accelerometer calculates how long it will take the ball to reach the apex, that is the highest point. It then, automatically takes a 360° x 360° panoramic picture. Alternatively you can press a button while holding it in your hand, very much like a normal camera. The third way requires remote triggering while the Panono is mounted on a special tripod. The exposure time and ISO settings can be adjusted manually or you can entrust the Panono to automatically take care of these settings.

When you are ready, the Panono connects to your or “its” smartphone (iOS or Android) via Wi-Fi or Blue tooth, transferring the data locally. The phone will then transmit the data via 3G/4G to the Panono cloud.

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The creation of the final 360° x 360° Panono panoramic picture is handled automatically by the Panono cloud. Once the process is completed a final picture will be sent to user’s phone. The image can be edited and is compatible with the Google Photosphere format. Google Plus is one of the apps which allow you to look at the pictures. The Panono can not yet take videos. The Panono website does kind of hint that it will eventually create a version that can record HD videos. Imagine a few years down the line when these can be used in tennis, basketball, baseball, etc to provide a new and radical view of the game in progress.

Pros

  • It is fun
  • Easy to use
  • Robust
  • Light rain resistant, but not water proof
  • Funky
  • Takes great pics
  • Saves time

Cons

  • Price
  • More technical minded photographers might not like the lack of control of picture settings
  • The Explorer Edition does not have its drop-proofness guaranteed. Does this imply it might be a bit sensitive?
  • The accessories, the Panono stick etc, are not that expensive, but does add to the already considerable price.
  • The development and release process has taken much longer than expected, and the final price is much higher than the originally expected $600.

Price

The Panono Explorer is already on sale and will set you back a whopping $1599. A cheaper, commercial version is on its way, but no release date, or price, has been made public yet.

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