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Cycloramic review - an easy way to create panoramic images from your Windows Phone

Cycloramic is a relatively new Windows Phone app that isn't a stranger to smartphone photography. The app has had a modest amount of success over on iOS and was released to the Windows Phone Store back in mid-December.

The first release version was noticeably buggy and often failed to work on certain Lumia Windows Phone models. An update was released last week that hopes to fix these compatibility issues. We also saw the app go from a free app to a paid app with the update. With the fixes in place, we decided to take a closer look at this new Windows Phone photography app.

Before we dive too deep into things with Cycloramic, please take note that the Windows Phone app requires a gyroscope. This will mean that some budget or older Windows Phone models may not support this app. I wanted to break this news early to avoid any disappointments at the end.

Simple Layout

Cycloramic is a rather simple app when compared to other Windows Phone photography apps. When you launch the app, you will be greeted by a gallery of your panoramic images along with a few generic panoramas that were preloaded.

Any panorama captured by Cycloramic will be saved internally as opposed to being saved to your Windows Phone Pictures Hub. You can pull up existing images to edit and/or export to your Pictures Hub, as well as deleting them from your Cycloramic image library.

At the bottom of Cycloramic's main page you will find a control button to launch the panoramic feature and up under the three-dot menu you will find options to view the help screens, connect to the developers Facebook, Twitter or Instagram pages and rate the app in the Windows Phone Store.

Capturing your Panoramas

When you are ready to begin capturing your panorama just tap the Capture button at the bottom of the main page to launch the camera app. Cycloramic only supports the portrait view and if you hold your Windows Phone in horizontal orientation, an icon will appear illustrating that you need to hold the camera upright.

At the bottom of the viewfinder is a camera button that will start the panoramic capture. Once pressed, a green guidance bar will appear and all that is needed is for you to pan the camera to collect the images.

As you pan, an arrow will move across the green guidance bar. If you stray too far off course with your pan, the arrow will turn red and you will need to steady your hand. If things go too far off course, Cycloramic will stop the image capture and begin stitching the images automatically.

Cycloramic supports a 180 degree pan of the camera. You can stop the image capture by completing the 180 degree pan or by pressing the stop button. Cycloramic will then start the process of stitching and blending the individual images into one panoramic image.

Editing

Once created, Cycloramic will offer you options to share, edit or delete your panorama. You can also export the image to your Windows Phone Pictures Hub or generate a video from the images collected.

Cycloramic's editing features are limited to apply an effects filter to your panorama. The app includes twenty-five artistic filters such as sepia, negative, lomo, grayscale and sketch filters. Cycloramic also has nine enhancement filters that include color boost, contrast boost and whiteboard.

Once you have applied the desired filters you can share, save, continue editing or delete the image. Just keep in mind that saving the image keeps things internal. You will need to export the image to get it to your Pictures Hub.

Performance

While the first release of Cycloramic failed to work on the Lumia 830, the updated version does but there is still some fine-tuning needed. For example, there were several times I would start the capture process, pan the camera and the guidance bar wouldn't budge. The camera was capturing images but I had no confirmation of such as I moved the camera.

While the auto-focus worked well with Cycloramic, I did have noticeable exposure changes in the panorama. I'm not sure I can blame this on the app because often is the case where lighting will vary throughout your panoramic scene.

Cycloramic did a nice job of stitching the individual images and more times than not, images appeared seamless. There are the exceptions but for the most part, I was pleased with the results. I still believe that whenever possible it is best to use a tripod when capturing panoramas. However, I understand that a tripod isn't always handy or practical. Fortunately, Cycloramic (as we've seen with other panorama apps) can be used handheld without the need for a tripod. You still need a steady hand and keep the arrow in the green guidance bar but the app does a good job of forgiving slight movements of the hand while panning.

Full 180 degree panoramic images are saved at a resolution of 2448 x 592 pixels at 96 dpi. If you stop shy of the full 180 degree pan, the resolution is slightly larger.

Overall Impression

While there is some fine-tuning left to be done with Cycloramic, it comes across as an easy and capable way of capturing panoramic images from your Windows Phone.

I wouldn't mind having the option to save new images to the Camera Roll of the Windows Phone Pictures Hub but it's not a deal breaker. The filter sets are nice and while I wouldn't mind seeing a few more editing options (cropping, exposure, etc.) not having such isn't a deal breaker either.

The biggest downside to Cycloramic is the lack of a free trial. It is a nice photography app and is a very easy way to capture quality panoramas but most will want to try things out before shelling out $1.99 for the app. Is it worth the $1.99? I think so but it is always best to have the ability to evaluate things first hand. Hopefully a trial version will surface with the next update, maybe one that limits you to six panorama captures before locking.

Lastly, don't judge things on the Windows Phone Store rating. The 3 stars includes a lot of negative ratings based off the first release version of Cycloramic. My guess is if you take those early reviews out of the mix, Cycloramic would be rated in the 4-4.5 star range, which by the way is where we would place it.

George is the Reviews Editor at Windows Central, concentrating on Windows 10 PC and Mobile apps. He's been a supporter of the platform since the days of Windows CE and uses his current Windows 10 Mobile phone daily to keep up with life and enjoy a game during down time.

25 Comments
  • Love it
  • I imagine the exposure issue is because it's taking video frames and stitching then (or at least that's how it seems). Aa faf as I know there is no exposure lock in the current video capture APIs
  • Must not be getting the downloads they thought.
  • Still isn't supporting HTC 8X
  • Why so many articles on this app... Smells of them paying for these with Mr Cubans' money.
    The only killer feature was auto rotating 360 iPhone due to offset vibration motor.... Obviously doesn't work on WP
  • It keeps crashing and crashing on Lumia 830 with WP 8.1.1
  • Does anyone know a good app to capture panorama pics? I have an 830 and this doesn't work properly...
  • Photosynth is the best you can have on windowsphone
  • I'm sorry but that app is quite nonsense...
  • Photosynth by Microsoft. Its an awesome app and was last updated in November. Photoynth has been around for a while, give it a shot.  http://www.windowsphone.com/en-us/store/app/photosynth/ef860a79-5f68-4ed...
  • Did you send feedback with the crash report to the developers? If not, do it. :)
  • I can't seem to find a simple panoramic app which is capable of shooting in vertical mode... It' sad
  • Well the Lumia panorama does...
  • You can shoot vertical panoromas with this app, just lock your screen in portrait mode and you''ll trick it into taking vertical panorama, tested and working ;)
  • Cool
  • Nothing like photosynth
  • Photosynth and this is pretty good on my 1520.
  • Simple and fast panorama app.
    Only downside is low quality of saved images.
  • Anything else apart from this and Photosynth?
  • Even after up playing the app I still have been unable to take a single panoramic pic with this app. Always get an unknown while stitching error. Using it on 920 with wp8.1(dp)
  • Still no trial and I have no idea if it will work with my 920. FAIL!
  • Good thing that I grabbed the app when it was on myAppFree deal. 
  • You still have changes with windows phone that you may have to pay again!! Lol. Think of MyTube! most of them who got the app with myAppFree deal were denied update and asked to purchase.
  • The resolution is very low, but the interface is perfect. They have to work on exposure lock and better resolutions.
  • Funny situation today with this article... I colleague of mine (ex hard core Apple fanboy, now converted and happy L1520 user (One of my converted to WP victims)) told me: "Hey, a Cycloramic review, was wondering to try this app, but couldn't find a review so far" Me: "Good, is it written by George Ponder?" Him: "How did you know? have you read it?" Me: "Nope, I just know! George is the photo guy at WC (smiling) LoL"