To the dismay of 360 photographers around the world, stitching Panono (reviewed here) photos is no longer free. The company announced that beginning September 1, 2019, they will charge $0.79 to stitch each photo on their cloud service. What impact will this have on Panono? Are there alternatives?
Panono had been the highest resolution 360 camera for many years, with 36 lenses and 108 megapixels. It had an unusual workflow that used cloud stitching. Users would download the photos from the Panono to their phone. From their phone, they upload the photos to Panono’s cloud service. After about 15 to 30 minutes, the photos are stitched and ready to download.
Since the beginning, Panono’s stitching service had been free. But now, Panono will begin charging $0.79 per photo. The move caught users by surprise.
The problem for users is that there is no software that I’m aware of that can stitch Panono photos. The best one I’ve tried is Panorama Studio 3 Pro, but even that software cannot stitch Panono perfectly. UPDATE: a reader suggested that Mistika VR can stitch Panono perfectly. Mistika is subscription based and costs €69 per month or €499 per year.
The best alternative is probably the XPhase Pro (reviewed here). XPhase is a 200mp 360 camera with 25 lenses. Not only is it more detailed than Panono, but it is also capable of HDR without ghosting. In terms of workflow, it can stitch and fuse HDR photos in about one minute, on the included desktop app or on a phone. BTW, it costs less than half of the Panono ($879). Check out my review.
I’m supposing that Panono was completely unaware of XPhase Pro when they announced the new policy for stitching. In my opinion, this new policy will likely be the end of Panono, although it seems that may have been an inevitable result in any case.