Arsenal 2 December Update

Hey everyone, Ryan here.

Panorama is in the iOS App Store!

We’re excited to launch Panorama, and have updates on that and more below, so let’s jump in.


Panorama is probably the most involved feature we’ve shipped. Thanks to everyone on the team for all of the hard work getting the iOS version out the door. As is not uncommon, the last 10% takes half the time. Let us know how panorama is working for you, and send us some panos you take (!

Panorama Tips

By popular request, here’s some tips for nailing panoramas with Arsenal 2.

Tip #1: Stop Down

While panorama stitching software has come a long way, it relies on finding matching details between photos to align images into the final photo. If you have objects close to the lens, be sure to increase your aperture so as much of the scene is in focus as possible. When focusing, I recommend choosing a focal point a third to half way between the foreground and background. While you can change your focus part way through a panorama, most of the time you want to find a single focus point that captures everything.

Tip #2: Watch out for Polarizers

While polarizing filters are great to bring out color in the sky or foliage, when shooting really wide panoramas, they can introduce a strong gradient in the sky. While this rule applies to wide angle lenses as well, it’s much easier to use a polarizer when shooting a panorama than on the front of extremely wide angle lenses.

Tip #3: Level your tripod

Actually setting up a tripod for a solid pano is a little more involved than usual because depending on what kind of tripod you have, you’ll need to make sure that both your tripod and head are level. Arsenal’s Pano stitching software can deal with some rotation between images, but it’s more likely to match if the rotation is minimal.

Tip #4: Nodal Point

If you have objects close to the lens in your panorama, finding the nodal point can ensure everything is able to stitch. A nodal point is the point where light rays intersect and invert as they come through the front of the lens and are projected back to the sensor. This point is somewhere in the middle of the lens and it’s different for every focal length you use, even within the same zoom lens.

Lucian put together a quick video to explain how to find the nodal point.

Tip #5: Useful for more than just huge prints

Panoramas can be a powerful tool and not just for high megapixel prints. I find there’s a lot of situations where a 3 or 4 shot panorama lets me get that extra width I need and lets me leave the ultrawide lens at home.

Tip 6: Overlap

The amount of overlap you need between photos depends on the amount of detail in the individual photos. Arsenal’s Pano feature tries to find the same points in each photo and requires enough overlapping points to calculate the geometric transforms to align everything.

In most cases, I recommend at least 30% overlap, but if you have parts of the scene without a lot of small details, you may need more. Also, don’t forget to overlap your rows if you’re doing a multirow pano. And again, make sure the overlapping portions contain some details. When working with blue skies that have little to no detail, it can be helpful to turn your camera vertical so the sky photos still have some of the ground in them that can be used to align.

Panorama on Android

We’ve still got some work to do to get the Android version of Panorama out the door. My original prototype panorama code did most of the real time stitching on the device side. While this worked, it needed to send down a full stitch for every frame. This caused some performance issues if you had a slow wifi connection (due to lots of other wifi devices in the area). We decided to move the stitching (both the final image and the preview) to the phone. This meant we only had to send down photos/live view frames as they came in. The big win was most phones have more RAM available, so there was less swapping to flash memory, which also improved live view stitch speeds. The tl;dr is it was a faster experience in most cases.

The downside to moving to processing on the phones is it complicates our build/development process a bit. The iOS version is in the App Store today, but we’ve still got some work to get Pano out on the Android side (more variants of phones, so it’s more work than on the iOS side). We’re making good progress, a lot of the code is getting reused from the iOS side, but there’s still UI work and build work to do. We’ll keep you updated as we go.

Bug Fixes

There were some bugs with Night Assist on iOS that Ben was kind enough to dive in on and fix (mostly related to focusing position). While the Milky Way is currently below the horizon most of the night, I’m looking forward to using the improvements in the spring.

New Cameras

We’re getting a lot of requests for new cameras lately, mostly related to the fall camera releases but also a few from earlier in the year. We’re in the process of trying to add support for the following cameras: Sony A7RV, Canon R7, Canon R6ii, Nikon Z9. We can’t guarantee we’ll add these yet, so please hold off on ordering extra cables or only for those cameras. We’ll announce here on Kickstarter and on social media when we’ve confirmed support for these or other cameras.

Also, be sure to vote on any cameras you want added here: It really helps us prioritize our roadmap.

Thanks everyone for your continued support, and I hope everyone has a great holiday season.

  • Ryan