iPhone Cloudscapes

While taking a walk in our community, we noticed very low huge cloud formations. They were quite impressive, so I shot a series of images with my iPhone 11 Pro. Most were panoramas shot with multiple images to be assembled in Photoshop for the final image. I do not usually use the pano feature in the iPhone because it distorts the left & right ends of the image giving a “bowing distortion” in the middle. Most images were shot with the 6mm lens with digital zoom added in the iPhone. I never really used the digital zoom feature much before, but it actually worked out quite well, especially for clouds.

The featured image is a single shot with the 6mm lens with 318% Digital Zoom added on the phone. I was photographing from a distance because if I got closer the trees blocked more of the bottom of the clouds and I only could photograph the small top cloud section.

Clouds_#15_6mm_55mm_106 dig zoom

Cloud Panorama, iPhone 11 Pro, 4.3mm lens, 195% Digital Zoom Added, 3 Image Blend in Photoshop


Cloud Panorama, iPhone 11 Pro, 6mm lens, 168% Digital Zoom Added, 4 image Panorama, Blended in Photoshop

Clouds_#9_3img_6mm_134mm digitl zoom_v1

Cloud Panorama, iPhone 11 Pro, 6mm lens with 260% Digital Zoom added, 3 image Panorama, Blended in Photoshop

Clouds ip11_Pro_6mm_318percent Digital zoom

Cloud Panorama, iPhone 11 Pro, 6mm lens with 318% Digital Zoom added, 3 image Panorama, Blended in Photoshop

Clouds_iP_11_Pro_52mm_2x digital zoom_16x9_

Cloud Panorama, iPhone 11 Pro, 6mm lens with 213% Digital Zoom added, 5 image Panorama, Blended in Photoshop

Clouds 3_iP11_Pro_6mm +213_digial zoom_

Cloud Panorama, iPhone 11 Pro, 6mm lens with 214% Digital Zoom added, 5 image Panorama, Blended in Photoshop

6 Image iPhone Panorama

On our trip to Lake Woodruff NWR in Florida I relied on my iPhone 11 Pro for my wide angle or panorama images. I am really liking the quality of the images I get from it for my panoramas. It was a lot easier to walk the trails without carrying 2 larger cameras. Especially in the warm Florida heat. The above featured image was taken with the 1.5mm lens (Full Frame Camera Field of View equivalent would be 13mm). I do not use the panorama feature much on the iPhone 11 Pro because of distortion in the iPhone panorama image on the ends of the image and some warping in the middle of the image. I prefer to shoot a series of regular individual images and then assemble my panorama in Photoshop which reduces the strange “warping” in the center and on the far ends. Plus I get very large files for printing.

8 img pano_v1_iP11_4_3mm

8 image iPhone Panorama, 4.3mm lens (Full frame FOV 26mm)


3 image iPhone 11 Pro Panorama, 1.5mm Lens (Full Frame FOV 13mm)

Below are examples of Panorama Warping when using the Panorama feature on the iPhone 11 Pro. The wider the lens you select, the more distortion in the file. The ends are farther away so you get a “bowing look” in the middle. And the ends “fall” back away giving a bending look. Plus when shooting individual images for the panorama or stacked panorama, I get a very large detailed file for printing.


i Phone Panoramas

I use 2 different methods when using my iPhone for panoramas (or for images just requiring a slightly wider view like the featured image). The examples here are with my older iPhone 6 when I was in Florida in the Spring. The iPhone 6 had a 4.2mm lens which is equivalent to a Full Frame camera lens Field of View of 29mm. Many times you get a “curve” on the horizon and a distinct “Curve” and distortion on the ends when using the panorama feature on the iPhone 6. It really stands out if you are on a road that is straight left & right of your position and you are basically shooting a pano looking down the road to the left moving the phone down the road on the right. You get a distinct “bowing” look to the image as in the last photo in this post. Sometimes you can say it is an interesting effect, but not really ideal for the image. How close the objects are in the center has another set of problems because the far left & right are farther away and with a wide lens on the iPhone distortion looks more prominent.  Because of this sometimes I take 2 (or more) individual images with my iPhone and use Photoshop to blend them for a panorama (or just a slightly wider view than the standard 1 image). I do this instead of the Pano mode in the iPhone which tends to distort the horizon line. The featured image is just a little wider so the tree on the right is more in the image. With the new iPhone 11 Pro, I have 3 lenses so I can shoot much wider than the older iPhone with the 1.5mm lens (Full Frame Camera Equivalent is ~13mm). In the examples below I also used the “Warp” feature in Photoshop (Edit>Transform>Warp) to straighten out the horizon somewhat which also can get a slight curve to the horizon in the image. I also have my system setup to open jpegs from the iPhone in Adobe Camera Raw to have even more options in adjusting my files before I even open them in Photoshop. Doing it this way, I can adjust the settings of the jpeg file, sort of treating it like a faux “Raw” file. It seems to really work well with my new iPhone 11 Pro. But these examples are from the older iPhone 6.

DD_IP7_2img Pano_v1

2 Horizontal Images, stacked vertically for more clouds


iPhone 6 – 2 image pano Stack for a little more clouds


iPhone 6 – 2 image sunrise Pano for more width (Horizon Line Corrected somewhat in Photoshop)


iPhone 6 – 2 image sunrise panorama, with more overlapping of images, assembled in Photoshop. This give a little more on the left & right sides. Sometimes you lessen the “curve” arc of the pano mode by shooting 2 single images and blending them then using the “Pano” feature.

DD_Pano_v2 4_2mm_IP6_3imgIMG_9837

Panorama made with iPhone 6 showing “warping curve” distortion of railing on deck platform by just using the Pano feature on the phone. (Horizon line here was Corrected Somewhat in Photoshop)


iPhone 6 Panorama shot @ Blackwater NWR Wildlife Drive – Showing distortion of road (on left and right) by just using the pano feature while standing on the road.

Davidsons Mill Pond Park Landscape Panoramas

I am still working on trying different techniques or ways to work with iPhone images in Photoshop. Overall it is a fun and useful addition to my equipment. Especially if I am walking around with Long telephoto lenses and still have the option for other wider views with out carrying extra lenses or cameras. Because of the very small lens focal lengths some techniques are difficult to get the results I am expecting. But it is fun to see what the iPhone can do. If you enable Photoshop to open jpegs in Camera Raw, you can uprezz your iPhone images quite successfully as you are opening them. Also you can correct/adjust the image before you open the file. Seems to work well with the Panoramas also. Do not go way overboard in size, but used moderately this seems to work quite well. The featured image was captured using the panorama feature on the iPhone 11 Pro, using the 4.3mm lens (35mm equivalent 26mm). You have to be careful using the panorama setting because quite often you get a “bowing” effect in the middle of the image. Mainly because the far left and far right are way off to the side so it in the middle it is “closer” to you so it is a little bigger, giving an slight distortion in the middle. Sometimes you can minimize this by “shooting up slightly. The Smaller Panoramas are made from 2 vertical or horizontal images, layered in Photoshop and “combined or blended” with Photoshop. The biggest problem is being careful to not exaggerate “keystoning effects” when using the extremely small focal lengths that are in the iPhone (1.5mm, 4.3mm & 6mm) shooting more straight into your views helps. 35mm – full Frame equivalent mm would be 13mm, 26mm & 52mm. Any slight up or down angles seem to distort quickly, but can be controlled a little by shooting more straight into your subject.  Slight adjustments in Photoshop also helps.


Narrower Panorama of featured image, first try before the featured image.


2 horizontal iPhone images stacked for panorama


2 iPhone images for wider panorama assembled in Photoshop


2 iPhone images for taller panorama


Test Images iPhone 11 Pro

My old iPhone was not able to update to the newer software updates so I got a new iPhone 11 Pro. I was interested in seeing how the new camera would stand up for image quality. The new camera seems to work well to a point, but skies or solid color areas seem to have a slight darker center area in wide angle mode. But that is somewhat easy to change or fix in Photoshop. Some of the extreme wide angle shots also have a weird distortion, but again somewhat fixable.  The file size seems to be also good for uprezzing (to a point) for larger printing. Overall I am quite happy with the performance. At the wide end the lens is only 1.5mm, but in full frame camera equivalent field of view is 13mm. So that is why you are seeing distortions that need some work in Photoshop. I also had to try shooting images for assembling for panoramas in Photoshop. That seemed to work well also. You just have to overlap more than usual. It has a 2X optical zoom, but up to 10X digital zoom. You probably would not want to print the digital zoom images too large, but handy for documentation or for the web.


Single Image @ 1.5mm (Full Frame Equivalent 13mm)


2 image Panorama, assembled in Photoshop @ 1.5mm (Full Frame Camera Equivalent 13mm)


Single Image @ 4.3mm (Full Frame Camera Equivalent 26mm)


2 horizontal image Pano – stacked, iPhone 11 Pro @ 1.5mm (Full Frame equivalent – 13mm)


Single Image @ 4.3mm, iPhone 11 Pro – (Full Frame Equivalent 26mm)

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