I was of the opinion that a full-sized camera and professional zoom lens would be an albatross about my neck. Who wants to lug that thing everywhere, into every restaurant, bathroom and museum. Besides, it screams tourist (if our brightly colored running shoes were not enough). And, what about theft? I think I'd be more concerned about guarding my possessions than enjoying the sights. That being said, we found Rome to be quite safe. Still, I made the executive decision not to bring a camera. Besides, we were on vacation.
What I did bring, however, was my Iphone. About now, you may be thinking, so what is new? Who doesn't bring a smart phone on vacation? True. Yet, how we used it may be of interest both visual and--for all the image makes out there--practical.
You see, when one gets in Rome or anywhere in Italy, one is confronted with a deluge of history, artistic and architectural greatness, and a world not encountered by the everyday American. To drink it all in visually, with only an Iphone is a daunting task. Sometimes one needs an ordinary mid-range perspective like the camera-phone provides. Well, what if one wants to take in a grander vista, that's where the panorama features comes in quite handy.
In the panorama mode, one can capture grand, sweeping images of these most impressive scenes. One can capture a view of 180 degrees or more, simply by holding the pano button and steadily panning across the scene. For example, let's say one is in a basilica, and the floor, the altar and ceiling, are all, nothing short of amazing. Unless one has a fisheye lens on a DSLR camera, it is virtually impossible. In two of the images below, we have done just that, panned vertically. It is a function rarely used, but marvelous in results.
So, does an Iphone replace a professional camera? No. The quality is simply not yet there. However, for ease of use, and for those that want to go PanaRoming, it is a whole lot of fun.
Below are images from the medieval town of Orvieto with it's magnificent Duomo plus an image of the Pantheon (once a temple to the Roman gods, now a church) in Rome as well as the last image, from St. Mary Major, also in Rome.