• Price: $499

  • Company: Minds-Eye-View

  • Our Rating: We rate this 7 out of 10 We rate this 7 out of 10

Minds-Eye-View’s Click Away is a utility program for stitching together two circular still images taken back-to-back using a 180+ degree fisheye lens, to produce a seamless fully spherical image. This immersive viewing is useful for things like interactive Web site tours of houses, museums, tourist attractions, and car interiors.

Minds-Eye-View’s Click Away is a utility program for stitching together two circular still images taken back-to-back using a 180+ degree fisheye lens, to produce a seamless fully spherical image. This immersive viewing is useful for things like interactive Web site tours of houses, museums, tourist attractions, and car interiors.

Most other immersive imaging software packages (such as RealViz Stitcher and D Vision D Joiner) require you to take lots of images with conventional lenses. This gives much better zoom-in resolution than pairs of fisheyes, but shooting and stitching all those images is tedious – DIGIT’s Realviz Stitcher 3.5 review (DIGIT 52) required 38 photographs for a complete sphere. The fisheye lens approach of Click Away works particularly well in small spaces where a conventional lens can’t fit enough in.

Buying Click Away usually means buying a fisheye lens. Fisheye lenses used to be horribly expensive, but for the past few years Nikon has sold a reasonably priced 183-degree lens for its CoolPix digital cameras at around £200.

According to Minds-Eye-View, Click Away is a beta – a 0.4 beta that’s still a way from the final version. However, you can buy it for just over £300 – so not what we consider a beta.

Unlike most tools though, Click Away is currently the centre of a court case brought by competitor iPIX, which has a patent for this type of technology. iPIX’s eponymous product is similar to Click Away, though its seams tend to be better hidden, and each picture posted on the Web has to be licensed from iPIX.

Today’s beta of Click Away is basic but functional. Users shoot a back-to-back pair of fisheye images, load them into Click Away, and the software automatically detects the circular image edges and crops them (future versions will support three overlapping images, for better quality). Next it unwraps and displays the two images as horizontal strips, with sliders to move them horizontally or vertically to achieve an accurate overlapping join (settings can be saved and applied to batch processing sets). The next menu lets you match the two halves’ brightness and contrast if necessary. There’s an option to paste a circular logo image to hide the rotator and tripod under the lens. Finally you export the stitched image as a playable .MOV QuickTime VR file. The spherical image is mapped to faces of a cube in six editable JPEGs, for some QTVR and 3D applications.