I've been using and really enjoying a relatively new function that's available in Sony compact cameras. It's called Sweep Panorama, and essentially, this function automates the process of creating panorama shots like the shot below of Eric playing tourist at Chichen Itza during our recent trip to Isla Mujeres:
I took this photo with a Sony Cybershot DSC-WX1 camera.
By using the camera's Sweep Panorama mode, all I had to do was press the shutter, start at the left end of the area in the photo and move the camera from left-to-right over the area I wanted in my panorama shot.
The camera stitched everything together...automatically producing a nice 3424 x 1920 pixel panorama image covering a much greater field of view than possible with a normal single shot.
I used this function to take the second photo in my previous post as well.
The Sweep Panorama mode works with the camera in either vertical or horizontal orientation (vertical example for the photo above; horizontal example in my previous post), and you can select options to sweep the camera from left-to-right, right-to-left, top-to-bottom, bottom-to-top.
In short, it's a handy way to capture wide (and tall) scenics quickly without pulling out your DSLR and laptop to stitch images together.
Sweep Panorama works best with non-moving objects, so it's suited to landscapes, architectural shots and such, but it can handle a little bit of movement. I've used a few Cybershot cameras with this function, and the Sweep Panorama mode's ability to handle movement within the framed scene has improved quite a bit since this function was initially introduced.
I think that the Sweep Panorama mode is available in most, if not all, of the recently announced Cybershot models.