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View Full Version : Other Techniques Let's talk about Panorama



e_dawg
04-01-2008, 06:18 AM
I am getting into panoramas these days and have thought of a bunch of questions that might be good topics for discussion. To wit:

What are your thoughts on panorama?

Do you often take pics for the express purpose of stitching them together?

Has the novelty worn off for you after trying it?

What kind of software do you use?

Do you use a pano head, regular tripod, or handhold?

Are you now a third-level black belt master of the nodal point, or have you stopped caring?

What is your preferred lens for panos?

Do you try to minimize the number of shots you take and emphasize depth by using a wideangle lens? Or do you try to increase detail and minimize distortion concerns by using a normal or short tele instead?

What is your opinion on sharing panoramas online? Do you find it difficult to present them online and preserve the panorama experience? What presentation software / format do you use? QTVR, Zoomify, Java applets, or just a simple JPEG?

What about printing? What software do you use? Do you use a continuous roll of paper or use multiple sheets and align the edges while mounting? Do you print borderless? Can your driver do it without truncating part of your picture? What paper size and aspect ratio do you use? How about mounting?

Inquiring minds want to know. Feel free to post additional questions you have as well.

wigpro
04-01-2008, 08:44 AM
In my old world I took a few Pano shots with my Olympus Point & Shoot and used Olympus Master software to stitch them together and was pretty pleased with the results. I was a little disappointed that the same function was not available on my E-500.

Recently I had a need to take a wide angle view so I used my little Olympus 790 in the panorama function...but it got me thinking, why not shoot with the E-500 and stitch together in PS or something else...

I like to keep things simple - I searched online and found a totally automatic, inexpensive panorama software - I downloaded the demo version and tried it out yesterday. Worked fine...now I have not gotten into the nuts and bolts or adjustments or anything like that, but I am quite pleased with the results using the default settings.

The picture was taken hand held...just a sample shot that I needed for a web site I am working on...

Here is the software:http://www.firmtools.com/

The picture is attached.

I prefer to shoot panoramas rather than using an extreme wide angle lens because of the distortion. I intend to do more of this, especially when I am in Alaska this year. I am going to research some other software packages, but seems like it will be hard to beat the simplicity and price of the FirmTools version.

Enjoy,

Jim

shrinkpictures
04-01-2008, 02:32 PM
Yes, I often take shots that I plan on stitching together.

The Novelty has not worn off - Panoramas are like any other technique - something to be used when appropriate.

I use AutoPano Pro to stitch the shots together (most of the time)

For the Most part, I shoot handheld -sometimes I will use a tripod. Whilst havingread all about the advantages of a Pano I have not felt the urge to go out and buy one.

I have some preferences for shooting Pano's Lens-wise. I often use the emergency zoom and go to 22mm with the 11-22. My favourite lens is the Sigma 30mm. I have used the 50-200 (50 end) as well. So lens wise, I would not really go wider than 22mm. I usually aim for around 25-50% overlap - depending on the scene. I set up autopano pro to use 100 points between each join, so I try and ensure that there are plenty of points available.

The Reason I generally shoot a pano is so I will end up with more pixels - IE I generally want to print with more details. I honestly don't care how many shots I take to make up a pano. I have Pano's from 3 right up to 20 shots for 270Deg.

I simply share them online as a jpg image - Yes they lose something, but to be appreciated a pano needs to be printed!

When Printing, I aim for 250ppi at 32" on the long side. A 32" print is the most economical size for me to print at, and if I get it less than 12" high, then I get 2 prints per piece of standard photo stock paper at my Pro Lab for the same price.

A pano of this size will usually be mounted with at least a 4" Matt around it - so it mounts nicely on a standard sized foamcore board (30x40"). Getting a custom frame done is where it really starts to cost - and a couple I have had done have cost around the $200 mark. Mounting and framing yourself costs way less if you can source all the necessary components such as matt, foamcore, frame stock etc.

Blu-by-u
04-01-2008, 06:33 PM
What are your thoughts on panorama?

WIDE is what I like and Panoramas are what I shoot

Do you often take pics for the express purpose of stitching them together?
Yes. You can see them in my signature

Has the novelty worn off for you after trying it?

Nope..after shooting them for a few years now, I am still shooting.

What kind of software do you use?

I use Arcsoft Panorama Maker 4. I started with the free Arcsoft Panorama Maker 3 lite that came with my Panasonic camera.

Do you use a pano head, regular tripod, or handhold?

Handheld most of the time. I have not gotten around to buy or make a panorama head.

Are you now a third-level black belt master of the nodal point, or have you stopped caring?

Nodal point for wide near panoramas.

What is your preferred lens for panos?

12mm is the widest for me so far. anything below, Arcsoft seems to have a problem joining them. BTW, 12mm is usually vertically held.

Do you try to minimize the number of shots you take and emphasize depth by using a wideangle lens? Or do you try to increase detail and minimize distortion concerns by using a normal or short tele instead?

This depends on what I am shooting. I normally use up to 40% overlap. I can then afford to drop shots if required.

What is your opinion on sharing panoramas online? Do you find it difficult to present them online and preserve the panorama experience? What presentation software / format do you use? QTVR, Zoomify, Java applets, or just a simple JPEG?

So far, simple Jpeg

What about printing? What software do you use? Do you use a continuous roll of paper or use multiple sheets and align the edges while mounting? Do you print borderless? Can your driver do it without truncating part of your picture? What paper size and aspect ratio do you use? How about mounting?

This is where I am stinggy.. I print on A4 and join them. Or I use them on Panning with another software (memories to tv by codejam (http://www.codejam.com/slideshow/index.htm)) in my TV presentations

Hope this answers your questions. and do feel free to browse through my garbage for more pictures.

AbeakerZ
04-01-2008, 07:36 PM
Out here in the west our landscapes scream for pano shots so I will often take them for the explicit purpose of stitching them together.

The novelty has not worn off and there are a lot of locations that aren't too far afield that I still intend to shoot. Yes, the Grand Canyon is heavily photographed but it's only a 5 hour drive from my house. Oddly, I've never been there in the 22 years I've lived in Arizona. There are other locations that I want to get as well, the Chiricahua mountains in southeast AZ springs to mind. What a maze of colors and shadows.

I use PTGui to stich my panos together. I tried autostitch at first and there is an advantage to using it, it's free. The problems are that it only supports jpeg for input and output and most importantly it does not handle the parallax errors that are inherent in shooting handheld with objects in the close foreground of landscape shots. I haven't yet removed some tests I did a few years ago and you can see the difference between these two outputs.

This is the one done with autostitch

http://www.pbase.com/abeakerz/image/55372359

And this is the one I did with a trial version of PTGui

http://www.pbase.com/abeakerz/image/55390735

It was the trial version so it is watermarked but you can see that PTGui handled the parallax on the foreground bushes much better. Yes, it's not the best photo but it was my first attempt at pano stitching to see what I could do. I've heard very good things about autopano pro as well but I haven't tried it.

I began by just handholding and shooting off the cuff when I realized that PTGui made a pano head inconsequential. I tend to shoot on a tripod now with a regular head to maximize the detail in the distances. I just make sure there is overlap for the stitching software to get enough control points.

Here is a later one I did, handheld, with 10 frames horizontal in portrait orientation with the E300

http://www.pbase.com/abeakerz/image/57194203

The whole reason for these in my mind is to print big and get the maximum in detail. At full size, this one printed at 24X96". You can put your nose up to it and see detail in the foreground vegetation and in the mountains in the distance. For a sense of scale, it looks like this with me posing in front of it.

http://www.pbase.com/abeakerz/image/74459295

And in it's final resting place here:

http://www.pbase.com/abeakerz/image/75972622

It's darn expensive to do which is why that one is hanging at a work facility, they paid for the print, laminate, and mounting of around $1,000. Framing is out of the question for something that big, which is why it's laminated, so it is flat mounted on Sintra with a museum mount box on the back. It floats nicely off the wall.

Obviously when it comes to printing these, it's a contract job to be sure. The company that did this uses a Lambda printer and funnily enough it ran about the same per square foot that other inkjet people were qouting me. My dad is a manufacturer's rep for large format printers and what he sent me off of a Canon could not even come close to the Lambda. To be fair, he used cheap flat paper so that may have been a problem with ink bleed, I'm waiting to see what he sends next on glossy photo paper.

Our landscapes are large in nature so it's best to be off a distance and use a bit of a telephoto on it to pull the detail. In the above example I was about 12 miles from the base of the mountains. I used the 50-200 at about 90mm and around f9 I think. As much as I love chasing the birds and want a super tele, the 35-100 is one I seriously lust after for these types of things.

Wanting to get away from the long thin print I did another one I'm quite proud of. Using the same lens and camera combo I did one that was 7 columns wide and two rows deep in portrait orientation on a tripod with the cable release and a 3 second mirror lock up. I'm going to spend the money and have this done for my house as soon as I can. Full size it prints at 36X78".

http://www.pbase.com/abeakerz/image/74806196

I've put these in as links, not to get hits to my pbase site, I really don't care about that, but to keep the resizing thing on this site from shrinking them to 800 pixels wide. I know why it's done and am not complaining. Really though, even the web sized ones I linked to cannot in any way compare to seeing it in a full size print.

Whew! Long post but as you can see I'm a bit fascinated with the process and more importantly the outcome. I doubt I'm a black belt at nodal points as the software does that for me nicely, I just have to remember to shoot high and low enough in the middle so I don't have holes in what I want to capture.

Blu-by-u
04-02-2008, 05:46 PM
Beautiful shots there. I have yet to try multiple rows. For the moment, I am just holding the camera portrait if I want bigger panos.

lendur2
04-02-2008, 06:38 PM
There are quite a few panorama programs out there. Photosphere is freeware and not only stitches panoramas, but also does HDR.

johnblue3
04-07-2008, 11:12 PM
I thought I'd add my two cents worth on this topic. I live in the mountains in California, so I'm very much preoccupied with pleasant thoughts of panoramas.

I often take pictures with the expressed purpose ot stitching them together.

No, the novelty has not worn off.

As to software: I use LightRoom and Photoshop CS3.

I use a ReallyRightStuff BH40 Pro II Pano head with an MPR Rail and a RRS L Bracket mounted to my E3.

I use a precisely determined nodal point with my favorite Pano lens.

My preferred lens is a Zuiko 11/22mm and I mostly shoot with 22mm Focal.

I typically take 5 shot Panos with my camera mounted in portrait mode.

No opinion on sharing.

As to printing, I use an HP B9180 and typically set up to print my panos at 13" by 38". I merge, crop and scale(using Genuine Fractal my images in CS3. When printing to the B9180, I mostly use home made 13" by 38" sheets, cut from Epson Premium Luster Photo Roll. Less frequently, I use 13" by 38" sheets of Red River photo glossy paper. On the B9180, you have to use the Special Media Tray for these long sheets. This means that you can't quite achieve a bordeless print, but close~.25". It can be tough to feed the curled paper into the special media tray, but I've developed a technique for this: you simply place an uncurled 13" wide sheet underneath the curled paper and pull them both through the rollers.

bilzmale
04-07-2008, 11:54 PM
I am keen on panos and usually shoot landscapes. I also often stitch to get wide angle for architecture and occasionally a mosaic for higher pixel count. I own a Nodal Ninja but shoot mostly hand held or tripod for night shots. The pano head is needed more for interiors than outdoors.

I stitch with AutoPano Pro and before that I used PTAssembler. Haven't lost interest but it's a while since I shot one - some panos I shot when I first started didn't really deserve the pano treatment.

atlasman
05-02-2008, 01:42 PM
Although I had tried stitching back in the days of my G3, it wasn't until last year that I started to get serious about panoramics as a means to get a different look and feel.

The shot that follows in its high resolution state is 17052 x 3123. The shot was taken with the Sony R1 held tightly into my waist (used reticulating screen to frame) and rotated mid-body to maintain parallel with horizon. The camera was held in vertical position so that a greater margin of error could be obtained. The camera was completely in manual mode (I did a number of pre-shot measurements to determine optimal exposure and focus).

I used Photoshop CS3 to align and stich the images (9).

http://www.josephferrari.com/Stitch2b.jpg

sandiway
05-03-2008, 12:40 PM
I posted yesterday examples on Spotlight, see

http://www.fourthirdsphoto.com/vbb/showthread.php?t=23720

> What are your thoughts on panorama?

Reason I bought a DSLR. Scratch that... I'm not sure I want an E-510, I borrowed one from a friend. I haven't bought an Olympus yet.

> Do you often take pics for the express purpose of stitching them together?

Yup.

> Has the novelty worn off for you after trying it?

It's only two weeks since i bought the 8mm FE. (Yup I own the lens not the camera body.)

> What kind of software do you use?

autopano pro. pano2vr.

> Do you use a pano head, regular tripod, or handhold?

http://www.u.arizona.edu/~sandiway/blog/e510/components.jpg

Nodal ninja 3 mk II. Gitzo 1155T. Laserbeam for handheld.

> Are you now a third-level black belt master of the nodal point, or have you stopped caring?

Still trying to hit it.

> What is your preferred lens for panos?

Well I only own one Olympus lens. 8mm fisheye.

> Do you try to minimize the number of shots you take and emphasize depth by using a wideangle lens?

Since I'm into spherical panoramas, a fisheye is essential.

> What is your opinion on sharing panoramas online?

QTVR works well.

> What about printing?

Not relevant. Don't see how I can on the inside of a ball. :-)

Sandiway