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photo:panorama

panorama

introduction

  • panoramic photos can be achieved by either:
    • “stitching” a sequence of photos together which is what is discussed below and is the less expensive approach
    • using a super wide angle lens - but ideally one needs a medium or large format film or a digital sensor with lots of pixels to capture sufficient detail.
    • using a dedicated panorama format camera:
      • panorama format on 35mm film
        • Hasselblad XPan
        • Mamiya 7 with panorama adapter kit to allow use of 35mm film to give 24x65mm images but cumbersome and issues with film flatness - better to just use 120 film.
      • medium format film such as 6cmx9cm formats see here
      • large format film such as 4“x5” and 8“x10” - although not panoramic format, these have the greatest ability to capture detail in one shot.
      • panoramic digital cameras:
  • some interesting information can be found on the Panasaurus web site http://www.tawbaware.com/panosaurus_review.htm and at http://www.panoramicweb.com/ 
  • Your photo stitching and photo editing software can correct many (but not all) mistakes made during shooting. 
  • Always keep in mind that the more carefully you shoot the less work you will have later on.
  • For maximum resolution in the vertical direction (height of your panorama), turn your camera by 90° to the portrait orientation and slowly pan from one end of the scene to the other end to get an impression what eventually will be on your images. When panning, keep your camera exactly levelled at the horizon, do not tilt it up or down vertically from the horizon line - most stitching programs cannot satisfactory handle this kind of tilt. If you use a stitcher with vertical tilt correction (e.g. ImageAssembler), you do not have to bother much about this issue. In this case, tilt your camera vertically, if necessary, to catch exactly the scene you want. Just make sure to keep the tilt angle constant for all individual shots.
  • zoom in (using only optical zoom, of course) deep enough that all objects of interest are covered along the whole horizontal scene, but leave a small safety margin at the top and the bottom as cropping reserve after stitching.
  • After selecting the right zoom, pan several times from one end of your scene to the other end and correct the zoom slightly, if necessary
  • Unfortunately, the bigger the zoom the bigger distortion and vignetting (gradual darkening of the image towards the outer edges), depending on the quality of the lens. This might cause difficulties later when the images are stitched together. If you want only small prints of your panoramic image or if you intent to put it merely on the internet, the maximum resolution is usually not necessary. In this case, you could use only a small zoom or no zoom at all and cut the stitched image later generously.
  • you must try to keep the vertical edge of your images as close as possible to the exact vertical line and the elevation angle of your camera (vertical tilt) exactly the same (at the horizon line for stitchers with no vertical tilt correction) for all shots of the row.
  • use a tripod if possible & it should have at least a levelling bubble for adjustment of the exact horizontal orientation.
  • activate exposure lock (AE lock) or set the shutter speed, aperture, and ISO speed manually to the corresponding values to ensure using the same exposure for all shots as this ensures that there will be no significant brightness and coloration discrepancies between them.
  • Start at the left end of the scene and take the first shot. Spot an object in the image that marks the overlapping edge. Most stitching programs require an image-to-image overlapping between a quarter and a half the image extension.
  • If you have clouds or other slow-moving objects in your scene, try to shoot the whole scene as quickly as possible. Otherwise, the stitching software might get into trouble.
  • Be aware that - even when using a tripod - the impact when pushing the shutter button can still cause the image to get blurred, particularly for long exposure times. If necessary, use the timer to shoot the image.
  •  

problems with panoramic stitching

  • exposure and WB:
    • it is important that each image has the same exposure and white balance so that stitched images do not look like separate images.
    • consider using manual exposure and preset white balance so these are constant for all images in a set.
  • vignetting:
    • vignetting in each frame is a big problem as it is difficult to correct exactly so that images stitched together have a smooth exposure transition
    • choose a lens/camera/aperture combination that minimises vignetting effects and watch out for the lens shades.
  • flare:
    • avoid sunlight hitting the front lens as this may cause different flare patterns on each image.
  • polariser filter:
    • in general, using a polariser filter tends to exaggerate unevenness in sky brightness across a panorama so consider using a ND gradient filter instead.
  • perpective distortion:
    • avoid converging lines which result from not having the camera parallel to the subject ie. avoid tilting camera up for tall objects.
    • converging lines in each image make it hard work to fix and then stitch.
    • consider avoid using very wide angle lenses and instead take more images to cover the field of view.
  • nodal point issues:

panorama stitching software

  • Olympus Camedia Master - supplied with Olympus cameras but only images taken in panaroma mode and recorded onto xD memory card.
  • Canon Photostitch - supplied with Canon cameras but will stitch any jpeg, BMP, TIFF
  • Adobe Photoshop Elements or C/S - 
  • Panorama Factory - good automated stitcher, 30 day shareware.
  • PanaVue Image Assembler - not freeware, but provides very high stitching accuracy and manual stitch point correction. Allows for vertical stitching of photo rows. Stitches individual photos with extremely size differences. Handles camera tilt in the elevation angle (deviation from the horizontal direction) - a feature most other stitchers do not have.
  • PhotoVista - 30 day test version.
  • http://autostitch.net/ - free demo version - fully automatic but jpegs only & not always get good results
  • Panorama Tools based software:
    • freeware but you need to do a lot of manual work, thus there are several helper programs or interfaces to make it easier.
    • can also download at http://panotools.sourceforge.net/ 
      • preferred interface tool for Alfred Molon.
      • VB6 Windows interface which supports plugins such as:
          • blends images of different exposures (to create HDR images) or different focus (to create more depth of field) 
          • images should already have been stitched by another program such as PTAssembler before invoking TuFuse
          • can use RAW files if DCRaw is installed.
      • examples of workflows and capabilities: http://www.tawbaware.com/ptasmblr_help_stack_example.htm
      • registered users get $20 discount on purchase of Panosaurus tripod mount
    • PTMac is a front end for creating panoramas using Panorama Tools. PTMac is available for Mac OS X and OS 8.6 to 9.x.
    • ControlPoints is a Windows application that allows you to select control points.
    • PanoPoints is an Open Source graphical front-end control point picker for Linux systems.
    • PanoWizard is a freeware frontend for autopano and panorama-tools.  
photo/panorama.txt · Last modified: 2012/08/08 11:55 by gary1