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jonesy
14th July 2009, 04:36 PM
Has anyone used the panorama feature available when you buy the Olympus Xd cards? Any advice, tips or tricks for a newbie in this area.
Or is it just easier to create your own panorama by more conventional methods?

Any advice would be much appreciated
:)

stevednp3
14th July 2009, 05:34 PM
To be honest I dont find the built in camera option much help at all, I would recommend to do it manually or using the wizard in photoshop

Just one thing to remember, each pic you take all have to match contrast wise, otherwise they will look wrong when stitched together.

What I do is take a photo in auto mode, note down all the settings that auto mode used and then use these settings in manual mode and take you photos in manual to make sure they all match.

Someone else may have a better way to do it and I'd like to know myself if there is, but i do it this way and it works well for me

Hope that helps :)

StephenL
14th July 2009, 05:48 PM
Steve's just about got it nailed there!

jonesy
14th July 2009, 06:20 PM
OK, thanks for your help :)

Its one less button for me to try to figure out :)

Trausti Hraunfjord
14th July 2009, 10:54 PM
Hi Tracey.

My field of work is entirely based on panorama photography... or "panography" as we call it. Until recently I was using Olympus C-8080 camera for the work, and it served me very well, but it was starting to lose a few pixels, so I bought me a E-520.

Both cameras have the Panorama function available, but only with the Olympus XD card (Fuji XD cards won't work... or the CF cards / Mini disk cards).

I use a tripod and a panorama head, both of which I have customized to fit my needs:

First a picture of the complete setup. Tripod with panohead and camera.
http://flashificator.com/1/Diverse/PanoHeadTripodCustomSetup/1CompleteSetup.jpg

In this picture you can see the underside of the setup. Between the two visible screws, you find the screw that attaches the camera to the panohead. One screw, and the camera is off... or on... in 5-6 seconds, and fully aligned for parallax free shots.
http://flashificator.com/1/Diverse/PanoHeadTripodCustomSetup/2HeadCameraDown.jpg

There you can see the camera mounted on the mounting plate.
http://flashificator.com/1/Diverse/PanoHeadTripodCustomSetup/3MountingPlateCamera.jpg

This is the mounting plate without the camera. A home made one. A hole for changing the battery... if one needs to during a photo-shoot... therefore avoiding having to remove the camera and shoot the whole scene again. Mounting plate is covered with rubber for keeping the camera stable andf firmly sitting (bicycle tube no less :) ). Rails/frame on top of the rubber layer, is made from a molding compound (hot melt) that you can mold in any way you like, and it hardens in a few minutes. I used that after aligning the camera to the perfect position on the mounting plate, so that I can attach-detach the camera without having to worry about parallax errors when shooting. It simply mounts perfectly every time.
http://flashificator.com/1/Diverse/PanoHeadTripodCustomSetup/4MountingPlate.jpg

Same here, the original round bubble leveler that came with the panorama head, was not perfect, so a couple of levelers from a cheap leveler from the local hardware store fastened with the hot melt compound, deliver perfect leveling.
http://flashificator.com/1/Diverse/PanoHeadTripodCustomSetup/5Levelers.jpg

Here you can see the tripod head, which is from my old and heavy tripod, Jerry rigged with a much much lighter tripod (Vanguard). And you can also see that the adjustment handles (last picture) have been replaced with bolts, and that results in less post image editing (no handles in the images) and 360 grams lighter equipment. The old tripod alone, was 3.600 grams. This clone of mine WITH the panohead and the camera, weighs in at 3.650 grams, and that is a huge factor when one has to carry the equipment up and down mountains, or simply around town.
http://flashificator.com/1/Diverse/PanoHeadTripodCustomSetup/6HeadMixNoHandles.jpg

Still with the handles... now replaced with bolts, and a single key to operate the bolts.
http://flashificator.com/1/Diverse/PanoHeadTripodCustomSetup/7ClonePodHandles.jpg

Ok... my panorama work is in the interactive field: 360° x 180°, as you can experience if you click the following image. Wait until the panorama is fully loaded, click your mouse inside the image and while holding the button down, move the mouse. The view point will change as you move. Use mouse wheel for zoom (or CTRL and SHIFT keys on the keyboard). There is also a full screen button in the image, to give maximum viewing pleasure.

http://insope.com/images/Sillustani3EQsmall.jpg (http://flashificator.com/1/PanoExamples/AlaskaPeruTours/Sillustani3/)


Currently I shoot 29+ images for one spherical panorama.

9 images at 0°
9 images at 50° down
9 images at 50° up
1 image up
1 (or more) images down, after removing the camera from the tripod. Normally I shoot 3-4 down images, since these are hand-held and prone to movements.

I used the Panorama function on the C-8080 camera, and it was a relatively easy way to do things.

First I would set the camera to a shooting position that would be balanced on light and dark areas (too much light... and dark areas would be black. Too much dark area... and light areas would be totally blown out). That position of the camera on the panorama head would be 0° on the horizontal level, and 0° on the vertical level. Olympus (for some strange reason) only permits 10 photos taken in sequence when in Panorama mode. So I would start with the initial position, take the next 8 images to cover the 360° horizontally. The last of the first 10 images I normally shot straight up (0° horizontal position, 90° up vertically).

Next round of shots go 50°down. But I would have to start with the camera in the exact same position as the first shot of the first round: 0°H + 0°V (as described above), to get the same lighting conditions, same shutter speed etc. The rest of the 10 photos would have that setting bracketed. Take the first shot, then turn the camera 50° down and at 40°intervals (9 photos to cover the 360° with the current lens). Set the camera back to 0°H + 0°V position. Take the first shot to get the bracketing right for the rest of the shots, put the camera to 50° up position and shoot the 9 photos to cover the upper 360°. Then AGAIN go to the initial 0°H+0°V position to shoot the first picture... take the camera off the tripod stretch out your arms with the camera facing down, trying to keep it in the position it would have been in if on the tripod facing down, and shoot the nadir shot(s).

That would be the end of that panorama shooting.

Post processing is done with:

PTgui
PS
FPP+FFC

as described in THIS thread (http://e-group.uk.net/forum/showpost.php?p=45810&postcount=4) last week.

Ah... of course I was about to forget... The E-520 offers the same Panorama limitation of 10 sequential photos (where I would prefer NO limit while in that setting). But it does not involve the same complexity level of making the next round of shots, as the old C-8080 did. And I will probably go for using it with preset exposure/focus etc...

I hope this will be of some help for you and others (?) in order to get into the panograpy world.

Trausti

Rod Souter
15th July 2009, 12:31 PM
How do you determine the nodal point for the lens/camera system?

Is it done by trial and error or is there another method?

Rod

Trausti Hraunfjord
15th July 2009, 05:25 PM
Hi Rod.

Here you find the instruction manual for the panorama head I use, and starting on page 8, you will see how to find the nodal point / optical center of the camera/lens setup. You can use this method for any tripod/panorama head setup.

http://gregwired.com/pano/PanoInstuctions2.pdf

HTH.

Trausti

Rod Souter
15th July 2009, 07:01 PM
Thanks for that.

Rod