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Old 30th April 2008
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Technique for taking panorama shots...

Have been thinking this morning after looking over a few of my pano shots from last weekend (which were not that good I might add), what is the best way to take a 'stitched' pano shot. I appreciate it's better to use portrait orientation so as to get more vertical are in the final image, but if I were using say my 11-22mm lens, what fl should I use to take the shots...?

I had been using the lens at 11mm, but it occurred to me that perhaps I should not have done that, and ought to have used the lens at 22mm, but to then take more images for subsequent stitching...?

So any Pano experts here willing to offer any best practice advice please...? Thanks.
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Old 30th April 2008
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Re: Technique for taking panorama shots...

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Originally Posted by theMusicMan View Post
Have been thinking this morning after looking over a few of my pano shots from last weekend (which were not that good I might add), what is the best way to take a 'stitched' pano shot. I appreciate it's better to use portrait orientation so as to get more vertical are in the final image, but if I were using say my 11-22mm lens, what fl should I use to take the shots...?

I had been using the lens at 11mm, but it occurred to me that perhaps I should not have done that, and ought to have used the lens at 22mm, but to then take more images for subsequent stitching...?

So any Pano experts here willing to offer any best practice advice please...? Thanks.
I'm no expert, but it probably depends on the lens and the software you are using. With modern lenses with aspherical elements, wide angle curvilinear distortion can be unusual in profile - showing more of a 'bulge' in the middle than the top or bottom. Some exotic pano programs can cope with this but many can't. So I would guess it's best to use a middling focal length, say 18mm and shoot in portrait mode, stitching more elements.

I always try to shoot using manual exposure so the camera doesn't change the exposure settings along the way. Very changeable weather and lighting (sun going in and out of the clouds during the exposures) is to be avoided. Manual focus is also a good idea and stop the lens down to around f/8 if you can to get good depth of field with a certainty of focus at infinity.

You need a reasonable amount of overlap too - around a quarter the width of the frame. It's best to use a tripod too.

Ian
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Old 30th April 2008
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Re: Technique for taking panorama shots...

Hi John, I'm no expert but panos are my favorite kind of photos. I use my 14-54mm set at, or close to, 25mm and portrait orientation. This gives me the top to bottom coverage of a wide angle but without too much 'distortion'. With the overlap (20% ish), you do end up with more images to work with but they are easier to stitch. I also use hyperfocal distance focusing rather than use a small aperture. This, in my opinion, gives sharper shots, stopping down past f11+ can soften the image. Using a tripod is a must, I use a tripod with a built in spirit level (Manfrotto 190XPRO + 460MG head). Two or three shots hand held you may get away with, any more and a tripod's a must. Try a hand held ten shot test and see what you end up with. Like I say, I'm no expert but this works for me.

Have fun - Paul

PS - I recently took a night time pano of Liverpool's waterfront from the Wirral side. Using a 50-200mm set at 100mm I ended up with 22 shots to join. The finished image size is 24336 x 3241 pixels, files size 118 MB
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Old 30th April 2008
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Re: Technique for taking panorama shots...

I forgot to add, like Ian said, use manual exposure. Take a reading across the 'frame' and use an average going for under rather that over exposure.

Regards - Paul
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Old 30th April 2008
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Re: Technique for taking panorama shots...

Quote:
Originally Posted by angelpaaul View Post
Hi John, I'm no expert but panos are my favorite kind of photos. I use my 14-54mm set at, or close to, 25mm and portrait orientation. This gives me the top to bottom coverage of a wide angle but without too much 'distortion'. With the overlap (20% ish), you do end up with more images to work with but they are easier to stitch. I also use hyperfocal distance focusing rather than use a small aperture. This, in my opinion, gives sharper shots, stopping down past f11+ can soften the image. Using a tripod is a must, I use a tripod with a built in spirit level (Manfrotto 190XPRO + 460MG head). Two or three shots hand held you may get away with, any more and a tripod's a must. Try a hand held ten shot test and see what you end up with. Like I say, I'm no expert but this works for me.

Have fun - Paul

PS - I recently took a night time pano of Liverpool's waterfront from the Wirral side. Using a 50-200mm set at 100mm I ended up with 22 shots to join. The finished image size is 24336 x 3241 pixels, files size 118 MB
Optimal aperture for resolution before diffraction softness sets in is around f/5.6 - 6.3. f/8 is still pretty good though. f/11 onwards shows deterioration.

What does 'hyperfocal' distance mean?

Basically it means focusing as close to your shooting position as possible but maintaining the horizon (infinity) or the most distant part of your scene, in focus. The hyperfocal distance will vary with the shooting aperture (which is different from when you compose and view your shot at full aperture through the viewfinder). The smaller the aperture, the closer you will be able to focus will keeping the distance in focus, because the depth of field (where everything is in focus) covers more range as the aperture gets smaller.

Just keep an eye on excessively small apertures and diffraction softness.

Ian
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Re: Technique for taking panorama shots...

Quote:
Originally Posted by angelpaaul View Post
I forgot to add, like Ian said, use manual exposure. Take a reading across the 'frame' and use an average going for under rather that over exposure.

Regards - Paul
Slight difference of technique here I'd expose for the primary part of the panorama you want the viewer to see, if there is one. But the tip for under-exposing is good as it's easier to recover from shadows than burned out highlights!

Ian
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Re: Technique for taking panorama shots...

WOW - we sure have some experts on here, thanks so much folks for the input and comments. I intend (and need) taking a few days off from work to chill-out and relax over the next few days, and will hopefully be trying some of these techniques. In Schipol airport now en route back to Cardiff... not all glamour this travel malarkey I can tell ya.
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Old 30th April 2008
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Re: Technique for taking panorama shots...

One other thing John if you are taking jpegs don't use auto WB as you can find the colour varies shot to shot.

Ian C.
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Re: Technique for taking panorama shots...

Yes, I agree with all the above: I took this one using the 14-42 (at 21mm to avoid the wide end distortion). I used manual focus and manual exposure set for the brightest part of the sky.

Developed from RAW using the same colour temperature then hand stitched in Photoshop. These were 5 exposures each in landscape, but it might have been better to have taken 8 or 9 in portrait I guess.

All this with no tripod...



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Old 1st May 2008
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Re: Technique for taking panorama shots...

Don't forget the rotation point. Nodel point (I think that's what it's called) Each lens have their own rotation point. If you rotate by that point, it's easier to stitch.

WB, Exposure, focal lock is the safest in shooting panoramas. If you are on long exposure, a tripod and a dedicated panorama head. My preferred lens for this is the Sigma 18-50 as there is a AF on off switch. Once the AF is fixed, I switch to manual, then shoot away.

I normally shoot with 40% overlap..with that, i can afford to drop shots in between and I also notice I get a more gradual sky.
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