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Panoramic setting on camera

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Posted on Tuesday, July 04, 2000 - 10:38 pm:   Edit PostDelete Post

If I took pictures using the panoramic setting on my camera, and just had them developed regular size (letterbox format) could I stitch those together to make the 360? How many shots does it usually take to make a 360 with the regular setting? I'm new to this. Thanks. Kristina
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John Strait
Posted on Saturday, July 22, 2000 - 10:28 am:   Edit PostDelete Post

The answer to this question comes in several parts.

Should I use the panoramic setting on my camera?
No. In general, you should not use the panoramic setting. On 35mm and APS cameras this setting merely crops the top and bottom of the picture frame to make it appear long and skinny. This removes portions of the image that The Panorama Factory might be able to use and so increases the number of photos you would need if you hold the camera in vertical orientation. You may as well take the pictures without the panoramic setting and crop the final panorama as you desire.

Can I stitch them together to make the 360?
Yes. You can stitch your images together to make a 360 regardless of what format use use, provided there is sufficient overlap (20-40% recommended) from one picture to the next.

How many shots does it take to make a 360?
This depends on the focal length (i.e. zoom setting) of your camera lens and on whether you hold the camera in a horizontal or vertical orientation. Here are some examples for an ordinary 35mm camera (without panoramic setting):

Number of shots for 40% overlap:
focal lengthhorizontalvertical

Number of shots for 30% overlap:
focal lengthhorizontalvertical

Number of shots for 20% overlap:
focal lengthhorizontalvertical
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Brad Templeton
New member
Username: Bradtem

Post Number: 1
Registered: 9-2006
Posted on Thursday, November 15, 2007 - 5:56 pm:   Edit PostDelete Post

This very old answer may confuse people because it refers to the useless panorama setting on film cameras, which did not actually crop the image, but sometimes would tell the printer to zoom and crop.

Many modern digital cameras have a panorama mode, which is quite useful. Aside from providing a visual guide to how to shoot your panorama, and grouping the images together for extraction, this mode typically shoots all the images with a fixed exposure and colour balance based on what it meters for the first image.

While PFactory can adjust differently exposed images, it is normally a good thing to not rely on this and get all exposures the same. The best way to do this is to use your camera's manual exposure mode, if you have it, but panorama mode will also do this. In this case, you should take care to take your first shot pointed at the most interesting area on your panorama opon what you would like to meter. Then just don't use that first shot when stitching.

There are tradeoffs here. In a wide panorama, sections will be lit quite differently. Some may be directly into the sun, some with the sun right behind. A fixed exposure in these cases will mean some shots will be underexposed or overexposed. This may make you decide to meter each shot independently, and let PFactory adjust. While this will never look as natural, it is the right choice for some panoramas.

(You can use your camera like a light meter in many cases by zooming in and panning around in live mode, watching what it says is the exposure it likes for the current field of view, and from that try to pick the best exposure for the area you will be covering.)

If you decide to use manual or auto exposure, always remember to set a fixed white balance while doing your panorama -- and remember to restore to auto white balance when you leave that lighting environment. You can choose from one of the selections provided, or if you are taking special care, many cameras offer a manual white balance if you shoot a gray card.
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David Richardson
New member
Username: Customdavid

Post Number: 22
Registered: 1-2006
Posted on Sunday, November 25, 2007 - 5:13 pm:   Edit PostDelete Post

Brad -

I use the Stitch mode (Canon Camera) to help lock down the exposure. I have found (as you allude to) that selecting the most interesting feature helps in producing a good looking shot. I did this for a long time and then decided to modify my stance.

Now I start out by selecting my "central" focal point. I setup on a tripod with a panoramic head (I use a cheap one from Lenspen, John has some good ones recommended here as well). I then take a full set of shots using the first setting. Then I reverse my camera 180 degrees and start the process over. This way I end up with 2 full sets of pictures for one final shot. Then I use Photo shop to blend the images that are too dark from my first set with the ones that are lit properly from the second. After selecting the proper final set of images I then send it through PF.

The result is virtually seamless. I have two examples on this page: http://www.panoramashots.com/html/santa_ines_mission.html

The garden shots (images #5 & #6) both had elements in the light and shade. In one set it was so dark you could almost not see anything and in the other it was so washed out you could not see anything. Taking the extra time saved the shots. Course it took more images and a little extra time, but the results make the difference.


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