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Author Topic: Panoramas Discussion  (Read 2938 times)

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« on: May 24, 2007, 10:15 »
Just thought I'd get a discussion going on stitching together panoramas.

I've done only a few, nothing major, but I'm wondering about technique.

Lets say one is to shoot a landscape and wants to get high amount of detail, so they take out a 200mm or 300mm lens and starts shooting across the landscape.  Do you continuously focus as you go along, or do you focus on your original frame, put the lens in manual focus and not touch the focus until you are done?

I understand you don't touch the aperture or the iso or the shutter speed, but the focus is where I personally get confused.  I would assume that the answer would be to take it off AF but shoot with a high enough aperture that everything will be in focus regardless.

However, when you are doing a panorama with more than one row, does this same concept apply?

I am fascinated by panoramas and I wanna try a really high resolution image when I get the chance.

Thanks in advance,


« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2007, 10:21 »
I wouldn't think you would change any settings at all.

« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2007, 10:31 »
that was my original thought...does anyone have any hands-on experience?

« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2007, 10:43 »
I use manual focus and don't change it.  There is another way to do them that I keep meaning to try.   Not sure if a David Hockney style would work with microstock though.http://www.ibiblio.org/wm/paint/auth/hockney/hockney.pearblossom-highway.jpg

« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2007, 10:53 »
I have only done a few panoramas, so I am not an expert.

But I would think that you try to set up your DOF to the max.  If that isn't enough, then I would think that you should focus on each shot (where it is required).

« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2007, 12:56 »
It's easiest to meter for the entire scene and use those settings for each individual shot. Doing this makes it a snap to manually stitch the images together. If you don't have a light meter, you can take a sample shot using a wide angle lens and use those settings when you switch to a different lens. Having a levelling head is very helpful as well.

Although the convention is to keep the same focus distance for each shot in the pano, you might get some interesting results by varying the focus distance as you pan - particularly if there are two points of interest in the shot.

As an alternative to manually stitching, you may want to try some automated software.

Regarding your 'high enough aperture' statement: you should learn about hyperfocal distance, as well as limits of acceptable sharpness. If, for example, you shoot a scene using 35mm at f/8 focused at 20m, everything from 4m to infinity will be in focus. Just because your lens can be stopped down to f/22 doesn't mean that you need to (or should ever) go there. Lenses are typically at their sharpest when stopped down 2 or 3 stops - by using this knowledge together with the above to strategically select the focus distance, you will have the sharpest and in-focus image possible.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2007, 13:04 by sharply_done »

« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2007, 17:15 »
Fantastic advice...I guess I was just looking for a reaffirming of what I thought, and I'm glad it was more correct than wrong  ;)

« Reply #7 on: May 28, 2007, 20:22 »

I've shot a few some large panos for customers, recently using digital SLR and MF film in the past.  Always used manual settings for focus and exposure.

For exposure I take some spot meter readings (external meter, not the camera) of the brigher areas in the intended 'image', and then go down 2.5 stops from the average of those.  For focus I use hyperfocal distance as per Sharply's comments.

I do about a 33% overlap, based on Mk1.0 eyeball measurement through the viewfinder, and I've got a spirit level in my tripod head with an offset plate to get the point of rotation at the optical center of the lens, rather than the film plane, which fixes some of the weird overlap issues..

I stitch them using Hugin, which is a front end for panorama tools.  In the film jobs I used to get them drum scanned and muck around in Photoshop or Gimp (Depending on my mood) lining them up and creating layer masks to blend them together.

Cheers, Me.


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