...but the theory is that the stitching software e-projects the images to try to correct the perspective.
Do you have any concrete comparison showing that the leading softwares are unable to do it? I believe that my post above in this thread clearly shows that there is at least one example where they do an excellent job.
My question is geniune, I have never seen such a case, but it could very well exist.
I am not trying to pick an argument with you or anyone.
I agree that your post above in this thread clearly shows that stitching programs do an excellent job... and these low-res (versions of your) pictures prove your point about perspective, but they do not prove that a 100 Mpx rectilinear pan-and-stitch (e.g.Nikon) DSLR image is as sharp as a 100 Mpx shift-and-stitch image created with a MFDB like a P65+ or a H3D22-60 with a view camera.
Any process that re-sampls an image, projects it, or passes an image through another piece of glass is bound to decrease resolution... but this effect might be imperceptible.
I appreciate that a cylinder pano pan-and-stitch image often looks better than anything you could achieve with a single shot camera (ignoring the Seitz roundshot), and I expect to use my MFDSLR or view camera for pan-and-stitch where appropriate.
I hope that in a few days I will have live view working on my camera, and I will be able to produce some test images.
One effect of pan-and-stitch or computer perspective (converging verticals) correction e.g. in tall buildings is that the resultant image is truncated in the direction of the converging lines... of course it might be possible for the stitching software to compensate for this, or you could manually stretch (PS distort) the image, but this too would tend to slightly degrade the image.
It you want to think of viewpoint perspective, think of a Kamara Obskura (there is one just up the road at Compton Verney) or a pin hole camera, and eliminate any thoughts about lens distortion.
In a (1980) Calendar shot of a tractor mounted mower I wanted the hill in the background to look bigger in relation to the tractor... and I was fortunate that I was able to use the telephoto instead of the standard lens: this evolved having the camera within two feet of the ground to get the hill in the right place relative to the tractor, but it produced the desired result.
Now... if I do not get out and mow the lawn my wife will not be happy.