Now, I know that I could resurrect my old trusty Nikon Coolpix 900 and by stitching a good number of shots I could create a higher resolution picture, but I suspect it just wouldn't compare with the quality of 50-ft prints I used to create 15 years ago by using a combination of a rotational film camera with a long lens, or even with a single image taken by the latest crop of high-resolution MF cameras. Beside, many of my large panoramas contain moving subjects or were shot from a low-flying plane, so stitching wouldn't work. But to tell truth, I was never fond of stitching, and I have to admit that nowadays I'd be perfectly happy to create a print in panoramic format by taking a single shot by HD4-60 or P65 armed with a wide angle lens and simply chop off the upper half of the image.
I don't remember mentioned Coolpix 990s, did I? That would obviously not work because:
- The pixel quality, starting with DR, or the 990 is way lower than current best in class cameras,
- The resolution gap is just too large, you would have to stitch too many frames for practical applications,
- I have never claimed that stitching could handle all applications, but it seems fair to say that plane based landscape photography represents less than 0.01% of all landscape images being captured every year. There are of course also other applications where stitching does not work well, but this is not the point. All the images shown by Mark are excellent stitching candidates,
- My initial post was probably not explicit enough about this, but my point has never been against MF. I am fully aware that it is possible to stitch with MF also, I have done this a lot myself in the past. My reaction is against a blind claim that MF is the only way to go for high quality landscape work.
But maybe Bernard is on to something with his stitching suggestion.
A good friend of mine, Peter Lorber of Boca Raton, who in the good olden days of film, used to print hundreds of kilometers of panoramic prints for the panoramic community worldwide, is now a happy Hassy dealer and shooter, and when he is not diving or hanging out of helicopter shooting panoramas, he creates insanely huge giga pans by stitching H4D images. On my last trip south, I stopped in his lab, and witnessed personally the abuse of his hardware working furiously on stitching together over one hundred H4D-40 images into a multi-gigapixel panorama of Ft.Lauderdale. The amount of visual information, the detail, and the dynamic range was simply astounding. I doubt that the same result could be achieved by a lesser camera.
I clearly agree that stitching with MF can be the most efficient way to achieve a given result in some conditions. This only re-enforces my point that stitching should clearly be given some consideration for those trying to achieve the best possible image quality.
As a side comment, I don't own any stock of the famous www.stitching.com
company and bear no relationship with them. I have no interest in defending this point but to share what I hope could help some photographers get a more realistic take on the realities of this wonderful world we live in.
On the other hand, I don't agree that stitches performed with DSLR will be significantly inferior in terms of DR. I believe that this myth has been proven wrong time and again through measure and just about every objective test done to compare the 2 formats with single frames, large DSLR stitches will be even superior compared to single MF frames.