Yeah, J. Tweed, if you want professional quality stitching you can do the limited shift lens route or you can do some sort of major hassle like you describe. Actually, PTMac is a lot easier than what you're going through. The only problem is that the control points are not too easy to nail accurately. It's possible, however, and once you have a few accurate control points the automatic stitching and blending is phenomenally good (if you use Enblend). You don't need to output layered PSD files. You can go straight to a single 16 bit tiff. The PTMac interface is getting much better now too, so once the control point bug is fixed I'll be ready to rock and roll. Kevin is finally clear on the fact that he MUST fix this soon.
If you had to do as much stitching as I'm looking at, you'd switch to Mac for that reason alone (though if money is no object a G5 and 30" monitor is an additional nice reason...my brother just got a full on G5 system and we'll be setting it up today). For us top quality (p25) MF will probably be out of reach for at least a couple of years, so we'll do the max possible with 1ds and D2X and a lot of stitching and a lot of bracketing and blending. I expect to end up with quite a few 50+ Mpixel images.
I suppose I should have said that there's apparently only one other person on the forum that understands about pro quality panorama stitching and that thinks like Edward and Ansel and me, that rules of composition are not as cool as no rules, but lots of inspiration and intuition. However, preaching to a choir of one is not too much more appealing than preaching to a total vacuum. I'll just enjoy my unpopular way of doing things without trying to share it with unwilling minds. Pearls before..... ooops, ignore that.
Below is a 22Mpixel image done with overly fussy stitching technique and no regard for any rules.
Please don't tell me how badly I've missed a composition that's painless to look at because I disregarded the rules. I might cry on my keyboard and cause a short or maybe I'd crash my head onto the keyboard as I nod off in boredom. Anyway, don't waste your time. You're free to tell me it's a wonderful image and to place a very early order for a large print. It could go up to 30x40" easily with good detail and NO parallax or stitching misalignment visible PERIOD. As for composition, inspiration beats imitation and calculation any time (unless you're building bridges, but that's engineering, not art).
I have thousands of images ready for stitching that will allow perfectly defect free final images from 20 to over 100 MPixels. It's a lot of work, but it beats the hassles of carrying a 4x5 outfit and dealing with the expense and various limitations of film. I'm having huge fun doing it my way and you really want to bet against success for me because I don't do rules?