Luminous Landscape Forum

Equipment & Techniques => Cameras, Lenses and Shooting gear => Topic started by: aaron on January 03, 2014, 12:19:45 pm

Title: D800 Nodal Panoramics - lens suggestions...
Post by: aaron on January 03, 2014, 12:19:45 pm
Hi,
I am looking at putting together a D800 kit for shooting panoramics and would really appreciate any suggestions as to lens choices etc..

My intention is to shoot single row panos so camera in vertical position, so the main question is what lenses will work best. I have trawled through lots of threads here on the topic of panos and theres lots of great info, I'd like to get some current opinions on the subject.

I am thinking a set of prime lenses would be 'easier' but have seen some suggestions that the nikon zooms like 70-200 f/4 are good too but may be too heavy on nodal slides etc...
So anyhow if anyone with experience here can suggest a set of lenses that would work well and cover most situations it would be great!

Thanks,
Aaron
Title: Re: D800 Nodal Panoramics - lens suggestions...
Post by: Wayne Fox on January 03, 2014, 12:41:52 pm
have done several pano stitches as you describe with a 50 and 100mm zeiss with good results.
Title: Re: D800 Nodal Panoramics - lens suggestions...
Post by: Paul2660 on January 03, 2014, 02:30:03 pm
Are you up close? or far away.  The 70-200 is a beast IMO and on a nodal slide it will be a bit tricky.  I often use the 14-24 but my nodal pans are almost always on close in subjects.  If I need a distance pan then I will most times use the 24-120 or 24-70 depending on which lens is in my bag.  I have also use the Tamron 70-300 (its not a bad lens at all if you can live in the aperture range) since it's much lighter than the 70-200 and in the selected aperture ranges very close to my 70-200.  If I am wanting just a wide prime I have often used the Rokinon 24mm 1.4 which IMO is as sharp or sharper than the much more expensive Nikon 24 1.4.  But my main reason for getting rid of the 24 1.4 Nikkor was the terrible terrible coma when I used it for night work, but that's another subject.

One other note on the 14-24 is the possibility of flare.  This will flare and it's a very destructive non recoverable flare and if you pan it and pick up flare, you can have a real mess.

The other lens that comes to mind is the new version of the 80-400.  Much better than the old version. 

Paul Caldwell


Title: Re: D800 Nodal Panoramics - lens suggestions...
Post by: Telecaster on January 03, 2014, 03:30:31 pm
There are many different approaches to shooting panos. Are you looking to stitch wide angle shots into an ultra-wide composite, or long lens shots into a high-detail wide-ish composite, or something in-between?

My own approach has been to use a 4050mm lens, or equiv., with low rectilinear distortion and build a 3:1 or so pano out of multiple shots. Usually, though not always, with the camera in vertical orientation. The 55mm on my Pentax 645D works great for this. Alternately I'll use a shift lens and take three horizontal shots. My first-ever stitched panos were with a Mamiya 50/4 shift lens on 120 format film (645), scanned & assembled manually in Photoshop. It's way easier now.   ;)

-Dave-
Title: Re: D800 Nodal Panoramics - lens suggestions...
Post by: aaron on January 03, 2014, 03:54:58 pm
Thanks for the suggestions lads...
I guess what i hope to do is to emulate the look of shooting a Pano 617 camera with its traditional line up of lenses - 90mm,180mm, and 300mm.

To maximise image quality I would have the D800 mounted vertically, so I need lenses which when in vertical orientation will give me similar coverage as the 617 film lenses or in that ballpark, so I am not looking for an ultra wide result.

Initially I thought i just need to pick up a set of nikon primes but some of them are more designed for portraiture etc.. so may not render or line up well for stitching, I know the software options may  here but why not choose the most suitable lenses to begin with.

Thanks!
Aaron
Title: Re: D800 Nodal Panoramics - lens suggestions...
Post by: BernardLanguillier on January 04, 2014, 03:57:45 am
The lenses I have used a lot for pano wirk with my D3x/D800 include:
- Zeiss 50mm f2.0 and recently the Zeiss Otus 55mm f1.4,
- Zeiss 100mm f2.0,
- Nikon 85mm f1.4 AF-S,
- Leica 180mm f2.8 APO,
- Nikon 70-300 VR.

Other lenses that should be splendid also and very good deals include:
- Sigma 35mm f1.4 (I own a copy but have not done much pano work with it),
- Nikon 85mm f1.8 (don't own one but friends do and call it the best 85mm ever designed).

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: D800 Nodal Panoramics - lens suggestions...
Post by: Bart_van_der_Wolf on January 04, 2014, 05:39:52 am
Thanks for the suggestions lads...
I guess what i hope to do is to emulate the look of shooting a Pano 617 camera with its traditional line up of lenses - 90mm,180mm, and 300mm.

To maximise image quality I would have the D800 mounted vertically, so I need lenses which when in vertical orientation will give me similar coverage as the 617 film lenses or in that ballpark, so I am not looking for an ultra wide result.

Hi Aaron,

Well, that's simple then. Choose a lens which gives the vertical FOV you need with the camera in portrait orientation. You determine how wide the FOV will be by adding fewer or more tiles next to each other with some overlap for the stitching.

The only thing to remember is that, when using a rectilinear projection method your corner coverage will be stretched out (they have more vertical FOV), so make sure your FOV composition in the center of the image is adequate. With other projection methods (e.g. cylindrical) you do not stretch the corner coverage as much, and no additional vertical coverage in the center is required.

Quote
Initially I thought i just need to pick up a set of nikon primes but some of them are more designed for portraiture etc.. so may not render or line up well for stitching, I know the software options may  here but why not choose the most suitable lenses to begin with.

Fixed focal length lenses are usually less bulky and allow for a sturdier setup. It's also easier to determine the No-Parallax-Point (NPP), while with a zoom lens it may differ for each focal length you dial in.

Cheers,
Bart
Title: Re: D800 Nodal Panoramics - lens suggestions...
Post by: PhotoEcosse on January 04, 2014, 06:40:01 am
Not a direct answer to your question but, unless you are looking for 180 panos, don't forget the amazing facility that the 36Mp of the D800 gives you for single-shot panoramics.

Using the 14-24mm lens at widest from far back and then severely head-and-tail cropping to pano format works exceptionally well - certainly good enough for a very high quality 5-feet by one-foot print. The lens profile and vertical correction in LR5 certainly gets rid of most of the edge distortion and minimal use of the Transform tool in CS6 gets rid of any remaining. Last year I was able to make a superb pano of the entire Laguna waterfront of Venice with a single shot from a boat about 400 yards offshore by this method.
Title: Re: D800 Nodal Panoramics - lens suggestions...
Post by: JohnBrew on January 04, 2014, 08:21:27 am
I'm with Wayne and Bernard. Zeiss 50 Makro and 85 1.4G.
Title: Re: D800 Nodal Panoramics - lens suggestions...
Post by: Petrus on January 04, 2014, 09:11:32 am
First determine which focal length you need, most likely something between 35 and 85, then get the best prime (or two) you can afford with least distortions and flare.

Sigma 35 f/1.4 and 50mm f/1.4, Nikkor 85 f/1.8 are all fairly cheap and would work fine.
Title: Re: D800 Nodal Panoramics - lens suggestions...
Post by: t6b9p on January 04, 2014, 12:05:10 pm
Quote
If I am wanting just a wide prime I have often used the Rokinon 24mm 1.4 which IMO is as sharp or sharper than the much more expensive Nikon 24 1.4.

I tried to love the Rokinon lens but after trying 3 copies I gave up. The first had a significant issue in one quadrant (everything was streaked). The second copy was "perfect" optically with only a trace of coma in the corners when shot wide open (less than the Nikon 14-24), however the focus had way too much free play in it making critical focusing almost impossible. The third copy had too much coma but nice focus action! I sure if I kept going eventually I would have got a performer but three times is enough. So I will stick to the Nikon 14-24 for night sky shots.

I picked the Zeiss ZF 100 Makro for panorama landscapes (doubles for Macro & IR work) but I am having trouble deciding on a prime in the 50-60mm range. The contenders are:
Zeiss ZF 50/2 Makro
Nikon 58/1.4
Zeiss Otus 55/1.4
although the last is probably a little too expensive for my budget.

It would be a bonus if the 50-60mm lens performed well in the 830nm IR range as well, doubling up on duty and reducing kit weight.
Title: Re: D800 Nodal Panoramics - lens suggestions...
Post by: PeterAit on January 04, 2014, 12:43:27 pm
Can someone please explain this "nodal" stuff to me? As I understand it, the ideal panorama is taken by rotating the camera and lens about the lens's nodal point. But, why? Does it make any real difference or is it just one of those theoretical issues that some (unnamed) people love to fuss over?

FWIW, I recently returned from a trip to southern Utah and Colorado where I took quite a few panos using a D600 and Nikkor 70-200mm f/4 (and a few with the Sigma 35mm f/1.4) The "nodal point" was my feet and I just turned and clicked, making sure to overlap the images by a good bit, using aperture priority. I have been processing with PTGui and have some wonderful results. How would the nodal point make my panos better?
Title: Re: D800 Nodal Panoramics - lens suggestions...
Post by: Bart_van_der_Wolf on January 04, 2014, 03:34:54 pm
Can someone please explain this "nodal" stuff to me? As I understand it, the ideal panorama is taken by rotating the camera and lens about the lens's nodal point. But, why? Does it make any real difference or is it just one of those theoretical issues that some (unnamed) people love to fuss over?

Hi Peter,

It's to avoid parallax (shifted images) in either foreground or background. When foreground and/or background do not perfectly overlap at the transition between the images, it can become difficult to smoothly blend the images into a single image, especially when you have only a small overlapping zone between images.

Try looking at a distant point, an hold your arm stretched in front of you, stick your thumb up. Now look at it with one eye closed, and then switch to the other eye closed. You'll see your thumb jump left and right in front of an otherwise stationary background. It would be impossible to blend those two "images" into  a single wider one, without laborious masking.

The larger the difference between foreground and background features, the smaller the distance between the two entrance pupils of the lenses must be to avoid potential issues. When the two NPPs are aligned, and you rotate through that point, there will be no parallax and alignment in the overlap zone can be made perfect (by also allowing to eliminate lens distortion).

Quote
FWIW, I recently returned from a trip to southern Utah and Colorado where I took quite a few panos using a D600 and Nikkor 70-200mm f/4 (and a few with the Sigma 35mm f/1.4) The "nodal point" was my feet and I just turned and clicked, making sure to overlap the images by a good bit, using aperture priority. I have been processing with PTGui and have some wonderful results. How would the nodal point make my panos better?

Your foreground features were either far enough away or with too few predictable patterns that PTGUI could not use its clever/smart blending to hide the double or differently angled features. Try shooting something with more foreground detail, and you'll soon find out things can become impossible to hide, especially when you only have a small overlap zone. That sucks if you cannot redo the shot.

Cheers,
Bart
Title: Re: D800 Nodal Panoramics - lens suggestions...
Post by: aaron on January 04, 2014, 03:58:39 pm
Thanks again everyone, I think I will pick up the following three lenses which are being mentioned by a few of you!

Sigma 35 f/1.4
Zeiss 50mm f2.0
Nikon 85mm f1.4 AF

I am torn between the Nikon 85 f1.4 and the Zeiss ZF 100 Makro, they're too close in focal to justify both.....

It would be nice to have a unified set of lenses of the same brand, so I had considered three Nikon 1.8 lenses, 28, 50 and 85 but it seems the nikon 50 may be the weak link there.... plus the 28 may be a bit wide.
I prefer the build quality of the Zeiss but the Nikon's are weather sealed.

Decisions decisions...

Title: Re: D800 Nodal Panoramics - lens suggestions...
Post by: Petrus on January 04, 2014, 08:22:40 pm
Can someone please explain this "nodal" stuff to me?

The fact is that if there is nothing close enough (like a few meters) and you can do the body twist precisely enough, having a tripod with a fancy panorama nodal point head contraption is not going to make any difference what comes to the final result (if the shutter speed is fast enough = no need for a tripod). Then, on the other hand, having a proper nodal point panorama setup makes things easier. I think it boils down to using a tripod or not; if you use a tripod for you photos, make a tripod nodal point system, if you shoot without a tripod try to keep the camera at the same point in space instead of just turning your body.
Title: Re: D800 Nodal Panoramics - lens suggestions...
Post by: bill t. on January 05, 2014, 12:32:14 am
The poor man's Otus: the 55mm Micro Nikkor f2.8 AIS.  I love it, it's perfection.  And it doesn't weigh a ton.
Title: Re: D800 Nodal Panoramics - lens suggestions...
Post by: nairb on January 05, 2014, 01:00:21 am
There's apparently a nikon 35f1.8 for full frame about to be announced, and what I've been using so far is tha af-s 60mm nikon micro which is great. Those two plus an 85 or 105 would seem to be a good combo depending on the quality of the 35mm when it's available.
Title: Re: D800 Nodal Panoramics - lens suggestions...
Post by: PeterAit on January 05, 2014, 08:43:02 am
Thanks again everyone, I think I will pick up the following three lenses which are being mentioned by a few of you!

Sigma 35 f/1.4
Zeiss 50mm f2.0
Nikon 85mm f1.4 AF


With all due respect, you might consider getting one lens only then use it to develop your pano technique. Having so much hardware just complicates things and distracts from what you need to learn. It puts me in mind of the people who buy a nice printer and then immediately want to get a dozen different papers to "test." No, get one good paper and work with it until you make make really excellent prints. Then and only then consider trying others.
Title: Re: D800 Nodal Panoramics - lens suggestions...
Post by: henrikfoto on January 05, 2014, 09:58:16 am
If you like to have a lot of details I would considder a longer lens. Zeiss 135mm apo or Micro Nikon 200mm f.4?
Title: Re: D800 Nodal Panoramics - lens suggestions...
Post by: AreBee on January 05, 2014, 02:28:54 pm
Aaron,

Quote
I guess what i hope to do is to emulate the look of shooting a Pano 617 camera with its traditional line up of lenses - 90mm,180mm, and 300mm.

The horizontal and vertical FOV of the above lenses is:

90mm = 86.7 Horizontal, 36.9 Vertical
180mm = 50.6 Horizontal, 18.9 Vertical
300mm = 31.6 Horizontal, 11.4 Vertical

A single capture using a 19mm, 38mm and 63mm focal length lens respectively will provide equal horizontal FOV on a D800 in landscape orientation.

In order to equal vertical FOV of a 617 camera by stitching a single row of portrait orientation images on a D800, a 54mm, 108mm and 180mm focal length lens respectively will be required.

The above assumes that the 617 camera negative is exactly 60x170mm (I have read that it may actually be 56x171). The sensor in the D800 is 35.9x24mm.
Title: Re: D800 Nodal Panoramics - lens suggestions...
Post by: Telecaster on January 05, 2014, 04:32:12 pm
With all due respect, you might consider getting one lens only then use it to develop your pano technique. Having so much hardware just complicates things and distracts from what you need to learn. It puts me in mind of the people who buy a nice printer and then immediately want to get a dozen different papers to "test." No, get one good paper and work with it until you make make really excellent prints. Then and only then consider trying others.

I second this. Master the process with one lens (I'd suggest the Zeiss), then get more if you need 'em.

-Dave-
Title: Re: D800 Nodal Panoramics - lens suggestions...
Post by: aaron on January 05, 2014, 05:39:58 pm
Thanks for doing the math!
I had been trying to match the FOV today with some zooms and was thinking at 85mm it was a little short (I thought it would match the 180 on the 617 vertically stitched..) so am rethinking the 85 now, the zeiss 100 makro may be more familar.

Aaron


Aaron,

The horizontal and vertical FOV of the above lenses is:

90mm = 86.7 Horizontal, 36.9 Vertical
180mm = 50.6 Horizontal, 18.9 Vertical
300mm = 31.6 Horizontal, 11.4 Vertical

A single capture using a 19mm, 38mm and 63mm focal length lens respectively will provide equal horizontal FOV on a D800 in landscape orientation.

In order to equal vertical FOV of a 617 camera by stitching a single row of portrait orientation images on a D800, a 54mm, 108mm and 180mm focal length lens respectively will be required.

The above assumes that the 617 camera negative is exactly 60x170mm (I have read that it may actually be 56x171). The sensor in the D800 is 35.9x24mm.
Title: Re: D800 Nodal Panoramics - lens suggestions...
Post by: aaron on January 05, 2014, 05:46:46 pm
Thanks Dave & Peter,
Good advice no doubt, I will attempt restraint  ;D

Aaron

I second this. Master the process with one lens (I'd suggest the Zeiss), then get more if you need 'em.

-Dave-
Title: Re: D800 Nodal Panoramics - lens suggestions...
Post by: Chockstone on January 06, 2014, 01:02:48 am
Bare in mind that if you intend to do a cylindrical projection or the like you give up about 10% of your fine detail when the software manipulates your files. It's a bit like the mush effect from diffraction. So spending a lot of money on a set of primes just for the last grain of detail is possibly of questionable value when a single top of the range zoom will get you the same result.

Put another way, if your lens sweet spot is F8-F11 and you live in fear of F16 because of diffraction, then you'll be reduced to tears when you see what gets thrown away after a cylindrical projection. I'm not familiar with Nikon, but if they have a 24-70 zoom that's top notch quality that would be my suggestion.

In the absence of a 3x1 viewfinder you can also do the following with a zoom:

Zoom to 35mm, hold the camera in landscape orientation and whilst looking through the view finder sweep it left to right to observe double the width of a 2x3 composition. If you like what you see, zoom to 50mm, turn the camera to portrait orientation and shoot at least 8 frames left to right with generous overlap (and mirror up, manual, remote shutter, etc).

If you think you need something a different FOV adjust the poor mans viewfinder roughly as follows:

Landscape 24mm x 2 = 35mm vertical x 8 or so
Landscape 28mm x 2 = 45mm vertical x 8 or so
Landscape 35mm x 2 = 50mm vertical x 8 or so
Landscape 50mm x 2 = 70mm vertical x 8 or so
Landscape 70mm x 2 = 100mm vertical x 8 or so
Landscape 100mm x 2 = 200mm vertical x 8 or so

However, by far the biggest issue you'll need to deal with are stitching errors, even with a nodal slide. Man made subjects, particularly those with near horizontal lines are bothersome, as are the obvious issues from moving subjects like waves, and changing intensity and colour of light between frames.

Good luck!
Title: Re: D800 Nodal Panoramics - lens suggestions...
Post by: BernardLanguillier on January 06, 2014, 02:15:18 am
Bare in mind that if you intend to do a cylindrical projection or the like you give up about 10% of your fine detail when the software manipulates your files. It's a bit like the mush effect from diffraction. So spending a lot of money on a set of primes just for the last grain of detail is possibly of questionable value when a single top of the range zoom will get you the same result.

That really depends on the software you are using.

With PTgui Pro 9 and using a lens correctly positioned relative to its nodal point, I typically stitch with optimization errors around 0.1 pixel, recently closer to 0.05 pixel.

The quality I get is really hard to distinguish from the individual frames I use to stitch.

By the way, I only use planar projections that keep straight lines straight.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: D800 Nodal Panoramics - lens suggestions...
Post by: AreBee on January 06, 2014, 03:06:11 am
Bernard,

Quote
With PTgui Pro 9 and using a lens correctly positioned relative to its nodal point, I typically stitch with optimization errors around 0.1 pixel, recently closer to 0.05 pixel.

Optimization relates to the accuracy of PTGui to warp images to obtain a perfect fit according to the control points placed. It is independent of the projection method adopted.

Quote
The quality I get is really hard to distinguish from the individual frames I use to stitch.

It is certainly the case that stitching softens an image relative to the original as a result of gross interpolation carried out when rendering the stitched image. However, the degree of softening can be mitigated somewhat by the choice of Interpolator used in the rendering parameters.

Cheers,
Title: Re: D800 Nodal Panoramics - lens suggestions...
Post by: BernardLanguillier on January 06, 2014, 04:38:05 am
Optimization relates to the accuracy of PTGui to warp images to obtain a perfect fit according to the control points placed. It is independent of the projection method adopted.

It is certainly the case that stitching softens an image relative to the original as a result of gross interpolation carried out when rendering the stitched image. However, the degree of softening can be mitigated somewhat by the choice of Interpolator used in the rendering parameters.

OK, there are 2 effects at stake:
- Theoretical global softening of the image,
- Local softening due to inaccurate warping/overlapping in the area where the transition mask is generated. You are correct that the optimization value is relative to this second aspect.

On the first one, I certainly do not see a softening in the range of 10% with PTGui.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: D800 Nodal Panoramics - lens suggestions...
Post by: AreBee on January 06, 2014, 05:29:38 am
Bernard,

Quote
OK, there are 2 effects at stake...

The net effect of the two effects you listed is the same: softening as a result of interpolation.

Quote
On the first one, I certainly do not see a softening in the range of 10% with PTGui.

I never stated 10% :)
Title: Re: D800 Nodal Panoramics - lens suggestions...
Post by: BernardLanguillier on January 06, 2014, 06:08:17 am
I never stated 10% :)

The person I was replying to did.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: D800 Nodal Panoramics - lens suggestions...
Post by: AreBee on January 06, 2014, 07:03:31 am
Bernard,

Quote
The person I was replying to did.

Ah, sorry, your post didn't make that clear.
Title: Re: D800 Nodal Panoramics - lens suggestions...
Post by: Bart_van_der_Wolf on January 06, 2014, 08:52:45 am
OK, there are 2 effects at stake:
- Theoretical global softening of the image,
- Local softening due to inaccurate warping/overlapping in the area where the transition mask is generated. You are correct that the optimization value is relative to this second aspect.

On the first one, I certainly do not see a softening in the range of 10% with PTGui

Hi Bernard,

As you already know, the suggested loss is mostly an issue with substandard resampling algorithms (e.g. bicubic in Photoshop). Dedicated stitching software (like PTGUI) usually offers a choice of algorithms, to best suit the subject. Lanczos windowed sinc resampling usually does very well in maintaining per pixel micro contrast (with a small risk of adding ringing artifacts).

It also depends on the selected image output dimensions. With interpolation (creating larger output than the source images) one doesn't add resolution, but when downsampling one usually gains (per pixel) resolution. With resampling (correcting for distortion, rotation, and projection), the negative effects are often very small and local. Again, Lanczos is very good at keeping micro contrast at an acceptable level, and sometimes higher than the original.

The most important equalizing benefit is of course the oversampling of the scene with a longer focal lens than needed for the FOV. Therefore, the net resolution will be higher than a single wider angle shot can deliver, even after resampling losses.

Cheers,
Bart
Title: Re: D800 Nodal Panoramics - lens suggestions...
Post by: Wayne Fox on January 06, 2014, 01:03:28 pm
Certainly in the merging of files there may be a little loss of resolution and quality but the process of creating a pano creates so much detail the end result is rarely disappointing and most prints are down sampled substantially.  I've never really worried about this because the final image contains so much more detail than is possible with a single capture.

This is one reason I like the two Zeiss lenses, very sharp corner to corner with good contrast.

Title: Re: D800 Nodal Panoramics - lens suggestions...
Post by: Ellis Vener on January 06, 2014, 02:59:07 pm
Thanks for the suggestions lads...

1)
I guess what i hope to do is to emulate the look of shooting a Pano 617 camera with its traditional line up of lenses - 90mm,180mm, and 300mm.

2)
To maximise image quality I would have the D800 mounted vertically, so I need lenses which when in vertical orientation will give me similar coverage as the 617 film lenses or in that ballpark, so I am not looking for an ultra wide result.

3)
Initially I thought i just need to pick up a set of nikon primes but some of them are more designed for portraiture etc.. so may not render or line up well for stitching, I know the software options may  here but why not choose the most suitable lenses to begin with.

Thanks!
Aaron

1) since you say you just want to (at least start off with) single row panoramas , use AreBee's numbers for the vertical coverage of the Fuji range of lenses.

90mm = 86.7 Horizontal, 36.9 Vertical
180mm = 50.6 Horizontal, 18.9 Vertical
300mm = 31.6 Horizontal, 11.4 Vertical

I'm pretty sure Linhof made a 6x17 Technorama camera with a 72mm Super-Angulon XL), but they ignore  ignore  my favorite ways of shooting 6x17cm format which was with a view camera type design like the V-Pan 617 camera (second favorite): the Glide camera from France(even smaller production run than the V-Pan and I only handled one once and never shot with it); and my favorite,  the Canham 6x17 cm back http://www.canhamcameras.com/Roll%20film%20back.html which could be used on any 5x7 view camera that had a Graflock type lock for film holders. The V-Pan Mark III and Canham back solutions allowed me to use any focal length lens that covered the 5x7, and also shift. With the V-Pan I also had front tilts as well both horizontal and vertical shifts (front only). with the Canham film back,   movements were determined by the body I used, a Linhof Technika III.

So I think you should be married more to the 1:3 aspect ratio than a particular model of camera.

2) Great idea!

3) Stuff and nonsense. The manual focus Zeiss lenses  are great  but the only thing I have found better than using Live view or a ground glass back on a view camera (with a loupe) is driving the camera, especially setting focus using autofocus lenses using the CamRanger on an iPad with a Retina screen  or if you are allergic to Apple, Inc., another similar quality tablet.  The Sigma 35mm f/1.4 is great but so are the Nikkors across the range you are discussing.

For panoramic mounting gear I like the stuff from Really Right Stuff.

For stitching I use PTGui Pro.

Two things to keep in mind: A) over shoot your end points.  B) depending on your subject matter , using smaller angles of rotation between frames (i.e. increasing the amount of overlap between neighboring frames) can make a big difference if there is a lot of fine detail. For landscapes it may not matter as much.

As others have noted, having the camera mounted on a tripod with a rotator and rail makes life easier for no other reason than that it frees up your hands.
Title: Re: D800 Nodal Panoramics - lens suggestions...
Post by: aaron on January 07, 2014, 06:16:50 am
Thanks Ellis,

I guess the reason I say I hope to emulate the traditional 617 camera lenses is I just find it easier to have some limitations to work with. I have a good idea what I can do with those focal lengths so at least i have a starting point when trying to pre visualise the end result, i mean pre visualise as theres no aet viewfinder with stitched panoramas...

I think if I was to set out just thinking there are no boundaries then I'd be less productive, hope that makes sense...

On you point on Nikon Lenses being good enough, I will be testing some and will be more than happy if they are. I'd like to have a set of lense from the same brand, and even better if theyre weather sealed (although the older Nikon primes are not). The idea of using a Sigma 35mm, Zeiss 50, Nikon 85, Leica ..... seems a bit of a mess but that's what most people seem to do to get the best options.

Your mention of using cam ranger and an ipad is very interesting, I had considered that but wondered if it was really worth the extra hassle, especially in the field.. Can you elaborate a litle on the advantages of how this works for you?

Thanks again,
Aaron
Title: Re: D800 Nodal Panoramics - lens suggestions...
Post by: Ellis Vener on January 07, 2014, 11:40:01 am
Thanks Ellis,

1) I guess the reason I say I hope to emulate the traditional 617 camera lenses is I just find it easier to have some limitations to work with. I have a good idea what I can do with those focal lengths so at least i have a starting point when trying to pre visualise the end result, i mean pre visualise as theres no aet viewfinder with stitched panoramas...

I think if I was to set out just thinking there are no boundaries then I'd be less productive, hope that makes sense...

On you point on Nikon Lenses being good enough, I will be testing some and will be more than happy if they are. I'd like to have a set of lense from the same brand, and even better if theyre weather sealed (although the older Nikon primes are not). The idea of using a Sigma 35mm, Zeiss 50, Nikon 85, Leica ..... seems a bit of a mess but that's what most people seem to do to get the best options.

Your mention of using cam ranger and an ipad is very interesting, I had considered that but wondered if it was really worth the extra hassle, especially in the field.. Can you elaborate a litle on the advantages of how this works for you?

Thanks again,
Aaron

You are right on about setting boundaries otherwise things turn into infinite time sinks and nothing like real photography gets done.

I am, must to my dismay, a gear head so sometimes I over tech things.  How the Camranger helps me generally is by making me step back from the camera. The big screen on an iPad or similar device plus its focus adjustment 
and magnification features allow me to very precisely set where I want the primary point of focus to be. Although I don't use them often there are also user settable exposure bracketing (for extended dynamic range captures), focus point movement for focus stacking , as well as timers for intervalometer and ultra-long exposures. And of course triggering the camera and reviewing the results on something other than the camera's LCD preview screen.


I have to go back to the camera to rotate it of course but other than that once I start a panoramic, EDR or FocusStack sequence I try to keep my hands off of the cameras much as possible, whether I use a wired cable release or the wireless CamRanger.
Title: Re: D800 Nodal Panoramics - lens suggestions...
Post by: stevesanacore on January 07, 2014, 11:19:36 pm

My Nikon 60mm 2.8G Micro is an excellent lens. I was shocked how sharp it is on my D800E. I was looking to buy the Zeiss 100  or 135 but after using the 60, I'm going to try the Nikon 100 Micro first and see how it compares. I would rather stick to manual focus lenses but so far I've had no problem with focus accuracy.
Title: Re: D800 Nodal Panoramics - lens suggestions...
Post by: Enda Cavanagh on January 08, 2014, 12:42:38 pm
I agree with Peter and Dave. Get to know 1 or 2 lenses well. For example a wide angle for up close and a longer focal length if you plan to shoot further away. An aid in composing is the panoramic photo facility in many smart phones. I only know the iPhone personally. It doesn't give you 360 degrees but you could take a couple of panos as you turn around through the 360 and than stitch together in the phone using an app like auto stitch.

As you can see from all the posters you can use pretty much any lens. It just depends on what you want to shoot. I personally use my Schneider 28mm XL on my Hasseelblad H3D/Arca Swiss RL3D combo. That's the equivalent of a 20 to 21mm in 35mm format) my 360's are mostly forest panoramics where the subject matter ranges hugely in the shotes. The nearest at times was only 1 or 2m away right up to as far as the eye can see.

I would highly recommend PT GUI for stitching because it's very advanced while easy to understand and if you take the pano correctly there is very little tweaking to be done using PTGUI. It just stitches a perfect stitch. Although there are really cool tools at correcting errors in the stitch. I find PT GUI indispensable.

Because of the proximity of the subject matter and the large depth of field I use a wide angle but very importantly a rectilinear wide angle. The 3 first panos I ever took were taken using a regular Manfrotto head, without correcting anything to locate the point of zero parallax. (I learnt how to shoot panos and what software to use AFTER I shot first 2 the scenes, both on the same trip ::)) (I also had a Cambo wide DS) The black and white image I'm attaching was very challenging to really completely remove the errors in the stitch and I learnt from my mistakes. I printed this to 2.75 meters wide so it had to be perfect.
Since than I invested in the Arca Swiss RL 3D camera and the Cube head. I also got a monorail so I could slide the camera back and forward. I located the point of zero parallax for my lenses (although I always used the 28mm so far) This is quite easy to do and there a bunch of tutorials online. It just takes 5 minutes. The RL 3D makes things very simple for panos. I just need the monorail because you can remove and rotate the back 90 degrees. You don't need to rotate the tripod head itself.
The cube head also makes my life much easier. You simply level the tripod and than you rotate the top section of the head knowing that you will always be level.
Personally I would suggest using a tilt shift wide angle lens if shooting subject matter that's up close. This way you can shoot close, keep the camera level while look upwards  without tilting in the scene so that you don't have a chunk of ground in the shot.
Since changing my technique to locating the camera at the point of zero parallax, stitching is really a doddle and I would recommend doing the same. I have printed up to 6.6m wide and you could take a microscope to the image. AND NEVER HAND HOLD THE SHOT IF YOU ARE SERIOUS ABOUT PANORAMICS!!)
I also shot a wide but not 360 of a sea scene where I managed to seamlessly show the white water. You just need to have simlar patterns in the water as you rotate and PT GUI should do a good job followed by a few tweaks in photoshop, where you may need to layer mask a few bits into the stitched image.


(http://www.endacavanagh.com/Enda's%20Images/Images%20for%20Luminous%20Landscape/Twisted-Holly-Trees,-Tomies-Wood-1.jpg)


(http://www.endacavanagh.com/Enda's%20Images/Images%20for%20Luminous%20Landscape/Donadea%20Forrest%20Park%202013%2005%2029_1029008b%20copy.jpg)


(http://www.endacavanagh.com/Enda's%20Images/Images%20for%20Luminous%20Landscape/Sunset,-Old-Head,-County-Cork-1.jpg)

Here is the photo at 6.6m on acrylic

(http://www.endacavanagh.com/Enda's%20Images/Images%20for%20Luminous%20Landscape/The-Marker-Hotel-2013-04-27_3754a.jpg)

and here it is plus 1 other at 13m wide. These 2 are on vinyl so they're not fine art Lambda print.

(http://www.endacavanagh.com/Enda's%20Images/Images%20for%20Luminous%20Landscape/Quest-Software_1965-sharpened%202.jpg)

(http://www.endacavanagh.com/Enda's%20Images/Images%20for%20Luminous%20Landscape/Quest-Software_1942-sharpened.jpg)

I think someone pointed out you don't need to utilize the resolution of the D800. That is dependent on your output. If you are printing large that you do need all the pixels you can get. At these sizes you will need to size up. The less sizing up the better of course.

You can see more examples of the 260 panos here (http://www.endacavanagh.com/wide_panoramic) and here (http://www.endacavanagh.com/super_wide_panoramic)

Hope that helps  :)










 
Title: Re: D800 Nodal Panoramics - lens suggestions...
Post by: aaron on January 08, 2014, 05:09:05 pm
@ Ellis:
Camranger seems to be a very powerful tool, I am definitely going to trial the system, even if just to use it as a focus aid it sound well worth it.

@ Enda:
Thanks a mill for all the detail on your work flow Enda, you've obviously mastered what sounds like a complicated setup. I had considered MFD but as I already have a Nikon system I thought it wise to maximise its potential first. Your sample images look amazing! Your using PT GUI as most of the guys here seem to be so that knowledge alone is worth being around here for...

Thanks to everyone for the suggestions and tips, I am awaiting arrival of a pano kit from RRS and will post some first attempts here when i am up and running..

Aaron
Title: Re: D800 Nodal Panoramics - lens suggestions...
Post by: bill t. on January 09, 2014, 01:40:41 am
Spectacular work Enda, and what a gorgeous installation!  When you posted a few of those shots on LuLa some time ago, I said they would look incredible in exactly that kind of environment.  I was right!

I think I need to start shooting two-up rows on the D800e, which will give 300 camera pixels per inch of print at 44", 1.1m high.  Normally people would say that's crazy talk, now you've demonstrated otherwise.
Title: Re: D800 Nodal Panoramics - lens suggestions...
Post by: Enda Cavanagh on January 09, 2014, 06:56:32 am
Spectacular work Enda, and what a gorgeous installation!  When you posted a few of those shots on LuLa some time ago, I said they would look incredible in exactly that kind of environment.  I was right!

I think I need to start shooting two-up rows on the D800e, which will give 300 camera pixels per inch of print at 44", 1.1m high.  Normally people would say that's crazy talk, now you've demonstrated otherwise.

Thanks Bill. If you do the rows I would recommend a TS lens if you have one. A rectilinear stitch could look really fantastic. I have thought about it but I have enough problems shooting these. They take up to 2 hours to shoot  :D
Title: Re: D800 Nodal Panoramics - lens suggestions...
Post by: aaron on January 10, 2014, 05:29:21 am
Thanks Bill. If you do the rows I would recommend a TS lens if you have one. A rectilinear stitch could look really fantastic. I have thought about it but I have enough problems shooting these. They take up to 2 hours to shoot  :D

Enda, I haven't come across anyone using t/s lenses for nodal stitching. I assume you do mean nodal as opposed to shifting the camera with the t/s lens in a clamp?

I'd have thought it would lead to alignment issues. If not it's an interesting idea to use the Nikon 45 & 85 T/S, but I wonder why others don't as theyre good lenses.

Title: Re: D800 Nodal Panoramics - lens suggestions...
Post by: Bart_van_der_Wolf on January 10, 2014, 06:15:08 am
Enda, I haven't come across anyone using t/s lenses for nodal stitching. I assume you do mean nodal as opposed to shifting the camera with the t/s lens in a clamp?

Hi Aaron,

I assume that Enda means combining tilt with No-Parallax-Point (NPP) rotation. A small parallax error can be introduced by tilting, due to how most lenses are designed (they do not tilt around the NPP), unless one specifically compensates for that.

I use my TS-E lenses that way to combine the benefits of a tilted focal plane, with arbitrarily (subject dictated) wide angle FOV due to stitching. Because I usually do not use the Shift capability of the lens when stitching, I can use a deeper lens hood to improve the protection against introduction of glare, and improve the individual image contrast and DR.

Shifted images require offset adjustments in the pano-stitcher which, while possible, only adds complications and no benefits. Only a single Row stitch could potentially benefit from Shift, but the perspective change made possible by shifting can also be achieved more easily by changing the projection settings in the stitcher.

Cheers,
Bart
Title: Re: D800 Nodal Panoramics - lens suggestions...
Post by: Enda Cavanagh on January 10, 2014, 07:52:56 am


Sorry for the confusion guys. I don't use tilt. I do use rise though all the time.  Tilt aside from possible parallax issues (never tested this though) wouldn't work because the subject matter in my images run vertically close to the camera so the tilted plane of focus would result in areas which appear blurred.  (Haven't quite got my head around tilt TBH) I pretty much always use shift so I can tweak the composition to exactly what I want in camera. I calculate what I want in the shot on location and i don't want to crop anything out later. Shift has caused no problems what so ever. I do locate the camera so that it rotates around the point if zero parallax for the lens used. PT GUI seems to accommodate the shift. I have not tried a double row stitch. It would be a bit of a pain for me. I already shoot about 150 images for a single row. (4 different exposures x 37 to cover the entire dynamic range.) this can take up to 1 or 2 hours)  if you were to try 2 rows I would say you would have to be completely consistent with the 2 rows of images to assist the software. So say 2 rows of 37 positions in increments of 10 degrees and sticking to the 10 degree increment markings on the tripod head so that the the 2 rows are directly lining up.  I say 37 so you go to one position past 360. That way you can use PT GUI to allow you to determine where the pano starts. This dramatically improves the dynamic of the image and allows you to place the subject matter around the scene and play with the contours of the ground.

Title: Re: D800 Nodal Panoramics - lens suggestions...
Post by: Bart_van_der_Wolf on January 10, 2014, 09:29:19 am

Sorry for the confusion guys. I don't use tilt. I do use rise though all the time.  Tilt aside from possible parallax issues (never tested this though) wouldn't work because the subject matter in my images run vertically close to the camera so the tilted plane of focus would result in areas which appear blurred.  (Haven't quite got my head around tilt TBH)

Hi Enda,

For your shooting scenario and subject matter, tilt wouldn't add anything useful, indeed.

Quote
I pretty much always use shift so I can tweak the composition to exactly what I want in camera. I calculate what I want in the shot on location and i don't want to crop anything out later. Shift has caused no problems what so ever. I do locate the camera so that it rotates around the point if zero parallax for the lens used. PT GUI seems to accommodate the shift. I have not tried a double row stitch.

Yes, shift (rise/fall) works fine for a single row setup. Multiple rows get confusing for the stitcher when lens shift (rise/fall) is involved, unless the offset parameters are additionally optimized for. But with multiple row shooting, one can also apply apparent rise/fall and keep keystoning under control in postprocessing by adjusting the projection and offset settings. PTGUI Pro can handle all those just fine, with manual intervention if needed, but it's always helpful to get things right in the camera shots first.

Quote
It would be a bit of a pain for me. I already shoot about 150 images for a single row. (4 different exposures x 37 to cover the entire dynamic range.) this can take up to 1 or 2 hours)  if you were to try 2 rows I would say you would have to be completely consistent with the 2 rows of images to assist the software. So say 2 rows of 37 positions in increments of 10 degrees and sticking to the 10 degree increment markings on the tripod head so that the the 2 rows are directly lining up.  I say 37 so you go to one position past 360. That way you can use PT GUI to allow you to determine where the pano starts. This dramatically improves the dynamic of the image and allows you to place the subject matter around the scene and play with the contours of the ground.

I understand you do want to restrict yourself to a single row, and there is not much benefit making things more difficult. One already has to plan/hope that the light didn't change too much between first and last bracketed tile.

I like the shots you've shown very much.

Cheers,
Bart
Title: Re: D800 Nodal Panoramics - lens suggestions...
Post by: aaron on January 10, 2014, 10:10:53 am
Bart,
I think I will stick to single row panos for a while! Thanks for the suggestions. I am thinking that using a 45 t/s may allow me to shoot a pano by using the rise to eliminate some foreground as I guess tilting the camera upwards with a regular lens is not going to work for stitching..

Title: Re: D800 Nodal Panoramics - lens suggestions...
Post by: aaron on January 10, 2014, 10:15:47 am

.................I already shoot about 150 images for a single row. (4 different exposures x 37 to cover the entire dynamic range.) this can take up to 1 or 2 hours)  if you were to try 2 rows I would say you would have to be completely consistent with the 2 rows of images to assist the software. So say 2 rows of 37 positions in increments of 10 degrees and sticking to the 10 degree increment markings on the tripod head so that the the 2 rows are directly lining up.  I say 37 so you go to one position past 360. That way you can use PT GUI to allow you to determine where the pano starts. This dramatically improves the dynamic of the image and allows you to place the subject matter around the scene and play with the contours of the ground.


Enda that sounds like quite the task! Changing light must be a problem? Even on a very overcast day you must have light levels changing over a couple of hours, do you adjust exposure as you go?
Title: Re: D800 Nodal Panoramics - lens suggestions...
Post by: Enda Cavanagh on January 10, 2014, 11:37:44 am
Hi Enda,

For your shooting scenario and subject matter, tilt wouldn't add anything useful, indeed.

Yes, shift (rise/fall) works fine for a single row setup. Multiple rows get confusing for the stitcher when lens shift (rise/fall) is involved, unless the offset parameters are additionally optimized for. But with multiple row shooting, one can also apply apparent rise/fall and keep keystoning under control in postprocessing by adjusting the projection and offset settings. PTGUI Pro can handle all those just fine, with manual intervention if needed, but it's always helpful to get things right in the camera shots first.


I don't have to correct for distortion with the Schneiders so I presume PT GUI would make a better stab at it. The problem with the Hasselblad is it can only really go to ISO 100 before noise makes the images unusable. This equates to the longest exposure going up to 90 seconds at 50 iso on a cloudy day to fill in the shadow areas in a forest. A DSLR could shoot at much higher iso, speeding up the whole process significantly. Plus probably larger apertures because of the increased depth of field. PLUS I have to count out each exposure time in my head because most exposures are longer than 1 second after which I have to use bulb!! PLUS I have to cock the shutter. With a DSLR you can set it to bracket. I do love doing it though. I find it almost hypnotic  :D


I understand you do want to restrict yourself to a single row, and there is not much benefit making things more difficult. One already has to plan/hope that the light didn't change too much between first and last bracketed tile.

I like the shots you've shown very much.

Cheers,
Bart


Enda that sounds like quite the task! Changing light must be a problem? Even on a very overcast day you must have light levels changing over a couple of hours, do you adjust exposure as you go?

Especially when in Ireland ;D Not an easy task. You just have to have consistent light, whether it be cloudy(like the black and white pano I showed) or sunny, or at least with descent breaks in the cloud where you can take your shots during the sunny periods. With the forest shots you don't have much sky in shot but you can't have sunlight for one shot and cloud for the next with no shadows. It would be a nightmare to stitch and would look weird to say the least. If the sun is getting a bit low in the sky and you think you might be a bit tight for time in an evening, than start the pano to the left of the sun and make sure that it's a shaded area if possible. You than work your way around and by the time you get to the finish point where the sun is now behind the trees you finish up back at the shaded area. Again easier stitching and more realistic results.

One important factor with the forest panos is wind. The less the better for obvious reasons. It doesn't matter if there is some movement in the leaves. In fact it adds a dream like character to the images but just make sure that branches are not moving as this causes issues for stitching which can prove very difficult if impossible to correct.

One very helpful tip is to remember that only a tiny section of each image will be taken for the stitch. This allows for sun shading to the sides as you rotate the camera except for where the sun is in the middle of the shot or in the neighboring 20% to each side. Flare is a real issue when shooting with a view camera. I just got the Dinkum Systems sun shade. I was using the flare buster but the blood thing flops when it's windy. So it kept popping into the shot and of course it also caused vibration. The dinkum systems sun shade is built like a tank.

.

 
Title: Re: D800 Nodal Panoramics - lens suggestions...
Post by: Peter McLennan on January 10, 2014, 03:41:43 pm
The poor man's Otus: the 55mm Micro Nikkor f2.8 AIS.  I love it, it's perfection.  And it doesn't weigh a ton.

Bill and I are in agreement that this is one of the best values in the Nikkor lens world.  Use it horizontally or vertically and you have good FOV flexibility and astounding resolving power.  Usually less than $300 on KEH.com.
Title: Re: D800 Nodal Panoramics - lens suggestions...
Post by: aaron on January 10, 2014, 04:07:20 pm
Bill and I are in agreement that this is one of the best values in the Nikkor lens world.  Use it horizontally or vertically and you have good FOV flexibility and astounding resolving power.  Usually less than $300 on KEH.com.

I have the Nikon AF Micro Nikkor 60mm f/2.8D which I think was the succesor to your 55, it's also an amazingly sharp lens and seems distortion free as best as I can tell, I think it should work very well for panoramas....
Title: Re: D800 Nodal Panoramics - lens suggestions...
Post by: dgberg on January 11, 2014, 07:43:12 pm
Little late to the party but my most used pano lens on my D800E is the Zeiss 100 F/2.
Second favorite is my Nikon 200 F/2 ( When far enough away.)
Both are just so sharp and boy do the images look great printed large.
Title: Re: D800 Nodal Panoramics - lens suggestions...
Post by: BernardLanguillier on January 13, 2014, 07:36:13 am
I have the Nikon AF Micro Nikkor 60mm f/2.8D which I think was the succesor to your 55, it's also an amazingly sharp lens and seems distortion free as best as I can tell, I think it should work very well for panoramas....

At least my copy of the Nikkor 60mm f2.8 had a lot of light fall off even stopped down. This can be corrected better nowadays, but the slightest non corrected light fall off can ruin skies. It convinced me to move to the Zeiss 50mm f2.0.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: D800 Nodal Panoramics - lens suggestions...
Post by: BernardLanguillier on January 13, 2014, 07:37:17 am
Little late to the party but my most used pano lens on my D800E is the Zeiss 100 F/2.
Second favorite is my Nikon 200 F/2 ( When far enough away.)
Both are just so sharp and boy do the images look great printed large.

If I may ask, what pano head do you support the 200mm f2.0 with?

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: D800 Nodal Panoramics - lens suggestions...
Post by: ErikKaffehr on January 13, 2014, 04:42:50 pm
For my part I use my Arca Swiss 4D as pano head. When I feel it is motivated I add an RRS multipurpose rail as a nodal slider. The D4 can be panned at both bottom and top, I generally pan at bottom. I have leveling head below for easy setup.

Works nice, but a bit on the heavy side.

Best regards
Erik


If I may ask, what pano head do you support the 200mm f2.0 with?

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: D800 Nodal Panoramics - lens suggestions...
Post by: Lightsmith on January 20, 2014, 02:30:20 am
It seems counterproductive to use a wide angle lens for panoramic composite images. The wider the lens the less image magnification there is and that means less visible detail in the print. I use the Nikon 105mm f2, 24-70mm, and 70-200mm zoom lenses depending upon the situation. Only difficulty with the zooms is having different nodal settings depending upon the focal length setting that is used.

The Really Right Stuff PG-02 Omni Pivot easily handles the weight of the camera with the 70-200mm lens for doing multiple row panos.