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Author Topic: Tilt/Shift lens choice for Panorama  (Read 17293 times)

Phuong

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Tilt/Shift lens choice for Panorama
« on: August 02, 2006, 01:21:21 am »

i just read Bernard's panorama article and think i would give it a try (just for fun).
i dont like to bring all kind of heavy, bulky panorama heads, nodal slides because i'm not very serious about it. so, i decide to buy a tilt/shift lens.
i did a quick research around and learn that, Canon and Nikon's tilt/shift lenses are way too expensive, over 1,000 (which i'd rather spend that money on a real RRS panorama kit) therefore, i thought about third party lenses. i came up with a few ones. they are in the $300 price range, which is reasonable. i've no idea about their qualities though:
 
MC Hartblei 2.8/80mm
MC Hartblei 2.8/120mm
MC Hartblei 3.5/65mm
MC Arsat 2.8/35mm

i've never used a tilt/shift lens before, so i really don't know what i should look for. as far as i concern, with lenses that are not in EOS mount, i'll have to use adapter which means there's no AF, but Canon's ts-e lenses are not AF either, so they're not that much different. except that with the Canon's ts-e lenses i probably don't have to stop down manually when shooting.


also about focal length, i've no clue which range would work best. i think most people tend to go for the wider ones.

any suggestions?
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stever

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Tilt/Shift lens choice for Panorama
« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2006, 06:22:01 pm »

buying a T-S lens for panoramas is not a very economic proposition no matter what you pay for it unless you want to do a lot of close and macro work - for which you want a long focal length

the exact nodal point only comes into play for subjects that are relatively - e.g. a landscape with wide angle lens and close foreground

for distant subjects just rotating the camera on the tripod is just fine - with a little practice you can even hand-hold (i just printed a pan of Mt McKinley taken with a 100-400 resting on a bollard)

i think an RRS angle plate and MPR-CL are comparable in cost to a cheap T-S lens and far more generally useful
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Ronny Nilsen

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Tilt/Shift lens choice for Panorama
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2006, 04:18:00 pm »

Quote
i just read Bernard's panorama article and think i would give it a try (just for fun).
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I was thinking about some of the same things myself when Bernard wrote this article , and I was inspired to write about my own usage of a 5D as a view camera ([a href=\"http://www.ronnynilsen.com/Photography/Technique/ViewCamera/]Build a View Camera with your Canon 5D[/url]).  

I must confess that I was suprised at how well this works! It was really easy to merge the pictures in PS by hand and the overlap is more or less 100% perfect down to pixel peeping 400% mag.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2006, 04:18:26 pm by ronnynil »
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Eric Myrvaagnes

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Tilt/Shift lens choice for Panorama
« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2006, 06:09:34 pm »

Quote
I was thinking about some of the same things myself when Bernard wrote this article , and I was inspired to write about my own usage of a 5D as a view camera (Build a View Camera with your Canon 5D).   

I must confess that I was suprised at how well this works! It was really easy to merge the pictures in PS by hand and the overlap is more or less 100% perfect down to pixel peeping 400% mag.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=72611\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Quite delightful Ronny!

Having just acquired a 5D --- and having given up my last film view camera several years ago --- I am very much inspired by your article. Thanks for posting it.

Eric
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picnic

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Tilt/Shift lens choice for Panorama
« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2006, 06:11:46 pm »

Quote
I was thinking about some of the same things myself when Bernard wrote this article , and I was inspired to write about my own usage of a 5D as a view camera (Build a View Camera with your Canon 5D).  B)

I must confess that I was suprised at how well this works! It was really easy to merge the pictures in PS by hand and the overlap is more or less 100% perfect down to pixel peeping 400% mag.
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Okay--I'm doing this--and even VERY CAREFULLY handheld where I have no choice about the tripod.

I would make several points---on the equipment needed for the flatstitch pano I discovered that you don't need the focusing rail--that an L bracket (preferably the RRS since it already has the center marked)--and marking 11mm each side of the center and using those marks is fine for the shift.  See here [a href=\"http://www.outbackphoto.com/workflow/wf_58/essay.html]http://www.outbackphoto.com/workflow/wf_58/essay.html[/url]

Metering--I don't use a lightmeter, but shoot in manual and do any settings prior to any movement.  If you try to meter after movements--its a disaster.  

Thirdly--if you have a 1 series or 5D--you can use a grid screen to great advantage and get your initial image straight.  I start from the mid shot, meter there, straighten there--and then do the 2 shifts.  Of course, this depends upon your own eyesight, so a level could never be construed as superfluous.

Just a bit different approach, but Ron's site is very good and is another way to work that will get you to a good final pano.

I love a TS lens--and added the 45 first after renting a 24 because its a FL that is closer to what I generally prefer---but I'm planning on adding the 24 TS also.

Diane
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Phuong

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Tilt/Shift lens choice for Panorama
« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2006, 12:46:32 am »

great article Ronny. and this is more or less what i was thinking (i didnt think about the RRS focusing rail and slider etc)
and i can see that you used the 90mm lens on your images, can you comment on it? will it be more useful and giving more clear details than a shorter focal length lens for this kind of work?

like i said, i only want to spend $400 at most on lenses, so my choice will be one of those MC Hartblei. will this be an unwise choice?

and lastly, i'm not sure if this is a stupid question but, is the "focusing rail & slider B150B + LMT + B2-FAB from RRS" important for this setup? i've no direct experience with T/S lenses so i've no idea what this focusing rail & slider's roles. (i know it'll cost quite some money though)

for example, i just simply thought i would put my 20D on a sturdy tripod, put a bubble level on to level it, and take 3 shots: one shifts left, one middle, and one shifts right (or one shifts up, one middle, and one shifts down) and then hand stitch these 3 shots together in PS.
am i missing something?



Quote
I was thinking about some of the same things myself when Bernard wrote this article , and I was inspired to write about my own usage of a 5D as a view camera (Build a View Camera with your Canon 5D).   

I must confess that I was suprised at how well this works! It was really easy to merge the pictures in PS by hand and the overlap is more or less 100% perfect down to pixel peeping 400% mag.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=72611\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
« Last Edit: August 05, 2006, 12:49:40 am by Phuong »
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picnic

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Tilt/Shift lens choice for Panorama
« Reply #6 on: August 05, 2006, 01:32:54 am »

Quote
and lastly, i'm not sure if this is a stupid question but, is the "focusing rail & slider B150B + LMT + B2-FAB from RRS" important for this setup? i've no direct experience with T/S lenses so i've no idea what this focusing rail & slider's roles. (i know it'll cost quite some money though)

for example, i just simply thought i would put my 20D on a sturdy tripod, put a bubble level on to level it, and take 3 shots: one shifts left, one middle, and one shifts right (or one shifts up, one middle, and one shifts down) and then hand stitch these 3 shots together in PS.
am i missing something?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=72633\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Phuong, read the outback essay I linked to.  It will explain using both the focusing rail concept and using just an L bracket---much less expensive and the author finds them equally useful.

Diane
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Ray

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Tilt/Shift lens choice for Panorama
« Reply #7 on: August 05, 2006, 01:34:49 am »

Quote
for example, i just simply thought i would put my 20D on a sturdy tripod, put a bubble level on to level it, and take 3 shots: one shifts left, one middle, and one shifts right (or one shifts up, one middle, and one shifts down) and then hand stitch these 3 shots together in PS.
am i missing something?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=72633\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


Photoshop is not the best stitching program. With a stitching program like Panavue's Image Asembler, you would rarely encounter any difficulties in achieving a perfect stitch, from TS-E images. The parallax errors are so small.

As mentioned before, if the subject is distant, like a mountain range, stitching is easy. If the subject is close, stitching can be difficult and sometimes impossible, except with a Tilt & Shift lens, or perhaps with a dedicated pano head.
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Jonathan Wienke

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Tilt/Shift lens choice for Panorama
« Reply #8 on: August 05, 2006, 04:40:52 am »

Stitching images that contain near and far subject matter is easy if you align the entrance pupil of the lens (AKA the "nodal point) with the axis of rotation when rotating the dcamera between shot. You need a macro rail or equivalent to move the camera forward or back on the tripod to achieve the alignment. If using straight shift, you need to move the camera body equal but opposite the direction of the lens shift, so that the net result is the lens stays in the exact same position, and the camera body moves right or left.

My favorite pano stitch lens is the 70-200/2.8L IS. I orient the camera vertically (portrait mode), and use a macro rail on the tripod to align the axis of rotation with the entrance pupil, so that near subjects do not cause stitch problems. 70mm is wide enough for most panoramas because you're using the widest part of the lens for the narrowest part of the final image, and the IS is very handy when conditions are windy.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2006, 04:53:17 am by Jonathan Wienke »
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Ronny Nilsen

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Tilt/Shift lens choice for Panorama
« Reply #9 on: August 05, 2006, 07:55:09 am »

Quote
great article Ronny. and this is more or less what i was thinking (i didnt think about the RRS focusing rail and slider etc)
and i can see that you used the 90mm lens on your images, can you comment on it? will it be more useful and giving more clear details than a shorter focal length lens for this kind of work?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=72633\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I guess what focal length to use depends on what you want to do, the 90 mm is my first chooise as that suits me well and it's a really sharp lens. And it's also good for closeup work with some extension behind it.

Quote
like i said, i only want to spend $400 at most on lenses, so my choice will be one of those MC Hartblei. will this be an unwise choice?

and lastly, i'm not sure if this is a stupid question but, is the "focusing rail & slider B150B + LMT + B2-FAB from RRS" important for this setup? i've no direct experience with T/S lenses so i've no idea what this focusing rail & slider's roles. (i know it'll cost quite some money though)
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=72633\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I have not tested anything else than my 90 TS-E lens so I can't comment on that, but I would guess it would work well.

The focusing rail & slider is not a must have, you can get by with marking 0 and +/- 11 mm on your camera L-plate as suggested by Diane, but the focusing rail & slider have other uses and do get you closer to that expensive view camera feeling.  

Quote
for example, i just simply thought i would put my 20D on a sturdy tripod, put a bubble level on to level it, and take 3 shots: one shifts left, one middle, and one shifts right (or one shifts up, one middle, and one shifts down) and then hand stitch these 3 shots together in PS.
am i missing something?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=72633\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Just shifting with the lens gives you front movement. What you need is back movement, and thats where all the other stuff comes in. You want to move the camera sensor within thew image circle of your lens, not moving the images circle relative to the camera. There is a difference, and you'll se it when you try to stich the frames togeter.  
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Ray

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Tilt/Shift lens choice for Panorama
« Reply #10 on: August 05, 2006, 12:35:08 pm »

Quote
Just shifting with the lens gives you front movement. What you need is back movement, and thats where all the other stuff comes in. You want to move the camera sensor within thew image circle of your lens, not moving the images circle relative to the camera. There is a difference, and you'll se it when you try to stich the frames togeter. 
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=72642\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


That's true, I hope. I imported one of those sliding L brackets some time ago but haven't got around to using it yet. Maybe I'll give it a try tomorrow. But I'm not sure how I could improve on the following stitched image, a series of 4 vertical images taken some time ago with my TS-E 90mm and 20D from a distance of around 5 metres. The combination of diagonals (raked roof) and verticals make it difficult to get a good stitch. Panavue cannot do it in automatic mode. However, after cropping away excessive overlap and using the flags, it was a 10 minute job. I cannot fault the stitch at any point, although there is some color cast.

The image is uncropped and unmodified in any way. That's simply the resulting image that Panavue gave me. I used a conventional tripod in a fixed position and just shifted the lens. With the L bracket which allows me to move the camera body, maybe Panavue will handle a scene like this in automatic mode   .

[attachment=871:attachment]
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Ray

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Tilt/Shift lens choice for Panorama
« Reply #11 on: August 06, 2006, 03:46:44 am »

Well, I suppose that those of you who are very perceptive would have realised that the above stitched image in the previous post is a TS-E 90mm + 1.4x extender. The file size of 147MB (16 bit of course) is too big.

My L bracket, from "Really Right Stuff' is, unfortunately, designed only for the 20D. I can't use it with the 5D.

Nevertheless, the 20D with specialised fixed primes gives one a versatility of focal lengths which would be of less interest with conventional fixed primes.

I've got 2 TS-E lenses, the 24mm and 90mm, 2 different formats of DSLRs, the 5D and 20D, and a 1.4x extender which fits both TS-E lenses.

The possible combinations give me the use of the following TS-E focal lengths (if my maths is correct); 24mm, 34mm, 38mm, 54mm, 90mm, 126mm, 144mm, 202mm.

So how does this L bracket help me make better stitches? I'm not sure it does, in any significant way, when using a dedicated stitching program. I've no doubt that it is of great benefit using layers in PS where perfect alignment should be possible. But a stitching application like Panavue is programmed to make corrections.

Even though the images using the L bracket (net effect, moving the body instead of the lens) are (perhaps) perfect with regard to parallax, Panavue's automatic stitching mode produces an abomination.

I still have to use flags to get a good result. Is the result better, moving the body instead of the lens? Certainly in Photoshop, but not necessarily with a good stitching program. Even when using the same exposure for each shot, with the L bracket, there is a slight shift in color cast. Don't know why. Panavue corrects for that as you can see in the manual stitch below, compared with the automatic stitch which has failed to correct for a color shift, which did actually exist in the individual images.

The main PITA regarding stitching, is the time it takes and the stuffing around. I'm not sure that the L bracket reduces this factor, but I'll have to take more shots to be sure.

[attachment=872:attachment]
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Ronny Nilsen

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Tilt/Shift lens choice for Panorama
« Reply #12 on: August 06, 2006, 07:19:00 am »

Quote
So how does this L bracket help me make better stitches? I'm not sure it does, in any significant way, when using a dedicated stitching program. I've no doubt that it is of great benefit using layers in PS where perfect alignment should be possible. But a stitching application like Panavue is programmed to make corrections.

Even though the images using the L bracket (net effect, moving the body instead of the lens) are (perhaps) perfect with regard to parallax, Panavue's automatic stitching mode produces an abomination.

[attachment=872:attachment]
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=72676\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I tried to let the Canon PhotoStitch program that came with the camera do the flat-stich, but the result was awful. The transition was visible with to images where it was possible to make a perfect stitch in PS in under 5 min.

When i shoot for stitching I'd rather use the extra 10 sec. it takes to do a back movement (L-plate etc.) insted of just lens shift, and be shure that a perfect result can be obtained in PS, than rely on stiching  sw in post-production.

With only lens shift you can get into trouble if you have foreground elements overlapping distant background elements. But if the image contains only elemets at about the same (far) distanse, then lens shift will probably also get you a perfect result.
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picnic

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Tilt/Shift lens choice for Panorama
« Reply #13 on: August 06, 2006, 08:41:48 am »

Quote
Even when using the same exposure for each shot, with the L bracket, there is a slight shift in color cast. Don't know why. Panavue corrects for that as you can see in the manual stitch below, compared with the automatic stitch which has failed to correct for a color shift, which did actually exist in the individual images.


[attachment=872:attachment]
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=72676\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

The easiest way to correct the color is to shoot in RAW and then sync all shots from the one--altho' I haven't really had this problem.  However, I do correct the mid one for aynthing needed--and then sync to it.

Diane
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Gregory

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Tilt/Shift lens choice for Panorama
« Reply #14 on: August 06, 2006, 09:44:54 am »

Quote
The image is uncropped and unmodified in any way. [attachment=871:attachment]
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=72651\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
great photo.

please excuse me for having some fun ;-)

from the picture:
- you're in Australia.
- you play an instrument.
- there's a record player in the room somewhere.
- the room is in an extension to the house.
- you're organised but not a perfectionist (you lucky person...)
- possibility. do you have a projector and screen in the room?

if I'm wrong, it was still fun anyway ;-)

regards,
Gregory
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Ray

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Tilt/Shift lens choice for Panorama
« Reply #15 on: August 06, 2006, 10:11:14 am »

Quote
from the picture:
- you're in Australia.
- you play an instrument.
- there's a record player in the room somewhere.
- the room is in an extension to the house.
- you're organised but not a perfectionist (you lucky person...)
- possibility. do you have a projector and screen in the room?


[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=72685\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

You got it. There's also a bloody great printer in the room. But where's the clue to Australia in the picture?  
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Ray

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Tilt/Shift lens choice for Panorama
« Reply #16 on: August 06, 2006, 10:47:23 am »

Quote
I tried to let the Canon PhotoStitch program that came with the camera do the flat-stich, but the result was awful. The transition was visible with to images where it was possible to make a perfect stitch in PS in under 5 min.

Ronny,
Yes. I understand. If you haven't got a professional stitching program it's much safer to use the L bracket. I suppose I should import another bracket to fit my 5D.

But I don't recall ever failing to successfully stitch  images taken with my T&S lenses. Whenever I've had problems with stuff in the foreground getting a double edge, such as tall stems of grass, I've been able to fix the problem by cropping the adjacent frames so the overlap is a minimum. Panavue has the ability to stitch different size images and images with the barest of overlap.

The following image is one such stitch where I had to trim the overlap. Apart from a slight blurring of leaves in parts due to wind movement, and chromatic aberration in the branches against the sky, I can't fault the joins. The TSE 24mm was shifted from top downwards with camera horizontal.

[attachment=873:attachment]                  [attachment=874:attachment]
« Last Edit: August 06, 2006, 10:53:21 am by Ray »
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Gregory

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Tilt/Shift lens choice for Panorama
« Reply #17 on: August 06, 2006, 11:19:20 am »

Quote
But where's the clue to Australia in the picture?  :D
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cyclone proofing in the beams, and the power extension cord plugs ;-)
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Gregory

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« Reply #18 on: August 06, 2006, 11:23:20 am »

why do people use TS lenses for panoramas? I don't understand how TS lenses work. links to relevant articles would be appreciated.
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Ray

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« Reply #19 on: August 06, 2006, 12:03:06 pm »

Quote
why do people use TS lenses for panoramas? I don't understand how TS lenses work. links to relevant articles would be appreciated.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=72692\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

There are lots of links if you do a Google search. The basic principle that makes the lenses good for stitching is the larger image circle of T&S lenses. I think it's something like 65mm in diameter. By shifting the camera's sensor from one side to the other of this extra large image circle, you effectively get a MF size image consisting of many more pixels and of greater detail.

The first image I posted was taken with the TS-E 90 plus 1.4x converter. The resulting stitch is 147MB (in 16 bit) before cropping. That's an image 3x the size that I would get with a single shot with the 20D. It's equivalent to shooting with a 24mp camera.
« Last Edit: August 06, 2006, 12:04:34 pm by Ray »
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