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Author Topic: Panorama photograph  (Read 4235 times)

henk

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Panorama photograph
« on: January 27, 2007, 11:35:24 am »

I want to start with Panorama photography. Mainly for landscape photography.
I would appreciate some comments on my plans.

I work with a Cannon 5D and the following lenses:
Canon 28-135   3,5 – 5,8
Canon 70-300   4,5 – 5,6 DO
Canon 70-200   2,8 IS + 1.4 an 2 extender
Sigma 17-35     2,8 – 4
Tamron 90        2,8 macro DI
Tripod, Baldhead and spirit level.

I only work in RAW, convert in ARC and use PS-CS2 as editor.
Windows XP SP2. AMD 64 2x dual core 3800+ with 2Gb RAM and plenty GB off HD storage.

I plan to purchase a Nodalninja or Pano head 2 as Panoramic head. Any experiences?

I want to use realviz Stitcher pro as stitcher software. I think that PT stitcher is not user-friendly for someone who starts.
A year ago there was a discussion on these pages on this topic with the result that ArcSoft was the preferred one. What is the status of available, user-friendly, software to day that takes PSD or TIF files preferably in 16 bit?

I read the pages on http://www.panoguide.com/howto to get some first education.
Is there another source or book available?

Thanks for your input.
Henk
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Tim Gray

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Panorama photograph
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2007, 11:48:30 am »

I have a 1d2 and my favourite pano lens is the 24-105.
The 70-200 is an excellent lens, but I'm not happy with it and either the 1.4 or 2x extenders.
The difference in range (form factor is a different issue) betwseen the 70-200 and 70-300 isn't enough.  Think about the 100-400.

At this time I use Pano Tools Assembler to stitch, but I've heard excellent reports on the stitching ability of PS CS3

You need to rethink the heads.  I have the Jasper v1 and there's no way it's heavy duty enough if you're thinking of paning with the 70-200.  I know the 5d is lots lighter than the 1d2, but the Jasper head is really more appropriate for the P&S kind of cameras.  I suspect the Nodal Ninja is the same.  Note that the Jasper head really doesn't support spherical.  Check out the options from Kirk or RRS.  I use a Kirk rail and a Acratech levelling base - the only problem with that is the rail isn't indexed so it's a bit of a issue to identify the right points for various lenses at different focal lengths.  It's advantage is the clamp rotates so you can use the plate on the camera, or rotate 90% and use the plate on the foot of the lens collar.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2007, 11:51:22 am by Tim Gray »
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DarkPenguin

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Panorama photograph
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2007, 02:17:15 pm »

The nodal ninja is pretty weenie.  It is good for a light DSLR and a light lens.

I attached the swing arm to a kirk rail and added a kirk clamp to the end of the swing arm.  Of course this only works because my ball head is on a acratech leveling base.  Even then I'm getting a lot of weight on top of my tripod but it is more solid.

If you have photoshop cs2 you can download and try the latest cs3 beta.  The stitcher is much improved in cs3.
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naisan

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Panorama photograph
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2007, 02:20:12 pm »

Quote
I have a 1d2 and my favourite pano lens is the 24-105.
The 70-200 is an excellent lens, but I'm not happy with it and either the 1.4 or 2x extenders.
The difference in range (form factor is a different issue) betwseen the 70-200 and 70-300 isn't enough.  Think about the 100-400.

At this time I use Pano Tools Assembler to stitch, but I've heard excellent reports on the stitching ability of PS CS3

You need to rethink the heads.  I have the Jasper v1 and there's no way it's heavy duty enough if you're thinking of paning with the 70-200.  I know the 5d is lots lighter than the 1d2, but the Jasper head is really more appropriate for the P&S kind of cameras.  I suspect the Nodal Ninja is the same.  Note that the Jasper head really doesn't support spherical.  Check out the options from Kirk or RRS.  I use a Kirk rail and a Acratech levelling base - the only problem with that is the rail isn't indexed so it's a bit of a issue to identify the right points for various lenses at different focal lengths.  It's advantage is the clamp rotates so you can use the plate on the camera, or rotate 90% and use the plate on the foot of the lens collar.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=97792\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


I use PTGui, which is about middling for user interface, but has an easy mode. The stiching is amazing, especially using the plug-ins.

I shoot with Nikon gear, so I use a D200 with a nodal ninja 3- the NN3 is too lightweight for the camera, but if you take care and have extra time, it works well for a $200 solution. I have also used the Really Right stuff rig ($1000) which is truly excellent, but 5X as much. I will save for one of those.

Using the NN3 means your d200 or similar size camera (and I have to remove the grip to make it work properly) will sag at an angle, but that doesn't really matter as long as you give enough time between shots to make the camera stop vibrating. Mirror lock-up is a must.

I don't know much about lenses - I use the sharpest lenses I have - a 50 1.4 and a 85 1.4 most of the time, as I am creating panoramas for high-quality print output rather than "large field of view"

For instance a shot I could easily take with my 18mm, I would take with the 85 mm as a 3-row panorama, stich, and print at 17" x 50" with 600 dpi. . .

To me, the $190 for the nodal ninja was a goood way to get started, and I can likely sell it for about the same amount when I want to trrade up later on.

Good luck.
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stever

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Panorama photograph
« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2007, 02:56:03 pm »

i agree with Tim on the 24-105.  i've just done some lens testing (which i'll soon report on) and at 100mm, the 24-105 was as good in the center as my 100macro, and just slightly softer at the corners

the 70-300 DO is disappointing on the 5D over 150mm (at equivalent focal lengths i get noticeably better results upsampling the 20D at 200mm (equiv) and above)

long focal lengths are a dilema with the 5D -- with my 100-400, i get as good images upsampling the 20D at 300mm equivalent and above as the 5D - the 5D is little better than the 20D at 200mm.  i don't have a 70-200 for comparison, however,i rented a 300 2.8 a while ago and it really made a difference, but my 300 5.6 is the same in the center as the 100-400 at 300 on the 5D although slightly better in the corners.

I like the RRS pano clamp on top of the ballhead for quick setup (although it's overweight and overpriced) with the RRS rail and the RRS angle plate so i can shoot panoramas in vertical format

you might start with Arcsoft Panorama maker - it's cheap, simple go use, and gives generally good results if you supply it with TIFF files
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Christopher

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Panorama photograph
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2007, 07:24:31 pm »

Ok, I want to say a few thing. First of all I shoot a lot of Panos and use for that following stuff:
Canon 1Ds Mk2
mainly:
50/1.4
100/2 macro
leica R-19
But I also have shot fantstic Panos with:
24-70
24-105
70-200 2.8 IS
70-300 DO IS

Now I want to comment on some lenses: the 70-200 2,8 is is much to heavy for tripod use. YES I use a very good Pano head but still it's really heavy. When I have some time I will always use a prime, because it IS better than anything else.

Now if you travel (like I did in Thailand ) I would never use the 70-200 it's much to heavy. I used the 70-300 for that trip and it was fantastic! I mean brilliant. Ok I tested 3 diffrent lenses and one of them was shit... the other was not really sharp. Now my lens is really nice. Yes the 70-200 is a little bit sharper in the corners in that range, BUT against the 70-200+1.4 Converter I would always choose the DO. Why ? Simple. The quality is the same, and you get a better range and the most important thing. The thing (DO) handles so nice together with a 5D.

Let's go back to stitching. As Pano head I use the thing from www.roundshot.ch . Yes it is not cheap, but it is one of the best head out there. I tested a lot ! ( Manfrotto, and all the other brands, but nothing really got close.

Now software ... there is a lot out there. So that shouldn't be the problem.
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Christopher Hauser
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stever

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Panorama photograph
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2007, 09:24:22 pm »

i find the zoom useful for panoramas (and everything else) traveling and i only see a slight difference in corner sharpness between my 100 macro and the 24-105 (and the corners aren't going to be used in the pano anyhow)

i'm envious of Christopher's 70-300DO - has anyone had success sending it to Canon for "calibration" - needless to say, spending more money on an expensive lens to get adequate performance doesn't please me and in the future i'll test new lenses (although testing this lens on the 20D i had at the time wouldn't have told me much)
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henk

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Panorama photograph
« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2007, 04:32:30 pm »

Thanks guys  that was exactly what I wanted. Some feedback that started me in the right direction.

Some observations
I came from a 10D and wanted to have some more “ professional ” equipment than some of my clients! I have invested in the lenses so I have to live with them. And that is no punishment. I know the 28-135 is the weakest but the 70-200 is excellent even with the 1.4 converter. But when there is a leopard in the distance I rather take the 2x to make that shot.
Speaking about Thailand. That was exactly the reason for buying the 70-300. I did some testing at the dealer on AF point. I had my experiences with the 5D! Great shots. I was very pleased with it. I was there in November with great weather. I must say that my collection of women portraits has grown with some factor. I also have the 50 1.5 which I used as a portrait lens on the 10D. What a great DOF and sharpness. And yes the 5D has some vignetting but I solve that in ARC. Thought about DXO and had the demo 4.0 great but has a lot of tweaking possibilities and therefore you have to invest a lot of time. Stick to CS2 and when Lightroom comes to market I will start investigating this and see what it will bring me as a photographer who wants to use his PC as his darkroom which I closed 5 years ago.

I have to rethink and investigate the Pano Head. I did not really realise that the combination off camera and lens would not be fully supported by the chosen heads. The manufacturers do not publish the weight they can carry! Perhaps I have to invest more for a sturdy combination. I am living in the Netherlands and I can’t find a  professional dealer who has a pano heads in stock. Strange.
   
For software that is always a challenge. Lots of flavours and hard to choose. Arcesoft is not expensive but can only stitch rows and since I am investing I want a software that also can stitch blocks so I am buying into the future. I have downloaded several packages including some demo files with pictures to stitch. I am leaving on Tuesday for a short vacation and have every thing on my laptop to work with including CS3. Still scratch my head on PT stitcher. I am a bit unsure about the learning curve. We will see.

Henk
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