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Thread: Stitching panorama shots

  1. #1

    Stitching panorama shots

    I do quite a lot of panoramas. Thought I'd just check how others shoot them and stitch them.

    My method is:

    1. I normally hold the camera in portrait mode to get more height when stitching.
    2. I use autofocus to get the distance, then switch the lens to manual - taking care I don't alter the lens manually
    3. I pan from left to right as that's the way they get loaded in Photoshop.
    4. I press the 'exposure-lock' button on the camera (on Canon its the * button) That ensures the exposure is the same as you pan across the sky.
    5. I normally don't use a tripod, as I find it's only needed if the light level is low.
    6. I use CS4 to stitch.
    7. I shoot RAW. Load all the shots for the pano into RAW editor. Press 'select all' and make any RAW changes, the press synchronize button so they are all the same. Save to TIFFS and merge.

    Anyone do anything different? Post your own panos if you want to.

    Here is my latest - Conwy harbour in North Wales (this was the day it didn't rain)

    Stitching panorama shots
    Last edited by carregwen; 2nd April 2010 at 09:58 PM. Reason: correct error

  2. #2
    arith's Avatar
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    Re: Stitching panorama shots

    I mostly do everything different;

    I choose if it has to be vertical or horizontal aspect and I'm looking for 16:9 to 2:1 so if vertical that means about 4 images but take 5, 3 is rather square or 4:3.

    I don't normally use autofocus or even focus at all but choose focus from the dial.

    I choose to go either way as I don't think it makes a difference .

    I choose exposure for each shot, if it is very different I use HDR and then tonemap them all together.

    The stitching program I use has autostitch as its engine and I always use a tripod and always shoot in RAW.

    Nice image you have and hard to believe it wasn't done with a tripod. cheers

  3. #3
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    Re: Stitching panorama shots

    I too make a lot of panoramas. I use PSE 6 which has options for 4-5 different types of stitching. I usually use the Reposition option but occasionally one of the perspective options produces a better result.

    And thanks for the tip on holding the camera vertically. Another duh moment for me.

  4. #4

    Re: Stitching panorama shots

    Quote Originally Posted by arith View Post
    ...and hard to believe it wasn't done with a tripod. cheers
    Yes, I'm always surprised at that. I keep thinking "this isn't going to work..." but it seems to. I try to use the focus points in the viewfinder to get the positioning in-line as I move across. Thanks for the comments.

  5. #5

    Re: Stitching panorama shots

    Quote Originally Posted by benm View Post
    And thanks for the tip on holding the camera vertically.
    You're welcome. I also find that standing well away from the subject helps. In the shot above I was at least 100ft from the first boat. If you get too close it distorts the perspective as you swing around. Probably better to stand further away and use a longer lens. Post some of your shots if you wish?

  6. #6
    arith's Avatar
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    Re: Stitching panorama shots

    7 metres seems the closest without serious bother. But they are not good for showing on the web since they look tiny or you lose detail. This is the best one I did and at 10% of it's original size doesn't look special.

    Stitching panorama shots

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    Re: Stitching panorama shots

    Hi Rob,

    I don't shoot them much anymore, but when I do ...

    - I always use a tripod with a nodal bar so that I can rotate the lens around the nodal point (hand holding or a regular tripod with give alignment issues if there are objects in the foreground)

    - I establish the focus, and then "go manual"

    - I start in Av mode and pan through the entire scene to see what the best exposure is going to be (and to check the leveling)

    - I always shoot vertical, and overlap about 20%

  8. #8

    Re: Stitching panorama shots

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    - I start in Av mode and pan through the entire scene to see what the best exposure is going to be (and to check the leveling)
    That's useful. It makes sense to get an average exposure, as the light in the sky can change considerably over a wide arc.

    Steve - I like the shot of the church. You seem to have good perspective.

  9. #9

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    Re: Stitching panorama shots

    Quote Originally Posted by carregwen View Post
    That's useful. It makes sense to get an average exposure, as the light in the sky can change considerably over a wide arc.
    Hi Rob,

    No - usually you can't run with an average as you'll end up with over-exposed areas. It's usually governed by the brightest area, and then using fill light and/or graduated masks in PP to fix. Biggest problem is if you end up with "naked sun" in one or more of the frames (made worse by shooting vertically).

  10. #10
    arith's Avatar
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    Re: Stitching panorama shots

    Yes you wouldn't believe how much trouble it was Rob. It is HDR explaining odd colour casts in the shadows but was also taken with the camera about 7 feet high to clear a gate. I wasn't confident it would turn out. 7 metres distance appears to be right with a stubby lens but if there is something high it tends to get twisted.

    This is what I mean:
    Stitching panorama shots
    Of course now I can do a lot better with composition straightening and sharpening; that's the trouble when your learning because the software I've got now and knowledge I can improve immensely on this. cheers

  11. #11
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    Re: Stitching panorama shots

    Here a 3 examples of my panoramas. The first two were taken with my Canon 710IS P&S, the third with a Nikon D90.
    Stitching panorama shots
    Avon, New Jersey

    Stitching panorama shots
    World Trade Center, New York

    Stitching panorama shots
    Trevi Fountain, Rome
    The building in the center of the photo which looks like it shifted vertically is really like that.

  12. #12

    Re: Stitching panorama shots

    Quote Originally Posted by benm View Post
    Here a 3 examples of my panoramas. The first two were taken with my Canon 710IS P&S, the third with a Nikon D90.
    Stitching panorama shots
    Avon, New Jersey

    Stitching panorama shots
    World Trade Center, New York

    Stitching panorama shots
    Trevi Fountain, Rome
    The building in the center of the photo which looks like it shifted vertically is really like that.
    Ben

    Good shots - nicely done. #2 looks quite dramatic. I keep meaning to do a vertical pan, but haven't found a suitable location as yet. Thanks for posting.

  13. #13

    Re: Stitching panorama shots

    Quote Originally Posted by arith View Post
    Yes you wouldn't believe how much trouble it was Rob. It is HDR explaining odd colour casts in the shadows but was also taken with the camera about 7 feet high to clear a gate. I wasn't confident it would turn out. 7 metres distance appears to be right with a stubby lens but if there is something high it tends to get twisted.

    This is what I mean:
    Stitching panorama shots
    Of course now I can do a lot better with composition straightening and sharpening; that's the trouble when your learning because the software I've got now and knowledge I can improve immensely on this. cheers
    I quite like this. It has a sort of quirky humour to it (from the swans). Thanks for posting.

  14. #14
    arith's Avatar
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    Re: Stitching panorama shots

    Cheers rob; I can't do vertical pans since they always turn out wrong. Nice pano's and I thought the building at the end was straight but everything else was leaning. cheers

  15. #15

    Re: Stitching panorama shots

    Quote Originally Posted by arith View Post
    Cheers rob; I can't do vertical pans since they always turn out wrong. Nice pano's and I thought the building at the end was straight but everything else was leaning. cheers
    Not sure if I read you right - did you think the building shots were mine? They were posted by Ben. I don't want credit for others shots - unless they are Colin's!

  16. #16
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    Re: Stitching panorama shots

    I'll recommend two things:

    1) Do use a tripod unless it's wholly impractical. It will improve stitching results, avoiding the inefficiencies caused my unlevel horizons from frame to frame that often result when hand-holding; and as I've learned recently, will give you a tighter pivot point to reduce the effects of parallax.
    2) I really like PTGui Pro. You haven't done a panorama until you do one with HDR, which PTGui Pro handles in style.

    You also didn't mention anything about holding a consistent exposure from frame to frame, (i.e., set exposure in Manual mode, then shoot each frame), but I'm sure someone has pointed that out by now.

  17. #17

    Re: Stitching panorama shots

    Quote Originally Posted by eNo View Post
    You also didn't mention anything about holding a consistent exposure from frame to frame, (i.e., set exposure in Manual mode, then shoot each frame), but I'm sure someone has pointed that out by now.
    Thanks eNo. I mentioned it in point 4 of first thread, but I said 'focus lock' instead of 'exposure lock' I've corrected it now.

  18. #18
    arith's Avatar
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    Re: Stitching panorama shots

    I didn't mean they were your photo's rob, I just forgot to start a new paragraph.

    But as eNo says you should consider using a tripod to cut down on waste, and if you can get a nodal head the image looks a million times better.

    However although a simple device it costs a lot and what puts me off it most is they are gigantic, no way could I get them to where they are needed since I've not got a car. I can't afford a chauffeur.

  19. #19

    Re: Stitching panorama shots

    Quote Originally Posted by arith View Post
    But as eNo says you should consider using a tripod to cut down on waste, and if you can get a nodal head the image looks a million times better.

    However although a simple device it costs a lot and what puts me off it most is they are gigantic, no way could I get them to where they are needed since I've not got a car. I can't afford a chauffeur.
    Wow, they are expensive aren't they. I never looked before. My tripod (Manfrotto) was about £180, and the want £250 for this tilting head http://www.warehouseexpress.com/buy-...-vr-kit/p10929 Birthday prezzy in August I think.

  20. #20
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    Re: Stitching panorama shots

    Nodal Ninja make some excellent and very compact pano heads that are a lot smaller and lighter than all the rest (Manfrotto included)
    http://www.nodalninja.com/

    I use an NN5
    Stitching panorama shots

    In this pono, the computer keyboards were about two feet away; with stuff this close, you wouldn’t get a decent stitch without a pano head.
    Stitching panorama shots

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