Availability of WA lenses

Discussion in 'Digital SLR' started by Robert Coe, Nov 21, 2009.

  1. When you need a slightly wider lens than you have, you can get the
    same effect by panning a few shots across the image and stitching them
    together. There are several programs that will automatically align
    slightly off-centre shots, adjust perspective, etc.. Done with care
    you can even end up with a sharper higher resolution image than the
    wider lens would have been able to give you. Quite a bit of extra pp
    work, but when you want the shot and haven't got the lens...

    A number of RE shooters routinely use such auto stitching simply to
    avoid having to repeatedly change lenses on location, which saves them
    valuable time in getting round a property.
     
    Chris Malcolm, Nov 26, 2009
    #81
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  2. Your camera doesn't have a toggle-on toggle-off exposure lock? Makes
    the above quite a bit faster and a bit more consistent if it does,
    much more so if you're going to stitch several together.
     
    Chris Malcolm, Nov 26, 2009
    #82
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  3. Pano = Lock exposure, Lock white-balance, Lock focus, Lock zoom (if you
    have it).

    Better to just flip everything to full manual mode.

    Locking exposure, white-balance, and focus with a half-press from one
    initial location (what you call the swinging technique) is a method that
    was found for P&S cameras that had no manual mode nor exposure lock,
    white-balance lock, and focus lock. I know, because I was the first one to
    report this method to use with digital cameras on many photography forums
    about ten years ago. It became a popular pano topic because this technique
    could be used with virtually any camera design of any cost. I was testing
    some inexpensive P&S cameras with no manual modes nor locks whatsoever. I
    found this simple way around their limitations to accomplish decent panos.
    The most difficult part is if you are taking a wider pano or several
    columns and rows for stitching. Trying to remember the exact framing from
    your #1 reference half-press shot and then remembering where you left off
    in your FOV when swinging back to fully press the shutter for each further
    required frame. You have to always keep the details from two previous
    scenes in your mind, while replacing the last 2nd one with a new 3rd one
    from memory every time. Remembering and consecutively shifting this in your
    mind's eye during the whole sequence. For several rows and columns this
    becomes even more difficult because you then have to remember frames shot
    from a previous row too. Not easy to do for most people. Most don't even
    know how to use manual focus anymore let alone performing something as
    mentally gymnastic as this.

    If you don't know about exposure lock or don't have it, use full manual
    mode. I'd rather always use that for all panos.

    Don't forget to take it off of auto white-balance too if your exposure-lock
    doesn't provide for that. All my cameras have an exposure lock mode today,
    but it's only good for one following frame in some of them (firmware
    programming geeks in offices aren't too keen on what is required by real
    photographers and sometimes guess at how things are going to be used).
    Rather than try to remember which camera has full exposure lock or not, and
    if that includes white-balance lock and focus lock as well, I'd rather
    quickly put all cameras in full manual mode. Just as fast with even more
    insurance that way. Your exposure lock might not also include focus-lock if
    you have become dependent on auto-focus. You have to test for that. With
    the often hit & miss auto-focus in most any camera you won't be too happy
    if you take 9 frames and find out days later that just one of them was
    misfocused a bit.

    Some cameras include their own pano-mode (which locks everything) with an
    overlay of the last scene shot (shifted to one side) displayed in the
    EVF/LCD. When testing these pano modes in my cameras I find the little
    extra alignment help that it provides (as well as pre-selecting which
    pano-alignment style I'll be requiring (left>right, right>left,
    rows+columns) more of a hassle than just estimating the amount of overlap
    needed. Newbies to panos seem to like that little insurance and assisted
    guidance though. But they fail to forget that their first exposure-setting
    should be taken from a mid-point brightness level in the pano set. Firmware
    pano-modes do not automatically allow for nor prompt for this.

    More important things to remember:

    If the sun is nearer the horizon (late morning, late afternoon) then take
    your first exposure setting about 90 degrees away from the sun's compass
    direction--finding a mid-point luminance frame for all further frames. If
    only doing a narrower pano of a sunset of 3-4 frames, then take your
    initial exposure setting about 10-30 degrees from the sun. Setting exposure
    too bright for dimmer areas of your scene will wash out all the intense
    colors in all frames nearer to the sun. For dramatic impact don't be afraid
    to let those areas far from the sunset fade to full black if this will
    ensure capturing the intense brighter colors near the sun accurately.
    Depending on the sunset and colors in the sky I might even set the initial
    exposure right from where the sun is to correctly capture those intense
    colors around it. EVF and LCD equipped cameras are excellent for
    determining this because you can see in the live-view display at which
    exact exposure settings you are starting to wash-out those colors or they
    are starting to become too muddy and dark. For full color capture of all
    sunrises and sunsets remember to set your white-balance to its daylight
    (sun) setting. NEVER use auto white-balance for any sunrise/sunset with any
    camera, even when not shooting panos.

    If on inspection of any pano scene (sun included or not), it has a wide
    range of brightness levels across its expanse then find an area that is an
    average luminance in your scene as your initial mid-point exposure setting
    for all further frames. Above all don't use a polarizer, or the final
    stitched scene with any portion of clear sky in it will be a blue-shifting
    nightmare in a wide pano (due to the more heavily polarized band of light
    in the sky being 90-degrees from where the sun is at). The only exception
    to this is if the sky is heavily overcast or with full cloud-cover. Then
    you can accidentally leave your polarizer in place because it will do no
    good anyway nor will it vary the brightness levels in the sky dependent on
    the sun's and polarizer's orientation.

    If you are privy to using more advanced HDR photography techniques, pano
    software that allows for this option, and most importantly know how to do
    this well, then you might explore exposure-bracketed sets for each
    pano-frame. This will help with widely varying lighting in your pano scene.
    But you should still eyeball-guesstimate the first mid-range luminance area
    of your full pano as your initial exposure setting.
     
    Pano Hints 101, Nov 26, 2009
    #83
  4. Robert Coe

    Robert Coe Guest

    Alan Browne wrote:
    : > Doug McDonald wrote:
    : >> Alan Browne wrote:
    : >>
    : >>>
    : >>> Scenic panos should not vignette as the aperture should be fixed
    : >>> relatively closed down (f/8 - f/16 or so).
    : >>
    : >>
    : >> Perhaps I should have said "Lambertian illumination problems
    : >> using wide angle lenses".
    : >
    : > There's no particular reason to go wider than 50mm when doing a pano.
    :
    :
    : Sure there is: needing to do it handheld. Sometimes carrying a tripod
    : is just too hard (like walking 50 miles). It is indeed possible to do
    : a very large panorama with a 50 mm lens, handheld, but it requires
    : time, time, time, great care in alignment, and big, big overlap.
    :
    : Also, of course, the result may be much larger than one actually needs.
    :
    : I do frequently do smaller panoramas with a 50mm lens ... or even
    : a 100 or 300 mm lens for that matter ... but these are usually
    : 1x3s or 2x3s.
    :
    : Doug McDonald

    I've definitely learned a bit abut panos from this discussion, and I
    appreciate the effort that you've all gone to in order to enlighten me. And I
    realize that I'd be a better photographer if I learned how to do panos well.
    But in this case I think I'm still going to go the WA lens route. It's obvious
    that making a good pano is far from trivial and that it would require a time
    investment that I'm simply not in a position to make just now. And while the
    pictures I did get of the City Hall could certainly be improved on, they're
    good enough to buy me some time. So for now I'm going to bide my time and hope
    I make it to the top of the waiting list for the Tokina f/2.8 before the
    company stops making them.

    Thank you all; I really mean it. And thanks for keeping this long thread
    on-topic.

    Bob
     
    Robert Coe, Nov 27, 2009
    #84
  5. Robert Coe

    Robert Coe Guest

    : []
    : > I've definitely learned a bit abut panos from this discussion, and I
    : > appreciate the effort that you've all gone to in order to enlighten me.
    : > And I
    : > realize that I'd be a better photographer if I learned how to do panos
    : > well.
    : > But in this case I think I'm still going to go the WA lens route. It's
    : > obvious
    : > that making a good pano is far from trivial and that it would require a
    : > time
    : > investment that I'm simply not in a position to make just now. And while
    : > the
    : > pictures I did get of the City Hall could certainly be improved on,
    : > they're
    : > good enough to buy me some time. So for now I'm going to bide my time
    : > and hope
    : > I make it to the top of the waiting list for the Tokina f/2.8 before the
    : > company stops making them.
    : >
    : > Thank you all; I really mean it. And thanks for keeping this long thread
    : > on-topic.
    : >
    : > Bob
    :
    : I can't agree that making good panos is "far from trivial" or that it
    : takes a significant time investment - at least not when all you are trying
    : to achieve is a wider FoV. At best, a few seconds more for three or four
    : pictures rather than one, and one run of a program like AutoStitch or
    : AutoPano Pro.

    You probably say that because you're already good at it. Frankly, several
    people in this group whose opinions I have no reason to doubt don't entirely
    agree with you on that point.

    : However, if it's for architecture, wouldn't a shift-lens be more
    : appropriate?

    If I had to settle for the vantage point of the post office steps (please
    excuse implicit references to earlier posts in this thread), a shift lens
    would probably help with the perspective problem. But it wouldn't obliterate
    the busy foreground. It might even make it worse by distorting it. Moreover,
    good shift lenses are expensive, and I'd have to learn to use it properly.

    But the fact is that the roof of the Senior Center across the street is a much
    better vantage point anyway. It avoids having the street corner in the
    foreground and provides an almost straight-on view of the City Hall. All I
    need is a lens with 2mm less focal length, and I should be all set. Now if
    Tokina would just get their act together, ...

    Bob

    :
    : Cheers,
    : David
     
    Robert Coe, Nov 27, 2009
    #85
  6. Robert Coe

    ColinD Guest

    The Perspective and Distort functions in Photoshop are very useful to
    correct perspective distortion in an image, and before anyone says that
    compromises the definition in the stretched part of the image, today's
    cameras have enough pixels to make that criticism rather moot; and shift
    lenses by nature work at the extreme edge of the image circle anyway,
    with concomitant loss of definition there as well.

    For the occasional job that involves a wide-angle shot and parallax
    correction, a stitched image of about 2x2 or 2x3 frames corrected foe
    parallax is much better than a single shot with or without a shift lens
    - and a hell of a lot cheaper on the equipment front.

    Just to answer another of Robert's perceived problems, current stitching
    software is close to magic. Just put all the images into a folder and
    set the stitching program to run. It automatically sorts the images into
    the correct order and stitches all in one move. Stitching time depends
    on your computer; as an example my 3.00 GHz Intel P4 will stitch 18
    (3x6) images from a 6-megapixel camera in about 20 seconds.

    I do use DxO Optics to process my raw images, which corrects for lens
    distortion etc, so I start with optimal images.

    Colin D.
     
    ColinD, Nov 27, 2009
    #86
  7. Suuuure you were.
    And you invented the Internet.
    And you also killed your parents over your stupid name. This was
    later called WWI and WWII.

    And back when you were born, the Roman Empire toppled.

    -Wolfgang
     
    Wolfgang Weisselberg, Nov 28, 2009
    #87

  8. Bob Larter's legal name: Lionel Lauer
    Home news-group, an actual group in the "troll-tracker" hierarchy:
    alt.kook.lionel-lauer (established on, or before, 2004)
    Registered Description: "the 'owner of several troll domains' needs a group where he'll stay on topic."

    <http://groups.google.com/groups/search?hl=en&num=10&as_ugroup=alt.kook.lionel-lauer>

    "Results 1 - 10 of about 2,170 for group:alt.kook.lionel-lauer."
     
    Bob Larter is Lionel Lauer - Look it up., Dec 4, 2009
    #88
  9. Robert Coe

    Bob Larter Guest

    Bob Larter, Dec 4, 2009
    #89
  10. Robert Coe

    Bob Larter Guest

    ROTFL! He's got you there, Mr P&S Troll! ;^)
     
    Bob Larter, Dec 4, 2009
    #90
  11. Robert Coe

    Robert Coe Guest

    Bob Larter's legal name: Lionel Lauer
    : Home news-group, an actual group in the "troll-tracker" hierarchy:
    : alt.kook.lionel-lauer (established on, or before, 2004)
    : Registered Description: "the 'owner of several troll domains' needs a group where
    : he'll stay on topic."
    :
    : <http://groups.google.com/groups/search?hl=en&num=10&as_ugroup=alt.kook.lionel-lauer>
    :
    : "Results 1 - 10 of about 2,170 for group:alt.kook.lionel-lauer."

    And what might *your* legal name be? I don't believe you've thought to mention
    it.

    Bob
     
    Robert Coe, Dec 5, 2009
    #91
  12. Robert Coe

    Bob Larter Guest

    Funny, that.
     
    Bob Larter, Dec 8, 2009
    #92
  13. Robert Coe

    Robert Coe Guest

    : : >Well, it finally happened. I did a mediocre job on an assignment to photograph
    : : >a building the other day because I don't have a wide enough lens to do it
    : : >right. I've been hoping to get the Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8, but both B&H and
    : : >Adorama have had it back-ordered for months. Is the Tokina factory ever going
    : : >to get caught up, or should I settle for the Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5? The reviews
    : : >I've read seem to favor the Tokina by a noticeable margin; and while I've had
    : : >good results with my Sigma lenses, I realize that my experience hasn't been
    : : >universally shared.
    : : >
    : : >Since I hadn't completely made up my mind, I didn't actually put myself on
    : : >B&H's waiting list until recently. Does anyone here have a sense of how long
    : : >that waiting list currently is?
    : : >
    : : >Or am I being silly not to just buy the Sigma? When it was first announced,
    : : >I could hardly wait to get my order in. Then when the reviews started coming
    : : >out, they seemed lukewarm, so I started thinking about the Tokina instead.
    : : >
    : : >All advice gratefully received.
    : :
    : : If I knew the Tokina was the lens I wanted, I would buy the Sigma and
    : : use it until the Tokina because available, then buy the Tokina and
    : : sell the Sigma on eBay.
    : :
    : : But if you really were a professional you wouldn't need to ask for
    : : this advice, you would just do it. ;-)
    :
    : Sure, but as you surmise, I'm not really a professional; I'm a computer
    : system manager for a city government. Although I never expected it to happen,
    : I've started to emerge as the City's "go to" photographer for stock photos
    : and event coverage. The City has some cameras I could use, but frankly mine
    : are a lot better. In the recent incident, I was asked to do a photo of the
    : City Hall. The correct solution is a full frontal shot, in mid-afternoon
    : sunlight, from the roof of a building across the street. But I couldn't quite
    : get it in with my 50D and its 18-50mm lens. The City Hall has a tall tower,
    : so the shot must be a vertical, and the short dimension isn't quite enough at
    : 18mm. So I had to settle for an angle shot from the front steps of a post
    : office diagonally across the street. Our publicity agent was quite happy with
    : it (it's a lot better than the City Hall picture currently being displayed on
    : the City's Web site), but the foreground is messy and the perspective causes
    : too much distortion. A slightly wider lens would solve the problem admirably.
    :
    : : Also, is there no more suitable option within your camera brand? Nikon
    : : offers two truly excellent 12-24mm lenses, an f/2.8 FX and a cheaper,
    : : variable aperture DX. I don't know what Canon has available in this
    : : focal length range; I rarely needed anything wider than 16mm on my old
    : : Canon EOS 5D, so chose the 16-35mm f/2.8L.
    :
    : Canon hasn't enjoyed a great reputation for its WA lenses. I'm sure they make
    : lenses that would do the job, but I'd like to buy something I'll be happy
    : with for the foreseeable future.

    A follow-up for anyone who may possibly be interested: I was back om the roof
    this afternoon for another try. Things went MUCH better with my new Tokina
    11-16mm f/2.8. :^)

    Bob
     
    Robert Coe, Jun 8, 2010
    #93
  14. Robert Coe

    Peter Guest


    Enjoy. I have the Nikon 12-24 and am thinking about trading it for a wider
    lens.
     
    Peter, Jun 8, 2010
    #94
  15. Robert Coe

    Robert Coe Guest

    : On 2010-06-07 19:59:30 -0700, Robert Coe <> said:
    :
    : > A follow-up for anyone who may possibly be interested: I was back om the roof
    : > this afternoon for another try. Things went MUCH better with my new Tokina
    : > 11-16mm f/2.8. :^)
    : >
    : > Bob
    :
    : I'm glad you finally managed to get the Tokina. It is quite an amazing
    : lens, and good value don't you think?

    Yes, I've been pleased with it so far.

    I never did get to the top of B&H's wait list. But a month or so ago, a
    colleague at work brought in a sale brochure from Hunt's that mentioned in
    small print that the Tokina was on sale for $40 off. So I called their store
    in Harvard Square, expecting to be told that it was a misprint. But to my
    surprise, they had it, although the Canon version had to be sent over the
    weekend from their store in New Hampshire. The saleswoman told me she didn't
    consider the lens all that hard to find; she said they'd they'd had it in
    stock in Cambridge from time to time.

    Bob
     
    Robert Coe, Jun 8, 2010
    #95
  16. Robert Coe

    Peter Guest


    In my dealings with Hunt's I found them to be very reliable. Gary, their
    sales manager is an honorable straight shooter.
     
    Peter, Jun 9, 2010
    #96
  17. Robert Coe

    Robert Coe Guest

    : On 2010-06-08 15:56:07 -0700, Robert Coe <> said:
    :
    : > On Mon, 7 Jun 2010 20:58:20 -0700, Savageduck <[email protected]{REMOVESPAM}me.com>
    : > wrote:
    : > : On 2010-06-07 19:59:30 -0700, Robert Coe <> said:
    : > :
    : > : > A follow-up for anyone who may possibly be interested: I was back
    : > om the roof
    : > : > this afternoon for another try. Things went MUCH better with my new Tokina
    : > : > 11-16mm f/2.8. :^)
    : > : >
    : > : > Bob
    : > :
    : > : I'm glad you finally managed to get the Tokina. It is quite an amazing
    : > : lens, and good value don't you think?
    : >
    : > Yes, I've been pleased with it so far.
    :
    : Good.
    :
    : >
    : > I never did get to the top of B&H's wait list. But a month or so ago, a
    : > colleague at work brought in a sale brochure from Hunt's that mentioned in
    : > small print that the Tokina was on sale for $40 off. So I called their store
    : > in Harvard Square, expecting to be told that it was a misprint. But to my
    : > surprise, they had it, although the Canon version had to be sent over the
    : > weekend from their store in New Hampshire. The saleswoman told me she didn't
    : > consider the lens all that hard to find; she said they'd they'd had it in
    : > stock in Cambridge from time to time.
    : >
    : > Bob
    :
    : That makes you wonder what is going on with B&H and Adorama. Perhaps
    : Tokina isn't giving them them wholesale price or discount they might be
    : demanding to carry the item on their shelves.

    B&H and Adorama sell it for $600 if they have it; Hunt's had it marked down to
    a bit less than that. But I had to pay Massachusetts sales tax, which made it
    $20 or $30 more than the price at the New York stores.

    Bob
     
    Robert Coe, Jun 9, 2010
    #97
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