Panorama shots and ideal overlap

Discussion in 'Digital SLR' started by Joseph Chamberlain, DDS, Dec 6, 2005.

  1. Dear members:

    I am purchasing a special tripod head for panorama shots and have some
    questions for the group.

    1. how can I determine what the nodal point for my lens is ? I have looked
    at a few but can't seem to find any kind of imprinted sign that identifies
    it (maybe I haven't looked in the right place).

    2. What is considered the proper overlap between shots for proper assembly
    of the panorama and the achievement of the best possible results ?

    3. I have seen panoramas made with the camera mounted on the tripod in
    landscape mode as well as in portrait mode. What is the best one and what
    difference exists between the two options ?

    4. What is the best panorama software to use with the Macintosh ? I am
    looking for one that provides some alternatives in terms of image editing to
    remove some unwanted image artifacts.

    5. What are the benefits of using the camera set on the tripod in a portrait
    position versus having it set in portrait position ?

    Thank you for your help.

    Best regards,

    Joseph Chamberlain
    Joseph Chamberlain, DDS, Dec 6, 2005
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  2. Joseph Chamberlain, DDS

    colinco Guest

    I am purchasing a special tripod head for panorama shots and have some
    questions for the group.

    1. how can I determine what the nodal point for my lens is ? I have looked
    at a few but can't seem to find any kind of imprinted sign that identifies
    it (maybe I haven't looked in the right place).[/QUOTE]

    Won't be marked, depends on focal length. Look for term "entrance
    pupil" which is more correct.
    Up to you. Try to avoid tricky features in seam area.
    Portrait mode sometimes gives needed flexibility as far as horizon goes.
    Google Max Lyon's forum.
    colinco, Dec 6, 2005
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  3. No, you won't find it marked on the lens.

    There's a useful description of finding the nodal point on this page:

    Peter Marquis-Kyle
    Peter Marquis-Kyle, Dec 6, 2005
  4. Joseph Chamberlain, DDS

    C J Southern Guest

    Hi Joseph,
    I faced this issue with my 24-70 F2.8L USM lens - I'd purchased the Really
    Right Stuff Nodal bar (the longer one of the two) - but found that when the
    lens was mounted optimally I had the other end of the bar only 1/2 in the
    clamp - in other words even the longer of the 2 nodal bars was too short. In
    the end I purchased the 18" multi-purpose rail kit (complete with the 2
    arca-swiss mounts), and have never looked back since.

    You'll probably find that your nodal point is close to the front of the
    lens, but it's easy enough to test - just look through the lens and "line
    up" a very close object with one thats as far away as possible on, say, the
    left hand side of the image in the view finder - then pan so that it's on
    the other side - when you have the camera correctly offset the 2 points will
    remain in the same relationship. Once you've worked out what this is, you
    can simply note down the numbers, or use the mini clamps if you're using
    Really Right Stuff equipment.
    I've been using "The Panorama Factory" software from Smokey City Design -
    and they recommend something in the region of 20 to 30 % - anything less and
    it can give it a bit of a headache when it tries to make focal length
    adjustments. At the suggestion of one group member, I also got a lot better
    result when I told the package NOT to make any exposure related
    compensations - I suspect that these are of more benefit to point-and-shoot
    users - if we're shooting in manual mode then it shouldn't be needed.

    Out of interest, if you plug the camera into a timer and take the shots at,
    say, 1 sec intervals - you can get some great results - I'll eMail you the
    example I've talked about below.
    It depends on the coverage - I'll give you a case in point ...

    Last weekend I popped down to the local airport and did a panorama
    consisting of 13 portrait oriented photos, with a light aircraft in the
    centre of each. Light aircraft tend to climb at steeper angles than heavy
    metal - and of course they climb out much slower (so they didn't cover as
    mush ground between the slices) - for the heavey metal I needed to shoot in
    landscape mode because I didn't need as much vertical headroom (they don't
    climb at such a steep angle) - but they do travel faster (and if you don't
    have enough horizontal headroom then the aircraft moves too far between
    shots and there's not enough overlap to get a good join).
    Who knows - I'm a PC man, and damn proud of it! :)
    Not sure what you mean.


    C J Southern, Dec 6, 2005
  5. Joseph Chamberlain, DDS

    Scott W Guest

    As others have said watch close and far object while rotating the
    camera. They will not move relative to each other when you are at the
    nodal point. On all my lenses the nodal point is behind the front
    lens, with zoom lenses is moves as you zoom, so you need to find it for
    each zoom setting you are going to use.
    I us a lot of overlay, 40% to 50% is what I normally use and I don't
    like to drop below 25%
    The stitching program I use is pretty fast so a large number of images
    is not a problem. I will normally use 40 to 80 and have used as many as
    Portrait mode is normal, gives you more sky.
    Get a PC, it seems all the good stitching programs are running on it.

    Finally get a rock solid tripod and a bubble level, makes things a lot

    Scott W, Dec 6, 2005
  6. Joseph Chamberlain, DDS

    mr_maserati Guest

    I went tohardware store and bought simple bubble level. To get Tripod
    level pan nad check it fofr entire range. Shoot everything full manual,
    including WB, Focus, and exposure

    I usally set the focous fand exposures fro the closest thing to 18% in
    the center of frame.

    I overlap 25%. Go to right edge then to the left and do a simple
    division to determine how many degrees to shift with each shot.

    Portrait will give you a larger image. But, what I do is multiple
    passes. Stitch each row rotate them and stich again.

    I use Panormanic Factory. As someone mentioned shut off exposure comp.
    Forground objects or moving objects create a problem.

    I recently went to NYC and stayed in Jerysey City.

    Took a 70 image set 7 rows of 10. Now I have to buy a new computer to
    be able to merge them.
    mr_maserati, Dec 6, 2005
  7. Joseph Chamberlain, DDS

    Battleax Guest

    Why such a large percentage of overlap Scott? Also can you explain why you
    would assemble so many images into a panorama. I know little of panaroma
    photography but I know image editing very well so I'm just curious.

    Battleax, Dec 6, 2005
  8. Joseph Chamberlain, DDS

    Scott W Guest

    The large overlap helps in a number of way, the center part of the lens
    has less distortion and so this is less of a problem. With large
    overlap if I have people moving, and they alway do, I can adjust where
    the seams are to avoid problems, as it this shot.

    I find the more wide angle I shoot the more overlap I need, when I am
    shooting at say 200mm I don't need nearly as much as when I shoot at

    Overlap also helps the stitching program find control points, it is
    nice when you don't have to do this by hand.

    Any more 40 photos seems like not many at all. With the panaoramic
    head I can take the photos at a rate close to 1 a second, so 40 photos
    might take a minute when all is said and done.

    Scott W, Dec 6, 2005
  9. is worth looking at. Its based on PTools - and can be
    a bit complex but it gives you lots of control. - photostudio X - provides photoshop-light but
    yet still very useful image editing. $80 list, half that if you can
    justify an educational discount.
    Michael Gardner, Dec 6, 2005
  10. Joseph Chamberlain, DDS

    Battleax Guest

    Thanks Scott

    I went to a private bording school in the early 70s. For the school photo
    they set up all students in a semi-circle, 4 rows deep. The camera was an
    oak box on a wood tripod with a wind up motor to pan the camera and wind the
    film passed the aperture. Pics came out something like 5" x 25".
    Once the tripod collapsed and fell over but the camera still kept rotating,

    If you were at the back row at one end you could jump down, run behind and
    come up again at the end before the camera came around so you'd appear
    twice, good for 4 months detention:(
    Battleax, Dec 6, 2005
  11. Joseph Chamberlain, DDS

    nick c Guest

    When I first received my 24-105 Canon L lens (btw, the lens was recalled
    and replaced with a new lens) I took this experimental shot of a
    conventional beach scene. Aside from the aesthetics of the photo, if you
    generally like the shot, I'll tell explain how simply it was done and
    the freebie software that was used.
    nick c, Dec 7, 2005
  12. Joseph Chamberlain, DDS

    Paul Mitchum Guest

    You have to determine the nodal point yourself. It's not a difficult
    technique, and your special head probably has instructions somewhere.
    Sometimes you want lots of overlap, say for a difficult stitch involving
    crowds of people or indistinct subject matter. Sometimes you only need a
    little overlap. Say 20%.
    In portrait mode, you can take more pictures horizontally, for higher
    resolution. If that's what you want. Or you might be shooting subject
    matter that's vertical as opposed to horizontal, for which you'd want
    landscape orientation.
    You want Photoshop or GIMP for editing the image, and you want Hugin or
    the Kekus product for stitching.

    Hugin is free, but very quirky.
    Paul Mitchum, Dec 7, 2005
  13. Joseph Chamberlain, DDS

    Battleax Guest

    The stitching job looks "simple and free" :)
    Battleax, Dec 7, 2005
  14. Joseph Chamberlain, DDS

    nick c Guest

    It should look that way because that's the way the shots were taken. :)
    nick c, Dec 7, 2005
  15. Joseph Chamberlain, DDS

    G.T. Guest

    Can you be more specific? Did you really look at the image?

    G.T., Dec 7, 2005
  16. Joseph Chamberlain, DDS

    Battleax Guest

    I was just saying that the stitching job didn't work out too well, no
    offense intended, he did say it was an experiment.
    Battleax, Dec 7, 2005
  17. Joseph Chamberlain, DDS

    G.T. Guest

    Can you be more specific? Can you point out some of the flaws? I
    haven't done any panaramas and would just like to know what to watch out

    G.T., Dec 7, 2005
  18. Joseph Chamberlain, DDS

    Scott W Guest

    Not too bad for freebie software,

    This is what you can do if you pay for your stitching software
    To see the full res photo hit orginal at the bottom of the photo,
    warning it is a bit large.

    Scott W, Dec 7, 2005
  19. Joseph Chamberlain, DDS

    Steve Wolfe Guest

    This is what you can do if you pay for your stitching software
    I see a some spots in the palm foliage where it looks abnormally soft, in
    places where it doesn't seem that it should be soft. Is that from the
    original images, or from the stitching?

    Steve Wolfe, Dec 7, 2005
  20. Joseph Chamberlain, DDS

    Steve Wolfe Guest

    The seams are somewhat obvious. Certainly far from the worst I've seen,
    but they're definitely visible. I'm pretty lazy, so I use autostitch, and
    never see seams like that.

    Steve Wolfe, Dec 7, 2005
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