Panorama Stitching Revisited

Discussion in 'Digital SLR' started by Norm Dresner, Jul 8, 2005.

  1. Norm Dresner

    Norm Dresner Guest

    Since I asked earlier how to rescue some panoramas that I took I think it's
    only fair to report on the results.

    Image #1 Since it's highly unlikely that I could re-take the pictures [it's
    a long way from Maryland to the Colorado/New Mexico border area on US285, I
    had to find a way to get good results merging the series of pictures I took
    of a mountain lake and the gorgeous background and sky.

    The primary mistake I made was in having the camera set to automatic
    exposure rather than having the same exposure for each image AND in having
    the polarizing filter on the lens which heightened the brightness
    differences between successive frames. Not using a tripod was, I felt, a
    minor issue and it turned out to be so as well.

    There were 10 images covering about a 150 degree arc spaced more-or-less
    randomly but as even as I could do standing on the edge of a moderately
    steep slope at the edge of a lake.

    Image #2 Again, it's a long way from Baltimore to Leadville CO and when I
    took the picture of the Leadville Colorado & Southern Locomotive #641 I
    couldn't stand back far enough to get it all in one picture even with a 19mm
    zoom on my digital SLR so I took a series of 6 images, again panning across
    the area. Since the locomotive was fairly close (probably 20' away), I
    should have walked parallel to the tracks instead of panning but ... who
    knew at the time?

    Anyway ...
    Photoshop CS2 did a fairly poor job overall. When presented with the 10
    images of the first panorama, it even got the order of them wrong! When I
    restricted it to the last three images, the alignment was very nice but
    there was visible banding resulting from exposure differences. With the
    locomotive, the stitching was so bad that the track beneath it wasn't smooth
    but had several jumps.

    Canon's PhotoStitch did even worse. I didn't try with the scenic but with
    the locomotive the stitching was so bad that some of the locomotive's wheels
    weren't round! Worse, I felt, was that the range of focal lengths available
    in the setup stopped at 24mm and I couldn't enter a specific value.

    ThePanoramaFactory did a remarkable job on both. The scenic panorama was
    seamless, both in geometry and brightness. The locomotive picture had some
    distortion but I realized that the program had actually rendered what I
    would have seen with a single wide angle lens which renders closer subjects
    larger than distant ones, an effect even noticeable on peoples faces.

    I didn't have any other programs to try but I think that the $60 for the
    PanoramaFactory program was well spent. I have no connection with the
    company that produced it, I'm just a very satisfied user.

    The next time I try to take a panorama of a close subject I'll try walking
    past it instead of panning around, I'll also take a single light reading
    and use it for all of the images in the set. Perhaps for really critical
    subject matter with really obvious geometric designs the results wouldn't
    have been this good and a better technique, possibly using a horizontally
    aligned camera on a tripod would have been better but for what was intended
    as a pseudo-professional scenic, the mountain lake is a roaring success and
    the locomotive is a lesson in how not to take a panorama.

    Norm Dresner, Jul 8, 2005
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  2. Norm Dresner

    Rudy Benner Guest

    Try Autostitch, better than any of the above. its free.
    Rudy Benner, Jul 8, 2005
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  3. Norm Dresner

    egb Guest

    Thanks for sharing your results. I'm looking around for a stitcher
    right now. Your post was very helpful.
    egb, Jul 8, 2005
  4. Norm Dresner

    Steve Wolfe Guest

    I didn't have any other programs to try but I think that the $60 for the
    Just for fun, try Autostitch, and see how it compares.

    Steve Wolfe, Jul 8, 2005
  5. Norm Dresner

    Frank ess Guest

    The indoor was six photos, JPEG 1728x1152 originals recorded along
    with the raw, no processing other than the inevitable in-camera (no
    sharpening, contrast, saturation). I'm not going to count the outdoor,
    bit it came from the same setup at 70mm.

    Exposure was 1/125 f/5.6 manual, Canon 70-200 2.8L IS, hand-held
    200mm. 20D Canon.

    I used PS CS2's Automate - Photomerge. Just clicked the files into it
    and let it rip. Cropped the top and bottom to level out my
    pan-tracking errors, cloned in a few of the blurry faces from
    originals when the program overlaid the one blurred photo, which came
    about when the camera focused on the MC. I might be able to scavenge a
    few sharper faces from others images not strictly within the panorama

    Otherwise, no adjustments.

    I think it shows the way it was pretty well, at relatively little
    Frank ess, Jul 8, 2005
  6. Norm Dresner

    Andrew Haley Guest

    That might not work so well.

    That's a really good idea.

    I just tried it and it's fun, but the results aren't as good as
    Panorama Factory: it doesn't blend as well, and it doesn't allow
    manula adjustment where needed. On the other hand, it is fully
    automatic, which is nice.

    Andrew Haley, Jul 8, 2005
  7. One professor of mine recommends Pano Tools, and he and I have both had
    good results with CS. I've never shot at less than 50mm; really ca. 80
    mm dSLR equivalent. Nor have I gone wider than about 150 degrees, and
    try to do those with the sun at my back. Also, manual everything.

    Is it possible to post a couple of jpgs of the original and merged?
    John McWilliams, Jul 9, 2005
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