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Author Topic: Panoramic Head - necessary for single row panos?  (Read 8997 times)
Bob Smith
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« Reply #20 on: November 24, 2008, 05:49:38 PM »
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and here's another situation where a pano head is a must.  I use an RRS rig for the traditional sorts of uses but I also use it for things like this.  I needed a very high res shot of this product for a large display.  This image is made from 6 frames with a 180mm macro on a 5D.  With precise camera movement this thing stitches very easily.

[attachment=9854:080523_2861.jpg]
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David Sutton
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« Reply #21 on: November 25, 2008, 01:19:22 AM »
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Hi Neil. I made a pano head compact enough to go in a small backpack but found I never needed it. I rarely go more than 3 rows with usually no more than 5 shots per row, and no closer than across a street. Some are hand held (no more than 2 rows for this), otherwise on a sturdy tripod with rotating ball head, L plate and bubble level. Autopano has never had a problem stitching. The trickiest thing has been learning to line the rows up by sight. If you are only doing single rows you won't have this difficulty. When moving the camera horizontally I note the edge of the frame and add 10% to help the software, and double check that the plane of movement of the camera matches what I want to capture.
Why not save your money and go out and experiment with what you have and whatever software you are going to use, and see if that suffices. My experience has been that most expensive gear has been a waste of time and that learning to use the software was much more important (except for any gear from RRS who make things of great intrinsic beauty- stay away from them or you'll only bankrupt yourself wanting more). Set the camera vertically on your tripod and go for it. You may be pleasantly surprised with the results from what you have already. Cheers, David
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Ben Rubinstein
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« Reply #22 on: November 25, 2008, 03:59:21 AM »
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Quote from: fike
I am with Panopeeper on this.  I can't say that you won't have SOME decent results without a calibrated setup, but your results will be inconsistent and your keeper rate will be much lower.  Sometimes, depending on your photographic method, that is an acceptable tradeoff.  For me, I like to know that my technique is going to hold up under all conditions.

Pom, you are showing some superior results, but their compositional elements aren't challenging to stitching software.   I too have shot large handheld panoramics that I have sold for $100s.  The difference is that when the circumstances become challenging, the calibrated setup will not fail you.  If you are knowledgeable enough to recognize when more precision is needed, you can get great results without a calibrated head, like the shots you have shown, but when you get home and enthusiastically start stitching an image for which you have high-hopes only to find substantial parallax error across multiple frames, no amount of cloning and blending will soothe your breaking heart.

Some people shoot from the hip and get great results.  Others are more deliberative and precise, and they too get great results.  Neither is right or wrong.  I guess your approach to stitching depends on the type of photographer you are.

Not again!

I'M NOT SHOOTING BLEEDING HANDHELD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Neither have I at any point advocated it! As I've said twice, I use an RRS pano head.

What I am saying is that I've never run into a situation where I have had parralex and I've done a heck of a lot more pano shooting than just these two pics!

I concur with those who say that it is not an issue for modern software and am yet to see an example which would be a problem.

I'm issuing a challenge. I want someone to put up a set of 'challenging' images for stitching that 'need' nodal point rotation but were shot rotating only the ballhead's base. I'll download them, shoot them through my software and we'll see if there is a parallex issue. I'm shooting with close up elements and have never seen a problem. If you can't show that modern software needs nodal point rotation with anything but niche applications then I would suggest that you stop advocating the need for it. I agree that indoor architectural photography may need it but as a niche application it is far from requiring the need to purchase expensive equipment unless you need it for that specific application.

I use a pano head (sans nodal slide) as it's a fast and easy way of stitching vertical pano's. Not because I couldn't use the ballheads rotating base instead which is the point I've been trying to make.
« Last Edit: November 25, 2008, 04:04:42 AM by pom » Logged

fike
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« Reply #23 on: November 25, 2008, 07:44:52 AM »
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Quote from: pom
Not again!

I'M NOT SHOOTING BLEEDING HANDHELD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Neither have I at any point advocated it! As I've said twice, I use an RRS pano head.

What I am saying is that I've never run into a situation where I have had parralex and I've done a heck of a lot more pano shooting than just these two pics!

I concur with those who say that it is not an issue for modern software and am yet to see an example which would be a problem.

I'm issuing a challenge. I want someone to put up a set of 'challenging' images for stitching that 'need' nodal point rotation but were shot rotating only the ballhead's base. I'll download them, shoot them through my software and we'll see if there is a parallex issue. I'm shooting with close up elements and have never seen a problem. If you can't show that modern software needs nodal point rotation with anything but niche applications then I would suggest that you stop advocating the need for it. I agree that indoor architectural photography may need it but as a niche application it is far from requiring the need to purchase expensive equipment unless you need it for that specific application.

I use a pano head (sans nodal slide) as it's a fast and easy way of stitching vertical pano's. Not because I couldn't use the ballheads rotating base instead which is the point I've been trying to make.

Sorry about the misquote.  I think I was with panopeeper in  honing in on this statement:
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Modern software just doesn't need nodal point rotation except for extremely niche shooting.

This made me think you were referring to the whole panoramic head because that is what I think the purpose of the entire setup is.  So as I reread more carefully, I see that you are using a panning base without nodal slide.  

I will need to go back through my early panoramic work when I was still experimenting with equipment to find an example where I think a calibrated nodal  slide is essential.  Everything I have done for years has either been freehand (handheld) or used a spherical head.

As I described above, one area where it can be really annoying to work without a full spherical setup is when you are looking well below or well above the horizon.  If you just use your ballhead, you get a panoramic in an arc like a rainbow, instead of a rectangle.  I have done a great deal of stuff that starts at your feet and moves up into the trees.  This extreme wide work that is very close to the camera is the most challenging stuff.  As you mention, indoors, this is particularly problematic because of the multitudes of perfectly straight lines.  

Also, multi-row work will be challenging without a horizontal and vertical rotation that is offered by a spherical setup.
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Fike, Trailpixie, or Marc Shaffer
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I carry an M43 ILC, a couple of good lenses, and a tripod.
neil74
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« Reply #24 on: November 25, 2008, 08:22:34 AM »
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Hello all,

Thanks for all the replies.  I have ordered a NN 180, capable of holding a greater weight than the NN3 (I will be using my 5D or my Sigma DP1) and well suited to single rows.

In the end I knew I needed some specialist equipment a lot of my work has foreground interest near the camera and as others have commented trees or bushes can be a nightmare.

Looking forward to getting it some time this week.

Neil
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kikashi
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« Reply #25 on: November 25, 2008, 05:03:11 PM »
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Quote from: Bob Smith
and here's another situation where a pano head is a must.  I use an RRS rig for the traditional sorts of uses but I also use it for things like this.  I needed a very high res shot of this product for a large display.  This image is made from 6 frames with a 180mm macro on a 5D.  With precise camera movement this thing stitches very easily.

[attachment=9854:080523_2861.jpg]
Wouldn't this particular example be best done by moving the camera bodily upwards, taking several horizontal shots? Or am I just showing my ignorance?

Jeremy
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Bob Smith
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« Reply #26 on: November 25, 2008, 05:39:29 PM »
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Quote from: kikashi
Wouldn't this particular example be best done by moving the camera bodily upwards, taking several horizontal shots?

When you move the camera position up and down (even just slightly) you change the nature of what you see through the bottle and liquid.  The dark and light areas take on different shapes.  Also the rear of the label begins to show through the glass.  The position of highlights on curved surfaces (including the drops) changes.  You really can't change camera position without changing several image elements that will make stitching more difficult.  The only time that moving the camera up and down and shooting rows works semi well is if the object being photographed is two dimensional.  I've photographed artwork exactly like that... but then you run into depth of field issues.  Leaving the camera still and perfectly square to the art while moving the art works much better.
« Last Edit: November 25, 2008, 05:40:44 PM by Bob Smith » Logged

Panopeeper
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« Reply #27 on: November 25, 2008, 06:19:27 PM »
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Quote from: kikashi
Wouldn't this particular example be best done by moving the camera bodily upwards, taking several horizontal shots?

Put yourself into the place of the camera, positioned at the top of the bottle. How do you see the shiny plastic rim under the cap? From above, or perhaps you see it only as a narrow horizontal line.

Now, go somewhat lower. How do you see the plastic rim now?

The two views are contradicting. Although it is possible to make crops without any overlap, i.e. to eliminate the the contradictions (if the shots were made very accurately), but the result would be an unnatural appearance.

One could achieve roughly the same by shooting with a long lens from far away; again, the appearance (the perspective) would look unnatural: it is not like you see something up-close by going close to it, but by magnifying a picture made from far away.
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Gabor
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« Reply #28 on: November 27, 2008, 02:39:50 AM »
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Quote from: kikashi
Wouldn't this particular example be best done by moving the camera bodily upwards, taking several horizontal shots? Or am I just showing my ignorance?
Bob and Gabor, thank you. Clearly the latter of the two choices I presented was the correct one! I'm better educated now.

Jeremy
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OldRoy
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« Reply #29 on: November 27, 2008, 05:47:29 AM »
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Warning: I haven't read the entire thread, and I am strictly an amateur...

I shoot mostly VR spherical panoramas using the Nikon 10.5 FE lens, where the right head (NN3 in my case) and correct setup are essential. Which is not what the op was asking about. But I also shoot single and multi row landscape panos. I have found that having the NPP/camera set up correctly, or even roughly correctly (I sometimes use zooms and only know approximately where the NPP is at differing focal lengths), helps a great deal where there is a pronounced combination of foreground and distant features: the greater the separations, the worse the parallax. To some extent, without a panohead, how well the stitch/blend works is dependent on exactly where on the subject the joins fall. I am using PTGui to stitch (excellent product) in combination with its own blend code, or Enblend or Smartblend. These usually give very similar results but occasionally one may be marginally and unpredictably better.

A point that may not have been mentioned (or I have missed) is that most people shoot panos in portrait format to maximise final resolution. For most regular non-panoramic heads this would mean that the POV/NPP swings though an arc. I haven't tried this but it doesn't sound too promising to me! It's worth mentioning in passing - I hope I'm not insulting anyone's intelligence - that in stitched cylindrical panoramas, horizontal elements (+ or - zero degrees of pitch) will exhibit unavoidable curvature which becomes more pronounced as pitch values increase (or decrease).

The NN series of panheads are small and light and if not perfect, they are not too expensive either.
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