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Author Topic: Wide-Angle Lens vis-a-vis Stitching?  (Read 2842 times)
JimAscher
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« on: August 23, 2011, 05:03:44 PM »
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I want to severely narrow the "focus" of this query.

I generally understand that a panoramic-type photo created by stitching three (for example) separate shots, taken each with a moderately long lens, will have greater definition (more meta-pixels) than a single shot of the same approximate scene taken with a wide-angle lens.  But for the printing by ink-jet of a relatively small photo (8x10, say), will there be any significant difference in photo quality as to warrant the extra effort involved in stitching?

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k bennett
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« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2011, 05:25:20 PM »
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For a small-ish print, in my experience, there won't be an observable difference in the final print.
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BartvanderWolf
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« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2011, 06:00:16 PM »
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I generally understand that a panoramic-type photo created by stitching three (for example) separate shots, taken each with a moderately long lens, will have greater definition (more meta-pixels) than a single shot of the same approximate scene taken with a wide-angle lens.  But for the printing by ink-jet of a relatively small photo (8x10, say), will there be any significant difference in photo quality as to warrant the extra effort involved in stitching?

Hi Jim,

Since a resolution difference can be seen (somewhat subject dependent) between a 360 and a 720 PPI print (but not really at higher PPIs, unless line-art is involved), it makes sense to assume that 8x720 x 10x720 pixels = 41.47 MP would be virtually impossible to improve. It also suggests that while there is a bit to be gained by going from 10.37 MP to 41.47 MP input, it's a just a small benefit.

Therefore, if your cropped input image has between 10 and 41 MP, then stitching to get more pixels is an exercise in futility, for that output size. However, if you want to be able and also create larger output with the same intrinsic resolution (whether that is useful is another question) then stitching is still useful.

Cheers,
Bart
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JimAscher
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« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2011, 06:18:09 PM »
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Thanks, guys.  i thought so.
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Jim Ascher

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louoates
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« Reply #4 on: August 23, 2011, 06:36:17 PM »
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What is vastly different is the image distortion the wide angle introduces. I shoot a lot of mountain vistas, almost always with 3 to 6 images with a long lens then stitched. If the scene is, say 5 or 6 miles across, the stitched method will maintain the size relationships from left to right across the vista. The wide angle approach will accentuate the middle zone and the left and right will diminish significantly and there's that pesky curving of the horizon to deal with. Also, having the extra pixels helps when I make 8-10 feet wide canvas prints.
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JimAscher
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« Reply #5 on: August 23, 2011, 06:42:05 PM »
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What is vastly different is the image distortion the wide angle introduces. I shoot a lot of mountain vistas, almost always with 3 to 6 images with a long lens then stitched. If the scene is, say 5 or 6 miles across, the stitched method will maintain the size relationships from left to right across the vista. The wide angle approach will accentuate the middle zone and the left and right will diminish significantly and there's that pesky curving of the horizon to deal with. Also, having the extra pixels helps when I make 8-10 feet wide canvas prints.

Image distortion is, of course, a factor.  But, again, for an 8X10 (inch) print, how much wide-angle distortion would really prove objectionable?

New, follow-up question:  What size print larger than 8X10 inches would likely justify the increased definition resulting from stitching?

Thanks to everyone again.
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k bennett
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« Reply #6 on: August 24, 2011, 06:52:16 AM »
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I'm using mid-resolution cameras (10, 12, and 16mp), so I start wishing I had stitched when I get up around 20 inches wide. So, maybe an 8x20 or so. At 360 pixels per inch, that's 7200 pixels wide, which is pushing it hard for a single capture.
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JimAscher
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« Reply #7 on: August 24, 2011, 09:01:09 AM »
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I'm using mid-resolution cameras (10, 12, and 16mp), so I start wishing I had stitched when I get up around 20 inches wide. So, maybe an 8x20 or so. At 360 pixels per inch, that's 7200 pixels wide, which is pushing it hard for a single capture.

I've not yet considered making that wide of a print.  (I only do black-and-white, which of course can still benefit from greater resolution in a print.  Perhaps even more so than with color.)  As I've ordered myself a Fhotodiox Nikon to M4/3 shift adapter, primarily for parallax adjustment, I might try it out for ease of stitching also.     
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leuallen
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« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2011, 06:54:43 PM »
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Jim, if you are using the Photodiox adapter with m4/3 be aware that short lenses do not work well. Less than about 40mm will give a color cast in the corners. So, not for architecture. I have a 35mm that I have not tried yet and hope that it works. 28mm gave very poor results with multiple lenses tested. 50mm and up works great for panos and gives about a 3:1 which is nice.

Larry
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JimAscher
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« Reply #9 on: August 24, 2011, 07:10:19 PM »
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Jim, if you are using the Photodiox adapter with m4/3 be aware that short lenses do not work well. Less than about 40mm will give a color cast in the corners. So, not for architecture. I have a 35mm that I have not tried yet and hope that it works. 28mm gave very poor results with multiple lenses tested. 50mm and up works great for panos and gives about a 3:1 which is nice.

Larry

Larry;  As part of my rather extensive internet research on the subject of the Fotodiox shift adapter, I'd previously noted the excellent comments and recommendations that you contributed to the dpreview forum last year on this matter.  As such, I am already intending to try a Nikon 55-200mm zoom lens I also have left over from my 35mm film days.  My Nikon 28mm and 50mm lenses will not necessarily gather dust, as I can use them with my newly-acquired Lensbaby tilt adapter.  My arsenal is increasing by leaps and bounds -- at not too great a cost for additional lenses.   Many thanks for your additional advice.  Jim
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Kirk Gittings
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« Reply #10 on: August 24, 2011, 07:59:33 PM »
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I can share this direct experience. A single frame from a 24mm L II T/S on a 5dMII printed at 15 inches in width compared to a 2x flat stitch from the same camera and lens also printed 15 inches wide.....drum roll.......the 2x flat stitch wins hands down.
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fike
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« Reply #11 on: August 26, 2011, 07:07:25 AM »
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This comparison might be helpful.
http://www.trailpixie.net/photography/comparing_focal.htm

...and I agree with others, no, stitching for an 8x10 does not offer any value over using a wide angle lens. 

On the other hand, stitching can take the place of having to own and carry another $1,000 lens (and if done right, without any quality penalty).
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torger
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« Reply #12 on: August 31, 2011, 05:25:50 AM »
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Concerning resolution/sharpness for modern 35mm FF and APS-C systems the resolving power of the lens is more of a factor than megapixels on the sensor. For example, an 18 megapixel APS-C rarely produce sharper images than a 12 megapixel FF, since the lens is limiting. This makes it a bit risky to just consider pixels per inch when discussion resolution of prints. A 240 ppi print from a sharp fullframe lens can be sharper than a 300 ppi print from an APS-C with less good lens (assuming excellent photographic technique and conditions for both).

Wide angle lenses for DSLRs are often not so sharp, due to the required retrofocal design. A low cost 50mm lens can be much sharper than a (much) more expensive 24mm lens.

Stitching wide angle images using longer focal lengths is a *very* cost effective way to make high resolution images.

My experience concerning resolution of images is that you can indeed differ between different resolutions on prints, much easier than the "common recommendations", most recommendations in circulation is based on what limits old technology (film on smaller formats) had and what was acceptable, not so much the limits of a human eye in good condition.

However, an image that is not a sharp as it could be will still look good. Print technology of today is very good at hiding pixelation artifacts, so a low res print will not look blocky/aliased, just a bit fuzzy. This means that it is very much a matter of taste how much resolution you need. If you want to make prints that are so high res that further increase of resolution cannot be noticed even at quite close inspection, then you'll typically need 40 - 80 sharp megapixels. If you just need good looking results and don't worry much that it is not as sharp as it could be, 12 megapixels or so will usually suffice.

Above say A4/letter print size is not so much a factor, since smaller prints are inspected more closely than large, that is smaller prints will require higher resolution that larger. On the other hand, one might want to impress with resolution on the large print and have it sharp even when viewed closed only a part of the image, and then many megapixels will be required.
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