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Author Topic: Stitching with a tilt-shift lens  (Read 8761 times)
pjtn
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« on: February 04, 2013, 05:20:19 PM »
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I've almost all but decided to purchase a 45mm TS-E lens to do landscape work with. I haven't found the answer to a couple of questions and I'm hoping someone might be able to help?

How much resolution gain can be expected from a full shift stitch with the camera in a vertical position on a 5D MKII?

Can a stitch be made without needing the camera to be level to the horizon?

I ask that last question because when I had a RRS Pano stitching kit it always had to be level to the horizon.
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Paul2660
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« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2013, 05:35:58 PM »
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As I recall the 45mm TS-E has 11mm of shift available.  You will get about 1/3 of a new frame with a full stitch of 11mm in the vertical.  

You don't have to have the camera exactly level to the horizon if you are stitching with the 45mm TS-E.  

Here is a good article from outbackphoto.com that covers this subject.

http://www.outbackphoto.com/workflow/wf_58/essay.html

Paul Caldwell
« Last Edit: February 04, 2013, 05:43:18 PM by Paul2660 » Logged

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Ellis Vener
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« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2013, 07:20:55 PM »
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I've almost all but decided to purchase a 45mm TS-E lens to do landscape work with. I haven't found the answer to a couple of questions and I'm hoping someone might be able to help?

How much resolution gain can be expected from a full shift stitch with the camera in a vertical position on a 5D MKII?

Can a stitch be made without needing the camera to be level to the horizon?

I ask that last question because when I had a RRS Pano stitching kit it always had to be level to the horizon.

If you mean with the camera oriented so the long side of the frame is upright (also known as "portrait" orientation) you should be getting maybe 90%  more pixels  if you shift the lens sideways in both directions so shoot with the lens centered, then shifted to the left, and then to the right. While you could possibly do this without the center frame my experience (with interiors) is that the extra data in the center frame helps resolve any possible parallax errors.

The sensor does not need to be perpendicular to nor the frame edge parallel  with the horizon, even with the RRS Pano gear. The bubble levels in the RRS pano gear are there as helpers not dictators.
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Ellis Vener
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pjtn
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« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2013, 07:29:24 PM »
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I only had the RRS Single Row pano kit, which I suppose can be pointed up or down but would always result in a motion which is not parallel to the horizon.

From the articles that I've read 90% increase was about what I guessed. So a 5D MKII should be capable of around 40mp with luck.

I guess that begs the question, is it worth stitching a 5D MKII or would a Nikon D800E provide as much image quality in a single frame? I recently sold my Phase One P30+ so have no camera and can start from complete scratch. Personally I prefer Canons cameras, but the image quality from the D800 is quite tempting.
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pjtn
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« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2013, 07:32:39 PM »
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Just remembered, another thing I was thinking about is the tonal transitions. I know that stitching wont increase the tonal values, but would it not compress them and make the transitions smoother? I love that smoothness from my Phase One and thought it would be nice if I could mimic it to some degree.
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stever
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« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2013, 10:36:17 PM »
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maybe this leads to a rehash of old arguments, but why use the shift for a pano rather use a pano head with a good 50mm (or several other possibilities)
    - the 45 TS is not the sharpest tack in the box
    - the shifted extremes are using the marginal edges of the lens

a pano head allows the use of a variety of lenses for wider panos that can be cropped to be sharp edge to edge

what am i missing here?
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pjtn
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« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2013, 10:45:37 PM »
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My reasons are:

- You cannot tilt a standard lens
- I'm after a consistent 4:3 aspect ratio
- The TS-E lens is much smaller and lighter than a full pano kit
- There should be very few stitching errors
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Jim Kasson
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« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2013, 10:47:47 PM »
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It's a coincidence that you bring this up today. I've been doing some testing of making panos by shifting vs the conventional method, and my initial tests, performed this morning, are better with the conventional method. I'm think there are probably conditions under which shifting is better, and I'd like to find out  about them.

See here for the testing I've done so far.

You seem to have decided that shifting is better for what you want to do. I'm interested in why you decided that.

Thanks,

Jim
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pjtn
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« Reply #8 on: February 04, 2013, 11:04:04 PM »
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Oh, another reason is that some of my exposures will be longer, perhaps up to 30 seconds. With too many images the light is likely to change and become a problem. So the limit of 3 images from the TS-E isn't a problem.

I understand more images would result in better quality, but the main thing for me is that the TS-E will result in better quality than just a single shot. Or is the edge performance on these lenses so weak that it would not result in a better image?

My print size is likely to be around 32x24".
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pjtn
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« Reply #9 on: February 04, 2013, 11:09:37 PM »
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Interesting writeup Jim. Stitching the D800 files must give some incredible image quality.

I particularly love Michael Lange's Wald series of images. He has used a Leaf 33mp back and stitched to create his images, I would love to see those prints in real life. It really makes me wonder if stitched D800 files would be in the same ballpark.
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HarperPhotos
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« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2013, 11:13:25 PM »
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Hello,

This shot was created with a Nikon D800E and a Nikon 35mm F1.4G lens in the vertical position with a standard Manfrotto L plate.

The image consists of 15 images stitched together in PS6 and then down sized to 417Mg as the original was well over 1.5Gig.

http://www.yousendit.com/download/UW14OU1SZ1BUWUROUjhUQw

Personally for doing panoramas I donít think it is necessary to use a TS-E lens.

Ciao

Simon
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« Reply #11 on: February 04, 2013, 11:18:24 PM »
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Hello,

Here is another image with the Nikon D800E and Nikon 28mm F1.8G lens

http://www.yousendit.com/download/UW16K0dzNDJWRCswYjhUQw

Cheers

Simon
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pjtn
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« Reply #12 on: February 04, 2013, 11:48:04 PM »
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Those files have incredible detail at 100% Simon. I can see why some people are comparing the D800E to 4x5 film.
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HarperPhotos
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« Reply #13 on: February 04, 2013, 11:55:03 PM »
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Hello,

Thanks and these PSD images have been down sized as well.

Thatís the reason why I have sold all my Mamiya 645 kit and about to sell all my Mamiya RZ kit and Leaf Aptus 75 back as I have no use for it. I also have my Sinar P2 kit for sale as well as all this equipment is now redundant.

Cheers

Simon
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Petrus
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« Reply #14 on: February 05, 2013, 01:59:01 AM »
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To do a "perfect" stitch with a shift lens the lens must be stationary and the body shifted. That would be the same as using a panorama head with fixed nodal point with conventional rotation panorama.

It is not relevant to compare large cylinder projection panoramas with shift lens plane projection stitch. 2 different animals. The first is a cylinder projection (did I echo myself), the later is just a makeShift (heh...) method of using the full image circle of the lens doing a normal plane projection.

What should be compared is a shift lens stitch and a 2-3 frame panorama with plane projection rendering covering the same area, and comparing these two. D800 shot might win.

addendum: Plane projection = rectilinear projection (?) Sorry my English, but I did study a bit of descriptive geometry, but not in English...
« Last Edit: February 05, 2013, 11:47:52 AM by Petrus » Logged
BartvanderWolf
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« Reply #15 on: February 05, 2013, 04:37:37 AM »
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I've almost all but decided to purchase a 45mm TS-E lens to do landscape work with. I haven't found the answer to a couple of questions and I'm hoping someone might be able to help?

How much resolution gain can be expected from a full shift stitch with the camera in a vertical position on a 5D MKII?

In millimetres, you'll add 2x 11mm to the 24mm in portrait orientation, so your virtual sensor becomes 46x36mm, which translates to 7176 x 5616 pixels (40.3 MP) on the 5D Mark II. Of course the image quality at the fully shifted edges will be a bit less than in the center of the image circle.

Quote
Can a stitch be made without needing the camera to be level to the horizon?

Yes, by shifting you only increase the image circle you can capture (in 2 or 3 shots), and thus increase the field of view. The aspect ratio does become a bit more square (2:2.56 instead of 2:3), so you may want to crop for the best composition. That's IMHO one of the benefits of rotational stitching instead of shifting, one can add as many tiles as the subject requires rather than letting the image size dictate the composition. 

Quote
I ask that last question because when I had a RRS Pano stitching kit it always had to be level to the horizon.

It's a pitty that you don't seem to have that kit anymore, because only shifting the lens (entrance pupil) will introduce parallax. With as small addition of 2 stopbars and a sliding clamp set you could have solved that (a shorter bar can be used if size is a concern), as I have:


That works pretty fast, shift lens left and camera right, shift lens right and camera left, and there will be no parallax when the stop bars are positioned correctly (for which I made a simple spacer for setting up).

Cheers,
Bart
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Ellis Vener
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« Reply #16 on: February 05, 2013, 08:41:23 AM »
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The attached was shot with a Canon TS-E 17mm f/4L on an EOS 1Ds Mark III.

The 1Ds Mark 3 captures approximately 100 fewer pixels in both height and width dimensions than the 5D Mark III so take that into account.
The full resolution of the three merged frames is 6,790 x 5,576 pixels or 37.861MP

For this photograph, I shot with the lens centered, then shifted left, and then shifted right. Both shifts were to the full limit the lens allowed, approximately 12mm. The central area, the area between the red and blue lines, demarcates the small amount of overlapping data my stitching program (PTGui Pro 9.1.6) would have to work with if I'd only shot the two shifted frames

I know this is not the lens you asked about but think it is a practical example of what you might expect.
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Ellis Vener
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« Reply #17 on: February 05, 2013, 08:55:35 AM »
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I fully agree with the suggestion of using a panning clamp (the RRS PCL-1) and a nodal slide to increase your capabilities, even if all you are interested in shooting is rectilinear panoramas.

I have also shot panos with the Nikon D800 and D800E, mostly with the 14-24mm f/2.8G, 24-70mm f/2.8G and the  100mm Zeiss Makro .ZF2. Phenomenal quality.

"To do a "perfect" stitch with a shift lens the lens must be stationary and the body shifted."

In theory yes; in practice it depends on the subject and the near/far relationships in the subject - which of course are relative to the focal length of the lens used.

"My reasons are:

- You cannot tilt a standard lens"

Tilting the lens and shooting panoramas produces far more troubles than it is worth in my experience. Shifting the lens and panning around the nodal point can also cause headaches when trying to resolve parallax errors, but once again it depends o nthe subject matter. With typical landscape photography subjects it likely does not generate the same problems that shooting cityscapes and architecture does.
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Ellis Vener
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« Reply #18 on: February 05, 2013, 09:38:55 AM »
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I do a lot of pano work.  I bought and experimented extensively with the 24mm TS-E.  It worked great and I got some really sharp results.  I sold it.

TS lenses are finicky to work with.  Focus and exposure are tricky.  When tilting, manual focus and exposure is a somewhat trial-and-error activity.  Yes, yes, I know that you can calculate most of the parameters and do measurements etc..., but the point is that working with them is complicated and lacks even the most basic level of spontaneity.  I worked extensively with combining tilts, shifts and multi-row panoramas...using a variety of approaches.  It worked, but inconsistently. 

Tilt shift lenses are fabulous and fascinating and can produce amazing results.  But the simple truth today is that for most applications a good wide angle lens on a full-frame camera can do just as well or better.  Throw some basic tripod-mounted panning-stitching into the mix and you can get some fantastic results without all the knobs and experimentation and manual focus and manual exposure and blah blah blah. 

If, as you say, interior photography and architectural photography is your primary purpose, I might relent and say that TS lenses are good for that.  I might also say you could still have results from traditional stitching that are indistinguishable from the TS results. 
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« Reply #19 on: February 05, 2013, 11:50:18 AM »
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"To do a "perfect" stitch with a shift lens the lens must be stationary and the body shifted."

In theory yes; in practice it depends on the subject and the near/far relationships in the subject - which of course are relative to the focal length of the lens used.


Of course, but this is the same thing as using a nodal point head for "conventional" stitch panoramas. Sometimes it is mandatory, sometimes nice to have, sometimes unnecessary, depending on the near-far relationship of objects in the picture.
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