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Author Topic: Why don't they make an affordable panoramic digital cam?  (Read 5552 times)
iluvmycam
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« on: July 05, 2013, 08:08:04 PM »
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Something like the old Xpan film camera for $3500 or so? Even $4800 may be doable.

The only pan model out there is huge and it is maybe $25,000 to $30,000 or some such thing.

Yes, i know about stiching. But I'd rather have it in one shot.
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kaelaria
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« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2013, 09:56:49 PM »
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Probably because there's no need.
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Rhossydd
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« Reply #2 on: July 06, 2013, 12:44:17 AM »
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Probably because there's no need.
I presume you've never actually owned or used a true one shot panoramic camera ?
If you had, you'd know that they offer something significantly different to anything you can do with stitching or the sort of sweep modes the cheap P&S cameras have.

Why don't they make them ? Too expensive and too little demand :-(
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kaelaria
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« Reply #3 on: July 06, 2013, 01:22:21 AM »
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Lol you just said the same thing call it what you will.
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PhotoEcosse
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« Reply #4 on: July 06, 2013, 03:17:58 AM »
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The Xpan isn't a panoramic camera in the traditional motorised sense. It really was just a very wide format film camera with lens to match.

You can get virtually the same effect in digital with a Nikon D800. stick on an ultra-wide lens, stand well back and then top and tail the resultant image. You will get a picture which will easily print to a (say) 36" x 12" picture, which is pretty much the same dimensions as a print from an Xpan negative.

Here is an example of a single exposure, unstitched "panorama" from a D800:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/45711981@N00/8575210090/

« Last Edit: July 06, 2013, 09:06:13 AM by PhotoEcosse » Logged

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Rob C
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« Reply #5 on: July 06, 2013, 03:22:00 AM »
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Something like the old Xpan film camera for $3500 or so? Even $4800 may be doable.

The only pan model out there is huge and it is maybe $25,000 to $30,000 or some such thing.

Yes, i know about stiching. But I'd rather have it in one shot.


I suppose they don't make them for the same reason they don't make a full-frame 6x6 Hasselblad in digital: cost of sensors. I'm positive that they (FF digiBlads) would currently sell well to the top shooters in the world, and were our industry still where it was in the 80s, that would mean a lot of photographers. Maybe if the financial tide turns...

Rob C
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iluvmycam
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« Reply #6 on: July 06, 2013, 12:38:44 PM »
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I suppose they don't make them for the same reason they don't make a full-frame 6x6 Hasselblad in digital: cost of sensors. I'm positive that they (FF digiBlads) would currently sell well to the top shooters in the world, and were our industry still where it was in the 80s, that would mean a lot of photographers. Maybe if the financial tide turns...

Rob C

That was another thing I was wondering? Why do FF digital for 6x6.
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Rhossydd
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« Reply #7 on: July 06, 2013, 02:23:40 PM »
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cost of sensors.
Not an issue.
If there was sufficient demand, it would be easy enough for a manufacturer to buy in sensors from another supplier(which is probably what Roundshot are doing). The real difficulty is manufacturing the rotation mechanism and designing all the associated firmware to drive it and pull the image data together.
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #8 on: July 06, 2013, 02:29:41 PM »
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Hi,

Roundshot makes rotational panoramas and I guess they use a scanning sensor...

I was looking at the XPan once, but I sort of realized that I would get similar panoramas by just cropping my 6x7 slides shots with a 45 mm lens.

Best regards
Erik

Not an issue.
If there was sufficient demand, it would be easy enough for a manufacturer to buy in sensors from another supplier(which is probably what Roundshot are doing). The real difficulty is manufacturing the rotation mechanism and designing all the associated firmware to drive it and pull the image data together.
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Rhossydd
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« Reply #9 on: July 06, 2013, 02:30:15 PM »
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Lol you just said the same thing call it what you will.
Not really, there is a demand, some people who would buy one at the right price, just not at the stratospheric Roundshot price tag.
The problem is that the technology has been moving so fast, it would be difficult to get anything to market in a profitable time frame. Maybe in fifteen years time when the technology has matured more fully, someone will be able to develop one, but I for one won't be selling my Noblex any time soon.
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Jim Kasson
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« Reply #10 on: July 06, 2013, 02:59:36 PM »
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Even $4800 may be doable.

If you're patient, you can probably find a used Betterlight back and the rotating head for less than $5K.
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Rob C
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« Reply #11 on: July 06, 2013, 04:28:57 PM »
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Apart from sensors, there's another point that probably hints against the production of such cameras: small f stops are often used on those wide-bodied cameras to allow sufficient DOF for the landscape shots they are often employed to produce. Some had a bit of fixed, built-in rise, but none allowed anything else, as far as I'm aware. It seems to be received wisdom that small stops and digital don't marry for life.

Rob C
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #12 on: July 07, 2013, 02:38:27 AM »
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I believe that the main reason it has not been done is technical and has to do with the angle of the light rays hitting the sensor in the image corners of panoramic cameras.

There are certainly ways around, but the cost of developping a fully validated solution is probably projibitively high considering the niche market.

Now, how about cropping 2 rows of pixels from a D800 image? You will still have 18mp with a 3:1 paniramic ratio which should still offer an image quality way superior to the old film pano cameras I would think?

Cheers,
Bernard
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Rhossydd
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« Reply #13 on: July 07, 2013, 02:41:15 AM »
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small f stops are often used on those wide-bodied cameras to allow sufficient DOF for the landscape shots they are often employed to produce... It seems to be received wisdom that small stops and digital don't marry for life.
Actually most true panoramic cameras used pretty standard Tessa lenses that opened quite wide. The cheapest, The Horizont (later the Horizon 202) had an f2.8 lenses, The Noblexes used f4.5 lenses.
No real issues there with small apertures and no mechanical need to use small sensors.
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Some had a bit of fixed, built-in rise, but none allowed anything else, as far as I'm aware.
The Noblexes that offered a front rise had an adjustable amount and very useful it is too. Adding that into the lens barrel is hardly a major difficulty and never added much to the cost.
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Rhossydd
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« Reply #14 on: July 07, 2013, 02:47:15 AM »
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I believe that the main reason it has not been done is technical and has to do with the angle of the light rays hitting the sensor in the image corners of panoramic cameras.
Absolutely not. On true rotating panoramic cameras you're only using the very centre portion of the lens's coverage and the light would be hitting the sensor dead square to it.
It's one reason that panoramic cameras often delivered better results than you might expect, they only use the sweet spot of the lens.
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There are certainly ways around, but the cost of developing a fully validated solution is probably prohibitively high considering the niche market.
That's certainly the main reason. A shame, I'd be in the queue for an digital Noblex if they could build one for less than 5,000.
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #15 on: July 07, 2013, 03:08:17 AM »
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Absolutely not. On true rotating panoramic cameras you're only using the very centre portion of the lens's coverage and the light would be hitting the sensor dead square to it.

Yes, I was of course referring to true panoramic cameras like the Fuji 617.

In my view, sweep style cameras have little advantage compared to spherical stitching heads.

Cheers,
Beernard
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Rhossydd
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« Reply #16 on: July 07, 2013, 03:38:40 AM »
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Yes, I was of course referring to true panoramic cameras like the Fuji 617.
"True" panoramic ?? I'd argue they're just wide format cameras.
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In my view, sweep style cameras have little advantage compared to spherical stitching heads.
Until you have a subject with any moving subjects, then you're stuffed.
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #17 on: July 07, 2013, 04:01:19 AM »
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"True" panoramic ?? I'd argue they're just wide format cameras.Until you have a subject with any moving subjects, then you're stuffed.

Ok, I just based my answer on the OP reference to the Fuji XPan. No problem to call it a wide format camera. Wink

I would argue that both sweep type cameras and stitch have problems with movement:
- sweep has a problem if the speed and direction are similar to that of the sweep mvt,
- stitch has a problem if the size of the object moving is larger than a single frame.

Cheers,
Bernard
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Rhossydd
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« Reply #18 on: July 07, 2013, 05:25:24 AM »
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I would argue that both sweep type cameras and stitch have problems with movement:
- sweep has a problem if the speed and direction are similar to that of the sweep mvt,
- stitch has a problem if the size of the object moving is larger than a single frame.
Undoubtedly stitching has problems with subject movement, especially anything that crosses multiple frames like water.

Sweep panoramics are a more complex issue.
How subjects are captured is dependant on exposure time and rotation speed.
One could get philosophical about what is captured and that it must be correct because it's all one single instance.
However I find that longer exposure times can give fascinating results that are completely unique.
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #19 on: July 07, 2013, 10:01:15 AM »
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Undoubtedly stitching has problems with subject movement, especially anything that crosses multiple frames like water.

It depends on the shutter speed really. No problem with long shutter speeds.

Cheers,
Bernard
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