Has someone found a method to prevent photomerge in PS from killing the fidelity of images ? The attached image shows what happens at 1:1 after photomerge had it's way with the images.
Photoshop uses bicubic resampling for many of its distortion/keystone correction activities. This is a rather sub-optimal method, as you have experienced. The only remedy is to apply a significant amount of deconvolution sharpening (e.g. Smart sharpening, or a better method like FocusMagic or Topaz Labs Infocus).
Dedicated panorama stitching software usually offers a choice from several more advanced resampling algorithms which produce much higher detail and micro-contrast. Sometimes even too much detail and potentially ringing artifacts, therefore the choice from several methods. Methods that use Lanczos windowed Sinc resampling methods are often much better in keeping the microcontrast when small distortion amounts are involved.
You can try Hugin
, a free pano stitcher with lots of capabilities, to see if that does better than Photoshop. When you do a lot of stitching, PTGUI Pro
is an allround professional alternative with overall good performance for multiple computer OS platforms. AutoPano Pro/Giga
is also useful for more automatic work on large amounts of pano shots, but when the stitching is difficult it's not always as fast as PTGUI at getting good results.