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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre General Photography Talk
Thread started 18 Oct 2005 (Tuesday) 16:24
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panoramic and the nodal point

 
l ­ bo
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Fenwick Island, De.
Oct 18, 2005 16:24 |  #1

I am going to attempt my first panoramic shot tonight. Just got my new 50mm lens, the sky will be clear, full moon rising over the skyline of my town view across the bay. I plan on taking it at dusk.

I don't have a pano head, and my tripod doesn't have built in levels. I see much talk about the "nodal point" and understand the concept...........I think. I don't see much explanation on how to determine it, or know if you have it correct. So long as the tripod is level across a 180 degree rotation, I should be fine. Correct? I will have to shoot in landscape mode but figure there will be at least 7-8 shots to fill it all.

Thanks in advance.


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Scottes
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Oct 18, 2005 16:39 |  #2

7 or 8 shots wide on a 50mm will probably result in a lot of distortion for 50mm landscape. However you should be OK if you're careful. You don't really need to find the nodal point and it's fairly useless without a pano head, so just come close. See what you can do to get the camera to pivot around the middle of the lens. So somehow place your camera on your tripod in a way that the center of the lens is over the center of the tripod's turntable. Or as close as possible.

Take the shots, don't worry too much. There will be another (almost) full moon tomorrow.

Get the pics and we can run you through PanoTools to output a perfect pano (with a little work).


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UncleDoug
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Oct 18, 2005 17:08 as a reply to Scottes's post |  #3

Scottes is right, don't worry about the nodal point untill you get a pano head.

But try 16 to 17 images for a 180° sweep using the camera/lense combo you are using.
This will allow for enough overlap(33%) for a seamless image, if you expose right;)

Just remember to lock down the camera, nothing auto at all, even focus, and all will be well.

Good luck:D


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l ­ bo
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Oct 18, 2005 19:04 |  #4

Thanks for the tips guys. A level of mist/haze rolled in so I abandoned the "dusk" shot. On my way home I stopped and took several images over looking Fenwick Island. I just loaded them up with the stitch software that came with the camera, and presto. WOW, it's pretty cool, never did it before and shot this without a tripod.

I definately see the stitching, in one area you can even see double telephone poles. I also realized I need to shoot in something other than Av, definate changes in contrast appear. Makes me have a deeper appreciation for those who do pano's really well.

If anyone's interested and can provide tips here is my first attempt:
http://i6.photobucket.​com ...y1994/Nature/panora​ma.jpgexternal link

The website severly limited the size of the pic (understandable). I set it to 8000 wide, they reduced it to 2000 wide.

Not sure how, or if this one can be fixed.....not that it's really worth fixing anyways. It was more of an experiment and test. I am heading out to see if I can capture this full moon over Ocean City.


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mgbeach
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Oct 18, 2005 19:21 |  #5

go full manual and shoot in a vertical format. It'll give you a lot more image data, and more consistency between shots.


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Scottes
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Oct 18, 2005 20:14 |  #6

You need to go full manual everything. Put the camera into Manual Mode and pick an aperture that will get the desired Depth of Field. Scan the scene, watching the needle. Whenever the needle moves to the right move the shutter speed down until the needle is in the middle. When you find the brightest part of the scene take a picture and check the LCD. If it doesn't look right adjust the shutter speed. Make sure it's bright enough without blowing anything out. You have to make a judgement call here as to whether or not that is the right exposure...

When you have it right use that picture as the image to be used for a Custom White Balance. (Check your manual on this, as I don't know your camera.)

Now you will have everything locked in - shutter, aperture, and white balance. So you won't get the banding that you see in your picture.

Now take your shots and be sure to overlap each shot, from 25% to 33% on each. This gives the stitching program a way to compare two pics to see how they should line up.

You should get a very good pano this way.

Now if you want to turn that into an excellent pano, other programs can do a lot. Canon's software can do a very good job, Autostich a bit better, but the best panos (in my opinion) use PanoTools. PanoTools is extremely difficult to use so several people have written front ends. PTAssembler is the best but the most difficult to use ($30 I think). PTGui is much easier but has limitations that you might not notice until you get very good at it. It's a little pricey at $60. Hugin is much like PTGui, opensource and free, but possibly not a full product yet. It's current version is MORE than enough to do the job, and did I mention is was free?

The three above can also use "helper" programs, all free. Autosift, Enblend, and Smartblend can all help with certain points in the process, like matching for seams and blending the seams.

Check out the Quick Tour from PTGui to get an idea of what can be done: http://www.ptgui.com/e​xamples/quicktour5/external link

Max Lyons, author of PTAssembler, stitched 196 frames to create a 1 gigapixel image: http://www.tawbaware.c​om/maxlyons/gigapixel.​htmexternal link
He has some awesome shots on his pages.

Here's a shot I did with PTGui, 68 megapixels: http://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthre​ad.php?t=102740


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PhotosGuy
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Oct 19, 2005 09:07 |  #7

don't worry about the nodal point untill you get a pano head.

I don't understand that. My tripod has the capability to rotate the cam just like a pano head would. So what's the advantage of having one? Or is it that the newer tripods won't rotate?


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Scottes
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Oct 19, 2005 09:15 |  #8

Which tripod head? And is it truly rotating around the nodal point?

Try lining up something close to something distant, like a close telephone pole lined up on the edge of a distant house. Place this on one side of the frame and take a picture, then rotate to get that lined-up part on the other side of the frame and take a picture. Most likely you'll see that the pole and house line up differently between the two.

This is parallax error and makes stitching panos very very difficult, since stitchers look for identical points in two photos and use these point to line things up. But the house and pole don't line up between the two, so you could easily end up with a double telephone pole, or some other weird effects. One shot I took had parallax errors and a doorway was no longer straight. It just happened to fall on a seam and the stitcher couldn't get things perfect and left the doorway "bent" in a way.

So rotating the camera around the lens' nodal point (entrance pupil to be exact) means no parallax error, and perfect stitching.


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PhotosGuy
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Oct 19, 2005 09:37 |  #9

Which tripod head? And is it truly rotating around the nodal point?

Is that directed to me? I understand that "So rotating the camera around the lens' nodal point (entrance pupil to be exact) means no parallax error, and perfect stitching", but that wasn't my question.

Maybe I should edit "My tripod has the capability to rotate the cam just like a pano head would." to "My tripod has the capability to rotate the cam..."

"Which tripod head?" If I told you, you still probably wouldn't have a clue! It's 40 years old. For the sake of argument though, it's a Tiltall.


FrankC - 20D, RAW, Manual everything...
Classic Carz, Racing, Air Show, Flowers.
Find the light... A few Car Lighting Tips, and MOVE YOUR FEET!
Have you thought about making your own book? // Need an exposure crutch?
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Scottes
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Oct 19, 2005 10:12 as a reply to PhotosGuy's post |  #10

Yes, it was in reply to one of your questions.

PhotosGuy wrote:
I understand that "So rotating the camera around the lens' nodal point (entrance pupil to be exact) means no parallax error, and perfect stitching", but that wasn't my question.

Actually it *is* the answer to your question "So what's the advantage of having one?" A pano head allows you to rotate around the entrance pupil, so rotating...


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Curtis ­ N
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Oct 19, 2005 10:17 |  #11

Scottes, you're referring to a pano head, which has a bracket that allows the camera to be mounted behind the pivot point, as opposed to a tilt/pan head, which is a different animal. Correct?


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Scottes
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Oct 19, 2005 10:30 as a reply to Curtis N's post |  #12

Curtis N wrote:
Scottes, you're referring to a pano head, which has a bracket that allows the camera to be mounted behind the pivot point, as opposed to a tilt/pan head, which is a different animal. Correct?

Yes. A pano head allow one to mount the camera in such a way that the lens' entrance pupil is centered over the pivot point. A multi-row capable pano head take ALL pivot points into account.


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PhotosGuy
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Oct 19, 2005 11:14 |  #13

Got it. Thanks.


FrankC - 20D, RAW, Manual everything...
Classic Carz, Racing, Air Show, Flowers.
Find the light... A few Car Lighting Tips, and MOVE YOUR FEET!
Have you thought about making your own book? // Need an exposure crutch?
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UncleDoug
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Oct 19, 2005 12:06 as a reply to l bo's post |  #14

l bo wrote:
If anyone's interested and can provide tips here is my first attempt:
http://i6.photobucket.​com ...y1994/Nature/panora​ma.jpgexternal link

First one? Not bad!
Not perfect but a good learning piece.
Looks like something was on auto or you changed settings somehow durring your sweep.

Scottes has given you wonderfull advice.

Here are a few more pointers.
If you do not have a pano head try to avoid; wider focal lengths and items close to you in the foreground. This will help to reduce the effects of paralax error.

Remember you are dealing with another factor when it comes to panoramas, TIME.
The time it takes you, from first shot to the last, needs to be reduced as far as possible. Especially when clouds are part of the scene. Also be aware that scenes like what you are shooting, with choppy water in the foreground, will necessitate a little Photoshop cloning to get rid for the seam, just the nature of the beast. If you are at the beach and are taking panos, try timing the sets of waves as they come in. Then adjust your rhythm of shots when taking your pano, sounds silly but it will help with lining things up!


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Neon01
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Oct 19, 2005 12:35 as a reply to UncleDoug's post |  #15

This is a fantastic thread. I'm sorry to jack it for a second, but I had a question about the white balance setting Scottes mentioned: is this still an issue if you're shooting raw? As in, you can adjust white balance (and exposure compensation for that matter) on all of them to be exactly the same on your PC, correct?

Since I shoot everything in RAW, I'm been just leaving my camera on AWB, but this may be the first reason I've discovered NOT to do this. Is this true?

Also, you mentioned going with a longer focal length than 50mm, what would be ideal? 85mm EFL?


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panoramic and the nodal point
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