If you’re looking for landscapes - you’ve come to the wrong site!
These are close-up 360° cylindrical panoramas - which can be taken outside - or are
ideal for people who like to stay indoors(!)
Close-up panoramas are a bit more complicated than traditional panoramas - it is
important to find the nodal point of your lens or else you will suffer from parallax
To explain what a parallax error is, I did a little experiment:
I stuck a piece of red tape on the door at the far end of the corridor, and set my
tripod up at the other end. In between I have placed an old lamp stand with a matching
piece of red tape stuck on the top of it.
The 3 pictures above are taken from a tripod in a fixed position - all I’ve done
is rotate the camera in it’s fixed position on the tripod so that the lamp stand
appears first at the right of the view finder, then in the centre and finally on
the left of the view finder.
As you can see, only in the centre photo does the tape on the lamp stand match up
with the tape on the door.
This is a parallax error - they make stitching together a panorama impossible.
In the photos below, I minimised the parallax error by placing the nodal point of
the lens over the centre of the tripod:
Now, whether the camera faces left or right, the tape on the lamp stand still matches
up with the tape on the door.
The nodal point of the lens is the point around which the lens can be rotated so
that parallax errors don’t happen. It isn’t a spot which is marked on the lens -
so you have to find it with an experiment similar to that above - moving the the
camera a little further back from the centre of the tripod and looking through the
view finder until the tape lines up - whichever way the lens points:
Normal point about which the camera rotates
Move the camera back (using a VR head or rail plate etc.) so that the nodal point
of the lens is above the centre of the tripod
N.B. If you are using a zoom lens, then the nodal point will change when you change
the focal length.
Tips for taking the photos:
1. Use a wide lens - less shots to stitch together.
2. Do not use auto white balance - it causes colour changes.
3. Use aperture control mode - to fix the aperture, but allow the speed to change
- this ensures the depth of field will be the same throughout.
4. Use a smaller aperture (larger f number) to maximise depth of field.
5. Fix the focus.
6. Don’t use a polariser on your lens.
7. Overlap the images by about a third.
8. Choosing a subject with even lighting (no very bright and very dark areas) will
work the best - or at least be easiest to stitch.
If you already have Photoshop - it has stitching capabilities. Go to ‘File’ then
‘Automate’ then ‘Photomerge’ and follow the instructions.
If you have a Canon camera - they often come with a free stitching program.
There are loads of specialist programs to choose from (do a Google search) - I like
PanaVue Image Assembler because it will let me use my fisheye lens without having
to de-fish first, and it’s very, very simple to use.