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Old Dec 7, 2007, 2:41 PM   #1
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I have just bought my first camera that does NOT include a panorama setting. (Panasonic DMC-FZ18 ) It does however have a custom program mode. Can anyone suggest what the best settings for that would be for panoramas?
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Old Dec 7, 2007, 6:49 PM   #2
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Keeping the exposure and white balance constant over all "frames" will make stitching much easier. A level tripod (rotate about a vertical axis) will allow you to use simpler stitching software.

If you are shooting objects very close (interior of an automobile), take some time to figure out where the "nodal point" of your camera is. If shooting distant objects, don't worry much about it.

Shoot fairly quickly: a cloud you don't notice can easily shift exposure by half a stop or more.

Though it is fairly easy to shoot panoramas hand held, I strongly suggest using a tripod while you are figuring things out.
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Old Dec 12, 2007, 7:24 PM   #3
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Well said Bill.

It seems FZ18 has a good correction of lens distrortion even at 28mm.
FZ20 has evident barrel distortion at 35mm eq, therefore sometimes horizons come out bent:



This effects looks a bit like fisheye -like lens, but I don't like it in sea horizon shots...

If it happens with your FZ18, tey to zoom in a bit, 2x... or increase the common area between frames up to 30-40% of overlapping between adiacent frames.

I rarely use tripod and manual exp: these things won't prevent from having great panos BUT will nearly always increase the PP time with Photoshop.
I don't know if there s some use in Manual WB, for I always use it, but if you don't lock exposure, the software will have more problems in blending areas of adiacent shots with different exposures.
Furthermore different light can cause also slight tonal changes, which are often need a long PP to be overcome with Photoshop.
Tripod avoids the various camera movement you can unawarely do along the 3 axis ...

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Old Dec 12, 2007, 7:29 PM   #4
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PS
I have used a lot of software in the years (also PTAssembler), but since 3 years my panos are all made with Panorama Maker 3.

Just today I found out Panorama Maker 4 works on Win 98 too. PM 3 and 4 are very simple tools, but the dam good do their job well.
I am not onew of those who stitches 100 pics (never gone over the 20-30 pics, 5Mp each, and generally I do 2 to 10 shots stitching) but with some PP they generally come out perfect.

I ve seen PM4 is better than the predecessor with blending.

A pity that Autopano doesn't work on Win 98, for evn if always a simple tool, it seems to be more advanced than PM....

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Old Dec 26, 2007, 2:21 PM   #5
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With the FZ18 you can set everything to where each and every frame will be consistent in both exposure and focus, so you cando the same thing a "stitch" program like Canon's does. Focus on a scene in P mode, check the aperture and shutter speed chosen, then switch to manual exposure and set those values. They will stay there until your change them. Focus on the subject, then change the AF mode to manual and the focus will remain constant as long as you don't change it. Shoot your image set with a little overlap on each frame and any panaorama program should put it together with no problem.
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Old Dec 27, 2007, 12:45 PM   #6
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Narmer wrote:
Quote:
FZ20 has evident barrel distortion at 35mm eq, therefore sometimes horizons come out bent:
Barrel distortion is not responsible for curved horizons in stitched panoramas. If the stitcher is any good, it will correct the distortion in the individual images. The curved horizon is due to the viewpoint chosen for the output rendering. This is easily changed in the likes of PTGui, PTAssembler and Hugin, and the horizon will be automatically flat when positioned across the centre of the output area. The attached image shows how the horizon changes shape as it is moved up and down in the output area.


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Old Dec 27, 2007, 7:41 PM   #7
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Nice little animation panostar, did you create it from John Houton's tutorial at http://www.johnhpanos.com/horizons.htm? That does show what the problem with shooting with an off-level camera and how to deal with it.
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Old Dec 28, 2007, 1:58 AM   #8
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Bill, The animation was actually from my guide to the Panorama Tools optimizer at http://www.johnhpanos.com/optitute.htm .
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Old Dec 30, 2007, 7:05 AM   #9
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John, I hadn't looked at your tutorials for a few years. They were a major source of help in my figuring out how to use Panorama Tools (via PTGui, but they would be of great help with any GUI attached to PT). They are distictive enough, and so well done that I recognized your little graphic after a few years even if I did miss the link to the correct tutorial from your fairly long list (http://www.johnhpanos.com/tuts.htm).
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Old Jan 28, 2008, 7:30 PM   #10
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I am slightly confused about the keeping the exposure constant part. If you go manual or lock the setting, some of the shots may be perfectly exposed, but some may be under and some over exposed. Wouldn't it make more sense to have each shot at the proper setting for that view?
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