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Old Aug 30, 2010, 6:52 AM   #1
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Default Panoramic Problems

I'm trying to capture the front of a church. I can't get far enough away from it to get the whole two-block wide structure in one shot because of trees in the area. So the solution is to take the shot as a panoramic, but this hasn't been as easy as I thought because the side shots (far left and right of center) put a lean into the structure that causes a rather heavy perspective adjustment in PSE. Just getting that to work properly with the right photos was a bit of a challenge.

I'm shoting with a 18-55mm lens on a crop body. I'm not going to get a super-wide angle lens anytime soon, though I am seeing the need for such a lens with this attempt.

I tried leveling the camera, and this helped quite a bit, but I'm still not getting it- too much leaning in the structure to allow for a successful panoramic combination in the software.

Any tricks out there to pull this off?

Thanks

Jim, in Iowa
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Old Aug 30, 2010, 7:03 AM   #2
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The closer to 18mm the more the lean. But the closer to 55mm the less image you can get. What happens if you shot 50mm in portrait mode and have lots of overlap between shots? If all else fails try to straighten that lean before you attempt to stitch them together. Try to match each connection area as best as possible. Some panoramic software does a good job of matching the join area.
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Old Aug 30, 2010, 9:03 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iowa_jim View Post
I'm shoting with a 18-55mm lens on a crop body. I'm not going to get a super-wide angle lens anytime soon, though I am seeing the need for such a lens with this attempt.
I recently got a UWA lens (the wonderful Tokina 12-24mm DX II). One thing that I am becoming aware of is that it isn't particularly good at squeezing things in. There are lots of good things about a UWA, but they mostly center around accentuating the sense of depth and/or getting a very deep depth of focus. In my extremely limited experience with the lens, the wide aspect becomes increasingly useful as you get closer to infinity -- out a ways, the perspective stops being distorted, and you can fill the viewfinder without worry in that regard. But the closer in things really need to be more centered in the field of view to avoid elongation (if you keep the camera's infinity point dead-center, there's not a lot of leaning in/out of rectilinear lines with this lens anyway). I suppose that could be useful in some contexts, but it's really tricky to get your mind around what you'll be seeing in the photo that you aren't seeing in nature and put it to good effect. Anyway, an UWA is a lot of fun to learn how to use. FWIW
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Old Aug 30, 2010, 12:14 PM   #4
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I shoot many panos using various approaches, and with two different old free stitching programs on WinDoze. Different tools for different problems.

* I may shoot a matrix of images of the subject from a fixed point, either with a 3mpx or 5mpx P&S, or with my 15mpx dSLR but with resultant JPGs sized down. That's because the excellent AutoStitch program can take a long time stitching together big images -- but it matches segments quite well. WA distortion results, so I'll shoot more segments vertically at the ends, then de-fish the stitched product. In 35mm equivalents, I'll have the lens fixed somewhere in the 40-80mm range (28-55mm on dSLR) -- not very wide nor long.

* If I *want* wild distortion, I'll set a P&S to video mode and wave it at the subject, shooting a several-second clip. Then I use AnimationShop to extract every n-th frame (where n is between 5 and 30), save those frames as JPG's, and AutoStitch those. But the results can be gruesome...

* If there's room, I'll use a dolly (or careful tripodding) and shoot the segments from equally-spaced positions, using a lens in the 36-60mm range (24-40mm on dSLR). Let's say there's a long building across the street I wish to shoot. I'll start at one end, put the tripod at the edge of the sidewalk (using that as a horizontal guideline), take a shot. Then move a measured 5-10 yards/meters and shoot again. And again, and again, down to the other end. Now I'll use the PhotoStitch program that came free with a Canon printer, which isn't as forgiving as AutoStitch, but it can stitch parallel images without perspective distortion (PD).

In any pano shooting, you'll get PD unless you're centered with your subject. Shooting up or down, left or right, will always show vanishing points unless you use a perspective control (PC) lens. And they ain't cheap, at least not to me. You could always build a LensBaby-type gizmo but that's not real precise. So expect that you'll have to do PC in PP. That ALWAYS causes some loss of IQ, so if resolution is important, it's best to overshoot, work with oversize images, then crop and shrink.
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Old Aug 30, 2010, 2:26 PM   #5
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You are probably always going to have to deal with the perspective distortion. I use Ulead Cool 360, which has lens correction capability, and find it works pretty well with my equipment. Pretty simple, too. As to loss of IQ, yes, there will be some, but consider what you would lose in trying to get the whole shot at one time, and then cropping to obtain the same picture.
Of course, you can always plot your shooting position relative to the subject, use your lens' flattest setting, and take 40 or 50 shots and stitch them together, for really good IQ.

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Old Aug 30, 2010, 10:26 PM   #6
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I guess you are trying to do it with the camera in the normal horizontal position? (maybe 3 shots stitched together?)

Why not take the shots with the camera in the vertical position, level the camera properly, and take maybe 6-7 shots that way? You can then cut off the bottom off the shots, after you've stitched them.
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Old Aug 30, 2010, 11:20 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VTphotog View Post
You are probably always going to have to deal with the perspective distortion.
That's why I mentioned the technique I use with Canon PhotoStitch. It requires moving between shots, but since the camera is always normal (at 90 degrees) to the subject, there is NO perspective distortion. Straight lines stay straight. The trick with CPS is to keep the angles straight.

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Of course, you can always plot your shooting position relative to the subject, use your lens' flattest setting, and take 40 or 50 shots and stitch them together, for really good IQ.
And that's with the matrix technique I use with AutoStitch. AS is very forgiving about its inputs, shot from a single spot. Vertical, horizontal, lop-sided, no matter -- AS glues them together seamlessly. Overshooting gives lots of leeway for PP perspective correction and cropping.
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Old Oct 3, 2010, 8:00 AM   #8
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Thanks for all the assistance. The attached photo shows my latest attempt. Any recommendations for filling in the blanks in the sky? I've tried the clone tool, but I can't seem to get a realistic fill.
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Old Oct 3, 2010, 11:59 AM   #9
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For the sky, I would use the clone tool set to relative position (if you can do that in PSE-I don't recall), and then follow it up with healing brush tool set to a larger radius than the clone tool.

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Old Oct 4, 2010, 7:28 AM   #10
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Pano shots of this sort are difficult to achieve. The best results I have seen were using a TS-e lens to correct the "lean" and instead of actually panning from the same location to actually do as suggested above and picking up the whole rig and moving it down but still the same FL from the subject.

Last edited by JustinThyme; Oct 4, 2010 at 7:30 AM.
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