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Old May 25, 2006, 12:46 AM   #1
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Is it better to take lots of slightly overlapping pictures for a panoramic shot or take fewer that don't overlap as much?

Those pictures will then be thrown into a stitching program (Canon's Photostitch).
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Old May 25, 2006, 1:59 AM   #2
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Overlapping definitely.
In fact overlap should be be way more than few percents, it's always easier for stitching software and enough overlap makes it possible for better stitching software to correct distortions.
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Old May 25, 2006, 6:39 AM   #3
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Yep about 25% overlap. The next thing is make sure you shoot in manual with the same shutter/aperture for every shot. Which means of course you want to meter for the brightest section of your pano so you don't blow any highlights.

Also, do not use a polarizer as the affect will change accross shots and the colors in the sky (if you have sky in the pano) won't match up.
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Old May 25, 2006, 9:44 AM   #4
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Suggest you try Autostitch, a freeware program available on the Web... The program is very smart. I have stitched together large pictures without locking the exposure and there is no banding evident in the resulting pano pictures. It has the intelligence to automatically find matching edges so if you're a little sloppy in holding the camera level, the program will compensate, automatically. Of course, it's better to use a tripod, but sometimes you don't have a tripod available and have to shoot hand-held.
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Old May 25, 2006, 10:02 AM   #5
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Thanks for the suggestions
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Old May 31, 2006, 8:29 PM   #6
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I could only find the demo version; where can I find the full version (free or not)?
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Old May 31, 2006, 9:42 PM   #7
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the point about using manual exposure should be repeated.
This will produce the best images for a pano. It looks very strange when you see differing exposures... it's really obvious and wrong.

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Old May 31, 2006, 10:16 PM   #8
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Also note that changes in brightness across the scene can affect auto WB, so use a fixed WB or you may find it difficult to make colors match. Differences which are not noticeable from pic to pic can be glaring when they are stitched together.

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Old May 31, 2006, 11:58 PM   #9
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Autostitch is currently only available as a demo. It is the full program and the author has it expire every month or so and you have to download it again. When he starts charging for it he doesn't want everyone to have a fully operating demo that works forever. The price is right and it works extremely well.

There are differing philosophies about shooting with a fixed exposure. There are people who feel that it is better to meter each shot and let sophisticated programs like Autostitch merge them without stitch lines. That way you don't end up with very dark and very light areas in a wide panorama with varied lighting.

My preference is to shoot with a fixed exposure and have utilities like Photoshop's Shadow/Highlight and/or contrast masking even it out after stitching. You can use simple stitching software that is fast and doesn't require a lot of overlap if you don't have stitch lines to deal with.

More important than exposure is to have a set WB. If you leave the WB on auto it is hard for any program to get right.

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Old Jun 1, 2006, 1:52 PM   #10
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Another reason you'll want overlap is if you've got something moving in your scene. For example, waves on the ocean. They won't line up because they'll have moved between each image. If you have a fair amount of overlap on each image, then you can try to blend the images together to mask/hide the changes between the images.

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