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Thread: (cheap) Options for Panoramic Photography?

  1. #1
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    (cheap) Options for Panoramic Photography?



    Hi guys,


    So i've recently been playing around with Hugin, the
    image stitching program for linux. Made a few nice ones so far,
    single-shot and 3-shot HDRs, and i'm slowly learning some good tips
    whilst practising.


    Main problem i'm having so far is with parallax
    errors, which stems from not having the right equipment. So far my kit
    is simple, a gorillapod and simple ballhead for on the go, and i've got
    another tripod with inbuilt-head I can borrow, although it's only 120cm
    high and i'm 183cm; a) I hate stooping, b) if i see a good potential
    shot, it's from eye level.


    Anyway, a good tripod is definitely on
    my list to buy eventually (like when I get a job), but for now I can
    suffice on the borrowed one if I can get something to tide me over to
    fix this problem:


    .


    I want to make panoramic photos, but
    they're too long horizontally for their height. I could easily take,
    say, 2-rows high worth of shots, but I'd rather take the shots in
    portrait (less shots means less parallax, less cloud/tree/people
    movement, less lighting changes which stuff the whole thing up).


    With
    the borrowed tripod, I can easily flip the plate so it hangs off the
    side of the post, but then when I pan around, it's not panning around
    the centre of the lens. Ditto the ballhead on the gorillapod, with the
    added bonus that the weight of the lens on the front drags the camera
    around the screw-thread, and it unscrews itself.


    So, i've come up with a few potential solutions, if anyone can help me with any questions, much appreciated.


    .


    Tripod-ring:


    Obviously
    the easiest way to ensure the system is rotating around the centre of
    the lens. Main problem is that I want to take the photos with my Samyang
    35/1.4, which isn't made to have one.


    But, there is certainly
    space for one if i can find one that fits. Unfortunately the camera
    shops around here don't even carry the genuine ones. And even on ebay,
    all the 3rd-party ones just say 'made for 70-200' or whatever. So my
    idea is that if i can find a lens that happens to have the same size, i
    can get by with that.


    The samyang has space for a tripod ring,
    69mm diameter, up to 20mm wide. By comparison, the 70-300L has space for
    a ring 81mm diameter, 18.5mm wide. So that's no good.


    Can anyone
    else, with lenses that are built for tripod rings smaller (like
    70-200/4, 100 macros, maybe 135/2? Even any nikons/other brands, as long
    as it has a tripod ring) please measure the diameter where the tripod
    ring goes? maybe there'll be something similar to the samyang in there.


    .


    L-bracket.


    I
    really like the RRS L-bracket style. But main problem is, How do i plug
    in my remote control? I've tried using the RC6, which nicely takes a
    3-shot bracket for one button click, but there will be future
    applications where I want to use the timer functions of my TC-80N3 in
    portrait-mode.


    Manfrotto 340/341 L-brackets. Anyone ever used
    these? I've read on adorama reviews that the 341 give 1" of clearance
    around a 40D, but not sure how much that give me with a 7 (and eventual
    5d/5d2). The 340 looks bigger, but has the hexagonal-plate. Whilst I
    don't mind that, seeing as I have no other plates to be incompatible
    with, I would rather have a long-plate I can slide horizontally to
    position the lens dead-centre (like the Manfrotto 357 or 454)


    Anyone know any other brands/makes like this? Manfrotto seems to
    be the only brand stocked by camera shops around here, although the
    parts i want would be special-order anyway, so no
    inspect-before-purchase no matter what brand i get.


    .


    Proper Panoramic heads:


    Yes,
    that would be nice. like the 303SPH that I got quoted over $500. And
    it's 2.4kg, which defeats the purpose of hiking with it (yes, I know
    Ansell Adams hiked with much more Large-Format gear. I am not he.)


    My
    long-term wish-list includes a dual-90degree-rail geared
    macro-positioning head, like the nice Velban one in my local shop, for
    $250 that I don't have (or two Manfrotto 454s). But for now I can't
    afford that precision. So if I can't get a nice-fitting tripod ring,
    it'll have to be the L-bracket.


    Anyone else have any ideas/suggestions?
    An awful lot of electrons were terribly inconvenienced in the making of this post.
    Gear Photos

  2. #2
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    Re: (cheap) Options for Panoramic Photography?



    For what a Canon tripod ring costs, your going to have a decent payment toward a good tripod head.


    Arca-Swiss makes an L Bracket for what your talking about, but then I think your looking for cheap options. It is $248.99.


    Without a good tripod ring or L bracket, it will be tough to get a good stable head. I bought the Acra Swiss Z1 before I went to Yellowstone this year, it worked great, but to do what you are talking about was difficult with it. The ball would tilt enough to change orientation but it wasn't to smooth this way, it took allot of playing. I have a Gitzo head that will invert to any angle, I bought it for macro work but for me I didn't think it was stable enough.


    Have you thought about this though, even if you get the tripod ring on a 35mm your are going to be very close to your ball and pod. Will there be enough room to invert the camera without it hitting something.


    I would think any good L bracket that can attach to your camera on one side and the plate on the other would work. This is the cheapest option I could find just now on B&H


    [View:http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/662070-REG/Kirk_BL_7DG_BL_7D_L_Bracket_for_Canon.html]






  3. #3
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    Re: (cheap) Options for Panoramic Photography?



    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Croubie


    L-bracket.


    I
    really like the RRS L-bracket style. But main problem is, How do i plug
    in my remote control? I've tried using the RC6, which nicely takes a
    3-shot bracket for one button click, but there will be future
    applications where I want to use the timer functions of my TC-80N3 in
    portrait-mode.


    Hey Dr. Croubie,


    To use the RRS L-bracket with the TC-80N3, you have to loosen the L-bracket mounting screw on the bottom of the 7D (the screw sits in an elliptical shaped hole, so there is some room for movement) and then slide the L-Bracket away from the side of the camera and then re-tighten the L-Bracket. You will now have the clearance needed to plug in your remote. Note that the etched center-line marking on the bottom of the L-Bracket will no longer be directly centered.


    I had to figure this out the hard way, while I was shooting fireworks in the dark!


    Also keep in mind that you don't need the L-bracket if you will be mounting your lens on a tripod ring. In this instance you can just rotate the lens on the tripod ring while the body is still attached to the lens. So, I tend to use the L-Bracket with my smaller lenses, and I will rotate the tripod collar ring with my larger lenses that have this feature.


    Good Luck,


    Rich



  4. #4
    Senior Member Bill W's Avatar
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    Re: (cheap) Options for Panoramic Photography?



    Dr. Croubie....my suggestion would be the latest version of Photoshop Elements for around $100.


    I'm using CS3, so I can't speak directly about the latest Elements stitching ability, but I would dare say it's as good as CS3....read Adobe's info on their latest version.


    I hand hold (vertical positioning) all my outside panos, keeping a close eye on my lines as I pan. IMO CS3 does an amazing job putting together up to 8 photos...my computer takes a long time stitching over 8 raw pix.


    On the finished stitched pic, normally all I need to do is minor straightening of the horizon and cropping of horizontal and vertical lines. Of course there is blending exposures and the other adjustments I like to do.


    Here's an example of 7 pix using the 100-400. Great Blue Heron rookery


    [img]/resized-image.ashx/__size/750x0/__key/CommunityServer-Discussions-Components-Files/9/8400.GBH-rookery.jpg[/img]


    Here's an example of 5 pix using (Neuro's) 24-105. Boston skyline w/Harvard's football stadium in the foreground.


    [img]/resized-image.ashx/__size/750x0/__key/CommunityServer-Discussions-Components-Files/9/5875.Mt-Auburn-pano-from-tower-copy.jpg[/img]


    and finally an example of 3 pix using my 17-55. Relatively large master bedroom


    [img]/resized-image.ashx/__size/750x0/__key/CommunityServer-Discussions-Components-Files/9/3060.Seaweed-msbr-ll-copy.jpg[/img]


    All photos were hand held, although normally, I use a Nodal Ninja for small interior RE shots.


    Good luck


    Bill

  5. #5
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    Re: (cheap) Options for Panoramic Photography?



    Dr Croubie,


    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Croubie
    The samyang has space for a tripod ring,
    69mm diameter, up to 20mm wide. By comparison, the 70-300L has space for
    a ring 81mm diameter, 18.5mm wide. So that's no good.

    my 100mm L macro has space for a 68.6-68.8mm(messured 3 times because I don't really trust the electronic thing) tripod ring which is about 18,5mm wide. So I think it will fit on the Samyang.


    Good luck


    Jan


    Ps: the 70-200 F4L is about 65mm, so that would be too small. If you doubt the electronic measure apparatus I could measure it again manually, but that would be later.

  6. #6
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    Re: (cheap) Options for Panoramic Photography?



    Dr...


    Reading Jan's comments got me thinking. What if the only tripod ring you could find was slightly larger? Couldn't you just shim it up, or tighten it by using a strip of neoprene to fill the void. I say this because you might want a ring for your 70-300mm, and possibly it is larger. Or perhaps you can find a cheap one that just doesn't fit but you can make it fit.


    You did say "Cheap" in the title, and we have seen pic's of your garage so we know you can come up with a creative solution. Even if all that is required is a piece of Aluminum L from the local hardware store, a few screws and a good drill.....


    good luck

  7. #7
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    Re: (cheap) Options for Panoramic Photography?



    Ha, you had to say that didn't you. My other solution was somewhere along the lines of one of these: www.allproducts.com/.../product1.html (Which I can't find anywhere near here, all similar products in the hardware shop are bare-metal and/or wrong shape. I still want one for my massive 2kg Jupiter 250mm f/3.5 Pentacon Six, i'm afraid it will rip my lens mount apart one day).


    .


    And thanks Jan, that pretty much exactly what I was hoping for, no need to go nuts on the accuracy (if the canon is a bit smaller than the samyang that's good, because the main complaint about ebay knock-offs are that they're too loose). And that's a popular enough product, ebay-ripoffs are down to $7 shipped so cheap enough for experimenting. (cheap rings for the 70-300L are up at $50, it's too new a product and no competition yet, I can wait on that)


    .


    As for the L-brackets, thanks for the Kirk/RRS suggestions too. I still plan to investigate them when I buy into a tripod system (early next year I hope, if not this year), one day i'll want to mount vertically for portraits and such, with the niftyfifty or my mum's old Takumar (or the 85/1.8 or 100/2 i'll ask her to get when she's in Hong Kong next).


    Have either of you used the L-brackets you suggested, how much clearance is there around the N3 socket? The more clearance the better, my main concern is too much wear-and-tear on the rubber cover, the last thing I want is to rip it at the hingey bit and lose my watersealing. And the non-gripped Kirk is only $140, but then it says "and an (optional) camera plate is necessary", bit confused about that.


    I've had a bit more reading about the Manfrotto 340/341 L-mounts, damn they make it confusing as to what plate plugs into what clamps and what doesn't. That's definitely something I'd want to see before I buy, so i'll have to sweet-talk my local camera-shop into ordering it into stock without me having to pay for it, if i can...
    An awful lot of electrons were terribly inconvenienced in the making of this post.
    Gear Photos

  8. #8
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    Re: (cheap) Options for Panoramic Photography?



    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Croubie
    And thanks Jan, that pretty much exactly what I was hoping for, no need to go nuts on the accuracy (if the canon is a bit smaller than the samyang that's good, because the main complaint about ebay knock-offs are that they're too loose). And that's a popular enough product, ebay-ripoffs are down to $7 shipped so cheap enough for experimenting. (cheap rings for the 70-300L are up at $50, it's too new a product and no competition yet, I can wait on that)

    No problem, I had seen the Ebay prices already. I personally would definitely try it out before buying any expensive stuff. If it works, show your work please...I just love panorama's!

  9. #9
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    Re: (cheap) Options for Panoramic Photography?



    Here's one shot that I really wish I had a good bracket for.


    It was the samyang 35/1.4 around f/5-7 or so, hyperfocal, 7D, but only horizontal-mounted, on gorllapod wrapped around the top of a fence, with ballhead. Took 8 frames x3 brackets = 24 shots (1/500, 1/250, 1/125s), iso100. Also had the CPL mounted, and re-adjusted it after every pan, not sure if that was a good idea or not. The whole point was to get the thunderstorm approaching, but then it scooted off around to the north and missed us (the beach runs south-north, facing west).


    This panorama is just the first 7 frames, middle-bracket-shot (left the last one out because it's just a house and didn't line up straight) of the camera-jpgs. Not sure if it looks any good shrunk this much but i'll see (original is a 28683*2893 tiff 316MB). Hate to think what'll happen if i use raw-converted-tiffs as the input, that 32GB of free space on the SSD could come in very handy...


    The waves not lining up is possibly still noticeable even shrunk this much (i could try blurring more or just crop off in future). And even though I kept the shutter speeds per bracket the same the whole way, something messed up between the last few shots, you can see it on the sea (maybe that's the CPL's fault).


    [img]/resized-image.ashx/__size/1200x0/__key/CommunityServer-Discussions-Components-Files/9/3630.IMG_5F00_9272_2D00_IMG_5F00_9290s1200w.jpg[/img]


    .


    And another view, the first 3 frames, all 3 brackets (9 shots), raw-converted to monochrome jpgs, stitched to an HDR tiff, my first attempts at tone-mapping to a 12646*3161 jpg (using Luminance HDR), then shrunk. The waves not lining-up is a lot more noticeable in this shot, as is the guy walking on the jetty, i masked him out in another attempt but not this one by the looks.


    [img]/resized-image.ashx/__size/1200x0/__key/CommunityServer-Discussions-Components-Files/9/8715.IMG_5F00_9271_2D00_79bwr_5F00_hdr_5F00_s1200w .jpg[/img]


    .


    And one that isn't a panorama yet, but I hope to make some very nice ones in this setting, when the mist comes into the valley in the morning it will look beautiful. View of the backyard of the place i'm house-sitting for all of next year (donkey included, as are a dozen sheep, half a dozen cows, and 2 chooks):


    [img]/resized-image.ashx/__size/900x0/__key/CommunityServer-Discussions-Components-Files/9/7762.IMG_5F00_9934s900x600.JPG[/img]
    An awful lot of electrons were terribly inconvenienced in the making of this post.
    Gear Photos

  10. #10
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    Woo.
    So I went for the 100L Macro Tripod Ring Ripoff, and it fits the Samyang perfectly! $10 shipped from China, and not too shabbily built at all.
    Tried it out last night with a shot in the kitchen trying to determine the best parallax-free spot (my borrowed tripod has about 1cm of possible front-back movement, plus flipping the tripod ring around the other way). Didn't work out too bad, but 10cm vs 5m objects are damn hard to get parallax-free on a good day.

    So today the weather was good, went for a ride down the beach (not the same jetty as last time).
    So this is 5x portrait-oriented shots, with the tripod ring on a ballhead on a gorillapod on the top of a post. Next time i'll lug the real tripod, because the camera was way too top-heavy, and the winds around 25 knots kept blowing it about. The post opposite in the photo is about 3-4m from the post with the camera.
    So far these are just the middle-bracket shots, iso100, f/8 or so, 1/160s (the others were 1/400s and 1/60s, I'll try an HDR later). No CPL this time, but I used a 72mm Canon-brand ND8 ($25 from ebay) to try to slow the shutter down and blur the waves. But in this bright sunlight it didn't do much, I think I'll need another ND8 or ND 15-20 total to get to the 1-2second exposure mark (or I can try stacking my 2 CPLs, although IQ is going to suffer).
    So anyway, here's the first attempt (shrunk to 1500pixels wide, see how the new forum likes it):
    Click image for larger version. 

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