Panorama-links

Sites - software - hardware

Panorama sites

If you make a search at Google for "Panorama", you will get apprx. 2.6 mill. hits.

I have sorted out the best sites for you, to save you some time.

One of the best starting-points for seeing panoramas, tutorials and other panorama related issues.

VR-Mag publishes a magazine about VR-photography

Lots of panoramas from Europe, in cooperation with many tourist portals

"The World Wide Panorama began in March 2004 and has become an ongoing series of events", as they say...

A long, long list of panorama sites. I haven't checked them all yet...

+ a lot of others....

Software for panoramas

There are plenty of programs for stitching images. You have probably got one already (as a part of your camera purchase).  The best programs are not necessarily the most expensive. 

To make a panorama, the images most overlap by 10-40% The stitching software will need to deform (warp) the images to make the result "correct".

 

"PTGui is a panoramic stitching software for Windows. Originally developed as a Graphical User Interface for Panorama Tools (hence the name), PTGui now is a full featured photo stitching application."

My comment: Simply the best. It's even cheap (59,- Euro), so don't bother to look further. Like many other stitchers, PTGui doesn't make the mov-file. You will need a program like Pano2QTVR for this (see below)

 

Pano2QTVR for Windows
"Pano2QTVR is a tool to convert Panoramic images into the QuickTime VR format.
Pano2QTVR allows you to create cylindrical or cubic panoramas with hotspots and a preview track. You can extract the cubefaces for retouching before the final output."

My comment: I haven't tried al lot of these kind of programs, but this one works absolute perfectly. Also very cheap (20,- Euro).

(Skip all the others...)
Hardware for making (perfect) panoramas

You can make panoramas with almost invisible stitching with a handheld camera, as long as there are no near objects in the overlapping areas. In other cases, you will need a "pano-head" in order to turn the camera around it's optical center (a.k.a. "nodal point", "focal point" or "entrance pupil").

It's no magic about it. It's just a gadget to make your camera turn around where the diaphragm of your lens are. There are also plenty of drawings/ideas on the net how to make one your self. Even though I am a very practical man, I'm glad I didn't try...

195,- USD

Pano Head 2 or 3..

..from Jasper Engineering. His "Pano Head 1" was introduced in 1985, so this guy obviously has a lot of experience in this area.

"The Original Pano Head has been redesigned and is now available. It has been designed for use with most cameras, including Point & Shoot, SLR's, Digital and Medium Format for VR and Stitch programs etc. and is easy to use."

My comment: Not the cheapest on the market, but I'm looking into this one right now. It may have everything I want.
Dec. 28th: Jasper now says he has made "Pano Head 3" to accommodate large DSLR's. It seems that both v2 and v3 has enough offset for the vertical arm for my Canon 20D with battery grip. I will order one, and let you know the results.
 
April 2006: I have had this panohead for a couple of months now, and are very pleased with it.
 
Panoramas "eat" batteries..
When shooting for 360-degrees panoramas indoors (long exposure times), or outdoors in (freezing temperatures), your battery runs out after a short time. To me, it' has become a big issue to get a panohead that offers enough offset to accommodate my Canon 20D with the battery grip mounted. This will save me a lot of work and trouble.

130,- USD

Nodal Ninja

Manufacturer says: "The lightest and smallest panoramic tripod head on the market today. Now with 15º click stops (SPH-2).
Nodal Ninja is a specially designed tripod head allowing the photographer to adjust a camera/lens “nodal point” exactly over its correct rotational axis. What does all this mean? Basically this helps to eliminate parallax error inherent when taking multiple images side by side. Without parallax a photographer can then seamlessly stitch multiple photographs together forming a larger higher resolution composite image. These composite images can be a simple as a two or three shot landscape photo to complex 74 shot multi-row spherical panoramas"

My comment: Many nice features, but I can't use my Canon 20D with the battery grip attached, so I'm still looking for the perfect panohead for me. Perfect combination of features, quality and price...

76,- USD

Panosaurus

The cheapest on the market? This is the type I use now. (April 06; not anymore..). It does the job, but I have discovered a few things that can be improved. If I forget to tighten the knob that fasten my camera, AND the the camera is tilted upwards AND/OR I'm carrying the equipment around, the camera CAN slide off and get (totally) damaged.

My comment: I have a Panosaurus now, but I don't like the risk of damaging my camera because of a lose knob...

Besides, I usually have the battery grip mounted, but have to remove it each time I  want to make a panorama. If I run out of power after shooting image #17 of #18 (360 degree, 15 mm diagonal fisheye lens on a Canon 20D), I have to start all over after the battery change...

   
(I skip all the other pano heads..)
 
 

Updated mai 03, 2006 02:49