How to take panoramas
Ways to get panoramas
Panoramas are photos with elongated field of view. You can get panoramas by using one-shot panoramic optic or you can use professional equipment like digital SLR camera and wide-angled or fisheye lens to take photos and stitch them together. Let's compare the two ways of taking panoramas.
1. Use one-shot panoramic optic to get panoramas
Advantage: It is time-saving and easy to use. You can get a 360 degree cylindrical panoramic photo directly.
Disadvantage: Quality of the panoramic photo is not very high.
Equipment recommended: 0-360 panoramic optic
2. Use professional equipment and software to get panoramas
Advantage: High quality panorama
Disadvantage: You have to learn techniques of taking photos and stitching them.
Equipment recommended: All digital SLR cameras with compatible lenses can be used.
Software recommended: Panoweaver 6.00, which can stitch fisheye photos and normal photos;
Instant Pano 1.00, which is freeware for stitching cylindrical 360 degree panorama, the panorama can only be used in Tour Hosting platform for creating virtual tours.
How to take panoramas with professional equipment and software?
360 degree spherical panorama
Use digital SLR and fisheye lens to take fisheye photos and stitch with Panoweaver 6.00 Professional to get spherical panorama.
Equipment used: Nikon D200 + 10.5mm f/2.8G ED AF DX Fisheye-Nikkor.
360 degree Cylindrical panorama
Use digital SLR with wide-angled lens to take non-distorted photos and stitch with Panoweaver 6.00 Standard or Instant Pano to get 360 degree cylindrical panoramas.
Equipment used: Nikon D200 + 17-55mm lens
- Keep the camera in the same spot for every shot. The distance between camera and floor should be kept unchanged.
- Make sure that there is some overlap from photo to photo. For example, if you are sweeping from left to right, locate an object in the right side of your viewfinder on the 1st shot. Then make sure you can see that same object on the left side of your viewfinder on the 2nd shot. Continue this for each shot. Ideally, you should have about 25%-40% of each frame overlapping the previous frame.
- Shooting photos clockwise is suggested.
- Lock the camera's exposure and white balance for all shots. This will help to avoid substantial changes in lightness/darkness from frame to frame. If you can’t or don’t want to do this, and there are substantial variations in lightness from frame to frame, take your shots with more overlap (e.g., 50% overlap from shot to shot). This will minimize the amount of lightness change from any one shot to the next shot. If you can, also lock your white balance for all shots.
- Beware of objects which move between shots. Clouds move, trees sway in the wind, and people move around. If people and/or things are moving, take your shots as quickly as possible to minimize the amount of variation between frames.
- Don't zoom in or out between frames.