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02-11-2011, 03:56 PM   #1
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best panorama lens in my kit

good morning. I am about to try taking stitched panorama photos.
my lenses are F28/2.8, DA40, DA70 and the 18-55WR
On top of the mountain we will be going to, my only option would be the WR. So I would like to ask what FL would be the best to use in that location
Now for the good-weather lenses, could you suggest which of the 3 primes are ok for stitched panoramas.
Thank you

02-11-2011, 04:08 PM   #2
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With decent software you can stitch panorama with just about any lens. But from your stuff I'd give a nod to DA40. Perfectly sharp from corner to corner and with minimal distortion. I think the same can be said about the DA70 but because of the focal length you may find it bit too restrictive. But for landscapes farther away I think it would be outstanding.
As for your WR lens. The kit zooms from Pentax tend to ber great as they are, even at 18mm they are very decent, but for optimal results I'd shoot between 24mm and 35mm f5.6 or f8 and then stitch...
By the way, why is the WR only option? I used all of my lenses (non WR kit, ltds, sigma macro etc) in all sorts of conditions, from snow to mist and drizzle and they were just fine. With common sense, even non WR lens will be OK unless the conditions are extreme...

My 2p
02-11-2011, 04:08 PM   #3
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I would suspect the DA70 would be the ideal panorama lens out of that lot. It should be killer sharp stopped down a bit with very even performance across the center and borders. You should get very high resolution in your shots with a higher fl lens, albeit you'll have to take more shots. I think lenses with consistent sharpness across their entire fields, low vignetting at the f-stop you're using, very low distortions are the key for a good panorama lens.

My own goto panorama lens is my k135 2.5. Very sharp stopped down a bit, sharp corners, and that high resolving power.

And bring a tripod and remote shutter control, even if it's just a lightweight tripod model. Makes it so much easier to compose, well worth the additional weight to lug around.

Last edited by dasuhu; 02-23-2011 at 01:01 PM.
02-11-2011, 04:41 PM - 1 Like   #4
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I just read a good article about stitching panoramas and which focal lengths to use. Keep in mind his lenses are full frame though: Supersized Panorama Stitching - Outdoor Photographer | OutdoorPhotographer.com

02-11-2011, 09:01 PM   #5
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IMHO the best focal length for pano stitching is around 28-30mm, maybe up to 35mm. But no longer, not unless you want to stitch LOTS of shots together, which can suck up computer time like a dry sponge. And no shorter, not unless your stitch.warez can handle the rectilinear distortion generated below 25mm by most wide lenses.

For good weather, use your 28/2.8 stopped down to f/11. In bad weather, use the 18-55WR at 30mm, stopped down. You might put a piece of sticky tape over the zoom ring to keep the focal length from shifting when you reposition the lens between shots. You also might practice a bit first. Stitch-up some ground-level panos and see what works for you. Good luck!
02-11-2011, 10:48 PM   #6
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For panoramas you need a good panoramic tripod head and a good tripod. Lens wise you need telephoto razor sharp lens.

In your current setup I`d use DA70. If you insist going with WR - 55.

If we start dreaming - get a 100-ish mm macro, stop it down and shoot away.
02-12-2011, 03:03 AM   #7
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depends on how wide and how far and what you are shooting. for something like that, I would agree with the others that a 70mm would be great for panoramic shots. this is due to the subject being too far out, especially from a top angle with a lot of ground to cover. just be careful with the cloud formations and sun location though. for shorter distances, a wide 28mm lens would be much appropriate and handy to use.
02-12-2011, 03:29 AM   #8
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Thank you, I will read the article.
The reason why I said I'm limited to the WR is that it is almost always raining there. Mt. Kota Kinabalu.
I am bringing them all. Sorry, have only an ordinary Slik tripod. But will try do well enough.

02-12-2011, 08:35 AM   #9
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Good Morning,

Of your set, I do not see any one best lens for all panoramic opportunities. Panoramas are just like any other shot that you compose to the lens. You could probably use all your lenses to stitch the same shot and come out with 4 wonderful but pretty different panoramas.

As far as the tripod, Slik is perfectly fine. I think the point that ilya was making was that depending on the type of head you have on the tripod, once you set up for the shot, it may not pan level in order to stitch multiple shots. I would give it a test at home before going. Heads on tripods can usually be swapped out...


Last edited by interested_observer; 02-12-2011 at 08:41 AM.
02-12-2011, 09:00 AM   #10
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If you are shooting vistas where everything in view is at infinity, then a normal tripod head is fine.

If you are shooting panoramas that are closer, you might consider a panorama head to avoid parallax in your shots.
02-12-2011, 09:03 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
IMHO the best focal length for pano stitching is around 28-30mm, maybe up to 35mm. But no longer, not unless you want to stitch LOTS of shots together, which can suck up computer time like a dry sponge. And no shorter, not unless your stitch.warez can handle the rectilinear distortion generated below 25mm by most wide lenses.

For good weather, use your 28/2.8 stopped down to f/11. In bad weather, use the 18-55WR at 30mm, stopped down. You might put a piece of sticky tape over the zoom ring to keep the focal length from shifting when you reposition the lens between shots. You also might practice a bit first. Stitch-up some ground-level panos and see what works for you. Good luck!
I agree with Rico. I use my 35mm f/1.8. On my camera, its 35mm format equivalent would be 53mm.
Usually you see good stitched landscapes shot at 1/4"-3" or more with f stops up around 16 and up. Sharpening an image with some diffraction is worth the increased depth of field.
02-15-2011, 08:30 AM   #12
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Oh, wow. Thank you for all the advice.
I am afraid, it all will have to wait until the next trip, which is... still unknown and unplanned.

The climb to Laban Rata took too much out of me and I couldn't get myself to risk the attack to the summit. Just the 1st part of the climb took 8-1/2 hours. Shoosh! Should have taken more effort to train. My companions tried but still fell short of the peak. I urged them to bring the K20D and the WR. They came back with some photos. The view is great but since they were not familiar enough with the camera, I am sure I could have done much better.... if.

The climb down was another 5 hours. That was yesterday. Took the plane ride home and am just posting to say that I ache all over.
02-17-2011, 03:39 AM   #13
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One of my friends did it last year, and she said it was gruelling. She'd trained for it too...

I might go with my kids when they're older... or meet them at the top by helicopter! ;-)

Have you been up Pinatubo? I'll be taking a dirt bike up as far as I can with some friends next month...
02-17-2011, 04:52 AM   #14
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I was there 3 years ago... sure was a lot of steps I have a pano from both the summit and Laban Rata lying around somewhere. I can dig them up and post them here.
02-18-2011, 01:02 AM - 1 Like   #15
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Panorama shot from Laban Rata at sundown:
Name:  20080801 17.51.55 - IMGP3270-9 - Laban Rata panorama liten.jpg
Views: 1103
Size:  25.1 KB

Panorama from the summit, Low's Peak at sunrise:
Name:  20080802 06.39.38 - IMGP3324-34 - Low's Peak panorama liten.jpg
Views: 1058
Size:  20.3 KB
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