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01-27-2015, 03:37 AM   #46
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QuoteOriginally posted by RobA_Oz Quote
To be fair, the noise is only noticeable on the full-sized image from Flickr, and it's always a complication to remove noise in the darker areas, whilst retaining detail elsewhere. Nonetheless, I think Michael's point in relation to hand-held panos is well made.
Honestly I see heavy noise on the 1024x768 thumbail you provide us on Pentax Forum. I didn't open your picture on flickr. The noise level are huge here.

If you don't mind I see no issue. But for sure the added resolution of doing a pano is totally lost.


Last edited by Nicolas06; 01-27-2015 at 03:51 AM.
01-27-2015, 04:55 AM - 1 Like   #47
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QuoteOriginally posted by Gimbal Quote
Rotating around the nodal point is only important if there is something close to the camera.

It's easy to test, close one eye and turn your head back and forth while looking at a fixed point in the distance, put up a finger in front of you and that finger will seem to move in relation to the background while you turn your head. If you could turn you head in the nodal point the finger would not move in relation to the background.

So if there are details in the foreground and you are not rotating in the nodal point, they will appear on different positions in relation to background on different pictures. Thus stiching will be impossible (without som very creative manipulations).
That is an excellent example of the point. It comes down to what you are both encountering in terms of the view that you are shooting.

QuoteOriginally posted by Nicolas06 Quote
Honestly I see heavy noise on the 1024x768 thumbail you provide us on Pentax Forum. I didn't open your picture on flickr. The noise level are huge here.

If you don't mind I see no issue. But for sure the added resolution of doing a pano is totally lost.
Just a quick aside here. On the issue of noise. Noise is not really a product of the stitching of a pano, but from the camera sensor used. I see it was a K7, which uses the same sensor as the K20. At night, this sensor was noisy - I have a lot of images that show this myself. The K5 was to me an opening to much better photography. The 16MP sensor of the K5 family of bodies really opened the door for me to much better photography (although I still have my K100 - with its CCD sensor with wonderful saturation and colors).

I shoot a lot of wide angle, and the wider you shoot the more distortion you record. When you stitch with a more moderate focal length, you bypass the distortion through the addition of resolution. You can shoot at 8 or 16 and in doing so, in order to keep lines straight - they get pulled or artificially stretched. You can shoot with a fisheye, and depending on how you shoot the lens you can either get the fishiness (the bend), or if you are careful and shoot absolutely level, you can get a very normal looking image. The bend has to go somewhere, so its regulated to the sky (but the clouds cover that up nicely) and down at the bottom of the frame (if you have something featureless like grass, it too does not show up - however something straight like a curb and it becomes very noticeable). To bypass the rectilinear stretching and the fisheye fishiness - you can go to a shorter lens, bypassing the wide angle problems (to a certain extent) and still have the wide view without the distortion. Where the stitching somewhat falls apart is when you go way beyond a 180 degrees. The 360 degree panos laid flat, you get the curving of the sidewalks and walls, etc.

To bring this back to the original question from yuctan - he wants to shoot these very large structures to convey a number of ideas & concepts. The overall context of the site, the relationships of one structure to the others, the fine detail in both the construction and the stone carvings of the structures. What all of this boils down to is...
  • Use moderate wide angle where appropriate. It's the word appropriate, what works well and what does not work well - in the eye of the photographer. In the end it's the process of telling a story.
  • Use of stitching (with more normal focal lengths), to show wide views of the large structures (without capturing the distortions), with sufficient details to show the magnificent overall construction capabilities and techniques, as well as the stone carvings.
  • Possibly using large stitches to show the wide expanse of the site (zoomed out) and be able to zoom into to various points of interest and see the details.
  • Possibly reuse the shots taken and apply them in other approaches - the sequenced "walk thorough" series of images. These do not have to be stitched together, but when taken as a set, can illustrate to a viewer, the overall context and relationship of the structures at a site. It also gives the viewer the ability to more naturally "look around" and zoom into what ever details are available. This potential second use or re-purposing of the images, can be an additional "bonus".
I also see that Microsoft has improved the photosynch capability. I ran across this youtube video. It shows the whole process of taking some images, easily processing them in LightRoom to get a consistent look and feel, and then loading them up to photosynth to produce the "walk through". It does appear pretty easy - although I have never done it myself. Now, to be fair - this clip is about producing a "story" specifically for photosynch - as opposed to taking a set of images that you have at hand (possibly shot for another purpose), and somewhat repurposing them into a photosynch walkthrough. Two different purposes, but essentially the same process with a related body of work.

Last edited by interested_observer; 01-27-2015 at 05:00 AM.
01-27-2015, 06:39 AM   #48
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QuoteOriginally posted by interested_observer Quote
That is an excellent example of the point. It comes down to what you are both encountering in terms of the view that you are shooting.


Just a quick aside here. On the issue of noise. Noise is not really a product of the stitching of a pano, but from the camera sensor used. I see it was a K7, which uses the same sensor as the K20. At night, this sensor was noisy - I have a lot of images that show this myself. The K5 was to me an opening to much better photography. The 16MP sensor of the K5 family of bodies really opened the door for me to much better photography (although I still have my K100 - with its CCD sensor with wonderful saturation and colors).
Fully agree stiching doesn't create noise. It can create sticking artifact between pictures or band or different colors if the camera didn't use a fixed exposure/white balence and ghosts if some objects moved between to frame (humans, animals, or simply the effect of wind)

It is just here that the noise is so high that the notion of added resolution is not really applicable.

QuoteOriginally posted by interested_observer Quote
I shoot a lot of wide angle, and the wider you shoot the more distortion you record. When you stitch with a more moderate focal length, you bypass the distortion through the addition of resolution. You can shoot at 8 or 16 and in doing so, in order to keep lines straight - they get pulled or artificially stretched. You can shoot with a fisheye, and depending on how you shoot the lens you can either get the fishiness (the bend), or if you are careful and shoot absolutely level, you can get a very normal looking image. The bend has to go somewhere, so its regulated to the sky (but the clouds cover that up nicely) and down at the bottom of the frame (if you have something featureless like grass, it too does not show up - however something straight like a curb and it becomes very noticeable). To bypass the rectilinear stretching and the fisheye fishiness - you can go to a shorter lens, bypassing the wide angle problems (to a certain extent) and still have the wide view without the distortion. Where the stitching somewhat falls apart is when you go way beyond a 180 degrees. The 360 degree panos laid flat, you get the curving of the sidewalks and walls, etc.
The distortion don't disapear when you shoot a pano. This is just the stiching software make you choose the projection that you do prefer.

if you choose one lense and one shoot you get the decision of the lense maker but nothing prevent to change the projection in post processing.
01-27-2015, 06:42 AM - 1 Like   #49
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QuoteOriginally posted by Nicolas06 Quote
The biggest issue with not using a tripod is on your last shoot where the noise is terrible. I wonder if you shouldn't have applyed some more noise removal at least.

Thanks for the comment.


As to the "noise"... lemons, or lemonade (trees, or forest). If you do not know the place... well, it can really sparkle in a gritty way. In this case, I searched for visual devices that help convey an air of authenticity to the scene's magical atmospherics and charm. Purposely allowing some noise to remain in the image, helps IMHO. It prints crystal clear throughout at 11x17. Using metallic paper, it looks 3D.


My advice for the OP... Practice creating and post-processing panoramas BEFORE you go, so you will better know how to shoot to the strengths of your kit. When confronted with a scene containing tough conditions, go for it.

Cheers... M


Last edited by Michaelina2; 01-27-2015 at 07:28 AM.
01-27-2015, 01:44 PM   #50
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QuoteOriginally posted by yucatanPentax Quote
It seems fairly unanimous that Macro lenses are among the sharpest out there. But are they sharp for distance shots or mainly (as I already know) for close-ups / macro shots? I want to render the fine detail as well as the massive forms. Does that make sense?
I have had very good performance from my D FA 50mm f/2.8 macro lens for general shooting, especially portraits. Edge performance is outstanding for the relevant depth of field. I think the trade offs are slower AF performance due to the longer focusing throw and less artsy bokeh in some cases.

I hear people are very satisfied with the DA 35mm macro lenses. It could be a lens worth investigating.
01-27-2015, 09:46 PM   #51
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QuoteOriginally posted by Michaelina2 Quote
Thanks for the comment.


As to the "noise"... lemons, or lemonade (trees, or forest). If you do not know the place... well, it can really sparkle in a gritty way. In this case, I searched for visual devices that help convey an air of authenticity to the scene's magical atmospherics and charm. Purposely allowing some noise to remain in the image, helps IMHO. It prints crystal clear throughout at 11x17. Using metallic paper, it looks 3D.


My advice for the OP... Practice creating and post-processing panoramas BEFORE you go, so you will better know how to shoot to the strengths of your kit. When confronted with a scene containing tough conditions, go for it.

Cheers... M
Lovely photos. Thank you, I really enjoyed them. And more encouragement for practicing panoramas. First rule of photography (in my book): Get the shot. Maybe a shot has "noise." Maybe the noise helps the shot. Maybe it distracts from it? How many people in the general public would detect the noise? Who's to say that noise isn't part of the artistic vision from the beginning? People criticized the Impressionists too.

Technical discussions on reducing noise is certainly important too.

But to me, first rule: Capture the image! Thanks for sharing your photos!
01-27-2015, 09:55 PM   #52
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I've read over all this... and... wow. First off, I have more admiration for those who post a question and then are able to respond to each of their answerers. That takes a lot of time. The best I can do in my limited minutes free today is read everything - every last word - and thank you ALL again for the great insights and tons of information.

While we're here speculating, and since these will mostly be tripod work, so manual focus will likely be commonly used... what about old, manual lenses? Something in Pentax A (don't think I have any), M (have a couple, 50 / 1.7 and 35 / 3.5), K or M42 mounts which would be recommended over modern AF lenses? Now, this is just a thought, but I do have a few older lenses. Basically, I don't carry those into the jungle, because they're just too susceptible to the humidity and dust. But then, so is the DA 12-24mm... I'll just have to be extra careful.

---------- Post added 01-27-2015 at 11:06 PM ----------


QuoteOriginally posted by interested_observer Quote
To bring this back to the original question from yuctan - he wants to shoot these very large structures to convey a number of ideas & concepts. The overall context of the site, the relationships of one structure to the others, the fine detail in both the construction and the stone carvings of the structures. What all of this boils down to is...
  • Use moderate wide angle where appropriate. It's the word appropriate, what works well and what does not work well - in the eye of the photographer. In the end it's the process of telling a story.
  • Use of stitching (with more normal focal lengths), to show wide views of the large structures (without capturing the distortions), with sufficient details to show the magnificent overall construction capabilities and techniques, as well as the stone carvings.
  • Possibly using large stitches to show the wide expanse of the site (zoomed out) and be able to zoom into to various points of interest and see the details.
  • Possibly reuse the shots taken and apply them in other approaches - the sequenced "walk thorough" series of images. These do not have to be stitched together, but when taken as a set, can illustrate to a viewer, the overall context and relationship of the structures at a site. It also gives the viewer the ability to more naturally "look around" and zoom into what ever details are available. This potential second use or re-purposing of the images, can be an additional "bonus".
I also see that Microsoft has improved the photosynch capability. I ran across this youtube video. It shows the whole process of taking some images, easily processing them in LightRoom to get a consistent look and feel, and then loading them up to photosynth to produce the "walk through". It does appear pretty easy - although I have never done it myself. Now, to be fair - this clip is about producing a "story" specifically for photosynch - as opposed to taking a set of images that you have at hand (possibly shot for another purpose), and somewhat repurposing them into a photosynch walkthrough. Two different purposes, but essentially the same process with a related body of work.
Thanks for the video link. I'm going to try some panoramas with the DA 40mmXS which I already have. I think that might be a bit too 'long', but let's see how that goes. The DA 12-24mm at 24 might be workable too, but I'm thinking what I may really be missing is a "moderate wide" lens -- 21mm, 30mm, 31mm.
35 or 40mm puts me at a "normal" lens, not really wide.

Well, the best way to answer this, I think, is to head outdoors and shoot some areas with buildings and open spaces and see what works for me.

I have to express my thanks for your detailed posts once again, Interested_Observer. So much appreciated, as are everyone's responses. Thank you all!

Here are a couple images I thought I'd share. Again, not mine. Sent to me on social media - various friends sharing things they've seen, but to give a visual idea of the types of things that might be seen where I'll work on my little project of collecting images.

First off, Kukulkan (aka "El Castillo), Chichen Itza, 1889 Pre-restoration photo of the most iconic structure of Chichen Itza. There are a lot of places in the jungle very similar to that look right now, but not as large or iconic as far as we know, yet. Entire cities are still being discovered.

Secondly, Edzna, Campeche, contemporary photo. This second one, in particular, shows something similar to the "establishing relationships" type of photos I'd like to take. The dramatic pre- / post-storm sky is not uncommon from May-October. It's both a benefit to have dramatic clouds and a danger, as tropic downpours can be just short of standing in the blast of a firehose.
Attached Images
   

Last edited by yucatanPentax; 01-27-2015 at 10:10 PM.
01-28-2015, 07:32 AM   #53
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I can only add that the 18-135 gives a level of confidence being WR. It could well be the difference between taking the camera or not. I've used it in cities and the zoom is sufficient to capture architectural details around building tops while wide enough for street shooting. It's a zoom and a compromise, but not bad for what it can do.

The other lens I have which I'd recommend for this type of work is the DA 21mm, it's a great little performer and gives plenty of contrast. Plus, it's really light. I haven't tried any panorama stitching, though I keep saying I really should.

01-28-2015, 08:52 AM   #54
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With the weather concerns as you have posted, TER-OR brings up a good point with something like the 18-135 having WR. I might also consider taking some very large size zipped locked plastic bags (the ones with the little plastic closing zipper pull tab across the top), to slide the camera/lens in to, just in case it dumps and you have a non WR lens mounted. A rain cover for your backpack would also be handy to have too.

Another thought is using the web as some crowd sourced planning tool. I took the location Edzna, Campeche and put it in to Google Earth (free download), and it flew me right to the location. There are about 20 different picture icons there from folks who have posted. Between the overhead layout of the site and the images from others, it does give you a pretty good understanding of what you are going to run into. I see that someone posted a 360 spin around image (the orange photo icon).

From this, I think that you will be able to figure out where some good locations will be to shoot from. Using the images from others, you can see what worked and what did not, also what changes or approaches that may work well or not. Also, I saw some trees in the middle of the various pictures that you are going to have to shoot around due to their location. They appear to be situated smack dab in the center of stuff, so if you are going to stitch, these items will be in the foreground and present parallax problems. Going to the other side, so that they are to your back will probably be the best, but then you will be needing a wider lens - like the 12-24 to stitch with up in the vertical / portrait orientation in order to get the height of the structures.

With a bit of advanced planning, knowing what you may encounter, what others have taken, and how their images turned out (since they only post their best ones) - you should be pretty well prepared for what you want to do and how you want to do it.

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