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04-09-2018, 02:53 PM - 1 Like   #1
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Which lens for Panorama's and Nodal Ninja....

So I grabbed a Nodal Ninja off the marketplace forum to try panorama's. Any tips of suggestions on lenses to use with it?

I have a K3II just not sure what lens to use, wide angles lenses or try a telephoto. Some of the tutorial mention using a telephoto to get a lot of pixels. I have a 300mm that probably won't fit and also have a 15mm and a 24mm. Even have a 35mm macro.

Just looking for some tips to get started with panorama's.

04-09-2018, 03:32 PM   #2
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I like short telephoto. But i think a lens with little distortion helps most. I tried a small room with the sigma 10-20 at 18 and the sigma art 18-35 art and the results were way better with the art.
04-09-2018, 03:51 PM   #3
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Pentax 10-17mm.
@ 10mm: 4 shots around, and 1 up will give you a full sphere.
@ 17mm: 8 shots around will give you a 360 strip.

The 15mm Limited is also pretty good.
04-09-2018, 04:40 PM   #4
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I just use an Fa 28 on mine. And then shoot as wide and tall as I want.
TIP - over lap by at least 20%

04-09-2018, 05:07 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by panoguy Quote
Pentax 10-17mm.
@ 10mm: 4 shots around, and 1 up will give you a full sphere.
@ 17mm: 8 shots around will give you a 360 strip.

The 15mm Limited is also pretty good.
In real life with the DA10-17 you need 6 frames plus zenith and nadir, otherwise you'll be struggling to get a good stitch even with decent software such as Kolor Autopano. With the Samyang 8mm FE you can get away with 4+2 shots for equirectangular 360 degree panos.

As for the focal length, it depends on what you are trying to do - increase your pixel count or expand your field of view. Again with decent software distortion does not matter much, sharpness does. Vignetting can be a pain if you are stitching big plain areas such as sky. As can be things such as power lines in your shot, these invariably end up misaligned.

Make sure that you get enough overlap between your shots, watch your exposure and don't miss any areas, especially with multishot panos. With a bit of practice you don't actually need a pano head or a tripod
04-09-2018, 05:07 PM   #6
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How do you figure out the overlap?

How do you figure out the angle of each lens?

I noticed on the Nodal Ninja website they ahem different disks, I am guessing the number of stops on the disks effect what disk you install on it.
04-09-2018, 05:29 PM - 2 Likes   #7
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It depends on your purpose, and the carrying capacity of the mount. If you use a wide angle, almost fisheye, as panoguy suggests, you also need the software to combine the images. I'm not sure what he uses. Some of the images possible with that setup are awesome. I don't own the 10-17.

I regularly use up to a 300mm with or without a converter if I want to capture a lot of detail, or the subject is a distance away. For me, a remote is not an option with these kind of shots. Depending on the solidity of your NN & tripod, you may need to wait between shots for vibration to stop after advancing to the next position. My first tripod was light, and I would wait up to 6 seconds if I had heavy gear on top. The wait can be longer if there are wind gusts, but is worth it if the day is right, and the light does not change too much in between shots.

When I first started, I used the Pentax 18-250 lens. While not as sharp as my primes, it did okay. I also found which focal lengths work for me. I mostly use primes now.

I take test shots of the darkest and lightest areas of my scene. Then I choose a manual setting that is the best compromise between the two. That way auto exposure does not kick in and ruin the panoramic. I spent hours once trying to adjust exposure on a scene to get a good result after I forgot. I regularly shoot a scene with a several different exposure/DOF settings. I shoot raw, because it gives me more ability to recover shadows and highlights.

I sometimes spend more time setting up and getting everything level than I do shooting the scene. It's easy to loose important parts of a scene to stair steps. You can also have problems if the ground is soft and one of the tripod legs starts to sink in. So I usually have something I can put under the foot if needed.

One last piece of the puzzle. What you can assemble is largely based on the processing power of your computer. Just because you can't process it now does not mean you should not shoot it. Some things only come around once in a lifetime. The next computer you get in a couple years will most likely handle it. Before my current laptop, I was at the edge of what I could process with my 2008 era laptop and a K-5IIs. I found that I could piece together several images into a block, then assemble those blocks into larger blocks. It's time consuming, but it works.

For more inspiration, go to the Panorama-orama - Post your Panos thread. Lots of talent on display, and folks willing to give advice.

Have fun with the panoramics. Look forward to seeing your work!

Roger

---------- Post added 04-09-18 at 07:42 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by mapguy Quote
How do you figure out the overlap? How do you figure out the angle of each lens?
I started by going to the lens database. For each lens, there is a chart that also includes the angles of view for APC and Full frame, if applicable. Overlap depends somewhat on the subject. I usually try to overlap a quarter to one third. If there is detail and strong contrast, I may use less. Less detail and contrast, I may overlap more.
04-09-2018, 06:04 PM   #8
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Wow lots of great and different advice.
I think fisheye vs rectilinear could mean alot.
I know a room vs a far off landscape also means alot. Horizon curve vs a room 90 degree change means a lot.
Please give what conditions your advice is for so i can use it. I am not the OP but i know enough to know that panos vary by distance, action, spherical or rectilinear, stitching of lines and other things. In theory i could take a 15mm and stitch a 8mm fisheye to the top, bottom, left and right. I wonder what that would look like.

04-09-2018, 06:16 PM   #9
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With decent software stitching is very easy.

A quick 5 shot handheld pano of LA skyline about 7.5 miles away taken with the DA55-300 at 300mm, stitched in seconds :


04-09-2018, 06:20 PM   #10
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I have used the DA 40XS and my FA 77 Limited for good panos. Just go for the IQ you like and make sure you overlap!
04-09-2018, 06:20 PM - 1 Like   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by mapguy Quote
So I grabbed a Nodal Ninja off the marketplace forum to try panorama's. Any tips of suggestions on lenses to use with it?

I have a K3II just not sure what lens to use, wide angles lenses or try a telephoto. Some of the tutorial mention using a telephoto to get a lot of pixels. I have a 300mm that probably won't fit and also have a 15mm and a 24mm. Even have a 35mm macro.

Just looking for some tips to get started with panorama's.
I will apologise up front for the novel I'm about to write.

If you plan on using this for indoor use the 35 would probably be worth trying, but I must admit this isn't something I do with my panoramas, I prefer to shoot landscapes, cityscapes etc. Your 35mm will work well with indoor panos as the wider focal length will give you less focus issues that become apparent with longer focal lengths and subject matter that sits front to rear in relation to the lens. And the 35mm focal length works well with landscape panos as it will give you larger more detailed files than a single image captured at 15mm, but not that much more. It may be all you need so I'd recommend you get some test shots under your belt with the 35mm.

The 24mm and 15mm will work too, but as noted there is the potential for distortion to become an issue however the software you process images with can deal with some of this IF it has suitable lens profiles that can prepare your images before joining them as a pano. The only circumstance that I'd recommend these wider lenses for would be if you want a wide vista to cover a storm or a similarly large subject and you're limited on where you can set up. I've done a handheld pano of six images in portrait orientation using the K-1 and the D-FA 15-30 at 15mm to do this and it was still missing some parts of the storm cloud. In a circumstance like this I'd also be surprised if the Nodal Ninja wouldn't be a bit too slow to keep up with a storm so for me, the wider focal lengths can be used for panos but I don't think this is where you get the advantage of this style of photography. IMHO, YMMV etc

For outdoors I recommend you look at focal lengths from 50mm up to about 135mm, you won't need AF so you've got 50+ years of lens options to consider. So all these options in this range of focal lengths means lots of flexibility in price. Something I'll recommend here is look out for lenses that vignette and lack relative sharpness across the frame. A lens profile can probably fix the vingetting quite well but may not prevent a variation in luminance across the frame if you have a lot of something like a blue sky. For more varied subject matter this is not such an issue but it's a lens characteristic that if present needs to be known and understood for all the circumstances you're likely to use it in. No PP can fix a lens that has obvious softness on the edge of frame if it remains soft when stopped down. Typically landscape panos are shot at smaller apertures of course but if there's strong vignetting then the lens is less flexible if you want to shoot with wider apertures. I use Zeiss glass and as good as they are they also vignette at wider apertures so I have to be careful how I use them with panos.

One of my favourite lenses on APSC for panos was the DA 70mm LTD. I still use it on the K-1 but as it vignettes on the larger sensor and is a lens not designed for FF I could have sharpness issues that could mess up the pano once you start pixel peeping for printing prep. On the K3 II though it would be a good middle ground focal lenght to consider as it will give you large detailed images without the extra work that longer focal lengths require. If you want simpler still the 50mm focal length is a good point to jump up to from 35mm.

The longer focal lengths of course will give you huge images with lots of detail, but there are costs to consider. The first is the amount of frames you need to capture to get the entire scene in. So if you shoot at 100mm and a scene needs 3 rows vertically and 10 frames in portrait orientation across, that's a lot of images to combine and lots more for your computer and software to cope with. There is also the additional impact that nodal point errors will have when shooting panos with the longer focal lengths. You can obviously get this right with the pano mount so if you want the really big panos get a 100/135mm but ensure you set it up to get the most out of them otherwise you end up cropping lots and lose some of the advantage of doing a pano in the first place.

Now I once tried doing a pano with my K5 and DA*300 on my Gigapan robotic pano mount. Everything went fine once I set up the mount as best I could with such a heavy lens and I was getting an amazing amount of detail of this bridge when I got to the end of the SD card capacity with about 3/4 of the images needed to make the pano work. I had no real need for such a detailed pano, I just wanted to try it out to see what it would get me and I processed what I had and really wished that I had the bits that were missing because it was awesome. In the end I put hundreds of unnecessary shutter actuations on my camera for nothing as not only did I not get the last quarter of the bridge but I ended up missing the necessary top parts of the bridge as I couldn't get near the correct nodal point with such a large lens. The solution is to go for a shorter tele as suggested to get lots of detail without the drama or add lots of overlapping frames at the top, bottom and both sides of your subject.

If you want a recommendation beyond this I'd suggest you consider how close you will be to some elements of your subject. For example with a pano the composition rules for wide angles is a good way to start off where you have a brilliant scene and can combine it with a strong anchoring element in the foreground. If the foreground subject is a fair bit closer to you than the background and you still want the background to be in focus as well, the wider field of view options will make this a simpler process where you could stop down, work the hyperfocal focus point and probably get everything you want in the one pass. So something like your 35mm or maybe a 50mm will give you better scope in achieving this. If you went with a longer option you're going to need to shoot the foreground frames at one focal point and the background with another. And focus stacking with a single frame is not that uncommon but to do this with a pano is that much more complex to get right. And to do this you would do a sweep focused on your background then when you get to the foreground you would need to take two or more frames to ensure the foreground the middle distance and distant elements are all captured in focus with exactly the same frame. Note that some lenses will produce variations in the frame as you change the focal point from near to infinity which adds more work to do in PP, especially if parts of the foreground subject are in multiple frames. If you're okay with working in Layers then none of this is insurmountable and it will give you some spectacular shots. My recommendation for those sorts of subjects is to ensure the foreground is sharp as a tack and use the hyperfocal distance for the rest if the scene will allow it. This simplifies the workflow especially if you can isolate your foreground subject without unnecessary overlapping frames.

TL;DR? My recommendations in summary would be: Consider focal lengths between 50mm and 135mm, don't be too worried about AF as panos are best shot with everything in manual including focus. If you have the funds or can find some good second hand manual options pick up a 50mm and something in the range between 50mm and 100mm. Then if you really want large detailed images something around the 100-135mm range. If you can only afford a single lens look around the 50-80mm as providing the most flexible options.

Tas

NOTE: Overlap your photos by at least one third, the outside overlap to the top, bottom sides etc can be reduced if you rotate the lens around the entrance pupil, the details on this can be found here: http://www.johnhpanos.com/epcalib.htm

Last edited by Tas; 04-09-2018 at 06:25 PM.
04-09-2018, 06:31 PM   #12
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Thanks for all the replies, plenty of things i never thought would be important. I have an old SMC-M 85mm as well as a SMC-A 50mm to play with. I have been on the look out for a FA 77mm, so who knows, maybe an excuse to look harder :-)

The DA 35mm macro seems like it should be sharp throughout.

I never considered that things might be moving while you are moving the camera in-between shots. How do you handle clouds?

Only take panoramas when there is no wind?
04-09-2018, 07:00 PM   #13
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As many said, a longer lens will be easier to edit later. The wider the lens, the more you want to overlap each shot.
On 50mm, I usually overlap about 25%. On 15mm, I do 45-55%.

Deal with moving cloud:
I use Photoshop. I think the cloud is very easy to mask out or blend.
If you are using Adobe CC you will likely have Photoshop, and this page can be helpful, Create and edit a panorama in Photoshop

They teach how to automate stretch image together. Also read under “Overlap images sufficiently” to get an idea of how much you should overlap images. In fact, read everything under “Take pictures for Photomerge” can answer many of your questions above.


Below links are the example using very similar technic see in Adobe's link above. It is not a panorama but involves stretch multiple images, the same technic you will likely use for Panorama photos.
they are consist of 3 images, bottom, middle, top. Using DA15 [or 21 I can't remember!] The bottom part of the one with light-trails are multi-exposure of about 10-15 images. [this one likly shot by DA15]
Sample1
Sample2

Last edited by pakinjapan; 04-09-2018 at 07:15 PM.
04-09-2018, 07:12 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by mapguy Quote
How do you handle clouds?

Only take panoramas when there is no wind?
Clouds dont always move so fast that they ruin a panorama.
You can manually move individual pics in some panoramic stitching programs so they align better, judiciously filling in gaps later with clone tools.
Shooting in columns usually means less time for cloud movement than shooting in rows, as panoramas are usually wider than they are tall.
Many tips for shooting panoramas in this article, aimed at gigapan users but a lot of it is relevant to general panoramic shooting.
04-09-2018, 08:19 PM   #15
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Use a prime lens between 35mm & 50mm on FF. Lower FL will introduce distortion and higher FL results in too many frames. So 35mm - 50mm is a good balance. If the FL is closer to the FL of human eye(43mm), then the viewer my feel being there. 'being there' means enjoying the scene where the objects are in proportional size. Wide angle lens gives out total opposite effect. Panorama helps cover large area without rendering object in disproportional sizes.

Here are illustrations of effect of different FL TrailPixie.net: Comparing Focal Lengths and Panoramic Stitching

>>>How do you handle clouds?
Shoot the cloud first, then go to stable part.


Reference point is very important for getting correct prospective. So try to take the picture of the Reference point, it may be difficult to memorize it. When editing pano, if the reference point is correct, then perspective of the output may match the scene. This article is must read. Also I suggest start with PTAssembler because it exposes to the basics of stitching. Another good tool is PtGui.
PTAssembler Help
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