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04-23-2016, 09:44 AM   #1
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Setup for Panoramas with K-3?

I've got a K-3 and a MePhoto tripod and I've been attempting to take some panoramas. They weren't great because the camera wasn't centered on the tripod correctly.

Does anyone have any recommendations of solutions that work well for the K-3 that aren't too expensive?

04-23-2016, 10:30 AM   #2
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You are probably looking for something like the Panosaurus or Nodal Ninja.

Heads - PanoTools.org Wiki
04-23-2016, 10:37 AM   #3
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can you share an example? I only say this because i shoot landscape panos very often and have never run into a need for a node adjusting device (which i find overly fussy, expensive, and destabilizing). Wondering if you just needed more overlap or had some barrel distortion from the lens??
04-23-2016, 10:57 AM   #4
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Also, what software are you using to stitch the pano? Some are better than others at dealing with parallax. Try some different projection methods to see how they deal with the distortion. It might be better to invest in good software rather than a tripod head.

Photo stitching software 360 degree Panorama image software - PTGui Stitching Software
Kolor | Autopano - panorama software

For my casual usage the pano module in Lightroom CC has been adequate.

I know some people like Micro$oft ICE, but I don't do Window$.

04-23-2016, 10:58 AM   #5
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Here's an example. I don't know if you can see it very well in the size that Flickr displays it, but there are a few places where things don't line up properly -- some of the lines in the building or in the garage doors, and also the curb in some places:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/24897072@N00/26598387455/in/datetaken/

And this is basically how I had it set up for the photo:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/24897072@N00/25995302733/in/dateposted-public/

---------- Post added 04-23-16 at 11:00 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by boriscleto Quote
Also, what software are you using to stitch the pano? Some are better than others at dealing with parallax. Try some different projection methods to see how they deal with the distortion. It might be better to invest in good software rather than a tripod head.

Photo stitching software 360 degree Panorama image software - PTGui Stitching Software
Kolor | Autopano - panorama software

For my casual usage the pano module in Lightroom CC has been adequate.

I know some people like Micro$oft ICE, but I don't do Window$.
I've used Hugin a bit and then switched to Microsoft ICE as it seemed to do a much better job.
04-23-2016, 11:18 AM - 1 Like   #6
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I've been using Microsoft ICE for a long time. I've only ever shot hand held panoramas, but the program does a very very good job of stitching everything together, and is very easy to use. I've tried numerous other software, and demoed more expensive ones, but in my very amateur opinion, ICE did a better job than all of them. Also its free, which is a plus. The only downside is that it wont work on Mac.
04-23-2016, 11:21 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by cpritchardv Quote
The only downside is that it wont work on Mac.


Even with bootcamp?

04-23-2016, 11:26 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by k34ever Quote

And this is basically how I had it set up for the photo:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/24897072@N00/25995302733/in/dateposted-public/




I would think that set up like that the camera is swinging in an arc as you move it for each shot. That could make it difficult for the stitching software to resolve the overlap of adjacent images.


If you had an L bracket, or a gimbal mount, the camera could be positioned to rotate on the axis of the tripod.


Or you could step up to one of the many (and more expensive) panoramic heads for your tripod.
04-23-2016, 11:42 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by k34ever Quote
Here's an example. I don't know if you can see it very well in the size that Flickr displays it, but there are a few places where things don't line up properly -- some of the lines in the building or in the garage doors, and also the curb in some places:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/24897072@N00/26598387455/in/datetaken/.
as long as you leave plenty of overlap between the pics, good software should be able to stitch it up with few errors, i'd keep looking at software options at this point.

the nodal ninjas and such become a factor with nearfield objects, because they compensate for parallax: FINDING THE NO-PARALLAX POINT
04-23-2016, 12:55 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by k34ever Quote
I've used Hugin a bit and then switched to Microsoft ICE as it seemed to do a much better job.
for landscape you usually don't need a special panohead, this is only important if there are manmade objects in the foreground. straight lines or right angles are problematic but otherwise you don't see the paralax errors. in your example the building is far enough away, but you can improve your stitch by adding contollpoints in hugin
04-23-2016, 03:03 PM   #11
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From my experience topic of 'panohead' is more complicated. As othar has written 'nodal point' head is not needed unless you've got objects in the foreground pretty close to the camera. I also agree that Hugin is of great help when it comes to stitching of panoramas. Geeting back to tripod heads - the setup I have found very convenient is three-axis spirit level and special 'panoramic' add-on for ball head (the former works only for landscape orientation). How does it work? The add-on is mounted between the camera and ball head, and it allows for rotation around vertical axis (remember about landscape orientation). It means we've got following configuration (looking from the top):

  1. spirit level (in hot shoe)
  2. camera
  3. panoramic add-on
  4. ball head
  5. tripod

You've got to make sure that camera is oriented properly (using spirit level), and from now on you can rotate camera around vertical axis using the add-on. That's all! Open photos in Hugin, select control points, and enjoy your new panorama
04-23-2016, 03:48 PM   #12
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Your current setup is as basic as you can go, other than shooting handheld. Yes, you are off axis from your pivot point (center of the tripod), but for the type of shot you provided as an example - you are ok. The stitching software makes the adjustments up to a point.

For a single row of shots, a tripod with an L bracket to get the camera vertical in portrait orientation is really the next step.

From here everything gets expensive. You can get an L bracket. The generic ones run $50 and up. The ones that are designed for the camera run $150+ and only a few places have them - RRScom

You can get a dedicated pano head, but they run at the bottom end $100 and go up from there. These come in handy when you go beyond a single row of shots.

04-23-2016, 05:27 PM   #13
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I do a fair number of panoramas and have the best results by not using a tripod. When I use a tripod, I always seem to get a "curve of the Earth" horizon effect. I hold the camera in portrait mode with a slight overlap on images, then post process using Adobe Bridge, Camera Raw, and Photoshop.
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04-23-2016, 06:03 PM - 1 Like   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by k34ever Quote
Does anyone have any recommendations of solutions that work well for the K-3 that aren't too expensive?
As discussed already, there's a couple of aspects to good panos, the taking of the images and then the PP software. If you can improve the images during capture you are less reliant on the software. Looking at the ball head you are using I see it has the ability to roate horizontally separate from releasing the ball and has indicator markings to assist. As the head is a ball it also provides the ability to move the camera by tilting in the vertical plane, and hopefully the markings on the ball locking knob are an indication of fine adjustment for movement of the ball. As you have the vertical option this negates the requirement to rotate the camera into the portrait orientation; if you have software that will work with multiple layers.

However the one thing I'd suggest will help is to add a macro rail like the one I use here: Manfrotto 454 Micrometric Positioning Sliding Plate - 454 B&H This will allow you to set the camera into a position that will allow the no parallax point of the lens to align with the rotation point of the tripod. This will mitigate the parallax error issue before you get into post processing and will work with a range of lens options due to the ability to move the camera and lens forward and backward in relation to the rotation point of the head/tripod.

With the macro rail the next step for a longer term solution would be consider adding a geared head to replace your ballhead once it starts to fail to lock correctly. This will give better vertical and horizontal control, this is the one I use: Manfrotto 410 Junior Geared Head - Supports 11 lbs (5kg) 410 B&HThis type of head provides the same control through the same planes of movement as a dedicated pano mount but is a very useful tripod head in it's own right. Ball heads are quicker, but the stability and control of the geared head is my preference.

Now, if $87 is more than you're wanting to invest for a quality rail like the Manfrotto, here's an option that's much cheaper: Aliexpress.com : Buy Gopro Accessories Macro Shot Focus Rail Slider For CANON NIKON SONY Gopro 3+/3/2 Camera DSLR Quick Release Platforms LP01 from Reliable slider shower suppliers on Fashionet store I can't comment on the quality of this $21 macro rail as I just found it via Google, however if you follow the link and click on the photo it shows the rail set up on a ball head as it would work for you.

One other thing to note is the pivot point should be levelled first, this would mean your tripod legs. If your tripod has a level bubble ensure that you set this first before levelling any tripod head or camera mounted level otherwise your camera will not rotate with the horizon level meaning you will need to straighten the horizon in PP and end up with cropping. To ensure your pivot point is level there are pano levelling options at a range of prices, here's an inexpensive option that might work: Velbon Panamatic 360ยบ Camera Indexer & Level PANAMATIC Of course, if you're working with multi layer panos you can allow for overlap so the levelling and subsequent cropping in post is not going to detract from the image.

Good luck with whichever way you choose to go.

Tas
04-23-2016, 07:37 PM   #15
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Hi

I do most of mine hand held, using the guide lines in the view finder to keep the shots even. I then use Double Take to stitch them together, it works with Aperture, but is also stand alone. He is an example.

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/12-post-your-photos/299908-landscape-double-photo.html
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