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04-26-2008, 04:35 PM   #1
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Lens choice for pano

I'm having a ton of fun putting together some great panoramics but I have a question...

Many of you know of Max Lyons and his fantastic pano arrangements. Does anyone know what lens and focal length you would need to use to create the composites like this one on his main page of 200+ images stitched into one? (http://www.maxlyons.net/idx.htm)

I'm trying to imagine the technical side of this "equation". I am assuming you would have to use a zoom or telephoto of some sort (maybe not and there is something I'm missing). If so, how do you deal with DOF and focus?

My guess is that you would use, say, a 200mm telephoto/zoom or more, use a smaller aperture (say F/11 or 16) to control DOF, and focus for each picture. Would this be a good guess?

My concern is that there would be some shots where there would be a wide DOF where an object in the field of view would be out of focus in order to keep another object in focus.

Any thoughts out there?

04-27-2008, 06:18 AM   #2
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wow! That's incredible work

Hi navcom -
Untill I went to his site, I wasn't sure what you were talking about! That mind-blowing detail is really amazing.
I'm womndering if he's using 35mm at all. I'm wondering if it's not mediium format (or greater) to get that kind of detail.
No answers, but he's garnered another fan!

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04-27-2008, 09:08 AM   #3
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All that I'll say is make sure your using a lens that does NOT have any vignetting
04-27-2008, 11:13 AM   #4
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The detail is amazing! I love his work. I imagine it could be done with an SLR and a great lens, but even with a medium format, the question would still apply. What focal length would work? It's one of those nagging questions!

04-27-2008, 11:28 AM   #5
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I've generally used 50-200 mm but considering it was on my old fuji that has 3 X the DOF (using lenses that are 1/3 the lengh needed on a pentax DSLR for the same effective focal length) I had an advantage I would not now with the K10D

I do have and image where I focused for each image it was roughly 10 X 3 images and was very fine in detail down to the pixel ! I was 1.5 metres from a coned roofed building but amazingly it came out perfect at a total of 180 MP (1 GB file at 16 bits) it was not that much from technique more luck perhaps I'll have to get down to some panos with the K10D

the below image (my sig) is a 2 X 4 pano with a 95 mm (21 on the camera)
04-27-2008, 05:44 PM   #6
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I typically shoot panos at 18-24mm if I'm relatively close quarters. I've done a pano at 360mm (effective, on a Fuji S5200), where the subject was about 3 miles away (city skyline with water in the foreground).

I also don't shoot panos to create huge files, I shoot them to shorten my effective focal length or to create a wraparound shot.
04-28-2008, 05:10 AM   #7
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... and distortion

QuoteOriginally posted by little laker Quote
All that I'll say is make sure your using a lens that does NOT have any vignetting
as well as vigneting keep in mind distortion!
Many on this forum would recomend primes for panos. Something like 28, 35 or 50. If you are further from the object and are rich enough you can use 77ltd or so...
04-28-2008, 06:07 AM   #8
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got some answers

I emailed and asked what he used and how he kept track if the images and got this back from him

Jonathan,

Thanks for the e-mail.

I use a mixture of zooms and primes, and a point-and-shoot camera for
my
panoramas. I keep track of the images in my head as I take them...it
isn't too
hard. I just make sure that whatever image I am taking overlaps with
the
previous image, and it all works out in the end! If I'm taking a
multi-row
shot, then I also make a mental note of the left and right most edges
of the
scene I'm capturing and move to the next row once I get to the edge
(making
sure that the first image on the next row overlaps the last image in
the
previous row). It sounds more complicated than it is...

Max

does make you want to try your hand at it i have to admit

04-28-2008, 06:20 AM   #9
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Marty Lyons does use a longer focal length in some of his gigapixel pano mosaics. For Bryce Canyon I do believe he used a 200mm focal length. Marty also uses P&S for many of his big pictures too. So any camera can do it with th eright software and the patience to hammer out a quality pano.

Any lens will do, but rememeber that every focal length produces compromises on certain aspects of imaging. Issue to take into consideration are the hyperfocal need of the scene and distortions caused by focal length and lens defects like CA or PF.

My personal choices for mid sized (up to 200 MP images) is the FA 31 and 43.
For much larger images I have used the 77mm.

To use these or any lenses properly you should use a pano head and find the nodal point, or axis about the center of the lens that will not produce distortions when stitching.

The only zoom I use is the 12-24 and I have worked out those nodal points for the various focal lengths when used on a Nodal Ninja.

Stephen
04-28-2008, 09:50 AM   #10
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Thanks all! Great feedback! I do have a pano head and have scribed the location for the lens center for all my lenses, including zoom settings on the zoom lenses.

I guess what is most confusing to me is this. Say you are taking a pano of a mountain range. If you are using a 45mm lens...it is impossible to get 200+ shots even if you do 360 degrees of shooting. ...and even if you include 30% overlap. The only way I can see in my mind getting 200+ shots for that large of an image is to use a telephot or zoom lens, say, in the 200mm range. Maybe my thinking is all screwed up or something. I'm definately not a pro at this type of photography.
04-30-2008, 11:53 PM   #11
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I don't think he *needs* to use a large DOF with these shots as each image is only a small snippet of the photo and as such may only have a limited requirment of DOF for each part. It does look like he uses a long lens for his photos, though.

I generally use a lens with little distortions like my FA31 Limited or, when I had it, my DA16-45 between 21mm and 35mm as it has little distortions and vignetting at those focal lengths.

My stitching software is PTGui and I cannot recommend it highly enough. I have printed my panos up to 1880mm x 330mm using my Epson R2400 printer and you *cannot* tell that they were stitched together. Here are some of my panos:
Panoramas Photo Gallery by Lance Blackburn at pbase.com
05-01-2008, 05:00 AM   #12
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lens distortion is an issue I tried some at close quarters on my old fuji at 28mm efective (6.2 mm in reality) and autopano just could not match them up, I'm thinking I will have more luck with my pentax 18 mm (that is 27 mm effective)
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