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02-11-2015, 06:49 AM   #1
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Using 645 lenses on a K3 for panorama

I am looking to use 645 lenses on a K3 for panoramic high resolution pictures. I have several questions as to whether I am going about this all wrong.


My goal is/was to produce high resolution images without parallax errors without having to spend a gazillion dollars on a 645z (which I could not afford the lenses even if I bought the camera somehow).


  1. I am thinking the 645 lenses with a tilt or tilt shift panorama adapter like Mirex or Zork might be the way to go
  2. The cost of getting into the 645 with some pretty good lenses is affordable, for $500 I can get two good lenses
  3. I have a nodal rail, panning base and tripod, so can do this manually now with my current set up, using some excellent 135 lenses.


So has anyone done this, and what are the improvement on the results on your K3/K5 DSLR?


Any variations are also considered.


Note: if it's not too crazy on the cost, I will probably upgrade to the FF sometime after it's release.

02-11-2015, 07:37 AM   #2
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Those shift adapters aren't cheap. I'd consider supplementing your nodal rail to allow multi-row nodal panning and otherwise stick with your current setup. I expect your results will be as good, or better, than they would be with your proposed 645 setup.
02-11-2015, 08:24 AM   #3
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I think that I have really considered all (or nearly all) the ideas possible on this topic.
  • Using the 645 lenses for their larger image circle in order to be able to shift or tilt on a cropped sensor. The problem is 645 lenses that are affordable are 35mm at the widest. The shift / tilt mechanism is a small fortune. It really does not work out. With this solution, just using the K28/f3.5 shift will get you wider (but no tilt).
  • You can go wide, but you as start putting a lot more width (UWA lenses) on to each individual pixel's area, you loose the absolute definition and sharpness the wider you go (its just the pure physics of optics). I have a 8-16 and 12-24. They are all wonderful, but it comes down to the amount of angle of view on to a fixed sensor that you can stuff. They are all wonderful lenses, but not with the inherent definition/sharpness of a 28, 31 or 43 - especially the limiteds.
  • You can also go with a shift lens - the K28/f3.5, - I have one. You can do the 13 shot stitch (center point and the 12 hours on the clock face) and crop. It does work out well, but the full angle of view is still limited. The lens is good, but even with the shifting which does increase the final resulting angle of view, you are still limited.
  • A pano head - like the Nodal Ninja is really the only option left. That coupled with some excellent glass - is the real way to go with a cropped body, if you are intending to simulate/emulate a 645 frame. Also, the width is not limited - well up to 360 degrees. I have used a 25, 28, and 31 as my favorite lenses. I also have an 85 that I acquired for this too - for some really high definition (and a lot of stitching). I also use the zooms from the above point, they work very well also (depending on the setup and the particular solution).
There is no one absolutely perfect solution. Some excel in certain situations and fail in others. Stitching fails - for instance, when there is a lot of motion in the frame. It all comes down to good, fast and cheap - pick 2 of the 3 at any one time.


Last edited by interested_observer; 02-11-2015 at 08:30 AM.
02-11-2015, 08:56 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by interested_observer Quote
I think that I have really considered all (or nearly all) the ideas possible on this topic.
  • Using the 645 lenses for their larger image circle in order to be able to shift or tilt on a cropped sensor. The problem is 645 lenses that are affordable are 35mm at the widest. The shift / tilt mechanism is a small fortune. It really does not work out. With this solution, just using the K28/f3.5 shift will get you wider (but no tilt).
  • You can go wide, but you as start putting a lot more width (UWA lenses) on to each individual pixel's area, you loose the absolute definition and sharpness the wider you go (its just the pure physics of optics). I have a 8-16 and 12-24. They are all wonderful, but it comes down to the amount of angle of view on to a fixed sensor that you can stuff. They are all wonderful lenses, but not with the inherent definition/sharpness of a 28, 31 or 43 - especially the limiteds.
  • You can also go with a shift lens - the K28/f3.5, - I have one. You can do the 13 shot stitch (center point and the 12 hours on the clock face) and crop. It does work out well, but the full angle of view is still limited. The lens is good, but even with the shifting which does increase the final resulting angle of view, you are still limited.
  • A pano head - like the Nodal Ninja is really the only option left. That coupled with some excellent glass - is the real way to go with a cropped body, if you are intending to simulate/emulate a 645 frame. Also, the width is not limited - well up to 360 degrees. I have used a 25, 28, and 31 as my favorite lenses. I also have an 85 that I acquired for this too - for some really high definition (and a lot of stitching). I also use the zooms from the above point, they work very well also (depending on the setup and the particular solution).
There is no one absolutely perfect solution. Some excel in certain situations and fail in others. Stitching fails - for instance, when there is a lot of motion in the frame. It all comes down to good, fast and cheap - pick 2 of the 3 at any one time.

Thanks. I have the pano head solution in place already with a nice selection of lenses, I am sure will produce good shots. I guess an investment in the 645 may end up just being a distraction. If I do a three shot pano with a vertical rail, I get a large file with my FA31, a wide enough perspective and no parallex error. The only issues are wind movement in landscapes etc.


I will continue to experiment with this set up and of course this should be even better when the FF comes out, perhaps with some pixel shifting fancy work. As well.


Any thoughts using the composition shift feature of the K3 with standard or 645 lenses?

02-11-2015, 09:05 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by mikeodial Quote
Any thoughts using the composition shift feature of the K3 with standard or 645 lenses?
Doesn't shift enough to be useful for panoramas.
02-11-2015, 09:30 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by interested_observer Quote
You can also go with a shift lens - the K28/f3.5, - I have one. You can do the 13 shot stitch (center point and the 12 hours on the clock face) and crop. It does work out well, but the full angle of view is still limited. The lens is good, but even with the shifting which does increase the final resulting angle of view, you are still limited.
Can you expand on how this is done a little more? I'm not following how you would use the shift lens for this.
02-11-2015, 06:29 PM - 1 Like   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
Can you expand on how this is done a little more? I'm not following how you would use the shift lens for this.
Sure, it all centers around the design and construction of the lens, which translates into how you use the lens - i.e, its application.

The lens body is split in to two parts, the base and the front part of the lens. The front part of the lens shifts over to one side a variable amount controlled by the user - from 1 to 11 mm. Once shifted, then the shifted part rotates around the base, with a stop at each clock position. So, let's say you take a unshifted image (the center), then shift the lens 11mm to the left to the 9 o'clock position on the clock. Take another image. Then rotate the lens up to the 10 o'clock position, take an image. Continue taking images at each clock position, until you are back to the 9 o'clock position. Now, you are done and have 13 separate images. Here is a quick video of the operation.


Now, fire up Microsoft ICE and drag all the images into it and let it stitch them together and you get the following.


... and you can crop it in any number of ways....


Do you need to take all 13 images all the time. No, you just might take the center and the one to the left and right for a 3 image panorama, or a 3 vertical, or what every you really need to suit the situation.

hope that helps...

02-11-2015, 07:51 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by interested_observer Quote
hope that helps...
Helps a lot, thank you! Simple once you see it. I will definitely be giving this a try.

02-11-2015, 08:39 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
Helps a lot, thank you! Simple once you see it. I will definitely be giving this a try.
... also, take a look at this link (covers stitched panoramas too). Good overview and a nice calculator.
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