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Pano-Riffic -- Automatic Panoramas
Posted By: AggieDad, 07-15-2020, 08:23 PM

It has taken me a while I first started thinking about this in 2018 but I have finally finished building my automatic panorama head.

The system uses a very strong servo-motor with a 9:1 gear reduction to move the camera. This is a strong drivetrain that could move a 645 with a large lens with no problem. It is controlled by an Arduino microcontroller which calculates the the number of images and the amount the camera moves between images. Here's how it works:
  • Enter the lens focal length
  • Enter the width of the panorama in degrees
  • Enter the camera position landscape or portrait

The microcontroller will calculate the field of view of the lens (in degrees), factor in a 33% image overlap, and then calculate the number of images necessary to complete the panorama.

The top two photos show the setup on the tripod. The black box contains all the electronics along with a 4-line LCD and a 16-key keypad. A battery box is velcroed onto the back of the box. Mounted on the top of the box is a short piece of channel with the servo-motor and gearing. A commercial panoramic head is mounted onto the channel with a standard Arca-Swiss clamp. The photos were taken today when I took it out for its first test drive.

I shot panoramas with 28mm, 35mm, 50mm, and 100mm lenses. Everything worked a treat. The pano taken with the 100mm lens ended up over 71,000 pixels wide! The panorama included here is just the center third of the 35mm panorama. The original is 10 images with a stitched width of about 29,000 pixels.

I wanted to shoot a few more trials, but it was a bit warm in Houston today, and I quit when my iPhone showed a thermometer on the display and a message that it needed to cool down before it could be used again.

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07-15-2020, 08:44 PM   #2
maw
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QuoteOriginally posted by AggieDad Quote
Pano-Riffic -- Automatic Panoramas
Bravo, really interesting, compliments for your work, if you found a company you could also commercialize it, is it in your idea? for your iPhone sorry, it did the end of the Canon R5.

Keep us updated.

M.
07-15-2020, 09:01 PM   #3
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wow, that is impressive. Is there any vertical movement involved?
07-16-2020, 10:26 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by sergysergy Quote
wow, that is impressive. Is there any vertical movement involved?
Not yet. Adding vertical movement will be Phase 2 of the project. When I do add the vertical move, the commercial pano head will go away and the camera arm will rotate on a vertical channel. It will use an identical servo and geartrain as I have for the horizontal rotation. The idea will be to allow multiple rows of images that can result in really large images with great detail or just taller panos.

I expect I will start messing around with the vertical movement come the end of summer.

07-16-2020, 10:36 AM   #5
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Awesome. keep us posted!
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