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Automated Panoramas – with Rows!
Posted By: AggieDad, 09-29-2020, 07:27 PM

Sometime in mid-July I posted (here) Phase 1 of my automated panorama photography rig – a microcontroller-based motorized camera mount. It allows taking a series of images designed to be stitched together just by entering the focal length of the lens and the desired width (in degrees) of the final panorama.

Now I have completed Phase II – rows. With the addition of a second servo-motor and some additional code for the microcontroller, my system will now take multiple rows of photos to allow the panorama to be as tall as you might wish it to be.

With this rig, I enter the lens focal length, the desired width of the panorama, the number of rows of images, and whether or not the camera is in landscape or portrait attitude. The microcontroller then calculates the width and number of images per row and the row height. Then it moves the camera to a starting position and begins taking pictures while I enjoy a cooling beverage.

The big black box holds the electronics along with a keypad and an LCD display. I enter my info on the keypad and it displays on the LCD so I can confirm that I entered things correctly. The servos are heavy-duty with 9:1 reductions for plenty of torque – a K-1 with a 500 mm lens should be no problem. In fact, I plan to put my Sigma 150-500 on my K-3 during my next trial just for kicks. Everything runs off of 5 AA batteries (7.5 volts).

The photos show the unit set up on a boardwalk at a small nearby lake. the first two photos show a closeup of the display to give an idea of the prompts for entering setup data. Following are two photos of the unit on the tripod during a pano sequence. Finally there is an example of a panorama along with a small section to give an idea of the detail that shooting panos with a long lens can achieve.

The example shown here was shot during my first trial run of the new system. It is 75Ί wide and 3 rows high. The camera is in portrait attitude with an SMC Pentax-M 100mm f/4 lens. The final pano image is 45,255 px x 12468 px (printed at 300 dpi that’s 12 feet x 3½ feet!). On my 27” iMac a full screen the pano image displays at only 9% of its actual size.



Close-up showing the Whole Rig



One of the Opening Screens



Example of an Entry Prompt



A 3 Row Panorama (45,255 px x 12468 px) - Note the Red Box



Red Box from the Pano Above Showing Detail a Longer Lens Pano Allows

Last edited by AggieDad; 09-30-2020 at 08:26 AM. Reason: Fixed Pictures
Views: 993
09-29-2020, 10:37 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by AggieDad Quote

The example shown here was shot during my first trial run of the new system.
No example showing up here.

Cheers,
Terry
09-30-2020, 03:54 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by AggieDad Quote
Sometime in mid-July I posted (here) Phase 1 of my automated panorama photography rig – a microcontroller-based motorized camera mount. It allows taking a series of images designed to be stitched together just by entering the focal length of the lens and the desired width (in degrees) of the final panorama.

Now I have completed Phase II – rows. With the addition of a second servo-motor and some additional code for the microcontroller, my system will now take multiple rows of photos to allow the panorama to be as tall as you might wish it to be.

With this rig, I enter the lens focal length, the desired width of the panorama, the number of rows of images, and whether or not the camera is in landscape or portrait attitude. The microcontroller then calculates the width and number of images per row and the row height. Then it moves the camera to a starting position and begins taking pictures while I enjoy a cooling beverage.

The big black box holds the electronics along with a keypad and an LCD display. I enter my info on the keypad and it displays on the LCD so I can confirm that I entered things correctly. The servos are heavy-duty with 9:1 reductions for plenty of torque – a K-1 with a 500 mm lens should be no problem. In fact, I plan to put my Sigma 150-500 on my K-3 during my next trial just for kicks. Everything runs off of 5 AA batteries (7.5 volts).

The photos show the unit set up on a boardwalk at a small nearby lake. the first two photos show a closeup of the display to give an idea of the prompts for entering setup data. Following are two photos of the unit on the tripod during a pano sequence. Finally there is an example of a panorama along with a small section to give an idea of the detail that shooting panos with a long lens can achieve.

The example shown here was shot during my first trial run of the new system. It is 75Ί wide and 3 rows high. The camera is in portrait attitude with an SMC Pentax-M 100mm f/4 lens. The final pano image is 45,255 px x 12468 px (printed at 300 dpi that’s 12 feet x 3½ feet!). On my 27” iMac a full screen the pano image displays at only 9% of its actual size.


One of the Opening Screens
Looks like the image isn't hotlinked correctly Don.
09-30-2020, 09:01 AM   #4
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even more impressive than the last update!

09-30-2020, 12:31 PM - 1 Like   #5
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NASA should equip Mars rovers with your rig Great job!
09-30-2020, 01:26 PM - 1 Like   #6
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Don, I'm seriously impressed with your work on this project. I have a lengthy background in programming, but only recently started getting into microcontrollers. I'm having an awful lot of fun with it, and have a few ideas for different projects, but none so practical and grand as yours. However, I do have the same 16-key membrane keypad as you, so that's a start!!
09-30-2020, 02:00 PM - 3 Likes   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
Don, I'm seriously impressed with your work on this project. I have a lengthy background in programming, but only recently started getting into microcontrollers. I'm having an awful lot of fun with it, and have a few ideas for different projects, but none so practical and grand as yours. However, I do have the same 16-key membrane keypad as you, so that's a start!!
Big Mack,

My programming experience was limited to a short time in the early 1990s with Visual Basic (I'm just an old retired math teacher). Then I got involved with the Arduino microcontroller when I built an automated macro rail in 2017 when I was recuperating from lung surgery and couldn't be outside much. So the pano system is my second project. I started with stepper motors but learned they like a bit more power than a small battery pack can provide. So then I had to learn about servos.

Those membrane keypads are a great bargain. I must have a half-dozen of them. In fact, its amazing how many bits and pieces I have collected over the past few years. Trust me, I doubt if I saved any money building this project myself rather than just calling B&H. By the way, you might want to get an I2C board to use with the keypad so you don't end up using a lot of your Arduino pins.

It has been great fun on many levels. Being retired, I am trying to keep my brain from becoming Jello. It also extends my photography hobby. So it is a win-win for me. In fact, I could even talk with my neighbor's boy (a Python user) about some tech stuff without him saying, "Okay Boomer!" But then I am actually too old to be a boomer – I'm a war baby.
09-30-2020, 02:07 PM   #8
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Don, that's some seriously impressive work. I recon you could make money if you built these to order!

10-01-2020, 07:42 AM   #9
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Very impressed of a job well done
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