Capturing Great Panoramas,
3. Use manual focus only. Set the
focus using auto-focus by aiming at the scene where you think the
center of focus should be, and pressing down the shutter to the S1
position. This will cause the focus mechanism to operate.
Then, turn the auto-focus off, and don't touch the lens.
4. Use a tripod and levels if you can to
make sure you are capturing a series of images that are level.
Otherwise, hold the camera rigid and rotate your body without
shifting the camera as you take each shot. Even better, buy a
5. If you have a wide dynamic range
(very bright, and dark areas), consider reducing your dynamic range,
if you have a control for that in the camera menu system (Canon has
it for many of its semi-pro and pro cameras).
5. Make sure you overlap at least 25%,
and even better, 50% of the image between images. As you take
each image, check about 1/3 of the way into the image for what
should be at the edge of the next capture before rotating yourself
carefully for the next shot.
7. Use the right software (Stitcher
Express) and make sure you have a fast PC and lots of RAM
(I use a 64 bit Athlon FX55 with 2.0 GB of memory,
and dual RAID 0 drives). Try different settings,
depending on the software you are using, until you get a good
8. Load the image into Photoshop or
similar image editing software. You will need to make some
edits - most likely careful use of the "rubber stamp" cloning tool,
to eliminate problems around the edges, or reduce or eliminate
double images. Hopefully, if you got a good stitch, this
should be a small chore - but expect an hour of touch-up or more if
you are picky like me. I don't want anyone to look at one of
my images and say "Hey! Here is where one image ends and the
next one begins!" I edit until you can't tell, or I toss it.
Camera Equipment and Film
I use the
Canon EOS camera system - and love it! Specifically, I
use an EOS 20D camera.
For lenses, I have expanded my line to include:
Canon EF 17-35 mm f/2.8L
USM wide angle zoom. This is an incredible lens! The contrast and sharpness
is just fantastic, with low distortion to boot! The "L" series
indicates very expensive low dispersion glass. If you want a
wide angle lens, get this one!
Canon EF 28-135 mm f/3.5-5.6 IS
USM zoom. This is my main "work horse"
lens for everyday picture taking. The "IS" stands for Image
Stabilization - a wonderful Canon technology which eliminates the
need for a tripod! I can take hand-held shots down to under
1/10 second and get images that are incredibly sharp - even at full
digital magnification under Photoshop! I did a test series I
might publish sometime if asked... (hint).
Canon EF 50 mm f/2.5 Macro.
This is a wonderful lens for macro work.
I love taking pictures of flowers, and this lens is sharp, and with
its extension lens, can focus down to 1:1.
Canon EF 75-300 mm f/4-5.6 IS
USM tele zoom. Another "IS" lens for
sharp photos down to 1/10 second hand-held - no tripod needed!
Canon only claims 2 stop improvement, but if you are reasonably
steady, it does much better than they claim!
I only use
B&W UV multicoated Haze
filters on all my lenses to protect them. Don't buy
expensive lenses, and then but some cheap glass in front of them!