My new toy

March 13th, 2007, 10:57 am PDT by Greg

I recently acquired a KingPANO panoramic tripod head. For those who don’t know, a panoramic head is a jig that forces your camera to rotate around the len’s nodal point, so you can rotate your camera and get images that can be stitched together nicely.

Basically, panoramas of far-away things are easy, since an inch or two of movement isn’t a big deal, but close-up panoramas are impossible without such a device. Have a look at the panorama I did at UNC. The far-away buildings are just fine, but the flowerbeds closer to the camera have awkward seams because of camera movement.

My first project with the pano head was a full 360×180° panorama in my office.

Since a few people have asked, and I have the pictures around, I thought I’d show what happens. First, the camera goes on the tripod, exposure, focus, and white-balance are set to manual (so they stay the same for all images). Then, I take a bunch of pictures (about 60 in this case, but that’s probably more overlap than necessary) like this:

A1.jpg A2.jpg

Then, into a panorama-stitching program (Hugin for me). I usually scale everything 50% before hitting Hugin. I didn’t this time and my poor computer groaned under the stress.

Then comes the long (but somehow relaxing) process of identifying corresponding points in the pictures. That lets the program figure out each picture’s correct place in the panorama. Once that’s done, each picture is morphed into the right “shape” for the finished panorama:

B1.jpg B2.jpg

Now, the individual images just have to be piled on top of each other for the finished panorama:


Finally, I get the finished panorama of my office (after some pain to remove the tripod and fill in the floor properly).

If I had kept the full resolution all the way though, the finished panorama would have been about 162 megapixels. The one you see on the link above is about 3.5% of that.

One Response to “My new toy”

  1. Lens Wish List-- Greg and Kat’s blog Says:

    […] like taking panoramic pictures, would use it for that. It would cut my current 40-ish shots down to 6 for a full […]