04-28-2016 05:15 AM
I recently purchased a Canon EOS Rebel T6i with a tripod, wireless shutter release, focus 58mm 3 piece filter kit, Focus 58mm wide angle lens and EFS 10 - 55 mm image stabilizer. I was hoping to learn how to take 360 degree panoramic photos but I'm completely clueless on how and where to start.
Any help would be greatly appreciated
04-28-2016 09:26 AM - edited 04-28-2016 09:53 AM
Well, I'd say start small and work your way up. Of course, it all starts with the software used to stitch images together. Simple applications, like Canon's Photostitch, allow you stitch together a series of shots taken side by side into one very wide shot....and usually one rather large file compared to your regular photos.
The shot below was created with a dozen separate shots and merged using Canon's Photostitch, which didn't do such a great job on the sky. To be fair, merging images of skies is one of the more difficult tasks to do.
I would suggest getting started by creating more conventional panoramas, such as this one. That shot was created from 12 separate images [taken left to right], which Photostitch was barely able to digest. I'd suggest starting out with 2, 3, or 4 shots. BTW, the individual shots were taken with the camera rotated into portrait mode.
Some applications allow more flexibility in how the shots can be arranged, which is essential for full 360 panoramas. Some allow you to take "rows" of shots. In other words, imagine in the above photo if each individual photo [left to right] actually had upper and lower halves.
As far as actually capturing a 360 panorama. It starts with your tripod, just as it would for a shot like the one above. I used a high quality ball head, Benro B3, on a very sturdy tripod, Induro Alloy 8M 100mm Bowl with a leveling adapter. I also used an additional leveling base adapter, by Sunwayfoto, to level the head. Beca8use leveling the head is far easier, quicker, and usually more accurate than leveling a set of tripod legs. Leveling the tripod and head are essential to successful panorama shots, because as you rotate the head any leveling errors [yaw, pitch, and roll] will become more and more exxagerated.
A strong and sturdy tripod/head combo is needed so that the setup does not move when you touch the setup to turn the head, and activate the shutter, for successive shots. I used the camera's built-in shutter timer, too.. Or, you could drop four digits on a robotic head that does all of the panning and shutter control for you. In fact, they make robotic heads to take 360 panoramic shots, which come complete with software, in most cases.
Basically, start small and work your way up.
04-28-2016 09:51 AM
Thanks. Really appreciate it
I hope you don't overlook, or forget, the remark about the original shots for the panorama were taken with the camera rotated to portrait mode. Good luck. Never stop asking questions, either. We all learn some way, somehow, at some time.
04-28-2016 10:01 AM - edited 04-28-2016 10:02 AM
Thanks. Really appreciate it
I hope you don't overlook, or forget, the remark about the original shots for the panorama were taken with the camera rotated to portrait mode. ...
The point is that unless you've done an extremely careful job of rotating the camera, the stitching process is going to cost you some content at the top and bottom of the picture. Rotating the individual frames to portrait mode makes you more able to afford that loss, at the price of having to take more frames.
04-28-2016 12:31 PM
"The point is that unless you've done an extremely careful job of rotating the camera, the stitching process is going to cost you some content at the top and bottom of the picture. Rotating the individual frames to portrait mode makes you more able to afford that loss, at the price of having to take more frames."
Yes. Yes. Exactly. I cannot empasize enough how critical it is that you can achieve very accurate leveling of the camera, the head, and the tripod.
My bridge photo consists of a dozen long exposures taken in the dark of the night. I had rehearsed it during daylight hours. I had "pre-leveled" the tripod and head. Meaning, I setup the tripod in daylight, and very carefully leveled the legs, which have their own bubble level, which I double checked with a carpenter's level. Next, I re-installed the leveling bowl adapter, and checked that with a carpenter's level.
Next, I re-installed the leveling base adapter, which serves as my "universal joint", and fine adjustment, between the tripod legs, and the head. I have found that while you can level the quick release plate, if the base isn't also level, then you will not get a level pan. The camera will begin to pitch and roll.
Again, I leveled the base adapter, using its' bubble level, and checked it with a carpenter's level. As it turns out, the bubble level indicators are very accurate, and I will not need the carpenter's level in the future. Using the seemingly redundant base adapter allows me set the legs in their most stable position on uneven terrain, which is frequently not the most conducive angle to leveling the camera. Instead of 10-15 degrees of adjustment, I have 20-30 degrees to work with. Besides, the leveling bowl adapter isn't very easy to adjust with fine accuracy. The leveling base is my fine tune.
Finally, I re-installed the ball head, and very carefully leveled the quick release plate, which also had its' own bubble level, and which I double checked with a carpenter's level. Next, I mounted the camera, EOS 6D, and verified what the camera's internal level was telling me as I rotated the camera, using the ball head's panning adjustment, a full 360 to check for any deviations from level.
It all checked out, and so I was ready for the dark, and the uneven terrain from where I would be shooting. I left everything pre-assembled and pre-aligned, with the exception of the camera, of course. Once on site, all I would need to do would be to stabilize the tripod, and adjust the leveling bowl adapter to get a coarse level adjustment. Next, I mounted the camera, and used it's internal level to fine adjust the leveling base adapter, rotating the camera a full 360 degrees to verify that the base of the head was perfectly level. Remember, I had already leveled the quick release plate with the base of the ball head ahead of time.
Despite all of those careful preperations, I still wound up with about 2-3% of the shots being chopped of the top and/or bottom of some images. The very first time I tried to do it in broad daylight, I wound up with the last couple of shots having about 25% chopped off.
04-28-2016 04:44 PM
"... with a tripod, wireless shutter release, focus 58mm 3 piece filter kit, Focus 58mm wide angle lens and EFS 10 - 55 mm image stabilizer ..."
Before you start on this fascinating new venture, just what is all this stuff you just bought?
Is the lens perhaps the Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II Lens? Or mayby the Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM Lens? Are the 58mm 3 piece kit, WA lens adapters filters that screw onto the front of a real camera lens? These questions need to be known before anyone can advise you intelligently.
Now the tripod? Do you have model and brand name for it?
04-28-2016 05:00 PM
To get a start put just the real camera lens on your T6i and set it to a lower focal length. Like 24mm for instance. Put the T6i on your tripod and take three shots of some interesting scene. Anything really. Have the camera set on the "P" mode and the lens in AF. Make sure part of the scene is visible in each frame. Maybe a quarter or so. This is how it gets stitched.
Load the three shots in to Canon Photostich and it will do the rest. You first pano!
Right now it doesn't matter which way the camera is positioned vertical or horizontal. It is a good idea that not much moves in the three shots. For instance don't try a scene with moving cars like a traffic location.
I do panos all the time. You will quickly see what works and what doesn't. The best way to learn is, just do it ! You don't even need a tripod to get good panos. As seen below............
04-28-2016 09:06 PM - edited 04-29-2016 04:42 AM
"Make sure part of the scene is visible in each frame. Maybe a quarter or so. This is how it gets stitched."
If it is not clear, Ernie is saying that you need some overlap between the successive images. Photostitch needs at least a quarter of the frame to overlap. Otherwise, you can get inconsistent results or subtle stitching errors with Photostitch.
To be fair, Photostitch can do a decent job on pretty basic panoramas. Just allow for sufficient overlap. I would aim for 1/3 overlap, because it is better to have a little too much, than not enough. Again, take your shots starting on the left, and work your way towards the right.
I went to all of the lengths that I did to capture the bridge because of the number of shots invovled, 12 images, which were a bit too much for Canon's Photostitch to handle. It was able to process the images because they were so well aligned.
Stick to simple panorama shots of 2 or 3 images, initially. I have captured long exposure images at night that contained content and subject matter that was movng [car headlights]. Provided that the movement is a minor part of the overall individual image, the stitched resutls can be dramatic looking.