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  • This topic has 9 replies, 3 voices, and was last updated 1 month, 2 weeks ago by Ron Potts.
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  • #27935

    Ron Potts
    IVRPA Member
    • Forum Posts: 13

    Just a little of my background. I am currently retired and have had a part time real estate photography business which is where I was introduced to 360 degree panoramic photography awhile back. I did some research and started working with Google Street View. I first started using a Ricoh Theta V, was not totally happy with the quality and purchased a Ricoh Theta Z1. Better quality but still looking for better results. About a year ago I bought a Sigma 8mm for my Nikon D600, I bought it along with a Nodal Ninja Ring and rotator. After using it was not happy with the focus and clarity, it is about as good as the Z1. I put it aside and left it alone for the past year. After looking at the photos trying to figure out why, I thought it was so soft that I contacted Sigma to see if it was an issue with the lens. I also tried to calibrate the lens with the D600 and it was still soft and could not come up with one photo to use to fine tuning the focus with my Nikon. I sent the photos to Sigma and they said that is the best I can expect from this lens. What I am looking for is what is everyone else using for equipment to get clear photos. I am currently using PTGui to stich the photos together. Are you using a fisheye or wide angle and taking more photos. What I found from business owners it they want you in and out thats why I went with the fisheye and single axes rotator. Any advice on equipment or what I am doing wrong.

    #27939

    Loren Price
    IVRPA Member
    IVRPA Director
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    • Forum Posts: 35
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    What are you using as your gauge, ie; What do you consider sharp? All of the cameras should have given you something that would be considered sharp.

    #27940

    Scott Witte
    IVRPA Member
    IVRPA Director
    president
    • Forum Posts: 8

    I work with a couple of photographers using a Sigma 8mm on a full-frame Nikon DSLR. The results are quite useable, although for my personal work I like something better. I use an 8-15mm fisheye zoom at 12mm. That gives me the maximum coverage while allowing four-around panos with the greatest resolution. This is my fourth or fifth fisheye lens, each more expensive than the last, each delivering better results than the last. For me, the results are well worth the cost.

    Back to your issue. Open an image at 100%. Does it seem reasonably sharp? If not, have you applied any sharpening in processing? In Lightroom, I generally have sharpening set at 60 with a bit of unsharp masking. If the image is noticeably less sharp than images from other lenses you may have a bad lens. You may want to get a better or different lens. If possible, go to a camera store and test a few. Many people love the Nikor 10.5mm fisheye. On a full-frame camera, you will have to shave off the lens shade. That freaks some people out but I’ve done it — carefully — and it worked fine.

    I hope that helps a little.

    Scott Witte
    ----------------
    Tour de Force 360VR :: www.tourdeforce360.com
    Scott Witte Photography :: www.scottwitte.com

    #27951

    Ron Potts
    IVRPA Member
    • Forum Posts: 13

    Loren, to address your question on what I consider clear and sharp, if you look at KRPano tour of the depthmapping I consider that to be clear and crisp. I also agree that there should be reasonable expectation of clear and crisp.

    Scott, I did try to sharpen the image in lightroom, for me it was still soft. I know it can be done and like I pointed out I am trying to balance out speed and quality. I will look at the 10.5mm lens. Just frustrate, but like you pointed out I believe the culprit is the lens. I guess my frustration is with Sigma’s customers service, they said the lens was not designed to be used at F22. As I explained to them the F22 setting was an attempt to calibrate the lens not a general use setting. Scott at this point I must agree that the Sigma 8mm quality as presented by their customer service is not the quality I would expect or accept, even though they think it’s ok. Sad to say I am normally a Sigma lens supporter, I get excellent results from my 10-24mm or 70-210.

    Thank you both for your input.

    #27955

    Scott Witte
    IVRPA Member
    IVRPA Director
    president
    • Forum Posts: 8

    Hi Ron – a couple of things seem to be going on here. If by “calibrate the lens” you mean NPP aligning, you should do that at the aperture you most likely would shoot at. I find f8 or f10 are the best overall. NPP (and other lex characteristics) shift with aperture. F22 will cause all kinds of calibration problems. If you have a question about the sharpness of the lens in use I would send an example image to Sigma shot at your working aperture. It doesn’t sound like you did that. If not, give that a shot. If the image the lens produces at the working aperture is still soft, you will have a much stronger case for having Sigma do something.

    That said, I think you will get overall better results from a little longer fisheye lens. The final resolution will be higher. Consider the 12mm lenses from Rokinon or Samyang, which are designed for full-frame. The Nikon 10.5 really isn’t although lots of people use it on full-frame cameras. Read reviews and test for yourself before buying if possible.

    Scott Witte
    ----------------
    Tour de Force 360VR :: www.tourdeforce360.com
    Scott Witte Photography :: www.scottwitte.com

    #27958

    Ron Potts
    IVRPA Member
    • Forum Posts: 13

    Scott,
    To address the point you spoke of NPP, no I a not try to determine or adjust for that. I am using a Nodal Ninja ring clamp and rotator. So I do not need to calculate that, the rotator handles that. The calibration I am speaking of is the actual focus plain of the lens on the camera. I did not know this prior to buying this lens because I never had a focus issue with any of my previous lens or camera bodies. After seeing the results of this lens and doing research I found both my Nikon cameras have the ability to adjust the focus plan slightly in the tools option on the camera body. Like I said I never had to do this and after research bought a Vello lens focus calibration card. Instruction say crank up the F stop to maximum F stop in my case F22, the though process is to reduce that plain to the smallest distance so you make a slight adjustment in the camera body to accomplish this and achieve the best focus with slight adjustments for the specific lens. What I found in doing this was the camera body said I was in focus on the flat plain of the Vello card at about 1.5-2 feet. But I was out of focus when looking at the picture scale and was not even close to even being able to make an adjustment in the camera. I sent that photo to Sigma but also did what you suggested and sent a photo at normal settings and showing them the way I used the lens with standard setting I normally use. Both photos were out of focus in my opinion. When I spoke with Sigma I was not trying to be critical but asked the person writing them were they apart of customer service or technical team. They responded with they were with the technical service team and pointed out they still did not feel there was an issue with this lens. That was because I said I wanted to still send it in for review. He indicated that I would basically be wasting my money. Since I never had this issue with any other lens I was caught off guard and am going to rent a Nikon 10.5 fisheye to test it prior to purchase. Unfortunately I am getting a little to old to continue to use a manual focus lens. So even though I think the other lens you spoke of is an option I am not sure if my end result will be any better than the Sigma and one of my goals is a total setup that allows me to get a camera, lens and rotator for me that produces a top notch product/picture but be able to accomplish this as fast as possible. In my opinion the Ricoh Theta Z1 gives me that speed but again not the quality I am looking for. So again thank you for your input and probably way more than you were looking for. I guess bottom line is I see a lot of photos by members of this forum with great photos so I know it can be done, like I pointed out whom ever took the photos for krpano depth sensor show case a good setup to do this. I think it can be done I just have not found the complete setup yet. So again other than the focus issue if anyone has input on a DSLR setup that work for them I would love to hear about.

    Thank you again
    Ron

    Ron

    #27960

    Scott Witte
    IVRPA Member
    IVRPA Director
    president
    • Forum Posts: 8

    Regarding manual vs autofocus, I set my lens to manual and have the focus taped to just short of infinity. At f8/f10 that gives me everything in focus from 1-2 feet to infinity. (Testing for the exact hyperfocal point is part of my lens alignment process.)

    Why not use autofocus? You don’t want the focus to change while rotating. That will cause problems.

    BTW, I would never trust any lens and pano head combination to be properly aligned without testing. Every photographer I have worked with who hasn’t done a proper alignment process has been out of alignment causing untold hours fixing things when processing. It may not matter if everything is far away or the scene is simple but if you have a more complex mixture of near and far elements you are begging for trouble if you skip the alignment process. At worst you will just confirm that the alignment was correct all along.

    Scott Witte
    ----------------
    Tour de Force 360VR :: www.tourdeforce360.com
    Scott Witte Photography :: www.scottwitte.com

    #27961

    Ron Potts
    IVRPA Member
    • Forum Posts: 13

    Scott,
    Thank you for the information and feedback. Once I get a lens that I feel confrontable in using I will verify the NPP, it is funny that you bring that up, I was just read thru the instruction on NodalNinja Ring rotator and they point that out. They show a fine adjust just for that. I finally understood what Sigma tech support was talking about. It was like we were speaking two different languages and basically we were. Once I understood what they were talking about and a few other recommendation the 8mm lens will not do what I need and the tech gave me a few recommendation and one was the Sigma 15mm, that being said I am trying to rent a Nikon 10.5 to see if it is what I like prior to purchasing, but also looking at the Sigma 15mm. Again thank you for all your help and input.

    On a side note I know I do not post on here a lot but I read a lot of the posting, I just don’t see as many anymore. Any ideas why not?

    Ron

    #27962

    Scott Witte
    IVRPA Member
    IVRPA Director
    president
    • Forum Posts: 8

    Re: infrequent posts here, most people prefer to use Facebook. When this site was created there wasn’t much there. Now there is.

    Scott Witte
    ----------------
    Tour de Force 360VR :: www.tourdeforce360.com
    Scott Witte Photography :: www.scottwitte.com

    #28010

    Ron Potts
    IVRPA Member
    • Forum Posts: 13

    Loren, Scott
    I just wanted to thank both of you for taking the time to read and respond. I switched out to a Sigma 15mm fisheye. On initial test of this lens, I get the clean crisp sharp photos I am looking for and it works great with my Nodal Ninja. Again, thank you for your input which sent me in the right direction.

    Ron

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