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Nikon’s older 14mm prime is not as sharp as the 14-24mm f/2.8 zoom (one of my favorite lenses for 360s!). 14mm requires two rows ideally though (at least for the night sky stuff I shoot at wide apertures, 1 row doesn’t provide sufficient overlap for blending, even with dedicated zenith and nadir). I haven’t used the older Nikon 16mm fisheye, but I’ve heard great things about it. I recently got the new 8-15mm zoom fisheye, and I can attest that it is very, very sharp. I’m still testing it at 15mm against 14mm on my 14-24mm to see which I prefer, the fisheye requires less shots though. And at around 12mm I can use as few as 4 in a single row, which is ideal for fast shooting.
I also am a long time PTGui user (also more than a decade, highly recommend it!) and while I also own AutoPano Giga, I don’t have as much experience with it for 360s to give much advice on it.
I have been focus stacking panoramas for 15yrs or so. I helped with the development of the “advanced” stacking mode on the Promote Control specifically for panoramas. Today I mostly use the built-in focus stacking feature of the Nikon D850. I shoot mostly gigapans where focus stacking is necessary for long focal lengths, and nightsky 360s where the depth of field is shallow at wide open apertures and the foreground has to be refocused. On the D850, if I want to truly maximize the resolution of that 45MP sensor, I have to use a circle of confusion of 0.009mm (most calculators assume 0.03mm), and use no smaller than f/13 to avoid diffraction. At 24mm f/13 this gives me a hyperfocal distance of 5.06m where everything half that to infinity will be acceptably sharp. This means I have to either focus stack or refocus my lower row of the ground for critical sharpness because I’m not that tall! :-P That’s the shortest focal length that requires focus stacking though, as my next go-to focal length is either 14mm rectilinear or 15mm fisheye, and those are fine if I focus at 1.73 – 1.98m or so. I always focus a little past what the calculators like PhotoPills recommend to ensure the background is perfectly sharp for landscapes (i.e. 2m at 14mm).
For post processing, I usually use Helicon Focus’ batch mode. Mostly because the D850 does not let you define an end point (it goes until it hits the number of frames you have selected, or the lens hits infinity). It also does not return to the start position afterward, you have to refocus manually. So this means you will get a different number of focus frames for each position of a panorama (8, 9, 7, 10, 8, etc.). This is a nightmare to sort and figure out later in Lightroom or Bridge, but Helicon Focus can batch by capture time and this makes it extremely easy to stack them all without fuss. There’s usually a 2-3 second gap between frames of a focus stack where I moved the panning head, and as long as I’m not shooting long exposures Helicon Focus will find those gaps easily. If there is any wind though, I have to manually mask, and then I’m back to the tedious chore of manually grouping each stack. Lightroom has a similar feature of grouping by capture time that helps with this.
Happy shooting! ;-)
I have not been impressed with Photoshop’s new support for editing 360s panos. It’s very sluggish, even on insanely high end hardware, and straight lines turn into squiggly ones around and through the zenith.
Lightroom’s performance has improved in some areas, but gotten worse in others with far more bugs than previous. I’d go back if I didn’t have a D850. :-PNovember 21, 2017 at 12:41 pm in reply to: Help with my new panorama equipment! – Nikon D800 + 14-24mm & Nodal Ninja #14974
I have both a shaved 10.5mm f/2.8 and 14-24mm f/2.8. I mainly shoot the night sky at wide open apertures. I don’t like my 10.5mm fisheye as a result. The performance is very poor wide open and my copy seems to be severely decentered (one side much sharper than the other when stitching, leaving seams). It’s much better when stopped down to f/5.6 or f/8 during the day for edge sharpness, but it was never intended to be used on a large format camera, especially with the resolving power of a D8xx sensor.
My 14-24mm f/2.8 on the other hand is my absolute favorite lens! Almost half of my Lightroom library was shot with that lens. It is insanely sharp, even wide open. I only ever use it at 14mm or 24mm though, I find anything in the middle to be of little use for 360s. At 14mm my favorite shooting pattern is 2 rows of 6, tilting up and down at ~39°. Most of my night sky 360s are shot with this pattern and stitch very well. You can try shooting only 8 photos with a rotated zenith, but in my experience this does not yield acceptable results at wider apertures, and it doesn’t save me much time in shooting. Here is the more complicated pattern: http://michel.thoby.free.fr/Web_Gallery_&_Tests/Samyang%2014mm/Pano_with_8_shots_only.html
At 24mm I shoot 3 rows of 10 or 12 photos (depending what your rotator supports), tilting up at 55°, level at 0°, and down at -55°. Also stitches very well. I do this more during the day than at night because of the length of time for the exposures at night, but I’ve done it for both. You can also shoot 3 rows of 8 plus a dedicated zenith and nadir, but I don’t find it stitches quite as well if you need to do much deghosting for moving objects.
I’d like to get an 8-15mm fisheye and sell my 10.5mm after seeing Sam’s setup at 12mm on the D850. It works very well!December 5, 2016 at 12:22 am in reply to: Stitchless creative 360 VR panoramas – PanoMoments #11333
I’ve been talking to Dustin about his new platform for several days now. It’s an incredible method of viewing 360 content–not quite a video, not quite a still, a new hybrid approach that lets you move back and forth through time at your own leisure. It’s a new tool to tell a story in a different way. It won’t work for every scene, but I see so much potential for this and wholeheartedly support it! Check out one of my 360 timelapses of the Milky Way to see what I mean: https://panomoments.com/m/aaronpriest-huntersbeach
Pretty close. There are detailed instructions, but I’m traveling with just my cell phone, so you’d have to dig around and find it.
The 1600px wide image is for the “featured image” of the article/post. It doesn’t have to be posted on your own website. Then use your own larger self hosted image for the link.
“Featured Images for Panoramas MUST be EXACTLY 1600px x 800px (not larger or smaller) 2×1 aspect ratio, under about 500kb filesize .jpg format, larger images may fail to uplaod !” [sic]
In the Pano URL at the top right you can link to a higher resolution image that is hosted online somewhere.
Hi Keith! This is likely too late for your project, but for the benefit of others who might read this later…
I’ve done a few of these with my Panoneed robotic head and 10.5mm fisheye: https://vimeo.com/129961514 There’s quite a bit of behind the scenes footage in that video. I usually use a Ramper Pro for exposure control; I’ve been testing 24hr mode on it for a while now. It does not support panoramas however, and the way I have it jerry-rigged is not supported. I’ve been using DslrDashboard as well, but it is not as good on iOS as on an Android (Apple’s power management and multi-tasking issues require the backlight to be on the whole time without sleep or standby mode). I use a relatively cheap Nexus 7 tablet instead for it. The Nexus 7 does not support USB charging and USB host mode at the same time without hacking Android’s OS. It will run about 13-14hrs before the battery dies. You can use WiFi instead of USB to power the tablet externally and still run DslrDashboard without rooting it. I use a TP-Link TL-MR3040 battery powered WiFi router to get wireless on cameras that don’t have it like my D810, but I’ve found that is not as reliable as USB to the camera–the WiFi often drops out. Also, it’s better to have another device be your intervalometer and only use DslrDashboard for exposure ramping, by using a Promote Control, the intervalometer built into Nikon’s, or a cheap remote. This means you lose interval ramping of course as your exposure gets longer, but with long timelapses the chance of it crashing is much higher otherwise.
For power, I bought a cheap DROK 12v to 7.5v step down transformer off Amazon.com and chopped the camera cable from a knockoff Nikon AC adapter to power my D700 and D810 from the same 12v power that my dew heater, Ramper Pro, and motorized heads run on. I can run very long timelapses this way via truck batteries or a Goal Zero Sherpa 100 solar battery when hiking. You’d want to see how many volts a D3x runs on. If it uses the same Nikon AC adapter that my D700 does, then I think you’d be safe with this method.
I’m a bit late to the party, but I just tried this out this morning and it works great! Thanks! ;-)