The DSLR Field Camera

Landscape photography is a medium that benefits from fine detail rendition.

The large format field camera has traditionally been the instrument of choice for dedicated landscape photographers. Drawing inspiration from past masters such as Ansel Adams and Edward Weston, modern day artists like Joe Cornish and Jack Dykinga, to name but a few, have been drawn to the cumbersome field camera for one main reason: image quality. The 4x5 (and larger) field cameras provide a big film (or sensor) area and tilt/shift movements that, combined with high quality prime lenses, produce images with a three-dimensional feel that resolve even the finest details in the landscape.

Because of their bulk, need for tripod support and propensity for long exposures, the field camera is most often used for landscape, still life and architecture work. One great advantage of these cameras is that they allow for independent movements between the lens and film/sensor plane.

Many photographers, however, myself included, have a wide range of photographic interests that include wildlife, documentary, sports and street photography. Using a field camera in most of these situations would be impractical, to say the least. And carrying completely separate camera outfits for different subjects has obvious downfalls. Even if you're willing to pack a DSLR and field camera kit for a trip, with all that equipment there's always the risk that the gear you need at any given moment will be packed in your bag instead of mounted on your tripod.

Fortunately, the high resolution of today's DSLRs (20-24MP is now the norm) means that if you stitch together multiple full resolution exposures created with tilt/shift lenses, you can get results that are impressively close to single shot field camera output.

For the past few years my own landscape outfit has consisted of a 22MP DSLR with 24mm, 45mm and 90mm tilt/shift lenses. The tilt function of these lenses allows front to back depth of field (DOF) while using the lens’s 'sweet spot' (usually around F/8) with the shift function allowing me to shoot 3 exposures that can be stitched together to create a single high resolution image. Depending on the orientation of the camera (vertical or horizontal) and direction of shift (up/down, left/right) the result is either a panoramic image (like the one you see below) or an image that more closely resembles the classic 4x5 format.

This panorama was created using a 90mm tilt/shift lens with three separate exposures stitched together.

It goes without saying that capturing three separate exposures for each scene you want to shoot requires a slower, more methodical approach; somewhat similar to using a field camera. In addition to your DLSR you'll need a sturdy tripod of course, with a pan/tilt head, cable release and spirit level. I typically shoot in aperture priority at f8, enabling Raw mode for the highest quality and mirror lock up to minimize camera shake.

Let's take a look at the basic process of capturing the files to be used in a multi-exposure composite image.

Lens movement

Mounting the camera in a vertical orientation allows you to capture higher resolution images... ...while maintaining a classic 3x2 or 4x5 aspect ratio with relatively minimal cropping.

With your camera in position on the tripod, compose your images by shifting the lens from left to right between each exposure (or right to left depending on where the more important image elements lie). Because the three single exposures you will be making have to be stitched together later you should allow some overlap around the edges for cropping. Find some visual markers in the scene you can use to make sure that you have at least 1/4 of the previous scene overlapping the current one. It takes a bit of imagination and practice to compose in this way but it becomes second nature after only a little while.

The Canon 45mm TS-E shifted to the left... ...in its neutral (metering) position...
...and shifted to its right.

Focus

A tilt/shift lens allows you to manipulate the plane of depth of field so that both near and far objects appear in crisp focus.

While the shift perspective of the lens is what allows you to pan across the scene, it is the tilt functionality that lets you achieve front to back focus without having to stop the lens all the way down to its smallest aperture.

I set my camera to live view mode and zoom in to around 50% and then perform the following steps:

  1. Set focus manually on the area closest to the camera that I want to be in sharp focus.
  2. Tilt the lens until the background comes into focus.
  3. Check to see if both foreground and background areas are in equal focus.
  4. Repeat steps 1-3 until both foreground and background are in focus. 

If you've never used a tilt/shift lens before, it may take some practice before you get the hang of it. And you'll probably need a couple of iterations before you have everything you want in focus. As a general guideline I've found that a tilt of just 1 or 2 degrees is enough for most scenarios.

The payoff is that you can now set your lens aperture to the optimal f-stop for sharpness, usually around F/8. Without a tilt-capable lens you'd be forced to shoot stopped down to F/16 or F/22 to increase depth of field, which unfortunately, leads to lens diffraction which softens image detail.

Metering

When determining exposure it's important that the metering is done with no shift applied, as light fall-of can be an issue at extreme ends of the shift. Make sure your lens is in the neutral (middle) position. I meter with the camera in aperture priority mode and always make a test exposure to see if any compensation is necessary.

Many landscape images will need some kind of exposure balancing between a dark foreground and bright sky. This can be done the old way with ND graduated filters. Or you can opt for an HDR solution by merging 2 or more exposures. You can even combine both techniques to cover a really high contrast range. If you use an ND graduated filter, just make sure that the filter sits correctly at all 3 shift settings (left – middle – right).

A bright sky against a relatively dark background requires you to either use an ND graduated filter, HDR multi-shot technique, or, in extreme cases a combination of both.

Once you are happy with the exposure it is important to switch the camera to manual exposure and apply the settings you used while in aperture priority mode. Shifting the lens changes the amount of light that reaches the sensor and any exposure mode other than manual, the camera’s light meter would seek to compensate for that, resulting in over or underexposure. To be able to properly stitch the 3 images together it is vital that each exposure is made with the same exposure settings.

Now you can finally make the exposures. I highly recommend using a cable release and enabling mirror lock up on the camera. Because the lens has to be shifted manually there is always some vibration so it is also helpful to wait a few seconds before releasing the shutter. In the field the sequence goes like this: Shutter release. Lens shift. Mirror lockup. Count to three. Repeat.

Limitations

This technique obviously has its limitations in certain situations. The most obvious occur whenever there are any moving subject in the frame. People and animals, as well as clouds, foliage or anything else moved by wind can cause problems. You can use a long exposure time to blur water and clouds, making it easier to stitch the image files together. Outside of that, however, you must either wait for a calm day or shoot several series and hope for the best.

In Photoshop I used the Photomerge tool to combine these three individual HDR images.

After importing the image files into your Raw converter, make sure that any adjustments you apply (white balance, curves, etc.) to one image are then copied over to the other two as well. Having images with different individual settings makes it very difficult to stitch the files and get a natural, realistic result.

After a final bit of cropping and Curves adjustments, I arrive at the final composite image.

Final thoughts

After all this work, the obvious question is, 'How is the actual image quality?' Not surprisingly an image made with field camera can still be superior in detail and resolution. The difference lies with the lenses. When fully shifted the image quality on a DSLR-compatible tilt/shift lens deteriorates significantly. So the corners of the final image can be relatively poor. In addition to loss of sharpness and detail you're likely to see an increase in chromatic aberration (CA) in the corners as well. These flaws do vary by degree from lens to lens, however. Of the 3 lenses tilt/shift lenses I own, the Canon TS-E 24mm f/3.5L II and TS-E 90mm f/2.8 are very good performers even fully shifted (see an example of the 24mm lens below). My Canon TS-E 45mm f/2.8 unfortunately could be much better.

A stitched image created using the Canon TS-E 24mm f/3.5L II lens on an EOS 5D Mark III.
Left corner 100% crop Right corner 100% crop 

An alternative approach of course, would be to use a dedicated panoramic head instead of tilt/shift lenses to create the images to be stitched. But apart from the additional equipment to carry, I find that using panoramic heads is a much more involved process than I'd prefer, and with the performance of at least two of my tilt/shift lenses, the payoff is just not worth it. So for me, the DSLR plus tilt/shift combination works very well. I can shoot high resolution landscapes and architecture without having to carry a second camera system should I come across wildlife or documentary opportunities. remember, photography is nearly always about compromise, and this is one that I'm happy to make.


Carsten Krieger is a professional landscape and wildlife photographer based in the West of Ireland and author of several books on the Irish landscape and nature, including his most recent title, Ireland's Coast. To find out more about his work please visit his website: www.carstenkrieger.com.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions held by dpreview.com or any affiliated companies.

Comments

Total comments: 180
12
K_Photo_Teach
By K_Photo_Teach (Dec 26, 2012)

Great shots for such dull cloudy conditions!

0 upvotes
pbailey4
By pbailey4 (Dec 26, 2012)

HDR techniques - please respect the fact that some people (ok it may just be me) see these images as a manipulation to far, compressing the natural lighting range to show detail. Did I just say the king has no clothes?

0 upvotes
blue camera
By blue camera (Dec 27, 2012)

i don't do hdr, but since film and sensors cannot "see" as much range of light as the human eye, it is quite possible (if not too common) to use hdr to more closely show what the eye sees. it doesn't have to be un-natural, in fact it can be more-natural. just saying.

7 upvotes
Shunda77
By Shunda77 (Dec 27, 2012)

Nah, the King has no clothes. If HDR looks more like how the human eye see's the real world, then my eyes must be very bung.

0 upvotes
Chris2J
By Chris2J (Dec 27, 2012)

It all depends on how you apply it ...

3 upvotes
Neroon
By Neroon (Dec 27, 2012)

I think Ansel Adams would have seen HDR used correctly as the digital version of the Zone System and darkroom printing. To say "manipulation to far" fails to understand the power of what HDR when used correctly can deliver. It is not the posterized stuff we see by people all to willing to abuse the technique. The best HDR is less than noticeable. As Chris2J says, "it all depends on how you apply it".

3 upvotes
Rainer Mirau
By Rainer Mirau (Dec 26, 2012)

http://www.silent-moment.com/prints/ebook_TS.htm
super thema, deswegen habe ich darüber ein eBook veröffentlicht!
;-)

0 upvotes
CarstenKriegerPhotography
By CarstenKriegerPhotography (Dec 27, 2012)

Ich kenne zwar das Buch nicht es ist aber Deine Schuld, dass ich mit shifting and stitching angefangen habe :-) C.

0 upvotes
STLbarcelona5
By STLbarcelona5 (Dec 26, 2012)

For those curious about applications of this technique towards architecture. ~80% of my work has utilized this technique. Also, FWIW, almost all are hand-held. So don't let any apprehensions of IQ and alignment get in the way of working this way.

http://www.samueltludwig.com/

0 upvotes
Roland Karlsson
By Roland Karlsson (Dec 26, 2012)

Can you explain to me why you use shift lens instead of just rotating the camera?

2 upvotes
David Myers
By David Myers (Dec 26, 2012)

That's what we do now because in the past few years even the most basic image stitchers have been able to use sophisticated image recognition to align points within the image and remove vignetting artifacts. 3 or 9 shot (3 Up-Down x 3 Left-Right) shift stitching is more suited to rectilinear, flat plane artwork reproduction and is too limited for 'Ultra High Definition' imaging (Gigapixel stitching). However a good VR rig is more gear to lug around and I didn't want to wander off topic. Cheers, David.

0 upvotes
Roland Karlsson
By Roland Karlsson (Dec 26, 2012)

@David - perfectly correct - the back, i.e. the camera has to move. There should be a mount on the front of the shift lens.

Moreover - whats wrong with just turn the camera around the nodal point and just stitch? Why this unnecessary shift lens?

0 upvotes
random78
By random78 (Dec 26, 2012)

I think the author addresses this point and says that you can do the same by using a pano-head instead of a shift lens. However for him the shift lens is more convenient. When you are stitching shots from wide-angle lenses, you need to be careful with making sure that the rotation is exactly around the nodal point or else you will have trouble stitching. With the shift lens no projection is needed to bring all the captured images to the same plane - the images are all already aligned and in plane and stitching is a straightforward task. Plus less gear is needed

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
CarstenKriegerPhotography
By CarstenKriegerPhotography (Dec 26, 2012)

Nothing wrong with using a pano head and moving the camera around the nodal point. The use of a TS-E lens is just another approach to a similar goal. C.

0 upvotes
Nigel Wilkins
By Nigel Wilkins (Dec 26, 2012)

The shift lens just means there's no distortion between shots...there will be a slight overall distortion, as with any other lens, but none between shots as they're all taken from the same image circle.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 1 minute after posting
2 upvotes
bobbarber
By bobbarber (Dec 26, 2012)

@random78

I don't think you have to be too exact rotating around the nodal point, UNLESS you have an object in the near (extreme) foreground.

You are right, the goal is to rotate dead on the nodal point, but for me at least, "close enough" gives the same results as "perfect", unless something is really close in my field of view. Even then, "close enough" is all I need 90% of the time.

I don't even own a pano head. I use one of those Manfrotto 293 long lens holders with a kit lens, zoom out a little bit to get the front part of the 293 out of the frame of view, then adjust the zoom back and forth to find the approximate nodal point. I only need adjustment in one plane since my tripod mount is centered on the lens. I don't get any misalignment to speak of.

0 upvotes
Roland Karlsson
By Roland Karlsson (Dec 26, 2012)

Yes ... if nothing is near ... you can ignore the nodal point and just rotate as you wish. And then you need no pano head.

But - if things are near - then the shift lens is not correct. Because you move the lens when you should move the camera. So ... the shift lens is NOT easier to use .. its harder.

The distortion argument is true though. Shift will preserve the distortion of the lens. But ... thats not only an advantage. The stitching software can compute the distortion when you turn the camera and make a distortion free image.

An advantage I can see with the shift lens is though that you can get consistent DOF. Very hard when turning the camera.

A disadvantage of the shift lens is that it has a limited image circle. With ordinary ststichen this is not the case. Then you can make arbitrary wide images.

1 upvote
noirdesir
By noirdesir (Dec 26, 2012)

The stitching software can calculate the distortion but it needs a distortion-free base image to be exact. And if your software can correct the distortion of the base, it can also correct the distortion from the shift lens itself.
A shift lens is always simpler (in terms of operation and correction needed) but of course that does not mean the difference in operation must be significant in the eyes of a given user or that the final result will look less good from a rotation panorama.

0 upvotes
Mssimo
By Mssimo (Dec 26, 2012)

The nodal point is the iris right? Not the sensor.

0 upvotes
Petka
By Petka (Dec 27, 2012)

Doing stitching with a TS lens and ideally shifting the camera body with stationary lens causes no stitching distortions (spherical) as actually you are just using one stationary projection with a sensor which is too small to fill the image circle. If you take the same picture with a normal lens and panorama head you are forming a spherical projection which must be recalculated into a flat projection by the stitching software. That causes some slight quality loss. Thus it is not exactly the same.

0 upvotes
Petka
By Petka (Dec 27, 2012)

@ Mssimo: Lenses have 2 nodal points, entrance and exit. You need to move the camera around the front nodal point, which is not the same as iris.

Put the camera on a tripod with an adjustable plate, front to back. Align two objects, one far away and one fairly close (50 cm or so) framed in the middle. Turn the camera and see if they keep the alignment. If not, move the camera forward or backward so that the alignment stays the same no matter how you turn the camera. Now the front nodal point is above the horizontal pivot point of your tripod head.

I have used a construction leveling laser for this; vertical laser beam just kissing a vertical wall corner etc, then aligning the camera to see a bit of this laser. Then adjust the camera so that the brightness of the laser does not change when turning the camera on tripod.

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
David Myers
By David Myers (Dec 26, 2012)

We have used this and similar techniques since the early 1990's with the 6Mp Kodak/Nikon F5 DSLRs. Unfortunately this 'shift-and-stitch' procedure is wrong. The front of the lens needs to maintain position to keep the viewpoint / nodal point the same so it is the back of the lens, camera and sensor that needs to shift! We maintain the front objective spacial positioning by mounting our D800e body on a gear driven macro slider positioned with left to right sliding. Example: After we shift the front of the lens 15mm to the left we 'recentre' the lens objective by sliding the whole rig 15mm to the right. this is avoids 'multiple viewpoints' of foreground elements which are impossible to stitch. Cheers, David.

8 upvotes
CarstenKriegerPhotography
By CarstenKriegerPhotography (Dec 26, 2012)

David your approach is of course the technically correct one but is much more material and labor intensive. The shift & stitch approach I described however works very well within its limits and is an easy way to gain some resolution. C.

1 upvote
Roland Karlsson
By Roland Karlsson (Dec 26, 2012)

Hmmmm .. except for consistent DOF ... I see no advantage of the shift lens when you shift the lens instead of the camera.

1 upvote
Surefoot
By Surefoot (Dec 26, 2012)

It's to note that some shift adapters such as ones for micro 4/3 include a tripod mount on the FRONT part of the adapter, so that the lens itself remains fixed and you can shift the camera itself around. Works very well, though with the limitations mentioned (the full picture is still limited by the image circle of the lens).

0 upvotes
Mssimo
By Mssimo (Dec 26, 2012)

Why not use a high quality UWA lens and focus stack (if needed)?

3 upvotes
CarstenKriegerPhotography
By CarstenKriegerPhotography (Dec 26, 2012)

Focus stack is of course a possibility but has its practical limits like all merging/stitching techniques. C.

1 upvote
ryansholl
By ryansholl (Dec 26, 2012)

That certainly works if you're looking to make a regular-sized print, and by that I mean 16x24 or smaller. If you want to have the sort of detail you'd find in a smaller print but want, say, a 60+" print, you want all the resolution you can get.

And before you say it, yes, people print this big. The only photos I regularly print are huge panos from vacations, which are slowly collecting for mounting on my office wall once it's remodeled :)

You know you've done your job when you have to shrink photos prior to stitching to keep from banging up against Adobe's 30,000 pixel limit!

0 upvotes
Mssimo
By Mssimo (Dec 26, 2012)

The largest I have gone is 20x30. I have issues finding photo labs that takes files over 200MB. What DPI do you print at for larger prints?

1 upvote
ryansholl
By ryansholl (Dec 27, 2012)

The last I did was 195 mp and was printed 60" at 300 dpi. It was something like 70-80 mb. What kind of file are you trying to send? I consider the highest quality jpegs to be strictly for maintaining quality for further editing, for printing I usually save at the 9 setting in Adobe (of 12) and don't think I'd be missing anything to go lower yet. Maybe try getting 4x6 sections of what you'd like to have printed at higher compression first to make sure you're happy with the quality.

1 upvote
plasnu
By plasnu (Dec 26, 2012)

I have seen a few example like this, stitched 35mm DSLR image done with TS-E. One of them are quite impressive but most of them are meh, and I agree with this article about the difficulty and possibility of this method.

Comment edited 6 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
gsum
By gsum (Dec 26, 2012)

Interesting article and good examples but you absolutely do not need tilt shift lenses or a tripod to do this successfully - just a bit of practice and dedicated stitching software as Photoshop isn't up to the task.
The only limit is the number of megapixels that your computer can handle.

1 upvote
Mark Wolg
By Mark Wolg (Dec 26, 2012)

The T/S will let you arrange things so that Photoshop does less correction, and thus higher res / better result. Depends how strict your requirements are.

0 upvotes
plasnu
By plasnu (Dec 26, 2012)

It seems like many people here has no experience with TS-E lenses.

To me, TS-E or PC-E are the only wide angle lenses acceptable for serious 35mm landscape photography, stitch or not. 14-24mm is still slightly better than P&S, though.

0 upvotes
gsum
By gsum (Dec 27, 2012)

There's no point arguing that one. Just grab your camera and a decent prime lens (>= 28mm) and try it - the results will speak for themselves. If you're using Photoshop for stitching, all I can say is - don't; PTGUI (for example) is infinitely better.

0 upvotes
slncezgsi
By slncezgsi (Dec 26, 2012)

DPreview - I seem to miss a mention of K. B. Canham Cameras here. This should not be the case as the photo of the 4x5 field camera comes directly from their webpage - http://www.canhamcameras.com/4x5and5x7.htm .

This is a potential copyright violation - please make sure that this is not the case!

Comment edited 17 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Amadou Diallo
By Amadou Diallo (Dec 26, 2012)

Thank you for your concern. The image came directly from Keith at Canham Cameras.

2 upvotes
slncezgsi
By slncezgsi (Dec 26, 2012)

Thank you for your reply, I appreciate it.

Comment edited 29 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (Dec 26, 2012)

Wow. I'm speechless that someone would actually question such a professionally run outfit as DPR but he probably just wanted impress people with his knowledge of 4x5 Field Cameras.

4 upvotes
Juck
By Juck (Dec 26, 2012)

slncezgsi ,,, You need a hobby mate.

Comment edited 45 seconds after posting
3 upvotes
Mssimo
By Mssimo (Dec 27, 2012)

Using google image search. I got countless hits for websites using the same picture.

0 upvotes
Daniel Clune
By Daniel Clune (Dec 26, 2012)

I use D800 and Helicon software to combine different focused shots to get depth of field like a Tilt shift lens can do. If more rez is needed then do a stitched photo. If I had the money I would try a tilt shift. I haven't yet tested to see if more pixels would get a sharper shot for a 20 by 30 inch print which is about the largest I do. But wide angle and hyper focal with D800 just doesn't work well enough. Helicon solves that problem.

0 upvotes
D1N0
By D1N0 (Dec 26, 2012)

I use this whenever something does'nt fit

0 upvotes
praktinafan
By praktinafan (Dec 26, 2012)

I use a 50 mm macro lens in combination with a light pano head. The provides outstanding resolution as well

0 upvotes
peevee1
By peevee1 (Dec 26, 2012)

Very interesting article.

I have a question.

Wouldn't use of Nikon D800 with Nikon 14-24/2.8G at 14mm f/11 at hyperfocal (just 2 ft) give you the same result in a single shot? Given how much you overlap and crop out, and the excellent performance of the 14-24 lens at f/11, with everything in focus from 1 ft on. And with 14EV of DR to work with at base ISO, you hardly need any HDR, just a right curve.

0 upvotes
pluton
By pluton (Dec 26, 2012)

peevee, In theory, yes, the wide angle plus small aperture approach SHOULD work fine. But, in practice, you'll find that you may run up against certain limitations. In the age of the D800, the limitations are going to be mostly on the lens, and not as much on the high-megapixel body. I've only had the D800E a short time, so I haven't tried such shots yet. In then past, the limitations become apparent when trying to make larger prints. The whole idea of the 'hyperfocal' is directly dependent on display size. It works fine for small(6"x9") prints, but becomes a wishful fantasy when dealing with 2'x3' prints. Don't take my word for it--check it out for yourself.

0 upvotes
peevee1
By peevee1 (Dec 26, 2012)

I'd really like a sample of a picture made with this technique vs D800 at 14mm f/11. Sorry, but it is impractical to try for myself. But something tells me that Canon T-S 24mm shifted is not as sharp as Nikon 14-24. Maybe this from the article: "When fully shifted the image quality on a DSLR-compatible tilt/shift lens deteriorates significantly."
Surprisingly, looking at the test on slrgear, Canon 14/2.8L is not as sharp as the Nikon zoom at 14 f/11. I expected it even better than the zoom. 14/2.8L II though is pretty good. It would be great to see it in the comparison too.

1 upvote
random78
By random78 (Dec 26, 2012)

Don't expect to get everything in sharp focus from 1ft to infinity using the hyperfocal distance. You must keep in mind that the hyperfocal distance calculators assume a specific output size - typically 8x10. The hyperfocal calculation is simply saying that when viewed at that output size, the details from 1ft to infinity will be "sharp enough". When you will look at your image at 100% pixel level or print it at a big size, you will find out that the details don't seem that sharp. Also the notion of sharp enough is subjective because the degree of sharpness needed depends on the subject matter as well as on what each user considers to be sharp. The calculators assume a certain mathematical threshold for what should be considered sharp enough. The resulting numbers give a good estimate for things like portraits at normal viewing sizes. However they are not suitable when you are looking for critical sharpness in small details.

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 9 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
bobbarber
By bobbarber (Dec 26, 2012)

Part of the point of this technique is high resolution. Even the D800 will not give you anything like the resolution of large format in a single shot. Stitching together 3 photos improves resolution, but still, not as much as large format, as the article points out.

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
1 upvote
CarstenKriegerPhotography
By CarstenKriegerPhotography (Dec 26, 2012)

I didn't have a chance to work with the D800 and the 14-24mm so I can't say which camera/lens combination performs better but in theory I think you are correct. A big difference however would be the field of view - a scene shot with a 14mm will look different to a stitch made with 24mm. Personally I am not a friend of extreme wide angle and rarely go wider than 24mm. However that's just a matter of taste. C.

2 upvotes
Plastek
By Plastek (Dec 26, 2012)

Well, then stich 9 photos. You see - that's the advantage of DSLR over large format - if you know what you are doing - there's no limit for the resolution. Friend of my shot over a 1 GPx shot with A900 and 300f/2.8 - processing was pain in the butt, but it killed everything that any Large Format can achieve. Only scenatio when LF makes sense is when you shoot something that needs to be frozen in a single frame. Otherwise DSLRs rule.

1 upvote
Petka
By Petka (Dec 27, 2012)

"a scene shot with a 14mm will look different to a stitch made with 24mm"

But would that not be because a (2or 3 frame panorama) stitch from 24 mm lens is likely to be a cylindrical projection by default, and a 14mm single shot would be a planar projection? If you choose planar projection for the stitch they should look identical.

0 upvotes
fredrbis
By fredrbis (Dec 26, 2012)

Concise and clear; thanks for sharing your experience and technique.

0 upvotes
mike earussi
By mike earussi (Dec 26, 2012)

Actually, you don't even need tilt-shift lenses. Just combine focus stacking with pano stitching and you can use regular lenses. I do, and it works fine.

0 upvotes
bobbarber
By bobbarber (Dec 26, 2012)

Not even sure you need focus stacking. Just stop the lens down as much as you like. If you're worried about diffraction (not an important issue in my opinion), then use a longer focal length and stitch together 6 instead of 3 photos, which will give you more detail than you would get in the shorter focal length minus diffraction.

0 upvotes
adegroot
By adegroot (Dec 26, 2012)

There is a problem with using shift/tilt lenses: for panoramic work, they are indeed better than single focus wide angles, but nevertheless, you still you won't quite get the fine details you may expect. The samples all posted here look very soft to me and won't enlarge much. If you want to do serious panoramic work, use panoramic stichting and use longer lenses. Suggestions: e.g. a Nikon D800(E) or a Sigma DP2M, which both have the kind of resolution that will make the real difference. I use a lightweight Sigma DP2 Merrill in vertical mode, shoot like 6 sequences and stitch, and the final results at 17 x 51 inches are simply fantastic.

1 upvote
Photonhunter
By Photonhunter (Dec 27, 2012)

adegroot, I also shoot 3:1 panos using Nex7 & Zörk Panorama-shift adapter with Pentax MF lenses (this has two huge advantages over shift lenses:22mm shift each way=much higher resolution output & the fact that the lens is fixed to the tripod so you shift the body instead,eliminating parallax errors).I am interested in the DP2M though, due to it´s amazing IQ and resolving power. I would like to ask, if you don´t mind: what is the max output size after the stitch of the six frames, cropped and finished (I get panos aprox. 14,000 pixels wide shooting the body vertically), and what is the biggest print size you would feel confident about with final result. Finally, what is your estimation as to the resulting FOV coverage (Using my SMC Pentax-A 645 35mm F3.5 with the mentioned rig I get a coverage that is something between 21-24mm in 35 Full Frame terms, I find it very hard to compose with a wider FOV).

Thanks in advance for your kind reply.
Best.

0 upvotes
MikeFreeze
By MikeFreeze (Dec 27, 2012)

I want to purchase a pano head. Can anyone with experience recommend a good value pano head? thanks,

Mike Freeze

0 upvotes
adegroot
By adegroot (Dec 27, 2012)

Photohunter:

a Sigma DP2M RAW saved as doubled sized TIFF has around 9000 vertical pixels when shot in portrait mode; width thus depends on how many frames are shot/stitched/cropped.

0 upvotes
Total comments: 180
12