Understanding The Sweep Panoramic Pixie Dust

Started Sep 9, 2011 | Discussions thread
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terryoregon Senior Member • Posts: 1,487
Understanding The Sweep Panoramic Pixie Dust

Below is theory only, but I believe it's based on reasonable evidence. If others have an alternate theory, chime in. Also, if this has been figured out before, then excuse me in advance. I couldn't find this explained anywhere.

Has anyone noticed the minimum allowed shutter speed for Sweep Panoramic (NEX-5N) with the 16mm pancake is 1/500 sec, but with the 18-55 kit zoom, it's 1/60sec? Has anyone pondered why the huge difference in minimum shutter speeds between the two lenses?

The Sweep Panoramic picture at the bottom (see full size) was taken at 1/80 of a second (as chosen by the camera), using the 18-55 lens. This was portrait mode (camera turned sideways) with Sweep set to 'Up" (bottom to top). I was surprised that it could be that sharp at 1/80sec. Has there been an improvement over the NEX-5, or is the pic below typical?

If you lock the shutter speed of your NEX-5N at 1/80, and then pan your camera while taking a single (non-pano) normal picture (with kit zoom), the results will always be blurry, as expected. Why aren't the sweep panoramic photos just as blurry?

I can only think of one answer. The 18-55 image stabilization is being manipulated on each section/stitch of the pano. In other words, the image stabilization is panning the stabilized lens element ever so slightly in sync with the direction of the users hand-held pan. This means that if it were possible to watch the stabilized lens element during a pano, you would see it wobble as it pans and resets for each stitch.

Here's a clue to this theory.

Take away the pixie dust (image stabilization) by using the 16mm pancake (no image stabilization) , and the camera is now forced to increase the shutter speed to at least 1/500 second to avoid blur. Let me repeat, I can't get the NEX-5N to go below 1/500 sec with the 16mm pancake when using Sweep Panoramic. Yet the kit zoom with smaller aperture can Sweep as low as 1/60 second.

If my theory is correct, there is an important tip here . . . the stabilized kit zoom is ideal for Sweep Panoramic, even indoors. The 16mm, not so much, especially indoors.

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