Your thoughts on Pano stitching software
Is there a clear winner in this space, or are there several products currently equal to the task? What software do you use? What do you like about it? What weaknesses does it have?
One of the leading programs for stitching panoramas is ptgui - you can download a free trial from http://www.ptgui.com - it is available for both Mac and PC.
I have also been using PTMac and PTBatch for batch processing panoramas with a stitching-template for my 360Precision.
Here is a link to some of my older panoramas that were stitched with PTMac and PTBatch.
Please note that the links have not been updated with new scripts regarding Eola but they shoul still work if you just click okay to open them. - Click on the link for full screen on the last four panoramas
Mad some new panoramas this weekend and wil upload them one of the next days.
I have used them all on Mac and Pc and I feel PTGUI is the best. If you have really tricky stuff (like close interiors) then look into Realviz Stitcher (big $$).
...is definitely expensive, but it's a powerful program (it's what I happen to use). More info at the Realviz site.
One thing you should be concerned with is whether to go with, or not go with, a dedicated pano head. If you're just looking to stitch shots of far off mountain ranges, then you can just align your photos in just about any graphics editor (Photoshop, by the way, had a passable pano-stitching tool). If you're shooting things more challenging (like the close interiors that Kent mentions below), then you're going to regret not having a dedicated pano head (it's all about avoiding parallax).
Kent Johnson wrote:
I have used them all on Mac and Pc and I feel PTGUI is the best. If
you have really tricky stuff (like close interiors) then look into
Realviz Stitcher (big $$).
I've tried much of the pano software out there and I keep coming back to PTGui. I'm far from an expert, but for the simple landscape panos I do, it does a great job every time. Well worth the cost. It handles my large D2X photos with ease. Coupled with my 70-200 I've gotten some superb images
'If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got'
I've used Panomaker 3 (and more recently version 4) for the last couple of years with great results. However, it does fall down sometimes on tricky stitches or when parallax gets too heavy (that's where a dedicated panorama head really helps). The price is reasonable for the performance of the software.
I have not used it, but I have seen really impressive panos made from PTGui. I've been tempted a few times to buy it, but it is pricey and I always seem to be able to make Panomaker work well enough.
Check out some of my panos at
Here's one of my favorites (5 shot stitch)
I know a lot of folks like to blow this software off, but according to PCPhoto Nov. 2006 edition, Microsoft Digital Image Suite 2006 has the best photo stitching feature they have ever used. It also has over 200 filters and other nice features. I got a copy for $45.00 at Costco. It may be worth a look.
I used to always use PTGui. It's a great program that offers a lot of control and can produce excellent results. I haven't used it for a couple of years though so I should really revisit it to see what's new.
More recently I have been using AutoStitch (www.autostitch.net). It's a free program developed by Matt Brown that expires once every few months. Interestingly - this program is now being incorporated into commercial offerings (Matt developed it at University) and even Industrial Light and Magic (ie: Star Wars, etc) are using it.
AutoStitch is fully automatic (point it to the source images) and produces a very good result quite fast. The only limitation for me is that it only produces a flat file result. PTGui, on the other hand, can produce a multi-layer file, which lets you tweak seams in Photoshop... Handy if you have moving objects, like people, on any of the seams.
I'd strongly suggest trying AutoStitch before buying anything though. Here's a couple of tips for using it:
1) In the options area you can set the size/quality of the result. Go full size and 100% quality for the final stitch, but by reducing the size you can produce test results in a matter of seconds.
2) In the options area set the memory setting to something approx 128mb less than your actual system memory. Setting it to your actual limit can produce out of memory errors - reducing it's memory usage will correct this error (it just processing the files in multiple passes instead).
PTGui seems to be a favorite of a lot of folks - I've been using it for over a year and think it's the best for the money. Tried a couple others that worked pretty well until I came up with more challenging subjects - for instance, lots of water. The others failed to find enough control points for a successful stitching but PTGui had no problem at all. My largest pano was made from 18 pictures (9X2), all handheld. PTGui handled it like a champ. Here's the result:
Others are here:
I often leave my wide angle lens behind on weddings and do a stitch up later. Sounds rough, but it works so well. Of course for a large group of people you cant do it. 28mm and up for your lens. wider will show more wavy distortions.
Any users of Realviz ?... lets have some comparisons between the products as I understand that both Ptgui and Realviz are from Germany.
Please show us as to what Realviz can do and why it is expensive compare to other products.
And my take is that for best compromise between simplicity, feature and accuracy, you can't beat PTGui. There is hardly any learning curve to make very decent pano images. You will always improve with practice but you won't be disappointed with what you get in your second or may be third try.
Speed is significant and interesting but accuracy is downright fascinating
I used to always use PTGui. It's a great program that offers a lot
of control and can produce excellent results. I haven't used it
for a couple of years though so I should really revisit it to see
You shoudl try the latest version of PTgui, it is now completely automatic as well.
Wireless Willie wrote:
What's a dedicated pano head?-- hide signature --
A dedicated pano head allows you to rotate the camera and lens around the 'entrance pupil', thereby reducing or even eliminating parallax error. This is vital when there are close foreground subjects, though a regular pan tilt tripod head is fine if you're shooting distant vistas with a long lens.
They range from the homemade bracket, through relatively cheap small manufacturers such as the panosaurus, through to (very) expensive such as Peace River Studios and 360precision.
Here's a good list : http://www.panotools.info/mediawiki/index.php?title=Heads
I have the nodal Ninja 2 and would recommend the newer NN3 though, if you want to put a D2x and 70-200 on it then look elsewhere! my NN2 just about handles the D200+sigma 10-20, though it takes a couple of seconds to settle after you move the camera ( to be fair most of the flex and 'bounce' is in the manfrotto 190 pro column clamp, not the NN2 ).
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