The $17.95 Virtual Reality Photography Slate Book (www.vrphotography.com
is indispensable for this kind of photography. It measures 4x6" so you
can keep it in your pocket. Open a VR Photo Slate page and the fold-over cover
color target can be photographed as the first frame of your sequence under the
same lighting conditions of your subject. The color target will give you a reference
for color corrections in postproduction and the slate information provides a
reference for stitching and any other assembly information. The book includes
focal length/field-of-view chart, hyperfocal distances chart, and a grayscale/rectilinear
This is a
five-shot panorama made with the Canon EOS 5D in Fluorescent mode
that produced clean color in a mostly fluorescent environment.
Exposure was 1/8 sec at f/9 at ISO 6540. Lens was Canon's
EF 22-55mm f/4-5.6 zoom at 29mm.
The angle-of-view chart is based on a full-frame SLR. If your digital camera
has a smaller sensor, just apply the camera manufacturer's multiplication
factor to the focal length of the lens you're using. If you're using
a 24mm lens and have a 1.5x magnification factor you multiply the 24mm by 1.5
to get a 35mm equivalent and look up 35mm on the chart. Since I was shooting
with a Canon EOS 5D the angle of view on the chart told me how many shots I
needed for a 360Þ circle, including the required overlap. You turn the
Panorama=Q PRO's blue knob to select how many increments you want to shoot
but since this number is for a 360Þ set you may want to shoot less.
I set the
color balance on Daylight for this three-shot panorama of the
Westminster, Colorado, City Hall that was decorated for the holidays.
Exposure was 1/2 sec at f/5.6 at ISO 200. Lens was the discontinued
Canon EF 22-55mm f/4-5.6 zoom at 55mm. Tip: When you are leveling
the camera you may need to raise the tripod to its fullest height.
I wish I had brought a ladder here. The Tiltall can go one leg
set higher but without a ladder I couldn't work the camera.
One rule about overlap is that frames should overlap by 1/4 or 1/3, and that's
what the chart's recommendations seemed to produce. I made some tests
and actually shot at settings more and less than what was suggested. Always
visually check your calculations when shooting. Look through the viewfinder
or the LCD preview screen (my preference if you have a big screen) as you pan
to the next increment and make sure you have 1/4 to 1/3 of the frame overlapping
Tip: Make sure the Panorama=Q PRO is tightly mounted on your
was cold, the snow that would have made this a nicely decorative
landscape image had not arrived before I had to return the Panorama=Q
PRO to Novoflex. Because you have to photograph the landscape
you have and not the landscape you would like, I decided to shoot
this one in black and white using the Canon EOS 5D's Monochrome
mode. Base exposure for the four shots was 1/100 sec at f/22 at
ISO 200. Lens was my favorite cheapo pano lens, the discontinued
Canon EF 22-55mm f/4-5.6 zoom at 55mm.
If it is not, the plate can shift when you move it from one click stop to
another, ruining the sequence and causing you to start over. Initially the plate
was stiff when moving from detent to detent but as I used it the unit seemed
to warm up from being inside a cold car trunk and the motion between indents
became silky smooth.
The Panorama=Q PRO is a precision tool and will be priced like it, too. When
I asked the US importer about the cost I was told "it will be expensive"
but right now there is no better or easier way for photographers to make perfect
overlapping panoramic shots quickly and easily.
CS3 (beta) Photomerge dialog box offers five different ways to
align images, including Auto, Perspective, Cylindrical, Reposition
Only, and Interactive Layout.
For more information, contact HP Marketing Corp., PO Box 715, Pine Brook,
NJ 07058; (800) 735-4373; www.hpmarketingcorp.com.
There are more different kinds of panoramic software available than there are
panorama heads. For the images made with the Novoflex plate I used Adobe Photoshop
CS3's (beta) Photomerge function that uses the program's Auto Align
Layers function to make quick (there's that word again) work of assembling
the panorama. Photomerge's dialog box offers five different ways to align
images, including Auto, Perspective, Cylindrical, Reposition Only, and Interactive
Layout. You can select a folder of images and even though the images were shot
right-to-left instead of left-to-right, Photomerge assembled them left-to-right
and lined them up perfectly with one click. Sure, it took a while because these
were large JPEG files shot with a Canon EOS 5D, but the result was nevertheless
Dimensions: 140x86mm (5.5x3.4")
Height: 35mm (1.4")
Weight: 630 g (1.4 lbs)
Tripod Connection: 3/8" (1/4" adapter included)