Using a 'normal' camera on a pano head device is the traditional way to create panos.
It takes some time to prepare a shooting and to move the camera positions,
but in the end, you'll get an image that can have a remarkably high resolution.
Of course you'll find hints and tips and instructions and advice about photographing
and panorama images almost everywhere. So these are just some results from practical
experience which I either consider important or which are not so well-known yet.
You decide about the quality of a panorama image when performing these two steps: First
taking the shots and later putting the parts together (which is commonly called
1. Taking Shots:
Today's digital consumer cameras typically have a focal length of 35 mm, 28 mm, or 24 mm (referring to 35 mm film)
which corresponds to a horizontal field of view of about 53°, 64°, or 74°.
I currently use a camera with a 24 mm lens which covers a full-sphere panorama with 20 single shots.
With shorter focal lengths, you need less shots, but get less resolution.
Before taking the series of shots for the panorama, lock the camera's exposure
and white balance settings. If available, use the camera's manual mode to set the f-value,
exposure time and white balance value appropriate to a spot of average brightness. Use equal
settings for the whole series of shots.
If any nearby objects are to appear on your panorama, it's particularly important that
you don't move the camera's position between the shots.
If you have a tripod with a panorama head, use it (but do you always have one with you?).
Tilting the camera or unequal overlaps between images are not critical
and can be handled by a good stitcher (see below).
Always be aware where the horizon is. This may be the edge of the sea, a plain
landscape in the distance, or the eyes of people standing on the same height as you. The
horizon should not only be at equal height but also right in the center of every image. If this
results in cutting important parts of the image, you should consider taking a series of
is an image viewer, not a stitching tool! You will need such a tool for stitching your
It's always a good idea to store the original images to a safe place before you do any
processing. Use a backup media or at least a write-protected folder on your hard disk.
For stitching, the files should be on a hard disk rather than on a memory chip for
performance reasons. Create a working folder that will hold all the source images for one
panorama, the stitching software's project file, and the resulting panorama. To copy
files among folders, you can use the file management capabilities of the Panorado app.
It's important to use good stitching software (see some references on the
I personally prefer
which is an interactive tool originally based on the legendary Panorama Tools collection.
This is sophisticated software with a well-designed user interface and perfect mathematical
background which combines automatical and manual processing. After you have set up
everything you may have the stitching done as a batch job. This may take some minutes but isn't
an overnight job anymore - calculations are done with the full power of all your CPUs and GPUs.
When stitching is done, some fine-tuning will have to be applied to the resulting
image. I'm sure you will use your favorite image editor software - for correcting image
transitions, adding some lines to the pavement or painting parts of the sky, do some
improvements to the global distribution of lights using a histogram, adding some descriptive metadata.
If the stitcher has not yet reduced the resolution of the original images, you can normally
reduce the image size (I'm talking about pixels, not file size!) to about 70% without losing visible quality.