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Thread: Lens locked vs regular stitching for distant work?

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    Lens locked vs regular stitching for distant work?

    Can I get an opinion if it is worth using the lens locked stitching for distant work?

    I dusted off the Alpa Max with its stitching attachment that means the tripod is attached to the lens panel rather than the camera body. The lens never moves as the back stitches up/down and left/right around it. The lens lock bracket is a decent grip, but not quite as stable as locking the camera body itself to the tripod. My question is whether its worth it to use Lens Locked Stitching (LLS) for farther away subjects. I suspect with just 60mm of travel, parallax is so minimal its not worth the bother.

    what do folks here do, if they are using a Max or similar for stitching work on distant architecture/ cityscapes? I'm also keen to hear recommendations for stitching software that can handle 4/6 way stitches better than Photoshop's 'Photomerge'

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    Re: Lens locked vs regular stitching for distant work?

    Since I do most of my stitching handheld, whichever method you prefer will be fine.

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    Re: Lens locked vs regular stitching for distant work?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shashin View Post
    Since I do most of my stitching handheld, whichever method you prefer will be fine.
    Tell us a bit more , how you do it and with what type of camera .
    Regards . Jürgen .
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    Re: Lens locked vs regular stitching for distant work?

    Quote Originally Posted by narikin View Post
    Can I get an opinion if it is worth using the lens locked stitching for distant work?

    I dusted off the Alpa Max with its stitching attachment that means the tripod is attached to the lens panel rather than the camera body. The lens never moves as the back stitches up/down and left/right around it. The lens lock bracket is a decent grip, but not quite as stable as locking the camera body itself to the tripod. My question is whether its worth it to use Lens Locked Stitching (LLS) for farther away subjects. I suspect with just 60mm of travel, parallax is so minimal its not worth the bother.

    what do folks here do, if they are using a Max or similar for stitching work on distant architecture/ cityscapes? I'm also keen to hear recommendations for stitching software that can handle 4/6 way stitches better than Photoshop's 'Photomerge'
    Surprised that you think that the stitch adapter/lens mount is not stable enough for use. The stitch adapter, when mounted with the correct Alpa bolt, is rock solid. The only movement would be the slight play that exists within the shift mechanism of the MAX itself and unless you're mounting something with a very long lens barrel (for the extra leverage) it is virtually unnoticeable. Remember that you have the same minor play in the entire mechanism whether using the shift adapter or body mount - if you didn't have it, you couldn't move anything!

    In my own experience with the MAX I used the shift adapter as my only mount. I fixed it permanently on to the lens board and used it that way. My long lenses have the SB adapter and so I would place the lens body at the front and the spacing adapter at the rear with the MF Back fitted to the spacer. This balanced any potential loads and made it more comfortable to use (it's how I typically shoot with my TC/STC too). I have NEVER had any problems with movement within the entire assembly in real use.

    For stitching panos, I personally use AutoPano Giga but many folks like the open source PTGUI & Panotools/Kerkus solution. Photoshop CS5/CS6 does a great job and so for two exposure stitches I typically just use that. For bigger stuff AutoPano comes in to it's own.
    Last edited by GrahamWelland; 6th October 2012 at 12:12.
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    Re: Lens locked vs regular stitching for distant work?

    Quote Originally Posted by jotloob View Post
    Tell us a bit more , how you do it and with what type of camera .
    I just stand at one point and take pictures giving about a 50% overlap between frames. The electronic level in the viewfinder and the gridded focus screen does help, but it is not essential. I mostly do this with a Pentax 645D, but this is not camera specific.

    It only time I use a nodal slide it when I have definite foreground objects like when shooting inside a forest.

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    Re: Lens locked vs regular stitching for distant work?

    BTW, I use(d) Photoshop CS 5, 5.5, and 6.

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    Re: Lens locked vs regular stitching for distant work?

    There is more than just absolute quality to consider.

    When you stitch by panning the camera you cannot compose in the field in a precise way; when the images are combined/stitched they form a geometric shape (either a double-arc, a trapezoid, or a centipede depending on the projection selected) from which you then must crop your final image (assuming you want to show a rectangle).

    This may not matter to you; I am, personally, not a purist about composing in the field. However, even though I'm not a purist I've found distinct value in knowing where all four edges of my final image will be (by using LLS).

    If you have specific scene elements you want to include in the final composition than pan-stitching forces you to far over-shoot so that those elements can be safely assumed to be part of the post-crop final composition. This leads to a slower, less direct workflow which I do not enjoy as much.

    But it's highly personal.

    On the other side of the coin pan-stitching can use any arbitrary number of frames (as wide as you want, even 360 degrees) and does not require an LCC or a lens with a large image circle.
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    Re: Lens locked vs regular stitching for distant work?

    I've thought long and hard about the relative merits of pan-stitching against shift-stitching.

    As Doug rightly says, I think ultimately it will just come down to how you like to work. My preference is actually to use longer lenses and pan-stitch, so that I've got plenty of resolution to play with.

    Certainly, for distant architecture and cityscape stuff, there's no need to worry about nodal points, and you should be absolutely fine to shoot however you want.

    As an example, this was shot on Thursday with a Phase AF, Mamiya 200f/2.8 and 2x converter, and IQ180.

    77 separate images using a Seitz VR Drive 2. Final image is just over 3 gigapixels.

    Virtual Tour generated by Panotour

    I strongly recommend Kolor's Autopano Giga for actually doing the stitching.

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    Re: Lens locked vs regular stitching for distant work?

    +1 for Autopano. I tested 3 stitching programs (PTGUI & PTAssembler) and Autopano was the best suited for me and easiest to pick up.

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    Re: Lens locked vs regular stitching for distant work?

    With Tilt/Swing it's a must if you want to have control over what is in focus.

    As Graham states, mounting the SB spacer on the back of the MAX with longer lenses is very helpful for balancing.
    Best,
    Bob

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    Re: Lens locked vs regular stitching for distant work?

    Thanks all for useful advice. I'm new to stitching on my Max, and its taking a bit of time to get up to speed. Its straight head-on architecture shots, and I found out for myself that you can more or less forget about the 18mm of lens 'fall' from street level, as all your getting is more dead road. the 25mm of 'rise' is useful though. I'm settling on a 4 way stitch, IQ180.

    Also had to abandon the Alpa Sync release that both wakes the back from Normal Latency and fires the shot, as it requires too much pressure (= flexing) and vibration in use. Much better to switch to Zero Latency with standard phase sync + regular cable release, even though that eats batteries. Any other sync suggestions?

    Yes the stitching attachment is useful, and without the Alps sync lead pressure, is solid. Will try Kolor's 'Autopano giga' too. Thanks again.

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    Re: Lens locked vs regular stitching for distant work?

    I'm intrigued by your Alpa release issue. I use the Alpa cable release/sync that fits on the shutter and have absolutely no vibration problems at all - you smoothly press your regular cable release and it triggers the back and releases the shutter in a smooth action. Do you have a different release such as the trigger button or cable through the max body? I just don't quite understand the problem somehow. (Or are you manually pressing the Alpa sync and not via a cable release?)
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

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    Re: Lens locked vs regular stitching for distant work?

    Quote Originally Posted by GrahamWelland View Post
    I'm intrigued by your Alpa release issue. I use the Alpa cable release/sync that fits on the shutter and have absolutely no vibration problems at all - you smoothly press your regular cable release and it triggers the back and releases the shutter in a smooth action. Do you have a different release such as the trigger button or cable through the max body? I just don't quite understand the problem somehow. (Or are you manually pressing the Alpa sync and not via a cable release?)
    Hi Graham. I'm using it normally as you describe (or was, I removed it). Will do some further investigating and get back to you. Perhaps I have a sticky one that needs the attention of Alpa. It should work perfectly at the price it damn well cost!

    (I use it with a cable for max stitched work, but manual release when it is on my TC outfit for handheld shooting)

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    Re: Lens locked vs regular stitching for distant work?

    Quote Originally Posted by narikin View Post
    Hi Graham. I'm using it normally as you describe (or was, I removed it). Will do some further investigating and get back to you. Perhaps I have a sticky one that needs the attention of Alpa. It should work perfectly at the price it damn well cost!

    (I use it with a cable for max stitched work, but manual release when it is on my TC outfit for handheld shooting)
    Given what we pay for the Alpa release I would definitely get it looked at. My 2x releases are smooth and I really only depress the cable release in the same manner as I might with the release on it's own. Alpa owe you a fix if there is a problem!
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

    As Oscar Wilde said, "my tastes are simple, I only like the best"

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    Re: Lens locked vs regular stitching for distant work?

    re. doug's comments:
    i do a lot of panning and have found in many instances, those weird cropping shapes will appear if stitched in PS, but almost not at all in autopano giga. i do find the autoapano interface a bit cryptic. for vary large files, it is definitely the way to go.

    you do have to over-frame because there will be some edges lsot, but auto is much much better than PS

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