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How useful is Olympus Panorama?

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by sin77, Jan 4, 2013.

  1. sin77

    sin77 Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 9, 2011
    I am a great fan of panoramic photography, and I thought Olympus m4/3 system would deliver. To my dismay, I find their so-called built-in pano feature to be less than desirable.

    They only provide guiding lines to compose the shots but do not immediately create the pano end results in camera and require you to use PC software to create it. So what is the point? I do not understand how the guiding lines can actually help much in delivering pano photos; I can jolly do without them at all and stitch them using Photoshop.

    I seriously hope Olympus will offer a firmware update to either create the pano shot in camera or allow sweeping panorama.

    In any case I have just sent an e-mail to Olympus.
  2. sin77

    sin77 Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 9, 2011
    They can perhaps do the same for HDR as well.
    Giving us an option whether to process it in camera or in PC.
  3. wonglp

    wonglp Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 28, 2011
    hello sin77

    I use hugin (freeware), with loads of controls and certainly you can control your aperture etc settings in any mode, which olympus only provide in the setting constrained scene mode. Though many cameras may have the "sweep-pano" function, they are usually not of highest IQ settings (at least those cameras I had tested with, Nex 5N, Fuji Xpro1). So until then, I prefer to control it externally :smile:
  4. moonmando

    moonmando Mu-43 Rookie

    Nov 16, 2012
    Matt Caldwell
    To really get the best results,a tripod is necessary,as the guidelines in camera are not great.I took a great panorama at the weekend,handheld,and thought i`d got the shot i wanted but on post production,i.e,Olympus ib,it failed to accurately stich the frames together and that was after a number of attempts.I will stick to PS in future!
  5. ghetto

    ghetto Mu-43 Regular

    +1 for hugin, it would be very difficult for any in-camera processing to match what hugin does. As for the guidelines, I also find them useless. For my shots, I like to do a 50% frame overlap, i.e. I move the edge of the previous frame to the centre of the current frame. I'ts much more overlap than the oly-guidelines. It produces much better join points with bigger overlaps.

    With regards to tripods... I never use them because it's too much effort to carry around. Hugin will automatically shift the images and rotate and skew the images to make them match so any distortion from hand-held mis-matches doesn't matter at all. It also does exposure matching on the different frames so the exposure lock is not necessary either.
    • Like Like x 1
  6. dwig

    dwig Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 26, 2010
    Key West FL
    Preface: I'm not familiar with the Olympus implimentation but have done a good number of Panos with other cameras.

    My old Nikon CP8400 had a Pano mode with gave a visual quide for framing the subsequent pix. This is useful but not necessary. What its pano mode did that was very nice was it trapped the focus and exposure when the first shot was made and used those settings for each subsequent shot, something quite necessary for good pano work. When I use my Pany G-1 for panos I have to use manual exposure and focus to accomplish the same thing. Not all that difficult to do, but the CP8400's special mode made it easier. If the Oly's pano mode provides similar locking functions then it's quite useful.

    Processing a high resolution pano from several shots requires a lot of processing power and memory. Doing this in-camera requires massive amount of battery power also. At present such functionality is quite beyond the current state-of-the-art hardware. Doing low resolution panos, either from multiple images is possible, but would still be processor (and battery) intensive. The sweep-panos I've seen are almost universally horrid low resolution poorly leveled images. I've done a few with a P&S camera of my wife's and found them unworthy of printing at all and useable only as "cell phone" class images.
  7. woody112704

    woody112704 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 13, 2012
    Just curious, when you guys do your panorama shots do you keep your pictures in the 4/3 image aspect or change it to the 16:9?
  8. dwig

    dwig Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 26, 2010
    Key West FL
    I always shoot everything in the m4/3 native 4:3 aspect ratio. Unless you are using a Pany GH-1 or GH-2 with their unique multi-aspect sensor shooting in any other aspect ratio is merely cropping the sensor to a smaller lower megapixel count.

    With panos you always want to frame loosly, including more around all sides of the image than what you want in the final photo. I usually shoot vertical images when doing a standard horizontal pano. It takes more images to accomplish the whole image but it also helps getting some extra "sky" and "ground". When the images are adjusted and stitched the initial pano usually is rather "ragged" at top and bottom as a result of the warping necessary to align the images. This needs to be cropped off so having extra image area is a good thing. I've attached an uncropped pano stitched from eight vertical images.

    Attached Files:

    • Like Like x 2
  9. ghetto

    ghetto Mu-43 Regular

    Yes very true, that's what I meant when I said a camera will have greate difficulty matching what PC / hugin does. I'm running a i5 dual core/quad thread 8gb ram computer and stitching even something like 6 or 8 full resolution frames can take up to 3 minutes or more. In-camera would probably be 10 minutes or more.

    The oly guidlines (at least on the older cameras like the tought and e-p1) are horrible, they generate way too little overlap as such they are not useful, what's more useful is the thirds-guidelines. As for exposure and focus, I believe the oly does lock those (at least exposure, not 100% sure about focus) but that's not required either. As mentioned before hugin will automatically adjust the exposure on all frames to match. The focus - well that's actually best not locked. It enables the center part of each frame to be in focus no matter what.

    As an example, here's a random experiment I tried a few weeks ago that I had posted in the random picture thread, it's a panno macro of a bee. I think macro people just call it image stacking for higher depth of field but the 2 things to note are :
    1) the focus has to be different on each frame or it would be all blurry, it's a macro so the focus is only really good for a couple of millimetres at a time.
    2) notice the stiching is not even horizontal, it's diagonal, this is one example of how extensive PC stiching can be compared to camera stiching in terms of it's flexibility.

    View attachment 249764

    This was taken hand-held, and in aperture or manual mode (can't remember now which), using manual focus and new exposure on each frame.
  10. sin77

    sin77 Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 9, 2011
    Since oly bodies have many configurable settings, they might as well provide customizations for pano features.

    Can opt to shoot sweeping pano with lower resolutions, or can adjust the guidelines to overlap more, etc
  11. meyerweb

    meyerweb Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Sep 5, 2011
    I, too, prefer to do stitching in post. The quality is better, plain and simple.
  12. Mark0

    Mark0 Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 23, 2011
    Near Venice, Italy
    I take the occasion to point out to anyone who have not tried it, to take a look at the free Microsoft ICE for every stiching / panoramic job. It's great, and absolutely easy to use: just shot a serie of frames, point the software to them, et voilà.

    Microsoft Image Composite Editor

    I have made a lot of panoramic photos entirely handheld, and it works very well.
    It can also interface directly with PhotoSynth:

    [ame=http://photosynth.net/view.aspx?cid=dbd80064-3901-46bc-bd42-aada204c29b5]Valparola Pass toward Val Badia[/ame]
  13. inkista

    inkista Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 13, 2012
    San Diego, CA
    +1. Not to mention, I shoot 360x180s. :) 
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