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Options for Landscape photos...WCON-P01, 9-18mm, or stitch?

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by odsagn, May 9, 2011.

  1. odsagn

    odsagn Mu-43 Rookie

    23
    May 6, 2011
    Los Angeles
    Hi guys,

    I've been lurking these forums for a couple months now. Searched the forum for some guidance on this but cant really find anything totally on point..so here it goes -

    Much of my photography are landscape photos. Since I have had my E-PL2 for only a short while I've relied on stitching shots together, via PS CS5. However, I'm going on vacation in Aug. and was wondering if there was a better (hopefully cost effective) alternative that I should consider. Here are my options as I know it:
    1. Keep on stitchin' (most cost effective!)
    2. Get the 9-18mm and call it a day (not very cost effective for me right now, but best quality)
    3. Somehow find and purchase the WCON-P01 for my 14-42mm II. I'm leaning toward this, but unsure if it'll ever be available.(Seems that is this an accessory of myth.....the unicorn of the :43: world, lol)

    Any thoughts/ opinions would be appreciated! :2thumbs:

    -Bobak

    Edit: posted in wrong forum (opps!) can an admin move this for me?
     
  2. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    Actually, stitching will be the highest quality. Way more megapixels in a 4 shot pano than a 1 shot image.

    Do you use a tripod, or freehand?
     
  3. odsagn

    odsagn Mu-43 Rookie

    23
    May 6, 2011
    Los Angeles
    Thanks for the response!

    I almost always use a tripod or gorillapod (backup). I've free handed some panos but those never turn out good.

    The biggest problem I have with stitching is moving environments (waves, clouds, moving branches & leaves, swaying trees, etc...). When stitched those shots lose continuity.
     
  4. squeegee

    squeegee Mu-43 Veteran

    403
    Jan 26, 2010
    I agree with both statements...

    Stitching is the highest quality and can do much more than a wide lens can, I've done stitches of 10+ wide shots, you won't be able to get that with a wide lens unless you're stitching shots from your wide lens... at which point distortion is a problem. Another problem with a wide lens for landscape is sometimes wasted vertical space. Sometimes I want more ground or sky, but often it seems like I just just want more width.

    I agree moving subjects is a problem, but if you're careful it can become less of an issue.

    Look at the stats for the wcon... it's not worth buying, you get about 10% more width (or something really tiny like that, I asked my self that question too), that's hardly a replacement for even 2-stitched photos let alone any more.

    Now of course my problem is now how to display the panno's. Some of my pannos are too wide to show on the screen with out shrinking them back down to a tiny thing... and it loses some of the magnitude if I don't view the entire image at once and I have to scroll side ways, it also loses the magnitude when I'm viewing it scaled back down to fit the width of a monitor.
     
  5. odsagn

    odsagn Mu-43 Rookie

    23
    May 6, 2011
    Los Angeles
    Ok, that makes the decision to not get the WCON attachment easier. thanks Squeegee!

    You brought up some interesting points.

    I like to think I'm careful when stitching. Can you clarify on how to minimize the effects of moving subjects? I use CS5 for my panos. (reposition mode). As for actually shooting, I don't know what else to do as far as the moving environment problem. oh well.

    Got the same problem with pictures getting very wide (around the 4th pic, it gets to be too much). Like you said, shrinking those 4,5,6 shot panos greatly reduces the impact and sense of actually being there (the reason why I love landscapes).

    Looks like I'm saving for a 9-18mm! :biggrin:....some day soon I hope!
     
  6. OPSSam

    OPSSam Mu-43 Regular

    134
    Dec 18, 2010
    NC
    Though you have made up your mind, I'd add that the wide angle converter gets you almost as wide as the 9-18 at 9, but not quite. Otherwise the 9-18 lens would be a more worthwhile purchase in the long run if you like shooting wide anyway.

    I cite this as an example of how good the 9-18 can look (some photos were the 14-42): 2010-05-29 | Model Shoot With The E-Pl1 « Photofide
     
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  7. squeegee

    squeegee Mu-43 Veteran

    403
    Jan 26, 2010
    well it's not being careful about stitching, honestly I'm not careful with that, I just let my computer sort it all out.

    The careful part is the photography part. You just need to be aware of what moves and how it moves. As an example you said clouds... usually, those move really slowly, especially in landscapes where they're far away. As long as you're not waiting a long time between shots they won't really move on the pictures at all. My panno shots are usually with in 2 seconds of each other. Unless it's a night photo, I don't even bother with a tripod, no real need.

    Don't photograph the join segments at / on a moving object. As you mentioned trees move in the wind, but unless there's no gaps in the trees at all, you can try not to pick the end of the branches where it moves more as the join area.

    I think you mentioned waves in the water, that one is hard (if it's big waves) because it's continuous, there's not too much you can do about that one that I've found. But as I mentioned before, a wide angle lens wouldn't help anyways as it wouldn't be wide enough and I'd have to stitch that too.

    I find that having a massive amount of overlap also smooths out any movement, i.e. with the water waves it won't make it look like one long break but it would make it look more like an angled break than 2 completely broken / separate waves. I generally do a 50% overlap between one photo and the next i.e. 100% overlap in total when you consider the previous photo and the next photo.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  8. odsagn

    odsagn Mu-43 Rookie

    23
    May 6, 2011
    Los Angeles
    @OPSSam - Honestly, getting the WCON-P01 was my #1 option before creating this thread. I saw a comparison and the difference is somewhat noticeable ( 11mm vs. 14mm). But, this item can't be found ANYWHERE so its a moot point. I love those picks you linked to. Very sharp. Regardless I'll get the 9-18mm in the future.

    @squeegee - That is some great advice. I must admit that I do not overlap anywhere close to 50% (more like 20%). I can see what you are saying and it makes sense to me. THANK YOU! :thumbup: Being careful of where the picture intersect with one another is another thing I don't give too much consideration for. I'll keep both suggestions in mind.

    Personally, I find myself needing a proper tripod, but I do have about 5 seconds between shots which can leave a good amount of time for changes in the environment. I'll work on getting my shots quicker.
     
  9. JohnF

    JohnF Mu-43 Regular

    183
    Apr 1, 2010
    Oberursel, Germany
    Hi -

    If you are really serious about the panoramas, do yourself a huge favor and get a Gigapan Epic 100. I've been using the Epic 100 since it came out - I was in on the beta program - and it is the only way to ensure that you get really cracking panoramas that can't be beat.

    It's a robotic panorma head: set up the tripod, level it, mount the head, put on the camera, determine the field of view (I use a lovely, battered Leica 18 f3.4 APO Telyt-R via adapter), focus, set exposure (manually), set WB, then compose your frame, set the upper left hand corner and the lower right hand corner and start your gigapan. I've done them in as little as 5 minutes and as long as 3 hours (night time).

    Go to gigapan.org and search on JohnF for my ca 110 gigapans.

    gigapan: Top of the Rock II

    gigapan: Yosemite I Redux...

    gigapan: Crater Lake IV

    gigapan: Pittsburgh By Night...

    Those are a few. :)

    The system comes with a very fast and good stitching software, and you can upload your files to gigapan.org via the stiching software. I'm going to be upgrading to the Epic Pro in order to use my E30 + battery pack + Leica Telyt-R 400 f6.3 for some serious work. :)

    JohnF

    PS: Disclaimer: just a satisfied customer, no connection with gigapan otherwise...
     
  10. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    Damn gigapan site requires flash :(

    I love Pittsburgh, will have to move over to the "real" computer to check it out
     
  11. ssgreenley

    ssgreenley Mu-43 Top Veteran

    509
    May 12, 2011
    Just FYI, the WCON is now available on Amazon and Olympus' site.
     
  12. frhappydave

    frhappydave New to Mu-43

    4
    Jun 21, 2011
    New York City
    I just bought a WCON wide converter (had a Groupon to 17th St. Photo here in NY, and they had it in stock, so I got it for $75). It seems to me like a wide converter you'd use to shoot video up close to people or in small spaces, without too much distortion (for an MTV hand-held camera look--or what they now do on CNN all the time).

    Haven't shot many stills with it yet. Not sure it'll really add much "wideness" and may have a tad too much curvature distortion for landscapes.