Panorama setup with Sony ILCE-QX1 and Samyang 7.5/3.5 fisheye lens

In search of a small and lightweight spherical panorama setup I’ve seen a Walimex Pro 7.5/3.5 fisheye lens for micro 4/3 mounted via an adapter to a Sony camera with E-mount and APS-C sized sensor. The lens is also distributed under the name of Samyang, Bower or Rokinon.

The problem however is, that it is not so easy to find an adapter to mount the lens to the Sony E-mount. I found one at Photokina at a Chinese booth and bought it. It did not fit perfectly, but reasonable enough to make it work after some tinkering around with some sandpaper. To be able to focus to infinity on my E-mount camera a distance ring in the lens had to be removed.

To get the most out of such an setup you also have to shave the lenshood. The effect is shown in another article.

A short while ago the Sony ILCE camera lineup was expanded with the Sony ILCE-QX1. Currently this is the smallest camera of the Sony ILCE camera lineup. As it has no viewfinder or monitor by itself, the settings and the heading are usually controlled with an app on a smartphone.

Before I purchased the camera as a base for a new panorama setup I checked that the camera meets the following requirements:

  1. Trigger via Sonys Multi-USB connector (works)
  2. Accept manual lenses without electrical contacts (works)
  3. Remember the last settings after the camera is turned on again (works)
  4. Capture in RAW (works, but you can’t disable the accompanying JPEG)
  5. Capture images local if no smartphone is connected via WLAN (works)
  6. Manual mode (can be simulated with shutter priority on the camera and a manual lens, because then the aperture can be set with the lens)

With these requirements fullfilled I purchased the camera and use it as a base for the following panorama setup:

Sony ILCE-QX1 with shaved Walimex Pro 7.5/3.5 fisheye lens
The image shows the shaved lens, the Sony ILCE-QX1 itself, a modified radio remote control and a L-bracket to mount the whole setup on a pole.

The current shooting sequence looks like this

  1. Check the distance scale on the lens and adjust if required (usually I only adjust if there are important objects closer than one meter from the sensor)
  2. Turn the camera on
  3. Activate WLAN and the app on the smartphone (it then connects automatically to the camera)
  4. Check the exposure by turning the lens in every direction
  5. Adjust the exposure with the app (change the shutter speed if required)
  6. Deactivate the app and WLAN on the smartphone (just to save battery)
  7. Take the images of the panorama with the radio remote control
  8. Put the lens cap on the lens and take an additional image (seperator image between panorama series)
  9. Turn the camera off

While importing the images I ignore the JPEG versions of the panorama sets and the RAW version of the seperator images.

You may find finished panoramas shot with this camera marked with the tag Sony ILCE-QX1.

Posted in Technical, Technical Gear | 6 Comments

How to add mandatory Photo Sphere meta data to an equirectangular image (Photoshop CC 2014)

Preface

Last year Google added a new feature to their set of web based applications. Publishing geo located spherical panoramas (aka Photo Spheres) on Views.

In another article, Markus already described the complete workflow which is needed to publish a panoramic image on Views and embed it into your website.

I already described different methods of adding mandatory Photo Sphere meta data to an equirectangular image in a second article. One of the methods described a custom meta data panel which could be used within Photoshop CS6 and Photoshop CC to read and write the photosphere meta data.

As Adobe changed their specification for creating meta data panels for Photoshop CC 2014, I redid the description…

Note for downloading the XML files

Depending on your browser it could be the best option to click the XML download link and use the context menu to save the link as XML to your local computer!

Custom photo sphere meta data panel for Photoshop CC 2014

First you have to identify the proper location for the File Panels. On a Windows system running PS CC 2014 the files are located in

C:\Users\[Username]\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\XMP\Metadata Extensions

or directly using the appropriate environment variable:

%USERPROFILE%\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\XMP\Metadata Extensions

PS CC 2014 running on Mac OS uses the following location

[Username]/Library/Application Support/Adobe/XMP/Metadata Extensions

Navigate to the location and create a sub directory named

Photosphere

with two subdirectories named

schema

and

view

Change to the newly created directory ‘Photosphere’ and create a file named

manifest.xml

with the following content (or download the file here):

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!--
Copyright 2014 by Jürgen Matern (http://www.panotwins.de/author/juergen/)
 
This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0
License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/).
 
In short: you are free to share and make derivative works of the file under
the conditions that you appropriately attribute it and that you distribute
it only under a license identical to this one.
 
Photosphere File Info Panel (manifest.xml)	
-->
<extension xmlns="http://ns.adobe.com/metadata/extension/1.0/"
   name="Photosphere"
   version="1.0"
   locFilePrefix="photosphere">
</extension>

Change to the newly created directory ‘schema’ and create a file named

photosphereSchema.xml

with the following content (or download the file here):

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!--
Copyright 2014 by Jürgen Matern (http://www.panotwins.de/author/juergen/)
 
This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0
License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/).
 
In short: you are free to share and make derivative works of the file under
the conditions that you appropriately attribute it and that you distribute
it only under a license identical to this one.
 
Photosphere File Info Panel (photosphereSchema.xml)	
-->
<xmp_definitions>
  <!-- Defining the namespace and prefix of the schema --> 	
	<xmp_schema prefix='GPano' namespace='http://ns.google.com/photos/1.0/panorama/' label='Photosphere' description='Properties for Photospheres'>
 
		<!-- Defining the properties -->
		<xmp_property name='StitchingSoftware' category='external' type='openchoice' element_type='text' label='Stitching Software:' description='The software which created the panorama.'>
			<xmp_choice raw_value='PTGui Pro 10.0.10' label='PTGui Pro 10.0.10'/>
			<xmp_choice raw_value='PTGui 10.0.10' label='PTGui 10.0.10'/>
			<xmp_choice raw_value='Hugin' label='Hugin'/>
		</xmp_property>
 
		<xmp_property name='ProjectionType' category='external' type='closedchoice' element_type='text' label='Pano Projection:' description='Currently Google applications only support equirectangular projection.' >
			<xmp_choice raw_value='equirectangular' label='equirectangular'/>
			<xmp_choice raw_value='' label='none specified'/>
		</xmp_property>
 
		<xmp_property name='UsePanoramaViewer' category='external' type='boolean' label='Use Panorama Viewer:' description='Set this value if the image should show as photosphere.' />
		<xmp_property name='PoseHeadingDegrees' category='external' type='real' label='Heading:' description='This field is only mandatory for Google Maps. It is the direction in the middle of the image in degrees. North=0, East=90, South=180, West=270. See [GPS].' />
		<xmp_property name='CroppedAreaImageWidthPixels' category='external' type='integer'  label='Cropped Area Image Width:' description='For full spheres the same as Full Pano Width and width of the image in pixels (see [Image Size] further down).'/>
		<xmp_property name='CroppedAreaImageHeightPixels' category='external' type='integer' label='Cropped Image Heigth:' description='For full spheres the same as Full Pano heigth and height of the image in pixels (see [Image Size] further down).'/>
		<xmp_property name='FullPanoWidthPixels' category='external' type='integer' label='Full Pano Width:' description='For full spheres this equals to the height of the image in pixels (see [Image Size] further down).'/>
		<xmp_property name='FullPanoHeightPixels' category='external' type='integer'  label='Full Pano Heigth:' description='For full spheres this equals to the height of the image in pixels (see [Image Size] further down).'/>
		<xmp_property name='CroppedAreaLeftPixels' category='external' type='integer' label='Cropped Pixels Left:' description='Set to 0 for full spheres.'/>
		<xmp_property name='CroppedAreaTopPixels' category='external' type='integer' label='Cropped Pixels Top:' description='Set to 0 for full spheres.'/>
		<xmp_property name='SourcePhotosCount' category='external' type='integer' label='Source Photos Count:' description='Number of source image. This value is optional.'/>
		<xmp_property name='FirstPhotoDate' category='external' type='date' label='First Photo Date' description='Date and time of the first image taken.  This value is optional.'/>
		<xmp_property name='LastPhotoDate' category='external' type='date' label='Last Photo Date' description='Date and time of the last image taken.  This value is optional.'/>
	</xmp_schema>		
</xmp_definitions>

Change to the newly created directory ‘view’ and create a file named

photosphereView.xml

with the following content (or download the file here):

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!--
Copyright 2014 by Jürgen Matern (http://www.panotwins.de/author/juergen/)
 
This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0
License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/).
 
In short: you are free to share and make derivative works of the file under
the conditions that you appropriately attribute it and that you distribute
it only under a license identical to this one.
 
Photosphere File Info Panel (photosphereView.xml)	
-->
 
<views xmlns="http://ns.adobe.com/metadata/ui/1.0/"> 
	<view
		xmlns:exif="http://ns.adobe.com/exif/1.0/"
		xmlns:GPano='http://ns.google.com/photos/1.0/panorama/' 
		name="Photosphere"
		label="Photosphere"
		description="This view shows the GPano properties and some other values from the EXIF metadata.">
 
		<section label="Photosphere" type="labelled">
			<property name='GPano:StitchingSoftware' />
			<property name='GPano:ProjectionType' />
			<property name='GPano:UsePanoramaViewer' />
			<property name='GPano:PoseHeadingDegrees' />
			<property name='GPano:CroppedAreaImageWidthPixels' />
			<property name='GPano:CroppedAreaImageHeightPixels' />
			<property name='GPano:FullPanoWidthPixels' />
			<property name='GPano:FullPanoHeightPixels' />
			<property name='GPano:CroppedAreaLeftPixels' />
			<property name='GPano:CroppedAreaTopPixels' />
			<property name='GPano:SourcePhotosCount' />
			<property name='GPano:FirstPhotoDate' />
			<property name='GPano:LastPhotoDate' />
		</section>
		<section label="Image Size" type="labelled">
			<property name="exif:PixelXDimension"/>
			<property name="exif:PixelYDimension"/>
		</section>
		<section label="GPS" type="labelled">
			<property name='exif:GPSLongitude' />
			<property name='exif:GPSLatitude' />
			<property name='exif:GPSAltitude' />
			<property name='exif:GPSImgDirection' />
			<property name='exif:GPSDestLongitude' />
			<property name='exif:GPSDestLatitude' />
		</section>
	</view>		
</views>

The properties ‘SourcePhotosCount’, ‘FirstPhotoDate’ and ‘LastPhotoDate’ are optional values for a photosphere.

Then open the file info dialog of Photoshop CC 2014. When all the meta data is missing, the new panel looks like this on a german installation:
Custom file info panel within Photoshop CC 2014, empty
And the following screenshot shows the panel, when the meta data fields are already populated.
Custom file info panel within Photoshop CC 2014, populated

Posted in Technical | Tagged | 2 Comments

Bayernpark in November

This panorama has been shot from a 6m high pole using the innovative Sony ILCE-QX1 ‘camera’. I took on e image in each cardinal direction and an extra shot to get rid of my shadow. For a more detailed description of the camera and lens setup see this post from PanoTwin Jürgen.

Geotag Icon Show on map
Camera Maker: SONY
Camera Model: ILCE-QX1
Exposure Time (sec): 1/640
F-Number: 7.1
Focal Length (mm): 7.5

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Court House Courtyard

This panorama has been shot handheld with the innovative Sony ILCE-QX1 ‘camera’. I took one image in each cardinal direction and an extra shot for zenith and nadir. I held the camera obove my head to reach a higher view point and released using my smart phone. For a more detailed description of the setup see this post from PanoTwin Jürgen.

The maximum equirectangular panorama size of this setup is about 10000×5000 pixel according to PTGui. However the one you see below has been downsized to 6000×3000 pixel before publishing it on Google Views.

Geotag Icon Show on map
Camera Maker: SONY
Camera Model: ILCE-QX1
Exposure Time (sec): 1/160
F-Number: 9.5
Focal Length (mm): 7.5

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Luitpoldpark in November

Shot with a 6m high pole. See me in action with the pole here.

Geotag Icon Show on map
Camera Maker: SONY
Camera Model: ILCE-7
Exposure Time (sec): 1/640
F-Number: 7.1
Focal Length (mm): 8

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Luitpoldpark in October

Shot with a 6m high pole. See me in action with the pole here.

Geotag Icon Show on map
Camera Maker: SONY
Camera Model: ILCE-7
Exposure Time (sec): 1/1600
F-Number: 7.1
Focal Length (mm): 8

Posted in Pano Interactive Sphericals | Tagged , , | Leave a comment