Spherical pano combined from sweep panoramas

Huck asked me whether it is possible to make a full spherical panorama from sweep panoramas made with the Sony NEX-5:

The camera can pan vertically 185 degrees. It can catch the nadir and zenith. It would have more than 45 degrees horizontally so about 5 shots should get you everything. If these could be stitched you could have a spherical panorama with 5 shots. Have you ever tried this? Do you know if it could be done?

My short answer is: No!

You may ask why? I don’t think you get the results you expect, or hope to get!

I try to make this more clear with the following statements.

  1. When using the camera in landscape mode five shots cover 360 degree, however there is almost no overlap of the shots. So you need at least 6 shots. But this is only true for normal single shots, not for sweep panorama stripes (see the next statement)!

  2. Rectilinear Panorama Detail

    Sweep Panorama Stripe Detail

    When using the vertical sweep panorama mode you get stripes that are only 2160 pixel wide, compared to the 4592 pixel of a normal landscape shot. The image is scaled down inside the camera and furthermore it is cropped on the sides! Thus you need at least eight stripes to cover the full sphere! See the different scale of the following two images showing the same spot of the result panorama.

  3. Some panorama stripes just don’t stitch! In my living room I was not able to get a sweep panorama done, because the camera just was not able to find features for stitching! I tried some of the stripes for about ten times. Always at the same point towards the end I got an error message from the camera. This was usually when the ceiling started, where only few features can be found.
  4. You can’t control the quality in the sweep panorama mode, because the following settings get disabled:
    • ISO
    • JPG Quality
    • Shutter
    • Aperture

  5. Sweep Pano Head Setup

    When using a pano head it gets really complicated, due to the fact that you are shooting in landscape and not in portrait mode (however it would be less complicated, when using an L bracket designed for the NEX-5).

  6. There is no matching lens type available for stitching! I tried my best to stitch a panorama using PTGui Pro but failed. At the moment I’m quite sure that none of the available lens types is the right one! I tried all of them, even the ones, that don’t make real sense. I got the best results using the fish eye lens setting, but somehow this is still wrong.
  7. When shooting handheld you may make curves, that will be straightened in the finished panorama stripe. No stitcher will ever be able to correct this.
  8. The exposure is taken from the start of the panorama, unless you point the camera to a different part of the scene, press the shutter half way down and return to the start.
  9. It’s not easy to hold the shutter all the way when sweeping the pano head.

I hope to get some more information online over the next weekend. 

Related Posts
Bad Hindelang seen from the viewpoint Nusche.

READ MORE
This year we started with a photographic experiment. We recruited two assistants and used sparklers to write 2012 in the air.


READ MORE
The Lensbaby Tilt Transformer makes it possible to mount Nikon lenses on the Sony NEX camera line.

Nikon 50mm/F1.8 and Lensbaby Tilt Transformer
READ MORE
The name of the alp you see here roughly translates to "Hindmost Colossus Alp".


READ MORE
From the 85m high tower of Munich's town hall you have a great view over the city centre. When you're lucky you can even see the Bavarian alps in the distance. The tower can easily be ascend via elevator.


READ MORE
There is no excerpt because this is a protected post.
READ MORE
This panorama has been made near the summit of mount Hirschberg. It is north of Bad Hindelang and is about 1500m high.


READ MORE
First experiments with MICE to stitch a cylindrical panorama from video footage

READ MORE
This post tries to answer the question whether it is possible to stitch a spherical panorama made from so called sweep panoramas. They can be made using e.g. the Sony NEX-5. A somehow finished panorama can be seen, however it has some big errors and looks really wierd.
READ MORE
Bad Hindelang seen from Nusche
Happy new year 2012
Nikon Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 AI and Lensbaby Tilt
Hintere Entschenalpe
Munich Town Hall Tower South East Corner
Protected: Open Monday im Hackerspace-FFM
Cross on Summit of Mount Hirschberg
Comparing Sony LA-EA2 and Sony LA-EA4
Cylindrical Panorama from a Video Source
Spherical pano stitched from sweep panoramas, an experiment

Author: PanoTwin Markus

PanoTwin Markus → My Google+ Profile

1 thought on “Spherical pano combined from sweep panoramas”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *