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 originally manufactured under the name of Samyang 7.5mm F3.5 Fish-eye Lens and was also available under the name of 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:
- Trigger via Sonys Multi-USB connector (works)
- Accept manual lenses without electrical contacts (works)
- Remember the last settings after the camera is turned on again (works)
- Capture in RAW (works, but you can’t disable the accompanying JPEG)
- Capture images local if no smartphone is connected via WLAN (works)
- 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:
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
- 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)
- Turn the camera on
- Activate WLAN and the app on the smartphone (it then connects automatically to the camera)
- Check the exposure by turning the lens in every direction
- Adjust the exposure with the app (change the shutter speed if required)
- Deactivate the app and WLAN on the smartphone (just to save battery)
- Take the images of the panorama with the radio remote control
- Put the lens cap on the lens and take an additional image (seperator image between panorama series)
- 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.