iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






Panoramas and programs for its creating

October 6, 2000

Sometimes nature grants so beautiful cosy nooks that one can't just stop and choose the most wonderful place to make a photo of. After you have made a series of shots, you start studying them and suddenly you realize that it's not the way to achieve the integrity of the picture. And the all charm of nature has disappeared. Photographers all over the world have always been trying to combine separate shots into one whole picture. And there we start with the panorama been made with a camera "Zenit" on the river Belomorskaya Shuya 15 years ago.

The panorama is spliced of four shots (each is 16x65 sm).

Joining optically shots together is a very difficult process, because one need to correct view imperfections by inclining the magnifier, and equalize the brightness of neighbor shots selecting the exposure and gesticulating in front of the shot. Of cause, there are panoramic cameras when optical objective is turning around during the shooting but the focal distance remains unchangeable. In our opinion, it is the digital camera that performs better than film cameras when shooting a panorama.

On a small-sized display of the camera Casio QV3000 the panorama looks great, but for a larger display more qualitative sewing must have take place.

Panorama Editor program shows moderate results, that's why we used two programs (PhotoVista (version 1.3.2 of Live Picture company and 2.0 of MGI) and PhotoStitch (version of Canon PowerShot Utilities packet)) to work up the results of our expedition to the White Sea. We will try to throw light upon some peculiarities of their usage in this article. Nothing is perfect in the world, so both these programs have advantages and disadvantages.

PhotoVista sticks linear panoramas perfect (maybe round ones as well). In most cases it chooses better parameters of splice. It equalizes the brightness of neighbor shots better. But if it does splice the shots incorrect you won't be able to intervene; you may only to move the whole shot to get the optimal matching. The second possible adjusting is a focal distance of the optical objective. This parameter influences the degree of preliminary correction of distortion. Notice, that if you set the focal distance of the optical objective at 35 mm which is equivalent (as concerned the angle of view) to that of the digital camera, then you will not always obtain the optimal result. As a rule, you will get better results, if you set the parameters for more long-focus optical objective than for that you have used. The focal distance (set for shooting) is recorded by the camera Casio into the file JPEG, but it's impossible to read this value with the "native" programs, so one has to use ImageN program (at the present the version 1.4 is available).

Nowadays the second version of PhotoVista program is available (its Trial version can be downloaded from the site MGI). In our opinion, it has changed only its interface.

PhotoStitch program can splice both linear and mosaic panoramas. It is very convenient if you want to obtain the image of high resolution for the photos with normal proportions.

Here you can switch on either automatic or "hand" splice. In the second case you must determine several dots, and according them the program will deform the shots to splice in the best way.

If the shots contain many similar seriated objects (such as windows, grating etc), this program is preferable. Besides, the program has got one mode for shooting from the same point with the camera being turned around, and another when you move the camera alongside the object.

This program gives worse results when fitting the brightness than PhotoVista. But you can compare the results yourselves:

Casio QV3000 / 7 shots /PhotoVista/ 10381x1501, 1648 KBytes
Casio QV3000 / 2 shots/PhotoStitch/ 3261x1218, 442 KBytes
Casio QV3000 / 4 shots/PhotoStitch/ 2177x3025, 955 KBytes

Clicking on the photo you can view the images which are reduced 2 times as compared with the original. Clicking on the reference with the size you can view the photo of the same size as the original but 2 times increased compression.

Further, we offer the interactive rout map and the gallery of the panoramas that were taken a picture of by different cameras.

We will consider some particular features of printing of panoramas in the next article.

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