July 28, 2014, 09:11:19 AM

Poll

What lenses do you use the most for normal, single row panoramics?

Ultrawide (under 24mm)
10 (18.2%)
Wide (24-35mm)
17 (30.9%)
Normal (35-70mm)
20 (36.4%)
Telephoto (85-300mm)
4 (7.3%)
Other (comment)
4 (7.3%)

Total Members Voted: 55

Author Topic: What Lenses Do You Use for Panoramics?  (Read 4088 times)

mackguyver

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What Lenses Do You Use for Panoramics?
« on: May 06, 2014, 02:21:03 PM »
Since starting to take panoramic shots more seriously a year or so ago by purchasing a basic RRS single-row pano kit, I've struggled a bit to find my footing with the best lens(es) to use.  Lenses in the 35-70mm are frequently recommended, but I've seen mind-blowing panos at much wider and longer focal lengths.

I've been most successful with my 50L (seriously) and mildly successful with my 24-70II at 24-35mm but I'm very curious to hear to what others use and why.  If find the 24-70II to have rather high distortion at 24-35 that makes stitching more challenging, whereas the 50L shots always come together perfectly.

If you use primes vs. zooms, or other lenses altogether (macro, fisheye, tilt/shift, etc.) I'd like to hear about that as well.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2014, 03:39:25 PM by mackguyver »
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What Lenses Do You Use for Panoramics?
« on: May 06, 2014, 02:21:03 PM »

J.R.

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Re: What Lenses Do You Use for Panoramics?
« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2014, 02:40:15 PM »
OK, don't laugh ... The lens I've found most useful for Panoramas is the 40mm pancake - the negligible distortion is a breeze to work with. In fact, I was guided to it by Sporgon here on CR - BTW, I really like his work.

I recently got the 17mm TS-E lens which has a stellar reputation. I'm still getting my head around the various tilt and shift movements so I haven't tried creating panoramas with it. The learning curve is extremely steep and I'm struggling with time constraints these days :(
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mackguyver

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Re: What Lenses Do You Use for Panoramics?
« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2014, 02:54:16 PM »
OK, don't laugh ... The lens I've found most useful for Panoramas is the 40mm pancake - the negligible distortion is a breeze to work with. In fact, I was guided to it by Sporgon here on CR - BTW, I really like his work.

I recently got the 17mm TS-E lens which has a stellar reputation. I'm still getting my head around the various tilt and shift movements so I haven't tried creating panoramas with it. The learning curve is extremely steep and I'm struggling with time constraints these days :(

That makes total sense and as much (or as little) sense as my using the 50L.  I have a TS-E 17 on the way, too, and can't wait to use it.  Once you get the hang of it (have you watched the latest tutorial from Canon: Tilt-Shift Lens Basics with Vincent Laforet?) it's awesome.  He makes it look easy in the video, but remember that he's been using them for many, many years.  The videos are a great overview, though, the best I've seen.

Panos with the T/S are extremely easy if there's nothing the very near foreground. You just rotate shift to the side, shift to -11, shoot, shift to -6, shoot, 0, +6, and +11, and you're done.  You can even skip the -6 and +6 settings (at least with the 24mm) if you don't have time.  For panos with trees or other objects in the foreground that can cause parallax issues, here's a simple way to eliminate parallax with the TS-E lenses from Outback Photo: Workflow Technique #058: Avoiding Parallax while Stitching with Shift Lenses.  Solution #2 in the article is particularly easy if you have a RRS plate.
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Don Haines

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Re: What Lenses Do You Use for Panoramics?
« Reply #3 on: May 06, 2014, 03:09:21 PM »
It all depends on the subject...

I wanted massive detail of a site so I shot a pano using a 200mm lens.... but that's certainly the exception to the rule...

Most of the panos that I shoot are because a wide angle lens introduces too much distortion and they end up being handheld, portrait mode, two or three rows of 5 to 10 shots. If you are going handheld, you need more overlap to compensate for lack of accurate framing, so I end up using 24mm to keep the number of shots down yet avoiding that fisheye look.....

Sometimes you need to go "free form". I tried a panorama in a gazebo, and you had to be very careful to not get the center of an image in a screen or it would not stitch together.... another hint, avoid blue skies. Images stitch a lot better when there are clouds.

My favourite pano lens is the 17-55 on a crop body. The range lets you either go for a lower number of shots and less detail, or many shots and higher detail. On a FF it's the 24-70 for all the same reasons.
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tolusina

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Re: What Lenses Do You Use for Panoramics?
« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2014, 03:10:30 PM »
Ditto on the 40mm pancake.

I'm using Microsoft ICE to stitch with, takes CR2s as input, I take output as tiff though I'm sure there are other choices.
RSS angle bracket, level tripod head base and QR plate, nodal rail, 6D in portrait, auto rotate switched on, full manual exposure and focus, live view or tethered live view.
I eyeball overlap about 2/3, recent sets have been 13 frames for 180 degree coverage. ICE stitches such a set in less than two minutes (on this hardware, YMMV), if I've corrected for parallax, lighting is consistent and nothing moves, I see no artifacts.

I have PSE 11 and GIMP 2.8.10, neither can deal with 16 bit color.
I have stitched jpgs in PSE, results were ok though the file size was quite large compared to ICE's output from raw input, that puzzles me.

8 bit, 16 bit, I can't see the difference, but, conceptually, gotta have 16 bit.
 
On a lark, I tried a handheld pano sweep in burst mode, got a lot of parallax error artifacts. Deleted all. Learn from failure.
 
I tried Canon's Photostitch, it stinks, totally garbage. Resolution was destroyed, obnoxiously  obvious artifacts, just awful.
---
What is your pano workflow?
I'd especially like hearing from Sporgon.
 
 
 
 
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J.R.

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Re: What Lenses Do You Use for Panoramics?
« Reply #5 on: May 06, 2014, 03:12:16 PM »
OK, don't laugh ... The lens I've found most useful for Panoramas is the 40mm pancake - the negligible distortion is a breeze to work with. In fact, I was guided to it by Sporgon here on CR - BTW, I really like his work.

I recently got the 17mm TS-E lens which has a stellar reputation. I'm still getting my head around the various tilt and shift movements so I haven't tried creating panoramas with it. The learning curve is extremely steep and I'm struggling with time constraints these days :(

That makes total sense and as much (or as little) sense as my using the 50L.  I have a TS-E 17 on the way, too, and can't wait to use it.  Once you get the hang of it (have you watched the latest tutorial from Canon: Tilt-Shift Lens Basics with Vincent Laforet?) it's awesome.  He makes it look easy in the video, but remember that he's been using them for many, many years.  The videos are a great overview, though, the best I've seen.

Panos with the T/S are extremely easy if there's nothing the very near foreground. You just rotate shift to the side, shift to -11, shoot, shift to -6, shoot, 0, +6, and +11, and you're done.  You can even skip the -6 and +6 settings (at least with the 24mm) if you don't have time.  For panos with trees or other objects in the foreground that can cause parallax issues, here's a simple way to eliminate parallax with the TS-E lenses from Outback Photo: Workflow Technique #058: Avoiding Parallax while Stitching with Shift Lenses.  Solution #2 in the article is particularly easy if you have a RRS plate.


Thanks a lot for the links and the suggestions. These should be very useful.

I don't have the RRS plate. RRS is not available in India :( I plan to get the RRS tripod, ball head, focusing rails and other accessories when I visit the US later this year ... A long wait.
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eli452

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Re: What Lenses Do You Use for Panoramics?
« Reply #6 on: May 06, 2014, 03:36:20 PM »
I got the best results with the 24 TS. Good ones with the 24-105 f/4L at about 50mm. Curious enough good one with the 8-15 Fisheye (If you call stitching 2 shoots a pano, but that all it took to cover the scene). The software I use is the "Kolor autopano giga".
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Re: What Lenses Do You Use for Panoramics?
« Reply #6 on: May 06, 2014, 03:36:20 PM »

Sporgon

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Re: What Lenses Do You Use for Panoramics?
« Reply #7 on: May 06, 2014, 04:45:17 PM »
OK, don't laugh ... The lens I've found most useful for Panoramas is the 40mm pancake - the negligible distortion is a breeze to work with. In fact, I was guided to it by Sporgon here on CR - BTW, I really like his work.

I recently got the 17mm TS-E lens which has a stellar reputation. I'm still getting my head around the various tilt and shift movements so I haven't tried creating panoramas with it. The learning curve is extremely steep and I'm struggling with time constraints these days :(

Thanks J.R. Yes the 40 pancake is my default lens now, assuming no IS required. It has zero distortion and a short nodal point meaning that it (generally) stitches together very easily with little after corrections needed. I don't bother with a sliding panoramic plate anymore as the recent stitching programs  are so good.

When in portrait the vertical field of view of a 40 mm is about the same as the vertical field of view of a 24 mm in landscape orientation, so people who like 24 mm are going to find panos with the 40 familiar territory.

However as Don says, it does depend on where you are and what you are trying to produce. I've attached a few pictures that range from 400 mm, 189 mm ( 135L+1.4II converter), 135 mm, 40 mm and 28 mm.

On the 189 mm shot I was on the side of a hill and couldn't move any closer without losing too much altitude. In the 135 mm shot I needed to get the trees in front of the minster out of the way as much as possible. By moving back the trees become smaller in relation to the building behind. Google images of Beverely Minster and you'll see how when you are closer the trees obscure more of the church. In the 40 mm shot it was the right framing for the perspective I wanted, and lastly on the 28 mm pano I couldn't move any further back for a number of reasons.

@Mack, not at all surprised on the 50L. I'm sure you are shooting in portrait so over lapping the long side of the sensor takes away the edge resolution. The sky takes away perceived resolution in the top part, but most importantly you are creating a larger format and so the enlargement of each frame is much less, and is much more forgiving on the lens. ( Just like MF / LF does not put nearly so much pressure on the resolving power of the lens.

I can honestly say that in my panoramics it is impossible to tell the difference in print between the 24-105L @5.6 - 8 and lenses such as the 35L or 135L at the same apertures.

I would never use a 17 mm lens for a panoramic.

RobertG.

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Re: What Lenses Do You Use for Panoramics?
« Reply #8 on: May 06, 2014, 08:04:50 PM »
Hi,
I use mainly the TS-E 24mm II. But the TS-E 45mm is also used from time to time. Seldomly the TS-E 90mm is used, although it is clearly sharper than the TS-E 45mm. I use some mm of shift in almost every panorama to compose the picture. But I try to avoid multi row panos, so normal lenses are no longer used. In the past I had good results with the EF 35m L and the EF 50mm f1.4 too.

I like the view of wide angle lenses (24 till 35mm) but I don't like the perspective change of super wide angle lenses because of the too strong accentuation of the foreground. With the tele lenses the compression of the scence is often clearly visible, no matter how wide the panorama later on is. The whole scene looks then easily a bit flat. So I choose the focal length depending on the intended compression of the scene and also the needed final picture size later on.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2014, 08:15:50 PM by RobertG. »
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wickidwombat

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Re: What Lenses Do You Use for Panoramics?
« Reply #9 on: May 06, 2014, 10:02:41 PM »
i know the 50 art will be my weapon of choice for pano from now on....
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Re: What Lenses Do You Use for Panoramics?
« Reply #10 on: May 07, 2014, 12:01:10 AM »
the biggest problem with lens choice and panos is distortion and parallax. these issues are more likely to be a problem the wider the focal length used so i'm not surprised by those who have found the 40-50mm focal length ideal.

stitching software can mostly mitigate any problems that arise but sometimes cannot handle extreme instances of barrel distortion and parallax thus resulting in ghosting and dali-esque edges. it's usually not difficult to photoshop these errors by hand but it does add time to the PP.

ideally you would want to use a low distortion lens and correct for parallax using an appropriate tripod head but its certainly not a necessity anymore with the software solutions available. 
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mackguyver

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Re: What Lenses Do You Use for Panoramics?
« Reply #11 on: May 07, 2014, 08:11:57 AM »
I don't have the RRS plate. RRS is not available in India :( I plan to get the RRS tripod, ball head, focusing rails and other accessories when I visit the US later this year ... A long wait.
I'm sure India is a fascinating place to shoot, but not the best for getting things in terms of gear, based on your stories.  Good luck with the RRS later this year and I hope you have fun with your new lens as well.

I got the best results with the 24 TS. Good ones with the 24-105 f/4L at about 50mm. Curious enough good one with the 8-15 Fisheye (If you call stitching 2 shoots a pano, but that all it took to cover the scene). The software I use is the "Kolor autopano giga".
2 shots for the fisheye, wow, I guess 180 degrees really is WIDE!  I enjoy my TS-E 24 as well - it makes it so easy to do panos.

I would never use a 17 mm lens for a panoramic.
Sporgon, as one of our resident pano masters, I appreciate your reply and the many excellent samples and explanations you posted!  What a huge variety of focal lengths you use and I really like your work.  I'm sure the 40mm works well and now I kind of wish I'd kept mine.  As for the 17mm comment, I feel that way, too, but then I've found myself looking at some amazing panos and read that they were shot at 14-17mm :o  Obviously some scenes are suited for it.

Hi,
I use mainly the TS-E 24mm II. But the TS-E 45mm is also used from time to time. Seldomly the TS-E 90mm is used, although it is clearly sharper than the TS-E 45mm. I use some mm of shift in almost every panorama to compose the picture. But I try to avoid multi row panos, so normal lenses are no longer used. In the past I had good results with the EF 35m L and the EF 50mm f1.4 too.

I like the view of wide angle lenses (24 till 35mm) but I don't like the perspective change of super wide angle lenses because of the too strong accentuation of the foreground. With the tele lenses the compression of the scence is often clearly visible, no matter how wide the panorama later on is. The whole scene looks then easily a bit flat. So I choose the focal length depending on the intended compression of the scene and also the needed final picture size later on.
I find the T/S lenses are excellent as well and share your feelings about compression, though Sporgon's shots show that it can be done well when the scene calls for it.

i know the 50 art will be my weapon of choice for pano from now on....
When I saw how low the distortion was for this lens, that was my first thought - it's going to be great for pano!

the biggest problem with lens choice and panos is distortion and parallax. these issues are more likely to be a problem the wider the focal length used so i'm not surprised by those who have found the 40-50mm focal length ideal.

stitching software can mostly mitigate any problems that arise but sometimes cannot handle extreme instances of barrel distortion and parallax thus resulting in ghosting and dali-esque edges. it's usually not difficult to photoshop these errors by hand but it does add time to the PP.

ideally you would want to use a low distortion lens and correct for parallax using an appropriate tripod head but its certainly not a necessity anymore with the software solutions available. 
I've had the same issues, particularly with my 24-70II at 24mm.  PS even had such a problem stitching that my composite has come up as 2 or 3 rows!  Not good.
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Sporgon

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Re: What Lenses Do You Use for Panoramics?
« Reply #12 on: May 07, 2014, 12:33:22 PM »
With the tele lenses the compression of the scene is often clearly visible, no matter how wide the panorama later on is. The whole scene looks then easily a bit flat.

So if you use a 150 mm lens on a 5x4 camera do you get compression ?  ;)  Or a 300 mm on a 10x8 ?

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Re: What Lenses Do You Use for Panoramics?
« Reply #12 on: May 07, 2014, 12:33:22 PM »

Sporgon

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Re: What Lenses Do You Use for Panoramics?
« Reply #13 on: May 08, 2014, 07:53:37 AM »
Sporgon, as one of our resident pano masters, I appreciate your reply and the many excellent samples and explanations you posted!  What a huge variety of focal lengths you use and I really like your work.  I'm sure the 40mm works well and now I kind of wish I'd kept mine. As for the 17mm comment, I feel that way, too, but then I've found myself looking at some amazing panos and read that they were shot at 14-17mm :o  Obviously some scenes are suited for it.

That's the beauty of the 40 pancake; at that price and size you have absolutely no excuse for not getting another one ;)

It's a question of style really; a 17 mm would not suit my style at all.

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Re: What Lenses Do You Use for Panoramics?
« Reply #14 on: May 08, 2014, 07:58:28 AM »
Here's a couple of different takes on the panoramic wide angle approach. Shot on 70 mm ( 24-70 f4 IS), and for all you guys who like an f1.4 or 1.2 for shallow depth of field: these were both shot at f10. ( But then I have had my leg pulled for saying 2 metres is a shallow dof  ;)  )

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Re: What Lenses Do You Use for Panoramics?
« Reply #14 on: May 08, 2014, 07:58:28 AM »