Adjust Camera and Shoot Image

Preset Camera
Adjust Camera
Shoot Fisheye Images
Shoot Bracket Images
Camera Raw Image

Preset Camera

Presetting once is enough when shooting many images for different scenes.

Set as fisheye mode (Optional)

Note: DSLR camera need not adjust this.

For Nikon Coolpix series and some cameras with no fisheye mode, you need to set manually before shooting. Here is a brief instruction.

Camera Model Instruction on selecting lens
Nikon Coolpix 5400 /8700/8400 Go to the menu and select Lens>Fisheye
Nikon Coolpix 4500/995 Go to the menu and select Lens>Fisheye1 for full circular fisheye shooting; OR Lens>Fisheye2 for full frame fisheye shooting.
Nikon Coolpix 5700 and the DC with no fisheye mode Macro mode :zoom locked at wide angle
Exposure metering: Center-Weighted
Flash modes: Flash Cancel

Adjust the exposure mode

The word "photography" derives from the Greek and means, literally, "light writing." Lighting is mainly controlled by aperture and shutter speed. The shooting modes available in most digital cameras range from Auto mode, Scene mode, Programmed auto, Shutter-Priority auto, Aperture-priority auto and Manual mode. The latter four modes act on panorama shooting and so does the Panorama Assist Mode.

Note: Please DO NOT use Auto mode for panorama shooting.

If you are experienced in photography, Manual mode is recommended to choose appropriate aperture and shutter speed according to the environmental light.

If you are a green hand, a usual advice is to choose Aperture priority auto mode. Set a larger F value to get a small aperture so that a deeper "Depth of Field" (DOV) is achieved with a much wider scope of clear area in the image. (The larger F value is, the smaller the aperture is.) For example, F5.0 or F6.0 is better than the default F2.5 or F3.3.

Please pay attention if the environmental light is a little dark. Small aperture may result in longer exposure time, i.e. shutter speed. The reason is the flash light doesn't take effect with fisheye lens since fisheye lens covers a much wider FOV than traditional camera lens. Over 1/4 of the shutter speed may bring obvious noise in the image. So you have to find a proper value to balance the aperture and shutter speed.

Note: A stable tripod is extremely important if the exposure time is very long.

Adjust image size and quality

The fisheye image resolution and quality determine to a great extent the panorama quality. The better the fisheye image is, the better the stitched panorama is. Of course it occupies more space. So it is recommended to use the largest resolution available when shooting.

As to the image quality, "FINE" is all right. "High" can be applied for acquiring high quality images. If selecting High, the image size is about 10M so a bigger memory card is required. The original file format is TIFF. Camera Raw Image is also available in some cameras.

Adjust Camera

Redo the following steps to adjust the camera every time shooting a different scene.

Adjust white balance

White balance is a name given to a system of color correction to deal with differing lighting conditions. Normally our eyes compensate for different lighting conditions, but when taking pictures with a digital camera the camera has to find the "white point" (the assumption that a white object must appear white) to correct other colors cast by the same light. Inappropriate white balance may bring about more blue or more red than the original color.

General users can select Auto on White Balance menu. The professionals may select "White Bal Preset" or self-adjust the white balance.

Adjust the aperture

In panorama photography, greater DOV (Depth of Field) helps to acquire a clear image in a wider range. Therefore it is important to use a smaller aperture in panorama photography than in ordinary photography. To decreases the aperture, please increase the F to a value as high as F5.0 or F6.0.

Adjust the shutter speed

As mentioned in previous chapter, over 1/4 of the shutter speed may bring obvious noise in the image. Therefore if the shutter speed is more than 1/4 second under Aperture priority auto mode, we suggest you switch to Manual mode.

Adjust the exposure compensation

After setting the aperture and shutter speed, if the image in the monitor is too dark, choose a positive value for exposure compensation. Similarly, if the image in the monitor is too bright, raise exposure compensation until the desired effect is achieved.

Note: When shooting two or three fisheye images of the same scene, do not change the exposure compensation value. Otherwise it will cause distinct seam in the stitched panorama. The following image is an example. In addition, do not raise the exposure compensation to a much higher value. It may cause over exposure so that the stitched panorama from fisheye images will have a distinct "blue seam".

Note: The above panorama image is stitched from images shot with different exposure compensation value. There are obvious image brightness differences in the two fisheye images' area.

Set AE Lock (Optional)

Note: DSLR camera need not adjust this.

Setting AE Lock (Automatic Exposure Lock) is one of the most significant steps in panorama shooting. AE lock is the ability to lock the cameras calculated exposure settings (aperture, shutter speed, and sensitivity) over a series of images. When stitching images together each image should have the same exposure. The flash is turned off while AE Lock is in effect.

Note: Above panorama image is stitched from images shooting without using AE Lock. There are obvious image brightness difference in the two fisheye images' area and two obvious blue seams resulting from difference exposure value of two fisheye images.

After setting the proper aperture and exposure compensation, turn to AE Lock > ON in the menu.

Shoot Fisheye Images

Please take the following steps strictly.

1. Shoot the first fisheye image
Place the point of interest in the center of the viewfinder then half press the shutter to focus.

2. Shoot the other consecutive fisheye image
To guarantee the tripod stableness, hold it with one hand. Turn the pano head gently with the other hand. Rotate appropriate degrees and take the images around 360 degrees.
Note: It is suggested the images be shot clockwise, otherwise, you may have to reverse the sequence when loading images in Panoweaver.

3. Shoot top/bottom fisheye (optional)
Please shoot Top/Bottom fisheye image on the last rotation. For 4 fisheye, please rotate pano head up and down to shoot at the 4th location. For 6 fisheye, please shoot up and down at the 6th location. You should stay with the last rotation. Shooting in some other location will cause an incorrect stitching.

4. Shooting another scene
After shooting a scene, cover the fisheye lens cap. Move all the equipment to the other scene you want to shoot.
Note: Turn the "AE Lock Off" otherwise the shutter speed and aperture are locked. The shooting procedure is the same as stated above.

5. Import the images to the computer
After Finishing, import the fisheye images to computer through DC or card reader. If the original image has much noise or is not sharp enough, it can be retouched in any image editing application such as Photoshop, Fireworks etc.

Shoot Bracket Images

Auto bracket exposure is a method to obtain the image with the highest quality.

Usually camera processes bracket exposure quickly. To shoot the first image, use standard exposure value obtained by camera automatically. To shoot the second image, use exposure value which is lower a number than that of the first one. To shoot the third image, use exposure value which is higher a number than that of the first one.

Exposure Value is usually abbreviated as EV and its unit is pace.

EV is a calculation method to express aperture and shutter. For instance, EV=13 means several groups of shutter/aperture values of the same EV as 13, such as 1/30sec, f/16; 1/15, f/22; 1/125, f/8, etc. Please refer to the picture below:

The smaller EV value is, the more light camera will take in.

In some old cameras, first set exposure bracket (for instance, press "BKT" button in Nikon Camera), and then adjust EV, finally press shutters 3 times consecutively. Different cameras have different EV mode, most of which are between -2EV to 2EV. The quantity of images is also different. Some cameras shoot 3 images and some shoot 5 images.

In most new camera, you just need to set EV and then press shutter once.

Camera Raw Image

A raw image file contains minimally processed data from the image sensor of either a digital camera, image or motion picture film scanner.

Raw functions in the same way as film of traditional camera so it contains most colors and the widest layers. The excellent feature of Raw is that it saves original CCD data to make it much easier for users to edit, keeping the original message without revising.<

Usually, non-Raw image, even if TIF format has been processed by digital camera. As a result, those formats are featured by producers. This is the reason why we say "Colorful Sony and Blue Fuji".

Take Canon D100 as example to explain how to set camera to shoot Raw image.

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