panorama software,virtual tour software
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Joined: 2008-08-16
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2008-08-16
#1

what would you buy?

Hi Everyone,

I have been reading this forum and learning for a few weeks.  I have learned so much just reading.  I'm interested in doing virtual tours for real estate.  My wife is an agent and I will start doing tours for her and possibly offer to other agents down the road.

If you were starting out fresh (with no equipment) what would you buy?  Please be as specific as possible.  Which body, fisheye lens, stitching software, and VT software.

Do most folks use exposure bracketing when shooting RE virtual tours?

Thanks,

Mike

 


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2008-08-16
#2

Also note that I am on a budget.


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2008-08-16
#3

Hi Mike and welcome to the forum. You have come to the right place to learn everything you where afraid to ask about virtual tours.
I prefer the Nikon equipment as listed below. Don't forget you will have to have a rotorhead. You will find as many different set-ups as you will members. First you need to determine how much you are willing to spend! If you have read the recent threads you will see that most of us made the mistake of starting out with cheaper equipment. But then we got hooked and had to spend even more money to upgrade. So my main suggestion is to buy the best you can to start especially if you are into photography.
For software, seeing as how this forum is paid for and maintained by Easypano we try to stick to mentioning just their software. I actually do use Tourweaver 3 pro and Panoweaver 5 exclusively. Now we do use other software that is not in direct competition with Easypano and discuss it here if it pertains to virtual tours. Hope this helps a little bit. Others will give you their ideas and information.


Nikon D300, D3s, Nikon 10.5 lens, RingT105N+Footplate+MrotatorTCPs, Giottos MT9261 Tripod, Manfrotto 410 Jr geared head.

If you know the "secret" then everyday is a good day!
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2008-08-16
#4
Quote: Originally posted by realtor jerry on August-16-2008

Hi Mike and welcome to the forum. You have come to the right place to learn everything you where afraid to ask about virtual tours.
I prefer the Nikon equipment as listed below. Don't forget you will have to have a rotorhead. You will find as many different set-ups as you will members. First you need to determine how much you are willing to spend! If you have read the recent threads you will see that most of us made the mistake of starting out with cheaper equipment. But then we got hooked and had to spend even more money to upgrade. So my main suggestion is to buy the best you can to start especially if you are into photography.
For software, seeing as how this forum is paid for and maintained by Easypano we try to stick to mentioning just their software. I actually do use Tourweaver 3 pro and Panoweaver 5 exclusively. Now we do use other software that is not in direct competition with Easypano and discuss it here if it pertains to virtual tours. Hope this helps a little bit. Others will give you their ideas and information.


Hi Jerry,

Thanks for the reply.  I enjoy reading your posts on the board.

My budget is pretty small to start.  Here is what I was considering to start.

Used Nikon D70 or a new D80 - I don't think the D40 or D60 offer exposure bracketing and I can upgrade the body down the road.
Nikon 10.5 fisheye lens
Nodal Ninja 3
Tripod
Tourweaver 3
Not sure yet on stitching software - Panoweaver 5 looks nice
Photoshop Essentials for editing

Based on the setup above.  Could I save money and start with the Standard version of Tourweaver or am I going to be missing some key features?

Will Photoshop Essentials meet my editing needs to start?

Thanks,

Mike

 

 

 


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2008-08-16
#5
Not familiar with the Nodal Ninja 3 but a lot of the people on here use it. I have the Agnos TCPshort which I think is the preferred equipment. As for  Photoshop I use Photoshop Elements5 but hope to upgrade soon to CS3.
As for Tourweaver 3 you will be missing a lot of features with the standard. If you can afford it get the Pro to start with.
As for the camera, I don't know much about the other Nikon's I went straight for the D300 after spending a lot of money on lesser equipment. The 10.5 is superior to the sigma according to what I have read on the forum.
When all is said and done remember one thing, your name and your wife's name will be on the tours. So if you want to look good coming out of the gate and save money in the long run, get the best you can.
Nikon D300, D3s, Nikon 10.5 lens, RingT105N+Footplate+MrotatorTCPs, Giottos MT9261 Tripod, Manfrotto 410 Jr geared head.

If you know the "secret" then everyday is a good day!
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2008-08-27
#6
I only want to add to the camera info. I am not familiar with the pano shooting as of yet...tho I am trying. I am an art director of several print publications. The experience here is that the Nikon products produce a far better print vs. Cannon. I have also been given the same response by National Geographic photographers and Discovery photographers, tho National Geographic still prefers film or slides vs digital for their publication. Cannon usually gives a photo more yellow and usually has to be color corrected.

Now as far as the model is concerned, use the one that has the features that you feel you will use or need.

This is only an opinion for photos that go to print vs. web.
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2008-08-18
#7

Quote: Originally posted by realtor jerry on August-16-2008


Not familiar with the Nodal Ninja 3 but a lot of the people on here use it. I have the Agnos TCPshort which I think is the preferred equipment. As for  Photoshop I use Photoshop Elements5 but hope to upgrade soon to CS3.
As for Tourweaver 3 you will be missing a lot of features with the standard. If you can afford it get the Pro to start with.
As for the camera, I don't know much about the other Nikon's I went straight for the D300 after spending a lot of money on lesser equipment. The 10.5 is superior to the sigma according to what I have read on the forum.
When all is said and done remember one thing, your name and your wife's name will be on the tours. So if you want to look good coming out of the gate and save money in the long run, get the best you can.

Hi Jerry,

Thanks for the reply.  You make an excellent point that what we do will be associated with our name.  I don't want to do this halfway.

I'll have to check out the Agnos rotator.  I have only researched the NN3.

I'll have to compare the features of the TW3 standard and pro.  I'll probably be dissapointed if I don't go ahead and get the Pro version.

Thanks again for your help.

Mike

 

 

 


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2008-08-18
#8
Quote: Originally posted by mlwhite on August-16-2008

Also note that I am on a budget.



Welcome to the boards mlwhite,

What is the budget? That will help us with spending your money
   Jerry has given his opinion that he prefers the Nikon equipment. I will give you mine and I prefer the Canon the equipment. I would also agree with Jerry on the Sigma 8mm fisheye and recommend it over the others. I use the Agnos TCPshort and would highly recommend it.

We really need to know what the budget range is to properly help you. I will say that on my Canon 350D (XT) it offered AEB. Which leads me to answer your question of, do we bracket? Though I can not answer for everyone, I do bracket my pano shots and merge with Photomatix. This I hope will give you some idea but we could really use the budget price to better help.

pixel
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2008-08-19
#9
Quote: Originally posted by pixelator on August-18-2008
Quote: Originally posted by mlwhite on August-16-2008

Also note that I am on a budget.


[/QUOTE]Welcome to the boards mlwhite,

What is the budget? That will help us with spending your money
   Jerry has given his opinion that he prefers the Nikon equipment. I will give you mine and I prefer the Canon the equipment. I would also agree with Jerry on the Sigma 8mm fisheye and recommend it over the others. I use the Agnos TCPshort and would highly recommend it.

We really need to know what the budget range is to properly help you. I will say that on my Canon 350D (XT) it offered AEB. Which leads me to answer your question of, do we bracket? Though I can not answer for everyone, I do bracket my pano shots and merge with Photomatix. This I hope will give you some idea but we could really use the budget price to better help.

pixel


Hi pixel,

thank you for your response.

I would like to stay in the range of 2500 - 3000 for my budget. I know this is going to be tight to start.

I didn't realize that the XT did bracketing. Is it 3 shot AEB? Do you find that 3 shots is enough range. Why do you prefer Canon?

Thanks again and I really enjoy reading the board :)

Mike


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2008-08-19
#10
Hey Mike,

Back in 2005 when I started shooting panos, Canon was far superior to Nikon in the DSLR. So with the research that I had done pointed me to the 350D (XT). Now that I have 6 lens's for the Canon mount I could not afford to switch Nikon at this point. Canon offered up the first FULL FRAME Sensor and in my opinion still leads the way. Nikon has recently revealed their Full Frame sensor in the D3 available at B&H for $4999 while the Canon 5D is offered at B&H for $2399. Nikon's most recent full frame sensor release comes in the D700 and is available at B&H for $2999. The point that I am trying to make is this, I chose Canon products as they just seem to lead the way. This is strictly my opinion and there is no right or wrong camera.

As far as the range of AEB at +2...0...-2 sometimes is plenty and other times is not near enough. I am working on this technique as I type this. One thing that I offer on my website is the question; Can you see out the windows of the virtual tour? This is where I am practicing with the AEB technique. My 40D will bracket at +2...0...-2 and I am looking at the histogram and adjusting my speed to add a +3 and -3 shot to help with the "can you see out the windows" question. I have also looked into flash lighting to help and maybe cut the post process. I have not yet tried this technique and will be very difficult to get even lighting all the way around. Plus now I will have to pack along the extra lighting.

With your budget of $2500-$3000 you should be able to achieve shooting high quality interactive panos. You will want TW 3 pro. With pro you are able to insert your own loading image and will reflect your company and not easypano. There are several types stitching softwares out there but would highly recommend PW5. So you are now at $1000.00 just for the software.

You will now need the following:
Camera (around $399.00 on Amazon as I am typing this)
Fisheye Lens (around $600.00 on Amazon as I am typing this)
Rotator Head (Agnos TCPshort is what I use and recommend cost is around $470.00)
Tri-Pod ( Manfrotto 190XPROB is what I use and is listed on Amazon for $100-$175.00)
Grip Action Head (Manfrotto 3265 is what I use and is listed on Amazon for around $100)

The above items are essential in creating a high quality interactive pano and the total of the above items come within your budget of $3000.00 at $2720.00

Good luck to you,
Pixel
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2008-08-19
#11

I'll add some content from my own experience.

If it was me buying with your budget I would be buying Canon, Unless you can afford a D300 or D700 Nikon. Simply because you get a more much for your money with a Canon 450D/XSi.

I'm not bias one way or the other I own both brands and just about every (fisheye) lens. Simply, either brand is great and more than capable. Forget the D40, D40X, D60 range totally if you want to shoot IDR Fused shots as they do not have AEB at all. The D70s, D80 are not as good as the Canon 450D/XSi. The Nikon D300 is the best small (DX) sensor camera on the market ATM with Canon sure to come back hard with it's next APS-C release.

The Nikkor 10.5mm Fisheye is a great lens for the Nikon but no better than the Tokina 10-17mm Zoom fisheye for the Canon (in fact the build quality feels better with the Tokina). These options cancel each other out. (Price could be the deciding factor).

The Sigma 8mm f/3.5 Fisheye is a great lens for either brand but is lesser to the Nikkor 10.5mm and the Tokina 10-17mm Zoom fisheye but more convienient because it requires less shots to complete the full 360x180.

Don't discount the Sigma 10mm fisheye when shopping.

About EV bracketing stops. The Nikon is only capable of 1EV steps (max 9 with the D300) where the Canon can go 2EV steps (max 3)

For blown out windows with the Canon I would shoot +1EV, -1EV, -3EV or 0EV, -2EV, -4EV and this will typically give you enough to balance the lighting. Remember you can pull many EV stops from each of every RAW image. Certainly 2 full stops.

Regards, Smooth