Quote: Originally posted by Gen. Lee on May-17-2005
I agree 100 percent on the full spherical vs cylinder issue.
One last question and I guess we can lay this thread to a rest. LOL
With your coolpix setup did you shoot 2 shot like I do or 3 shot or something else in your gallery images.?
Heck now I am thinking I might need to get a coolpix vs a DSLR. I have a lot of tricks I have learned shooting 2 shots and If I can improve the quality with a better camera and stay with the same workflow then I'm good.
Thanks for all your help. I will try to add to this thread to let others know what I pick and how it works out.
All of my shots are 3 shot method. This is better because the centre of the image is sharper than the outside. The more overlap the better.
I find the FC-E8 on a Coolpix 990 - 995 - 4500 - 5000 to be superior than the Coolpix series that takes the FC-E9.
I have a FC-E9 fitted to a MrotatorB and using an Agnos adaptor to a Canon 17-40L Series "Top of the range glass" the results are only average. I have tried many ways to improve on this results and really I think the results from my Nikon Coolpix 5000 + FC-E8 are better although lower in pixel count. Maybe the results are better with the Nikon D70 combo. But the lens glass is superior with the Canon L series so I doubt it.
Well, I guess I just can't lay this thread to rest quite yet. LOL
And yes I can find a question....LOL I was always the kid in class who asked all the qestions and kept everybody sitting when the bell wrang. LOLOL
I have scoured this forum and read nearly all the posts. Most of them you have written.
I get the point about "cylinders". I was just a little nervous about shooting more than 2 shots. But as this forum has shown it can be done with great results so no reason I can't do it.
Smooth, you have definitly convinced me that I do not need to produce "cylinders" I am doing just fine with my full 360's and my clients have no complaints with that. I just need to get the quality up there with you guys and I will have no problem. The whole cylinder thing started because I incorrectly thought shooting a "flat cylinder" pano would produce a better quality image and that I could offer either one to the client and let them choose. But that is not the case. I can produce better quality than my competitor if I follow what I have learned so far plus he does not do spherical 360's. The proof is in the pudding as you have said.
Lets see. Here is what I have learned so far.
Shooting 3 shots with the FC-E8 gnerates better quality than 2 shots
To improve my quality I need to change my workflow a bit. I have been using "fine" settings and I think I should use "HI" settings. Import as TIFF and save as BMP. Thus giving me more pixels to work with in the final image. Previously I have been importing into PS as jpeg and saveing for web as jpeg with no compression. There a few threads on workflow here and I will try these. I think "360Texas" has posted a nice thread on that.
It seems the Cannon is a better liked camera but I am going with the D70s because I like Nikon stuff. Can anyone talk me out of this choice?
Coolpix - Keeping the better FC-E8 and upgrading to a newer coolpix for quicker 3 shot panos for use on lower priced jobs.
Sigma 8mm - I can shoot 4 drums and stitch a full spherical 360x360 Without shooting top and bottom - is this correct? I am still confused about that. Can you clarify this Smooth?
Nikon 10.5mm - 6 portrait plus top and bottom gives full spherical 360x360
You get there either way with these two lenses. This seems to be a matter of lens choice and skill in shooting.
Agnos MrotatorTCPshort - works with either the sigma or nikon lens. I will have to buy two of them. One for each lens so I can set the nodal point for both lenses. If I am wrong here please let me know.
360 precision - I have looked at this head and contacted them. This thing looks like it can withstand a direct hit from my 3 year old and still be fine. Definitly over enginered. They claim "perfect" exposures reslulting in no tweaking necessary for stitching. I am not to concerned about price just quality. Is there any reason I should purchase this head over the Agnos? I like the Agnos and this is what I going to get unless I can be talked out of it over this one.
The whole enchilada:
Nikon 18-70mm for still shots
Nikon 10.5mm for panos
Sigma 8mm for panos
Agnos MrotatorTCP short (x2 if necessary ???)
Step Down Ring Lens Adapter UR-E6
Agnos MrotatorA - nodal perfect ( camera hangs from lens without support?? but can be dismounted without changing the nodal point - this is good)
Panoweaver 4.0 and tourweaver
This is my planned setup. WOW. Yes I am going to buy all of this. looks like I am in for around 5 grand. yikes....
I guess its time to start making some money now. LOL
So.....what do you think?
Hi Gen. Lee,
Yes, you can shoot 4 drum images with a Sigma 8mm and get a full spherical images. You cannot do this with the Nikkor 10.5mm you will need 6+2 to achieve this. Although the quality will be slightly higher.
Nikon vs Canon DSLR?
Buy whatever suits your needs both are excellent cameras. You can never fit a Nikkor 10.5mm fisheye to your Canon though! But for general photography Canon L series lenses are superior to Nikon. Like I said whatever suits you.
360Precision vs Agnos MrotatorT?
Both are excellent panoheads, but I have never had a 360Precision to play with and give an experienced honest opinion of. Both will work with Panoweaver 4.0 and both could withstand a belting from your 3 year old. The 360Precision would require you to buy two panoheads where as the MrotatorTCPShort you can adjust for both the Nikon D70 fitted with either the Sigma 8mm or Nikkor 10.5mm. Choice is yours!
The Agnos MrotatorA does not have a camera support this is correct. I have now used one for over 12 months without any issues. Though you still should be careful. I use a corded remote or the self timer for shutter release. It would not stand up to a major fall. Then again most cameras or lenses won't. I leave the FC-E8 permanently mounted to the MrotatorA and remove only the camera for transportation and storage. I fully recommend this panohead without hesitation.
Should you find a Nikon Coolpix 5000 you can output to RAW files (.NEF) this is the optimum way to output. Much better then .jpg, .bmp or .tif. Although you will have to make sure you have the correct firmware installed.
Hope this helps!
Visit www.smooth360.info for other software of interest.
I found a coolpix 5000 for $389.00 (new in box) plus shipping at "cameraforless.com". I looked around and that was cheaper than a re-furb model I found. The big guys had it for over a $1000. Yikes.
It's on the way.
I really checked out the camera specs and this camera has A LOT of features. Supports braketing etc. This will be very needed upgrade to my coolpix 950.
I also closly checked out the differences between the FC-E9 and FC-E8. According to nikon the FC-E9 "can cover 180 in certain situations". Hummm. BUT as we know the FC-E8 does 183deg no problem. Based on my research the FC-E8 is better as you have pointed out. Thanks for you help on that.
The coolpix 5000 is the last camera in the coolpix series that will take a FC-E8 lens. Models after this one accept the FC-E9 only. So this is why I picked the older camera.
see link: http://nikonimaging.com/global/products/accessory/converter/list.htm
At 5 megapixels this should be more than adequate to prouduce high qulity images. Your images confirm that. :) Of course your workflow has a lot to do with it. ;) --good work.
Agnos MrotatorA is on the way also.
Thanks so much for helping me out. I will try to give back to the forum with some tips and help as I go through this equipment change and upgrade.
I have taken over 10,000 hemis and produced about 300 virtual tours in the past 7 years. So I am excited to start learning new tricks with the new equipment. I have been wondering why I have those red, blue and green pixels in my camera latley. Thanks to this forum I found out these are "dead pixels" in the ccd of the camera. I guess they burn out after a certain amount of use. Heck the old 950 shuts off on its own, and occasionally locks up totally. It is defintily time to put the old 950 out to pasture. LOL.
Regarding the "firmware". Perhaps you could tell me what the correct version I should use.
Hi Gen. Lee,
I'm very happy with my Coolpix 5000 and FC-E8 Fisheye I had to upgrade my firmware when I received it to be able to shoot in RAW (NEF) format. From memory it was to Firmware 1.7 it is an easy upgrade if you download and follow the instructions on the Nikon website.
Yes, the FC-E9 only gives 180 degree on some of the later Coolpix cameras - for the ones it doesn't you MUST take and stitch 3 shots to make your pano. Also the FC-E9 is more than twice the size of the FC-E8 so much heavier and bulky to carry all on top of being less sharp. Yeah the Coolpix 5000 is old but it works great and you have just stolen one brand new for not a lot of money (good score).
Now all you need is your DSLR set up!