panorama software,virtual tour software
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Joined: 2005-05-03
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2005-10-26
#1

Anybody have a fc-e8 + camera for sale?

Hi Everybody

My setup is currently a nikon coolpix 8700 + fc-e9. I want to improve the quality of my panoramas, so I want to renew my equipment. I want to change to a DSLR camera, I am thinking about Canon EOS 350d and nikkor 10.5mm, but my budget does not allow me to make this upgrade just yet.

I have heard that the quality is a lot better with the fc-e8, is this true?? Does any of you have a set with a coolpix camera and fc-e9 you want to sell me??

Best regards

Morten Andersen

- a newbie trying to improve


Best regards

Morten Andersen
- a newbie trying to improve
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2005-11-01
#2

I moved to canon 20d, sig 8mm and Agnos mrotator TCP.

i leased the cam and lens which cost therefore around $100 a month. i bought the panohead for 330. The learning curve was 1 Month or so. In effect I took around 20 panos before i felt happy with my work.

the improvement is amazing. I won't even look at my cp4500 FC-E8 combo anymore.

Don't even think about it. just do it... u won't be disappointed.


If I only had an hour to chop down a tree... I'd spend 45 mins sharpening the axe.
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2005-11-01
#3

Hi Phoenix

You said that the learning curve was about 1 month. What is it exactly you have to learn?? I know you have to take more pictures, and the rotator is different. When I think about it it seems that the only difficulty would be to find the correct nodal point. With panoweaver 4 the stitching is automated, so what exactly is it that I have to learn??

Hope you can help me with this question.

Best regards

Morten Andersen

- a newbie trying to improve


Best regards

Morten Andersen
- a newbie trying to improve
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2005-11-01
#4

I think the learning curve might be:

With a dSLR you can no longer look at the LCD to frame your images. But I soon learned it doesn't make any difference.  The view finder works just as good to line up the first image position.  We use a Canon 20d or Rebel XT (350d) and a Sigma 8mm lens.  We are using an old Kaidan Kiwi990 pan head but well know other pan heads will work too.

After that is averaging the shutter speed and aperature opening across all 4 (4 images at 90 deg) click stop positions.  Rotate the pan head back around to the #1 click stop position and set the camera to (M)anual and enter the average shutter speed and aperature settings.  When taking the images try using a wired (or Infrared) remote shutter release.  This helps with - Anti-Shake.

Focus (not a pun) on getting the lighting conditions identified and the proper shutter speed and aperature opening correct.  I would not use 'Automatic'.  White balance or color temperature is very important.

With most cameras you can identify the lighting just by looking at the lights at your location.  Are they Tungsten (incandescent),  Flourescent or Halogen or a mix of daylight and the 3 light types). 

With the Canon 20d the white balance values can be found owners manual on page 50.  With the Rebel XT (350d) it can be read on page 56.

We find that Mixed lighting is most troublesome.  Two approaches are:

1. Place a piece of A4 (8x11.5) standard white printer paper on the ground or floor where ALL the mixed light is being reflected back through the lens.  Canon 20d use "Custom White Balance" option (page 51).  The camera will learn what 'White' is and adjust the balance of the color specturm to match. 

Sometimes I bring along an 18% gray card.  It has 'White, Gray and Black' bands on the card.  I place the card on the floor so it is in the picture on click stop #1 picture.  Take the pano image set.  In photoshop I can color sample (white, gray, black eyedropper) and tell PS what White is and it will automatically adjust the color balance for the whole image.  Once you try this using Levels.. its amazing how the image pops into correct color balance.

Once again I have talked too long about the 'learning curve'

Dave

You may want to make your own gray card, so here is a sample

 


/s/
Dave
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2005-11-01
#5

Yes, that is one change from using the Nikon Coolpix series against the Canon DSLR cameras. With the Coolpix you could use the "Auto White Balance" in conjunction with the AE-L and the colour temperature would remain the same throughout the panorama image set. Where as the Canon DSLR you need to set it manually as Dave suggests as the AE-L on the Canon DSLR requires you to keep you finger on the button (not very practical). All that said, I shoot in RAW mode and this doesn't require you to set the White Balance as you can do this in post processing. Still, setting the white balance is a good habit to get into.

I agree the DSLR is a HUGE improvement over the Coolpix cameras and it does take a little getting use to if you are coming into it from the Coolpix. I did this in November 2003 and have never looked back. Today, unlike then there are many other DSLR users willing to help you when you have a question.

Regards, Smooth


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2005-11-01
#6

Hi there,

dave has mentioned alot of what i had to learn. However, I'll go through my discovories.

  • My old cp4500 had a monitor in which i could see what I was getting. A DSLR has a monitor to show u what u've done. This is initially unusual and requires u to take a number of shots so that u can get the feel of the camera, see the results in different conditions, make mistakes and improve on them.
  • finding the nodal point ain't as difficult as i thought and i spent littlee time getting it right.
  • i work exclusivly with the timer (10 sec auto timer used usually for self portraits) funtion to avoid camera shake. this means that i tend to take a couple of trial shots around the axis to test for lighting conditions, then tend to use autobracketing to take 3 shots each 90 (+ 3 for top) for blending purposes.
  • The Dslr allows me to work with RAW. Now this has been a real eyeopener as I now don't have to think about whitebalance. I take my shots in RAW and inport the images to RAW shooter essentials which is a free RAW processing software. RAW allows me to set colour temperature to anything I want and avoids all of those annoying lighting issues. it also allows me to do lots more pre PS control work and is just great. (I do tend to set my white bal to a given temperature for given lighting conditions)

Workflow change and getting used to the camera... 4 weeks and i was able to do good full screen work. 8 weeks and I've integrated everthing into my workflow and am a very happy bunny.


If I only had an hour to chop down a tree... I'd spend 45 mins sharpening the axe.
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2005-10-26
#7

Hi Morten,

I have a Nikon 4500 + FC-E8, Plus a Kaidan QuickPan III CS for sale. I keep meaning to put it on ebay but never seem to get around to it. Not sure if this purchase would improve your images, I would think you are looking to move onto DSLR. But by all means give me a shout if you are interested...........anyone else can also drop me a line if interested.

Regards



Nikon D70s, Sigma 8mm, Agnos MrotatorTShort, Photoshop CS, Panoweaver 3 & 4
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2005-10-26
#8
I think the improvement would be very marginal if any. Much of the complaint of the fc-e9 was because people were not used to it initially and because it and the newer cameras cost so much money people expected something more. It does have the advantage that it lets in more light making interiors easier. The extra pixels you get compared to the fc-e8 should compensate for much of any difference in sharpness. I really don't think it will be worth it.

Its worth a thought that your 8700 is worth almost as much as what a second hand canon 300d goes for. On ebay uk canon have been doing refurbished ones which go for less that 300 pounds sometimes with a years warranty. Your fc-e9 would pay for most of a peleng. Then you would still need a panoramic head but you'd have a good set up for about the same cost. Albeit it would take rather more effort to make the panoramas. One advantage of the cheap fisheyes is three sphere are fairly quick to stitch.

What do I know of course. Just guessing and windowshopping, good luck.
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2005-10-27
#9

Hi

Tank you for yout input, and your advice. After having read it I don't think that I will change my current setup to a fc-e8. I still don't know if I should sell my old equipment. I find it very hard to figur out how much longer it takes with a nikkor 10,5mm. I am also worried about the learning curve of the new equipment. I also know that a lot of poeple have had difficulties finding the correct nodal point.

Best regards

Morten Andersen

- a newbie trying to improve


Best regards

Morten Andersen
- a newbie trying to improve
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2005-11-01
#10

Hi Guys,

One thing is for sure.......The Nikkor 10.5mm kicks butt. It is the undisputed king of lenses. No offense to all you sigma 8mm users.

I guess we could argue about that but look it up. It is not just me saying it.

I guess you could say I am biased because this is what I use. LOL

The DSLR is KING as well. Like the others say.....1 month on the learning curve and you won't look back.

What do you have to learn. LOLOLOLOL. We ain't in Kansas anymore Toto. You will have to learn to use the camera total manual mode without looking at the manual every time you need to set something on the camera. If you want to shoot scenes in 10 minutes or less then you  will have to learn by experience what exposures to use in certain lighting situations. If you screw around taking test shots for 20 minutes and even take several bracket sets of the same scene because you are not sure what to do you will be on the job all day for a 6 to 8 scene job. You have to shoot 4 jobs today and you don't have time for all that screwing around. Time is money.

Wide-Eyes:
I can tell you exactly how long it takes to work with the D70+10.5mm setup. It takes 10 - 12 minutes to shoot 6+T+B and this is moving fast. This includeds moving to the new location, leveling the tripod, taking a few test shots to set exposure. Then taking the shots using a 3 frame bracket set at 2 ev. You can move faster if you want to make mistakes like forgetting to shoot the top or bottom, bumping the tripod, shooting a frame set twice, shooting your feet, shooting your self in mirrors, forgetting to set the correct white balance, and not checking to make sure the lens is set to infintiy focus and forgetting to turn bracketing on after the test shots. And a few other mistakes like rinkled bed spreads, garbage cans in the scene, uneven blinds, messy pillows, chairs not lined up, objects on tables, in chairs messed up and crooked pictures on the wall......

Post processing for me works out to be about 30  minutes per pano but can takes 1 hour. This includes combining with photomatrix, stitching, and then having to set matching points manually for the top and bottom which happens about 75% of the time. Saving. Touching up in photoshop. Importing back to panoweaver and adding the tripod cap. Re saving. Photoshop again to resize for delivery. If you have to blend in windows from two bracket sets which happens often due to my location on the coast. Water/sand/glare etc.  just can not be captured correctly with 3 frames at 2 ev. But if you dont' have to worry about that then 30 min is right on. Of course post processing time depends on how perfect you want to make the images. But for "production" work 30 min is it. I have an old computer so if you have a scream machin mabey you can do post process faster.

Out side shots are a little easier but don't let that fool you. Moving trees, shade, mean dogs, huge biting bugs, heat exhaustion, un-level ground,.....falling of the sea wall or the dock and into the water ( it happens trust me LOL),  Oh I forgot. Touching the lens and spending 15 minutes cleaning it. Or even sneazing on it, or sweating profusly from heat and letting that drop onto the lens......

The coolpix is great for some stuff. Easy to use. A lot of "auto" shooting and so forth. But if you want to run with the big dogs in the street instead of sitting on the porch then get a DSLR and a Nikkor 10.5 or the Sigma 8mm.

Besides the chicks will ask you to take shots of them and all the good looking realtor ladies will be very interested in your impressive looking set up. That little coolpix doesn't fill the bill sometimes. LOLOLOL. You Know "size matters" LOL. A little humor if you have read this far. 

Yeaaahaawwwwwwwww

General Lee.

 

 


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2005-11-02
#11

Yep the Nikkor 10.5 Fisheye is a great lens. Better than the Sigma for sure. (Only wish Canon invented it!)

But!

  • You need 6+1 minimum with the Nikkor.
  • You need a Nikon DSLR or a fruity adaptor.
  • The Sigma you can do a panorama with 4 shots
  • Better than that you can attach it to a Canon Camera 
  • If you are buying a new DSLR go with the Canon 5D (Fullframe and requires as little as three shots with Panoweaver) Just like the old Coolpix stitches.

The chicks always asked for shots with me anyway no matter what I was shooting with. The size didn't matter - it was how it was used.

Amazingly, I did read that far (and I can say I often don't!)  Novel Boy  LOL

Regards, Smooth