Equipment


 

Digital Panoramic Photography
updated August 2016:


Since 2009 I prefere Panoramic Photography (= Stitching technique) to the classical Large-Formate-Photography.

For Panoramic Photography I use

Nikon D 70 body until May 2010 and
Nikon D3x body (since June 2010),

lenses from 18mm to 400mm
including a tilt- and shift-lens PC-E Micro Nikkor 45mm 1:2.8D ED

an L-plate Kirk BL-D3 enables to switch the position of the camera in the panohead from vertical to horizontal.

a pano head Nodal-Ninja 5 (www.nodalninja.com) until 2011
from 2012 the panohead for heavy loads: Really Right Stuff PG-02-Pro-OPP (http://reallyrightstuff.com/

the leveling base: NOVOFLEX MagicBalance (http://www.novoflex.com/)

Manfroto-tripod Magfiber Pro 055MF3.

For stitching the images I use Autopano giga provided by Kolor (www.autopano.net/en/)

I still use some equipment which I have purchased for large formate photography and which is described  further down. That is in particular:

frame of black plastic as motive-finder

umbrella with mount

bycicle with trailer and campmobile

Examples of my panormaic photographs are seen on all newer sites beginning from: 

Norway March-April 2010
Through the Southern Black Forest in Spring April 2011
On Country Roads in Northern Poland - Autumn 2011 .


The panorama technique provides me with photographs of very high resolution. For my purposes it was much better than analogue LF photography. A considerable restriction of digital panorama photography was the difficultiy of extendig depth of field by tilting lenses as in LF photography. This constraint disappeared when I lerned to use the technique described below:


Extending Depth of Field (DOF)
in Multirow Panoramas

What I was realy missing in panorama photography was the tilt-function of large formate cameras. Now I found an easy way to simulate the tilt-function in multirow panorama photographs.

 




Country road in Poland
5-row panorama, 55mm Micro-Nikkor, F 22, 1 sec
 

The first step to create panoramas with extendet depth of field was to change the position of the camera in the panohead from vertical to horizontal. An L-plate makes this possible.

When I plan to photograph a panorama with extendet DOF I select  a very high  f-stop, normally f16. With very short lenses I prefere f 11 or with long lenses I select f 22 or more. I tolerate minor loss of sharpnes due to diffraction.

As part of the photograph will be really close up I adjust the parallax free point rather carefully.

Then I shoot the panorama, adjusting the focus plane in each row of photographs seperately.
 




Horizontal position of the camera in the panohead

 


Stitching with Autopano giga (or -pro) is rather easy. Let APG do the detection and optimization automatically.

Then you should use the panorama editor. Select the control points editor to look at the control points.

 




5-row panorama
with considerable change of focus from one row to the next.
Yellow and read colour of the links indicate poor quality
 of the control points

 


The program has marked many points as red. Don't bother, rendering will still give good results.

 




The program has marked control points all along the edge of adjacent images. Although many of them are indicated as red, rendering resulted in an excelent panorama.

 


Sorry, but there is no example-image for the following description.

Sometimes you will see, that the program has indicated control points only in one corner of the overlapping areas of adjacent images. In this case I force the program to add control points in other areas of the overlapping regions. This can be done easily with the tool: "Adding control points to the selected areas"
The result should be that there are control points all along the edge of adjacent images.

 




2nd example of a multirow panorama with extended DOF

 


To my experience rendering gives allways good results after these procautions.




Alder Cut Down by a Beaver, Suwalski Park Krajobrazowy, Woj. Podlaskie
 3-Row-panorama of 12 shots,
 ISO 400, Nikkor AF-S 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5 G at 38 mm, 1/13 sec, f 16
 


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My Equipment For Classical Large-Formate-Photography

(from 1994 to 2009, last update in 2008)
 

Careful design of each single photograph and a maximum of details are the aims that I'm followeng when photographing with the large format camera. I have to accept that I can not photgraph moving motives with this technnique.
 

 


Basic equipment:
camera, tripod, black cloth,
shoulder bag for small tools,
backpack with protective cover
 

Basic Equipment:

Arca Swiss F-Line:

This Large-format-camera is lightweight and I can put it into my backpack as a whole. The camera I have chosen is a monorail, that means I can use an extreme wide-angle lens (45 mm) as well as a long tele-lens (360 mm). I mainly use roll-film for 6x9-cm transparencies. But I always carry some filmholders with 4x5"-sheet-film with me to shoot very promising motivs with this film.

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Lenses (all Schneider-Kreuznach):
Super-Angulon 5,6 /47 mounted on recessed lens board. (My older version is only for 6x9cm).  It must be used with Centerfilter
Super-Angulon 5,6/75 with Centerfilter
Apo-Symmar 5,6/120
Apo-Symmar 5,6/210
Apo-Artar 1:9/360
- This Lens with aperture 1:9 is not too heavy.

All lenses are mounted in Copal-shutters.

2 (or 1) Roll-film backs for 120-rolls

Cut-filmholders for 4x5" sheet-film
 

Film:
Transparencies:
Fuji RVP 100 Velvia (100 ASA) in 120 rolls and 4x5" sheet
Negativ:
Fujicolor Reala 100 (100 ASA)

I have made a detachable black frame to indicate the 6x9 format on the 4x5" ground glass.
 

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my Arca Swiss F-line
this time with the Apo-Symmar 5,6/210,
graduated neutral density filter,
wide angle bellow and
lens shade

Backpack, small bag and tripod are the luggage I'm carrying on my hiking tours.

All the gear together weighs 20 to 24 kg. That is a considerable limitation to my hiking tours, but daytrips are (still) possible.

 

Since April 2008 I use a Lowepro Supertrekker of the penultimate generation. It is large and very comfortabel to be carried.

A raincoat is always attached to the outside, the umbrella only sometimes.

Seperate raincoat for backpacks. This plasitc-sheet is always put on the ground under the backpack. This is particularly important on wet ground, in snow, in grass with many tiny snails, in freshly fertilised meadows.

 


 

Configuration:
top: Film-rolls and sheet-film-holders in a plastic-bag
there below: 4 lenses and the second bellow.
in the middle: Camera, top to bottem, with 1 lens and bellow mounted.
bottem left: Sheet-film-holders
bottem right: Digital SLRS (not visible as I took the photograph with it)
 

The configuration is realized with dividers from various photobags. There are not enough dividers provided with this backpack.
 

All photo-backpacks which I know are too slim for 4x5"-monorails, so is my Super Trekker. The front cover can not be closed easily and the zipper is strained. But it works with the bulky parts (camera, bellow) arranged in the middle.


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Accessories:

Small bag.
Standing behind the camera with the backpack some meters off, it is comfortable to have some small accesories at hand.

Content (top down):
Reading glasses with clip-on magnifier in a box
two flat protective bags containing graduated neutral density filters
Gossen spotmatic meter
Three filters in plastic-boxes, with
magnifier on top
roll-film back
front-pocket: motiv-finder, cable-release, adapter rings for filters (not visible)
 

Filters:
Polarizing filter 105E
2 centerfilters
2graduated ND-filters 100x150 mm:
ND0,6 hard edge
ND0,6 soft edge
Filterholder 105E
and adapter-rings from Heliopan


Selfmade lens-shade
Black cloth (selfmade)

 


View onto the small shoulder-bag


Lens shade and
graduated ND-filter

Reading glasses with clip-on lens system labo-clip binocular 2.0 x (www.eschenbach-optic.com)

Nikon magnifier 8x
 

Motive-finder (selfmade):

Frame of black plastic
outside dimension 20 x 16 cm
cutout 12 x 8 cm
Lace with knots
This is my favorite acessory, because it enables me to check the motiv without setting up the camera. I can find out the exact camera-position and the suitable focal length.
For many years I had to guess which lens I should choose whenever I faced a new motive.
But now the frame helps me to find the right place to put up the camera. I simply look through the frame towards the motive. Moving the frame foth and back helps me fixing the outout. Then one hand holds the lice at its first knod together with the frame infront of my face.
With the other hand I draw the lice streight to the tip of my nose. The knod that touches my nose tells me, with lens I should chose. The first knot is related to the 47-mm-lens, the second to the 75-mm-lens, and so on until the last knot, which is related to the 360-mm-telelens. I have a lice for the 6x9-cm-film and another one for the 4x5-inch-film. These selfmade parts turned out to be very usefull.










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Frame of black plastic used as a motive-finder


Motive-finder and lace with knods

Tripod with accessories:

Since 2007 I use the lightweight
Manfroto-tripod Magfiber Pro 055MF3

together with an extemly lightweight
Mamiya Magnesium 3-way-head AW 701.
A Kirk Quick release shoe QRC-4 holds the monorail of the camera.
Before 2007 I used a Manfrotto 055C tripod with a 3-way-head 229. This combination weights more and might be a bit more stable. So it is always kept in reserve in my car.
A set of snowshoes (Manfrotto) is very usefull in deep snow, sand or mud.

 

 


Most subjects are discovered from eye height, therefor the tripod must be so high that I can stand upright when looking through the camera.
 

A mount to clamp an umbrella to the tripod is very usefull as long as it is windless! I got mine from Protec (Protec Schirmhalter), but it is offered no more.



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


It can not always be avoided that water pours down from the umbrella streight to my neck. That doesn't bother me too much as long as the graduated filter and the camera remain dry!

 

 



Mount with umbrella, Mamiya AW701 head and Kirk quick release shoe QRC-4

 


The umbrella for the camera should always be combined with rain trusers for the photographer. As long as you are warm and dry photographing in rainy weather is real fun!
 

 

An inflatable wading pool is very useful when there is no dry place to put down the backpack (e.g. wadden see).

Half-inflated it can be attached to the backpack with a lace. So other hikers might gess, what a backpack with light blue wing is good for.

 



 

 



 

Accessories for close-up photography:

Template which shows the exposure-compensation in f-stops for the extension with a given lens.

Small reflector-screen

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Transportation:

A campmobile (VW-syncro- Transporter, long version) was equiped following my plans:
- much storage space,
- a steel locker for photographic equipment,
 -suitability in hot summer weather and in
  winter,
- a bicycle rack at the back of the car.



 

 



Summer: bicycle with trailer (Winther Donkey

The trailer carries the backpack and the tripod. The wheels are rather large, which ist good on bumpy roads. An extra large basket is screwed to the rear rack of the bicycle. This basket carries the shoulder-bag. So I can travel long trips on small paths without carrying the heavy equipment.

 



Winter: Snowshoes

My MSR Denali Classic with 8"-tails are essential in deep snow
The tail helps hiking up. Descending is easier with the tails off.
 

 

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