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[OM] Lanscape's via PC stitching, was: Zuiko 18mm and 21mm

Subject: [OM] Lanscape's via PC stitching, was: Zuiko 18mm and 21mm
From: Chuck Norcutt <chucknorcutt@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 15 Apr 2005 07:53:35 -0400
Mike said:
... But on a demanding full-frame sensor such as the 1DsII, every little 
flaw in the glass is exposed, and Canon wide lenses cannot produce 
extremely sharp images, edge-to-edge, on that sensor...

Doesn't surprise me at all given the 16MP sensor.  Michael Reichmann 
reported that his 1Ds (11MP) was already outperforming his Pentax 645
and that very high quality lenses (such as the Canon L series) were 
required to take advantage of the resolution of the sensor
The 16MP sensor of the 1DsII has got to be stretching most lenses to 
their resolution limits.

I enjoy doing my landscape work by stitching multiple 16.6MP images into 
a single, ultra-high resolution image, using PC (shift) lenses.  Doing 
this, I end up with images ranging from 35 to 100 mega-pixels, and can 
print my shots at 48" (and larger) sizes, with impeccable detail.  Two 
of my friends often print their images in large format for display at 
fine-art exhibits, so the high mega-pixel detail really matters.

I've used all the Canon and Nikon PC lenses for shift-and-stitch pano 
shots.  They are decent, but not critically sharp at the edges. 
Currently, my favorite PC lens is the Zeiss 35mm PC lens, which is 
nearly as rare (and often even more expensive) than the Zuiko 24mm shift.

Since you're already digitally stitching, what I don't understand is why 
you use a shifted PC lens to combine two exposures.  Why not use another 
high quality but otherwise ordinary prime to build a multiple exposure 

If you were in close quarters, such as with an interior architectural 
shot, you'd have to be fussy about rotating the camera about the lens's 
rear nodal point to avoid perspective problems.  Good results would 
require careful setup and use of a high quality panorama head.  If 
you're doing a landscape, however, I would think that this level of 
sophistication could be dispensed with.  In other words, creating a good 
panorama should be possible with no special effort other than rotating a 
leveled camera.

Since the image circle of the 24mm shift is about equal to an 18mm lens, 
after shifting and combining images you should have a panorama with a 
100 degree angle of view.  You could achieve the same angular coverage 
result with two exposures from a 35mm lens overlapped about 1/3 of their 

But I'm sure this is no revelation to you.  My question is, given the 
high cost of PC lenses, why do you do it this way?  Furthermore, if edge 
performance of wide angle lenses is the problem why not combine 
exposures from longer focal length lenses?

Chuck Norcutt

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