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I'm starting to experiment with PhotoMerge to simulate a wider angle lens than I have available.

Right now I know I need to use manual exposure and to provide sufficient overlap between the images. I also know that Photoshop CS4 can't address more than 2GB of memory so merging anything more than half a dozen shots is a performance nightmare. And I know it can't handle dark sections very well

I'm going down this path because of my experimentation with zone plate/sieve photography where wide angle lens are just not available. I get to shoot at 42mm and that's it, I cannot go wider.

What pitfalls am I likely to run into and more importantly, are there work arounds? In particular, if the shot could be taken with a wide angle lens, would it me markedly better or worse than the same shot created by a PhotoMerge taken with a less wide lens? The Brenizer Method suggests that a photostitch image is just as good as one with a wide angle lens, and indeed, if you want a shallow depth of field, it is the only way to get the shot.

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Isn't this the basic function of all panoramic-stiching software? What's the question. –  mattdm May 24 '12 at 10:50
    
Hmmm, yes, I guess it is, let me try and rephrase it... –  Paul Cezanne May 24 '12 at 10:56
    
How will going to full-frame from crop change a 17mm from "just wide enough" to not wide enough? –  Steven Cunningham May 24 '12 at 11:17
    
Doh! Yes, good catch Steve, I'll edit the question. Way too early in the AM to be thinking that hard. Got it backwards... –  Paul Cezanne May 24 '12 at 11:21

1 Answer 1

up vote 2 down vote accepted

I don't use zone plates/sieves so there may be issues related to them that I am not aware of, but in general this question covers the mechanics of taking a good panorama.

If you are looking to simulate a wide-angle lens then you will want to ensure that your panorama is substantially larger than you desired final image so that you can crop away the worst of the distortion without losing any important parts of the image.

Be wary of going too wide (non-fisheye full-frame wide-angle lenses seem to max out at 14mm) once you go past a field-of-view of approximately 120 degrees you will need to use a non-rectilinear projection to get a usable image which will prevent you from getting both horizontal and vertical lines straight at the same time.

A panorama can indeed be just as good, if not better, than a single image taken with a wide-angle lens. In addition to techniques such as the Brenizer Method, which are impossible to achieve with a single shot, a panorama will have more pixels than a single wide-angle image which means you can produce a larger print at a higher resolution without resizing.

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