I want to create a stitched indoor panorama of a medium sized greenhouse (which is about 10x20m in size).

I have created many, many landscape and cityscape panoramas before using a long lens (say 150mm) then stitched into a large image, which is relatively easy due to very low lens distortion.

However indoors seems to present more of a challenge, as objects are much closer, and lens distortion makes the image look very unnatural. I don't want the odd distortion of a spherical 360 deg panorama if I can avoid it.

What lens and method (or methods) would be recommended for creating a 180 degree indoor panorama?

(I have Photoshop CS6 and/or Gigapan for the actual stitching, and I use a D800 with Nikkor 50mm 1.4f AF-S, Nikkor 18-35mm AF, and Sigma EX 150mm 2.8f; my 24-70 is out of action.)


Parallax is a much larger problem when shooting at close distances so you will absolutely need a panoramic tripod head that allows you to pivot about the lens centre of projection, and be very careful with the setup.

You can use any lens, though the longer the focal length the more images you will need to shoot and stitch to get the coverage. If you're planning to view the results on screen then just use your widest lens (18mm). If you're going to print large you should consider using the 50mm.

With regards to stitching images, lens distortion in individual images can be corrected in software with an appropriate profile, but any panorama you generate automatically is going to bend straight lines. There is no way to have a 180 degree field of view onto a flat image whilst maintaining straight lines in the general case, it's a mathematical impossibility.

However, if your green house walls form a rectangle, you could produce a pair of rectilinear 90 degree panoramas, and then join them along one of the vertical edges, to produce a pseudo-rectilinear 180 degree panorama. You may have abrupt angular changes in the floor or ceiling with this approach. This can be done manually in photoshop, although there are tools to generate rectilinear panoramas, for example PTStitcherNG. A tutorial on how to use this tool to straighten a cylindrical panorama can be found here.


Set your lens to 18mm and try taking 24 shots (outdoor panos are fine with 12 but for indoor you want to use more to give Gigapan the chance to compensate for wide angle distortion). Then fire it into Gigapan as usual and that should do the trick!

  • Of course, shooting in portait orientation goes without saying. Getting a good amount of floor and ceiling in the photos to be later cut away should help a bit. – Esa Paulasto Apr 18 '13 at 10:34
  • Yes of course! also i will need to be sure to pivot the camera around it's nodal point, so will have to build myself some sort of tripod mounting frame i think.... – Digital Lightcraft Apr 18 '13 at 10:47
  • yep put a table in the middle of the room and use a tripod with a pano head. about $30 on amazon. – stephencosh Apr 18 '13 at 11:28

You'll need a panoramic head for your tripod. The head allows you center the nodal point over the rotation point of the tripod. By rotating the camera around the nodal point, the software (Photoshop, Gigapan) will easily match up the edges of the photos. This technique allows the software to eliminate the lens distortion at the edges of the stitched sequence of photos.

The nodal point is where the light crosses when the image is focused on the sensor. Nodal Point https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1jAhwFLimM0

  • nice answer and welcome to stackexchange/Photo! – Paul Cezanne Apr 22 '13 at 23:03

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