I am looking forward to make a 360 degree virtual tour photography of my locality. Could you please suggest the basic specifications of the camera that would be required to do so? What software can I use?
There are lots of options for this depending on how high of a quality you want. At a minimum you need a camera with a fairly wide lens (but not too wide due to distortion, probably between 20mm and 30mm) and a tripod to keep the camera in the same place. You will also need software for assembling the panorama, such as Panomonkey that pradeep suggested.
At a minimum, you could simply rotate the camera around taking pictures that cover the entire area with some overlap and then use the software to stitch them together. As another step up, you could use an automatic panoramic head that will rotate the camera and take photos at set intervals to help the stitching process be more accurate.
Alternately, the most expensive, but also simplest way, and also the only way to do it if you need to capture everything as one particular moment, is to use a specially designed 360 rig that uses multiple of the same camera in a particular orientation to capture the scene at the same time. A variety of such systems exist, such as the 360Heroes which uses multiple GoPro's to capture a 360 degree, spherical view of a scene. This also opens the doors for some interesting possibilities such as 360 degree video.
Well all that you would need are:
- Tripod mostly ball head is well suited
- Wide angle lens. may be a fish eye (8mm for crop sensor and 15mm for full frame sensor)
- Remote shutter release
- Panoramic Head to fix on the tripod
and for the software try Panomonkey
its an online solution for your 360 panoramic stitching
and as for the method of taking the pictures... You would already know :)
just keep in mind to shoot at aperture value or shutter speed value to get the same exposure in all the pictures :)