I am looking to get into shooting panoramic photos of home interiors using my Canon Rebel T4i.

I've come across two systems for streamlining panoramic photo shoots: Gigapan Epic and Pano Pro. They both have different approaches to shooting panoramas. The Gigapan Epic Pro takes several photos by pivoting in 360 degrees on the nodal point. The photos are the "stitched" together in an application like Photoshop. The Pano Pro takes a single photo of a cone-shaped mirror. The photo is then "warped" into a equirectangular image.

Since both systems are around the same price, which system yields better panoramas in terms of image quality? Also, which system is more easier to use?


  • What is the lens that you're going to use for this purpose? I used to work with 360 panoramic pictures and I've never needed some Gigapan equipment. Aug 29 '13 at 20:32
  • The Giga Pan Epic does not work with a Dslr, only compact cameras. The one you need for the Rebel is the Giga Pan Epic Pro.
    – Rafael
    Mar 19 '15 at 12:59
  • I don't use a motorized equipment either but it can save you time, not only on the photoshoot, but also in the stilching proces, becouse if the equimpemt works properly you can use a standard stilching file and replace the photos. In theory they would match. When doing it by hand The diference needs to manually correct the stilching points. Although some programs do that authomaticly if you don't have enough reference points it won't work.
    – Rafael
    Mar 19 '15 at 13:10

They give you a completely different quality. The stitched solution can result in images that you could make 10ft long prints with. The single shot solution will be easier but will be of limited quality.

Some other things to think about. - you can get a fisheye lens at some point with stitched solution and still just require a few shots. - the single shot solution could be adapted for panoramic video, which while it really hasn't caught on that much, it will more over time. - think about what you are most interested in shooting. If it is landscape or architecture without a lot of moving objects then ghosting of moving elements isn't a big deal. Trying to catch kids running around or some very close up skate boarding for example, then a single shot solution may be better.


Taking multiple images and stitching them is going to yield better results, as well as a true 360°x180° equirectangular result (i.e., covers the entire sphere). The Pano Pro heavily relies upon the quality of the mirror, and can only represent 120° vertically, and with 360x120 coverage, you'll probably be doing cylindrical panoramas, rather than spherical or cubic ones with complete scene coverage.

Quality wise, the gigapan would win, while for ease-of-use, the one-shot Pano Pro would win.

However, most of the folks who do 360x180 panos don't use either. Most use a panorama head of some kind, combined with an ultrawide or fisheye lens to decrease the number of images and the time/effort required to stitch them together into an equirectangular. The general start-up gear you'll probably find mentioned for getting started with this kind of thing with a Canon crop body and a low budget would be:

  • The manual focus/aperture Samyang 8mm f/3.5 fisheye (aka the Rokinon/Bower/Pro-Optic/Phoenix 8mm, the Vivitar 7mm, and the Opteka 6.5mm fisheye)
  • Nodal Ninja panohead
  • Hugin (open source stitcher capable of using fisheye input to create equirectangulars

See also: How are virtual tour photos taken?


The single-shot device is easier: There is no nodal point to align, no exposure, focus or white-balance to match. The entire scene is taking in one shot, so there will be no artifacts from stitching or movement between shots.

Image-quality is much higher when taking multiple shots. The more pictures are taken, the higher quality the final shot. The resulting image can easily have hundreds of even thousands of megapixels, so it can be printed very or can be zoomed in quite deeply.

In contrast, the single--shot device uses a portion of the sensor to capture the entire scene which means that the resolution is significantly lower. However, multiple shots are tricky to get perfect when faced with motion in the scene. Anything that crosses the boundary between frames will cause trouble and you will sometimes need several tries until you get the entire scene right.


The Pano Pro MKII is the largest mirror lens on the market today and has a worldwide following. The mirror size and the surface quality draw lots of light towards the surface enabling you to use smaller apertures and getting better quality images. However It is not the same as taking images with fisheye lens and multiple images being stitched together. The difference is because your camera sensor takes a reflected image from the mirror surface. This appears like a donut as a resultant image. This donut image only uses a large proportion of your sensor size whereby taking multiple images with a fisheye lens will create images full to each sensor size.

So with the Pano Pro MKII, the bigger the mp count that you have the better the image should be.

  • 1
    The question was how do these two approaches differ - which is easier and yields better quality. I think the OP already understands how they both work
    – MikeW
    Jan 29 '14 at 18:05

I would strongly recommend not buying the Pano Pro. It's not a professional-level tool.

I've spent uncounted hours trying to dial this in, following the instructions to a T. Every photo I take is blurry.

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