Choosing a Focal Length for Panoramas

Making a successful panoram ic shot begins by shooting usable images. A lot can go wrong when you're shooting a panorama, so you have to take care to shoot your source images carefully to ensure the best result.

First you must choose a focal length. If you choose a shorter (wider angle) focal length, then you won't need as many shots to cover the width of your panorama.

However, as we've already seen, a shorter focal length will have a deep depth, which will render many objects in your scene very small. Also, a super-wide angle might confuse some stitching programs.

If you choose a longer focal length, distant objects will appear larger, but you'll have to shoot more frames, which will increase your chances of making an error and ending up with unusable source material.

This panorama was shot with a shorter, wider-angle focal length. While a wider angle lets you cover a wider area with fewer shots, it means the distant objects will be smaller.
This panorama was shot with a longer, more telephoto focal length. It took more images to cover the scene, but objects in the foreground and background are larger and more prominent.

Consequently, your best option is to aim somewhere in the middle and choose a moderate focal length that reveals the details you want to see but is still wide enough that you don't have to shoot a lot of frames to cover your scene. Once you've selected a focal length, it's time to think about exposure.

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Digital Cameras For Beginners

Digital Cameras For Beginners

Although we usually tend to think of the digital camera as the best thing since sliced bread, there are both pros and cons with its use. Nothing is available on the market that does not have both a good and a bad side, but the key is to weigh the good against the bad in order to come up with the best of both worlds.

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