Could an Android device help capturing panoramas in the field?

Discussion in 'Beginner Questions' started by Jochen, Jan 23, 2018.

  1. I just watched an Adorama TV tutorial about panoramas on YouTube. The bits I took home besides fixing manual exposure before capturing were:
    Even greater photographers than me seem to loose a lot of final image real estate by leaving out a corner here and half a foreground frame there.
    Processing the final thing in PS will take ages.
    So I wonder: Is there a way to set my camera to RAW & ultra tiny JPEG and have a WLAN tethered unspectacular tablet stitch a rough sketch of the panorama in a timely fashion so that I'll be able to add the 2 or 3 missing frames to the outline of the final image while I am still on location?
    Recommendations for the right app to use appreciated too.
    Thanks in advance.
  2. Getting the images on the tablet shouldn't be too hard. There are a number of ways to get images from the camera to the tablet: WiFi if the camera (or an accessory) supports it (typically via a proprietary app), or via something like an Eye-Fi card; tethering a usb cable; reading the card directly or indirectly (over USB) from the tablet. I hope that's enough information, but if you let us know which tablet and which camera, we might be able to say more.

    For stitching, I've never tried on mobile, but "SuperPano" looks to have decent reviews.

    I've no idea how well that will work. Any chance of using a remote desktop application to access your PC and use Photoshop directly? Or just acquiring a cheap PC or low-end Windows tablet to use with Photoshop proper? There's surprisingly good image editing software available on mobile, but the are times when running an actual PC (or Mac) has merits.

    I hope that's a start (but I've not tried it myself). Good luck.
  3. Thanks for getting back. I thought image transfer might be the least critical part. My biggest concern is: How to get thumbnails an app could handle?
  4. You can normally set the JPEG size independently of raw (on the cameras I've met). It may not be tiny, but should be small enough. Be on the other hand, some software transfers a very small JPEG anyway.
  5. I have made many, many panoramas, since I did not own an ultra-wide lens for a long time. I don't see the benefit of trying to pre-edit in the field. In the time it takes to futz around with the files, the light will change and any added frames will likely be a poor fit. My most successful method includes: 1) Choose an exposure and set it in manual so the camera does not change exposures between frames. Choosing the correct point in the pan as your basis of exposure can be critical, so you obtain the desired exposure throughout. This applies to focus distance as well. 2) Make sure my field of view captured in the series of frames is VERY generous, extending well outside the area of primary interest. This is important for two reasons. First, as you've noted, it's problematic to go back and recapture stuff that was left out inadvertently. Second, stitching and perspective adjustments in PP frequently skew the edges of the frame, such that the final crop will remove boundary elements. It is critical to have all desired subjects well inside of the final composition so you can adjust and crop effectively. It's very easy to omit excess material, but problematic to add missing parts back in. I usually use portrait orientation to maximize vertical coverage (for horizontal pans). 3) I always follow the same pattern in how I expose the frames that will be stitched: Left-to-right, top-to-bottom. This avoids later confusion in trying to assemble the images to stitch. 4) I now use a panning head tripod for panoramas, avoiding hand-held if at all possible. I do my best to level and plumb the head before starting the pan. 5) Overlap images by 33-50%, minimum. 6) Stitch, flatten, and re-size in PS before attempting to edit. This mitigates the large file sizes to a certain extent. 7) Shoot at as close to "normal" or slightly telephoto focal lengths as possible. Avoid wide-angle shots, as the perspective will be severely skewed between frames.

    This process is accomplished (mostly) in-camera and has been quite successful, including this image from Canyonlands National Park (stitched from a set of 7 images):
    Cyn Storm-01a-bw-sml.jpg
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2018
    James G. Dainis likes this.

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