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BIG Panoramas made easy - the GigaPan way - part 1 of 1 2 3 4

Published 01/06/2011

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Every now and again a bit of kit comes into our hands and we say. "Wow, this is a bit special!". Enter the GigaPan Epic Pro. It comes to us courtesy of the Australian magazine Better Digital Camera, for it was they who opened our eyes to the possibilities. We missed a trick to be honest, for we had seen GigaPans before but assumed that the kit would cost thousands. In fact it is a very gulpable £800 or so, the sort of money you might make back with your first commissioned panorama for the right client!

Everything about the GigaPan is epic in proportions: big files, massive scratch files in Photoshop and a bewildering amount of detail with which to wow the viewer. Despite this, it is trivially simple to use; we managed to get it going with out looking at a manual of any description and followed the instructions on the LCD screen. The basis of making a GigaPan is simple: instead of a single, wide-angle shout, you make a mosaic of telephoto shots and stitch the blighters together - hundreds or even thousands of them. Finished pans may be uploaded to the GigaPan website at www.gigapan.org where you can zoom about to your heart's content and also see what others in the community have been up to.

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We got our bearings using a 105mm lens but soon expanded our ambitions and set off for the banks of the River Mersey, for a view of the famous Liverpool Waterfront. We shot at a distance of 1,500 yards to the nearest point, 3,500 yards to the edges of the view. For reference, the Liverpool Cathedral was 2,700 yards away. We chose a 300mm f4 Nikkor Apo mounted on a Manfrotto MPRO 535.

At this shooting distance rocksolid mounting is vital and mirror lock-up almost essential; we did not use lock-up and paid the price, a couple of the shots seemed a little wobbly. Also, at this distance, atmospheric haze is an issue and you need a still, clear day.


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1st Published 01/06/2011
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