These are 360 degree panoramas I've produced by various techniques. Some are taken with my 0-360.com Panoramic Optic, while others are built from multiple photos stitched together using PTGui, an advanced photo stitching program. More recently I purchased a Ricoh Theta S, which shoots a 360 by 180 degree panorama in one shot, giving the best of both worlds afforded by the two older techniques I've worked with.
The Panoramic Optic is still a workable solution in specific circumstances, but it really requires a much higher resolution camera to come into its own. Using it with a 16 megapixel camera like the Nikon P900 doesn't give it enough resolution to produce a really clear panorama. There is also the issue of the huge zenith void which prevents the panorama from including a large region of the sky or anything overhead. However, when used with a high resolution camera it can undoubtedly produce very sharp, clear panoramas, so I will be retaining it against the day I do get a high-resolution camera.
Using the Nikon P900 to take multiple images is a good way to take high-definition panoramas on the cheap, but it is very time consuming to do it this way as you have to rotate the camera about the axis of its lens while taking dozens of shots. If you move the camera even a small amount between shots, it introduces parallax with nearby objects and this can make it very difficult, if not impossible, to effectively stitch the images together to make the final panorama. At best fixing the image becomes a very time-consuming task.
To help prevent the occurrence of parallax errors I cobbled together a quick and dirty panoramic head adjuster for my tripod and P900 camera. This allowed me to rotate the camera about its lens to reduce parallax, but it didn't compensate for up and down rotation. The results of this home-made panoramic head can be seen in the River Murray and Australian Alps panoramas, only a few of which are full 360 degree panoramas because of the difficulty in controlling the camera position over such a large range and the time taken in Photoshop correcting and compensating for the errors.
Some of the panoramas I have created using my Galaxy S4. While it has an inbuilt panoramic scanning function the results from this are less than optimal, so I have seldom used it. The size and shape of the phone does make it easy to eliminate parallax errors when taking multiple shots, but the automatic exposure control on the phone means the images are of different brightnesses, which causes a patchy and uneven appearance when you stitch them into the final panorama.
The Ricoh Theta S solves most of these problems. It produces a fairly clean image that wraps into a 360 by 180 degree full spherical panorama. The Theta S consists of two lenses back-to-back on either side of a body about the size of a TV remote control, making it easy to handle and use. The main issues with it are that objects near the edges of either lens's view become a bit blurry and some chromatic aberration is visible in these areas. There is also a small amount of parallax between the two lenses, so when it stitches its panoramas very close objects may appear "torn" or otherwise suffer stitching artifacts. However, this is rarely a concern, and the Theta S generally produces very acceptable results.
So in practice, for the present I will be using the Theta S to take most of my panoramas, using the P900 only if I want a partial panorama in crisp, high-definition detail.
Click/tap an image to see its full panorama in an interactive viewer. Drag the view to look around in any direction. Click/tap your browser's Back button to return to this page.
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