The above panoramic image was taken using a Canon Digital Rebel XT DSLR camera using a Sigma 10-22mm lens (At 10mm) and a Panosaurus Tripod Head.

   The 360 degree panorama consists of a single row of 9 shots (One shot every 40 degrees) and was stitched automatically using Panorama Factory stitching software.  The image has a vertical field of view of about 73 degrees.

   It took about 1 minute to shoot all 9 images, using the same exposure for each image, without a flash.  Blending of the images was done automatically using Panorama Factory stitching software.  The final .jpg image has dimensions of 2680 X 500 Pixels and has a very modest compressed file size of only 158K.  The stitching time was about 45 seconds on a moderate speed Windows Vista computer.
 
 

There are currently 3 common approaches to shooting panoramic photos.

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Shooting with a very high resolution DSLR camera and a One-Shot device. No panoramic head needed.

Shooting 2-4 shots using a fish-eye lens, with either a DSLR or a consumer point and shoot camera and a panoramic head.

Shooting single row or multi-row images with a DSLR and a wide angle lens (typically 10-18mm) and a panoramic head. 
 
 

Each shooting method has its advantages and disadvantages.

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Shooting with a One-Shot device is great for fast setup and shooting but the final image detail can not currently match that of the single or multi-row wide angle lens shots.  Also the final image must be stitched and then displayed in a proprietary image viewer.

Shooting with a fish eye lens also has the advantage of having to take less pictures to create the final image.  However, again the final image quality can not easily match that of the single or multi-row wide angle lens shots (without using the best equipment available) and as a general rule is more difficult and more time consuming to stitch.  Fish-eye lens shots require that you edit out portions of the final image so the tripod legs and your panoramic head are not in the final panoramic image.  Not all stitching software supports fish-eye images.

Shooting with a wide angle lens and a DSLR camera allows you to create the best quality final image panoramas with the least expensive equipment.  The final images can be viewed on a wide range of viewers and stored in a wide variety of formats.  Single-row wide angle panoramas also have the advantage of being very easy to stitch and the final image is pleasant to look at even when not viewed in a Panoramic Viewer.  Click here to see the above image as a .jpg only The disadvantage to shooting single-row wide-angle is the limited field of view in the vertical plane.  Single-row wide angle images can not display ALL of the ceiling and ALL of the floor of rooms.  However, some people (myself included) prefer the look of limited FOV images to full 180 degree vertical images when viewed in panoramic viewers on the web.  I think the above panorama mimics very well what the natural eye sees when walking into a room.  Another disadvantage of shooting wide angle lens panoramas is that it requires taking more pictures.   However in practice this is hardly an issue of any real significance.  Once a single exposure is set for your series of shots it is just a matter of pressing a button a few more times - a matter of seconds, not minutes.