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Can you give me some tips for shooting panorama photos?
Olympus point-and-shoot cameras provide options for shooting a sequence of frames to make a stitched panoramic photograph using the OLYMPUS Master software that comes with the camera. The camera requires an Olympus brand xD-Picture Card that carries a function that tags the images as being part of a sequence. The function locks the exposure settings from the first frame for the subsequent images in the sequence. Locking the exposure is necessary so that when the stitched image is made the appearance of the frames matches across the image. Many newer models (released in 2009) do not require an Olympus branded xD-Picture Card to access the Panorama functions. In these new models, any brand xD card can be used, as well as any brand microSD when used in combination with the MASD-1 adapter.
Depending on the model of the camera, the following Panorama options may be available:
- COMBINE IN CAMERA 1 – Three frames are taken and combined in camera. The user only composes the shots so that the target marks and pointers overlap, and the camera automatically releases the shutter. The shooting settings are already preset to the optimum settings for panoramic shooting. Newer models only.
- COMBINE IN CAMERA 2 – Three frames are taken and combined by the camera. The user composes the shots using the guide frame and manually releasing the shutter. Newer models only.
- COMBINE IN PC – The frames that are taken are combined into a panorama image using the provided OLYMPUS Master software. Up to 10 images can be taken to be stitched into a panoramic image. If your camera does not have the COMBINE IN CAMERA options, it will default to this setting.
The COMBINE IN CAMERA options make a stitched image of lower resolution than the COMBINE IN PC option. If the panoramic image will potentially be printed as a large format print, the COMBINE IN PC option should be used.
A few pointers for shooting panoramic sequences:
- The camera should be positioned so that the back is perpendicular to the ground to avoid a curved horizon line. If possible, use a tripod to keep the rotation of the camera stable. If hand-holding when shooting, concentrate on keeping the camera level as you turn,
- The PANORAMA feature always opens in a left-to-right direction of turn. It can also be set to right-to-left, up-to-down and down-to-up. If the sequence is shot in a direction other than what the camera is set to, the tags cannot be changed after the fact, and it will not be possible to get an Autostitch using OLYMPUS Master. However, the images can be manually stitched using third-party software.
- The vertical direction options (up-to-down, down-to-up) can be used to get more vertical room in the stitch by holding the camera sideways and rotating the direction of the sequence left-to-right or right-to left.
- Be aware of the possibility of a cloud covering the sun while shooting the sequence. If a cloud covers the sun, there will be dark frames and the sequence should be reshot.
- Be aware of objects or people moving in the stitch. A fun effect is to have the same person appear in different places from frame-to frame.
- Once the stitch is completed in OLYMPUS Master, it is possible to do post-processing on the entire image using the Edit Palette.
Panoramas can result in dramatic and imaginative results that are more impressive images than a normal single-frame photo and convey much more information about the setting. Have fun creating panoramas.
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