Greg's test of Olympus panorama facility
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Summary: this is an old page. It shows the Olympus panorama facility at its worst, but also doesn't show my own panoramas very well. But I don't have the hardware necessary to update it, and I don't intend to get it again, for reasons that will become clear in the text.

My Olympus E-510 camera had a rather interesting feature, support for panorama photos. For reasons best known to Olympus, it only works with an xD memory card. Andrzej Wrotniak has already pointed out the stupidity of this approach, and since I had only a CF card, I couldn't use the feature. Instead, I did a series of weekly panoramas of the outside of my house using hugin.

Then I bought an additional memory card. It made sense to buy an xD card, since that way I could have both cards in the camera at the same time and didn't need so large a card. So on 28 February 2009 I tried it out. It was a pain the whole way:

Finally it created a panorama of sorts. As I had feared, the overlap wasn't enough, and the exposure was uneven. According to the instructions, the focus and exposure remain unchanged for the set of photos, but it doesn't look like it. Here the “normal” panorama created by hugin, followed by the Olympus panorama, both uncropped. Normally you'd crop the edges.


This should be verandah-panorama-uncropped.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: verandah panorama uncropped          Dimensions:          5978 x 2302, 2208 kB
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All images taken on Saturday, 28 February 2009, thumbnails          All images taken on Saturday, 28 February 2009, small
Diary entry for Saturday, 28 February 2009 Complete exposure details

 
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Image title: olympus pano          Dimensions:          5053 x 1661, 1680 kB
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Diary entry for Saturday, 28 February 2009 Complete exposure details

 

The joins between the individual photos are very clear, while with hugin I have to look carefully to see them. Here are three details of the preceding photos:

 
This should be verandah-panorama-detail-3.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: verandah panorama detail 3
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Here the hugin image (the first) shows an offset column, but that's all. The Olympus photo shows duplication of one of the Canna flowers and severe discontinuities in the roof structure.

 
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Image title: verandah panorama detail 2
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I can't see anything wrong with the hugin image here, but the Olympus image shows two problems: firstly the obvious discontinuities, and secondly the missing detail at bottom centre, caused by lack of enough images.

 
This should be verandah-panorama-detail-1.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: verandah panorama detail 1
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Here there's a minor discontinuity in the hugin image, and—surprisingly—none in the Olympus image. But the exposure is completely different; possibly the light changed between the two images, and it couldn't handle it.

The images made with hugin aren't perfect—they were done with default settings. They can be greatly improved with a bit more work. Here an example where I've gone to the trouble:


This should be verandah-panorama.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: verandah panorama          Dimensions:          4522 x 1481, 1680 kB
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All images taken on Saturday, 8 August 2009, thumbnails          All images taken on Saturday, 8 August 2009, small
Diary entry for Saturday, 8 August 2009 Complete exposure details

 

Apart from the duplicate cat—something that no panorama software can avoid—it's almost impossible to see any discontinuity. I haven't found any way to improve on the panorama with Olympus MASTER 2.

In sum, then, another “feature” that I can forget about. I can't see any advantage in it.


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