Panoramic problems w/ a6000

Discussion in 'Sony Alpha E-Mount Cameras' started by nighttrain, Oct 6, 2016.

  1. nighttrain

    nighttrain TalkEmount Regular

    40
    Dec 9, 2014
    I've been having trouble shooting panoramics on my a6000. I typically end up trying the shot 5-10 times before I actually get one. The standard warning pops up saying it couldn't complete the photo. I've tried panning more slowly, more quickly, not breathing, etc. I've used the two kit lenses (16-50, 55-210) and a Sigma 30mm. When I had an a5000, maybe one out of every 5 or 6 panoramics I attempted would fail. I'm shooting hand-held. Any suggestions? Thanks!
     
  2. dbmiller

    dbmiller TalkEmount Top Veteran

    857
    Mar 2, 2012
    New England
    How are you planning the camera? Is the held tight to your body and you are rotating you hips? Or is the camera more out at arms length?

    The former is better. Even better would be to rest the camera lens on your thumb and use that like a tripod head.

    Note that even on a tripod, the rotation point still isn't right. A model slide would help get the camera back a little further, which is why using your thumb under the lens is better.

    I saw a video somewhere that showed how various techniques were better or worse. I'll see if I can find it.

     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2016
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  3. WNG

    WNG TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 12, 2014
    Arrid Zone-A, USA
    Will
    What focal length (besides the Sigma 30mm) are you panning at?
    The wider the FL, the faster rate of pan is possible. The zoom lens isn't particularly fast, so bright daylight is a must and panning must be notably slower.
    I've successfully made panos even with manual focus lenses of 24-50mm in bright sunlight.
    Bear in mind, if you're shooting in twilight, the shutter will be slowed and panning must also be slower to be successful.
    My highest rate of success has been pivoting with the use of the EVF, not screen. Less parallax errors.
     
  4. bdbits

    bdbits TalkEmount Top Veteran

    974
    Sep 10, 2015
    Bob
    I sometimes have problems like that, too. It can be frustrating.

    I find it more difficult but not impossible to do panoramics with longer focal lengths. I would avoid the 55-210 until you get the hang of it.

    I find it useful to think about how the camera has to stitch this together and try to make that easy.
    Steady and not too fast with an even sweep across the scene.
    Rotation is important - try to be a human tripod. :)
    It also seems to depend a lot on how much light you have, and sometimes I have to go surprisingly slow (like at twilight as noted).
     
  5. nighttrain

    nighttrain TalkEmount Regular

    40
    Dec 9, 2014
    Thanks for the tips. dbmiller, I'll try the thumb technique. Couldn't get your link to work. I am keeping the camera close and trying to move from the hips. Shooting well before dusk. On the 16-50 I usually set it between 20-24mm. With the 55-210 it's below 60mm.

    Some people are reporting better performance with a faster SD card. I've been using a 40MB/s card. Will switch to an 80 and see if that makes a difference.
     
  6. dbmiller

    dbmiller TalkEmount Top Veteran

    857
    Mar 2, 2012
    New England
    Damn it - Fixed.

    While the video does manual stitching, the key take away is making it easier for the camera to do the stitching.
     
  7. bdbits

    bdbits TalkEmount Top Veteran

    974
    Sep 10, 2015
    Bob
    I'm not sure the SD card will matter. I am pretty sure the pano capture and stitching is all done in memory, and the result written after it is done.
     
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  8. Nexnut

    Nexnut TalkEmount Top Veteran

    Same with the NEX-7 or the older NEXes (5, 5n, 6) - no probs, worked (almost) every time, no matter what lens or SD card I've used as long as there's enough light.
     
  9. nighttrain

    nighttrain TalkEmount Regular

    40
    Dec 9, 2014
    Thanks for the recent comments. dbmiller, the video was very instructive. Will try out the thumb technique next time I'm out shooting.
     
  10. chriscottafish

    chriscottafish New to TalkEmount

    3
    Jul 21, 2017
    I have terrible luck with the panorama feature. I found this forum when I googled the issue. I'm happy to find others have the same problem, but not so much that there's no software fix. My a6000 will give me every error no matter how steady or constant I am. It sometimes expects me to change up my speed depending on the change of scene. I've had to start slowly then speed up as the mountains disappear, as the beginning will say I need to love more slowly. Once I get past the beginning portion I need to "move more quickly." I got ONE successfully panorama of the salt flats in Utah, the last 15% is gray, and the stitching of the successful part is terrible. I stood out there for 10-15 minutes repeatedly trying to get a panorama. I'm told to move in the direction of the arrow (when I AM). I was even instructed to move more slowly when any slower would be not moving. I have maybe a 10% success rate with huge, wide-open landscapes, and that's no guarantee the stitching isn't jagged. I feel your pain. It's gotta be a bug.
     
  11. WNG

    WNG TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 12, 2014
    Arrid Zone-A, USA
    Will
    There is no bug. The issue is mostly user error and perception. There are several factors to consider to achieve a successful in-camera panoramic.
    1. Most importantly, the lighting condition. You need bright conditions for the software to work. It usually defaults to 1/500 sec. shutter. If the exposures are smeared, the overlaps won't match and the software gives an immediate failure message.
    2. Wider focal lengths with the kit zooms will be more successful. They will default to a larger-faster aperture. Wider focal lengths also require a greater rate of rotation because you are attempting to achieve 15-30% overlap. Too much and it will fail with an error message.
    As you go up in focal length, rotation rate has to appropriately be slower to achieve the required overlap. The speed of your lens will dictate how low the lighting conditions can be.
    3. Level horizon: Camera MUST be rotated level with horizon, and maintained level throughout rotation.

    4. This is assuming the shooter is using proper technique for the above. BUT the single biggest failure causing reason is user error... DO NOT shoot with arms extended and composing with the LCD screen! You introduce excessive parallax error which results in immediate overlap errors and camera error message will display.
    Shoot with the EVF, place your left thumb approximately under the aperture blades of your chosen lens, and pivot on that point. This is not technically precise, but just a simple 'rule of thumb' (pun intended) to get greater success.
    I've found it to be approximately 4 1/2" in front of the sensor face to be the pivot point for most prime lenses used for panos.

    I've shot numerous in-camera panos with both kit lenses, native primes and vintage manual-focus primes. It can be done.

    Most of all...It takes practice.
     
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  12. chriscottafish

    chriscottafish New to TalkEmount

    3
    Jul 21, 2017
    So being told to move more slowly when I couldn't move any more slowly and being told to move in the direction of the arrow when I am moving in the direction of the arrow are user error? That doesn't make sense. I've also taken many panoramas with it, with a list of lenses like you've described. I've had it for almost 2 years. The camera gives me an error when the landscape changes (mountains and then no mountains, even though both landscapes are miles away) unless I've memorized where I'm told I'm moving too slowly and too quickly after experiencing error after error. I don't do any of the things you suggested not to do. If it's not a bug, it's poor programming. Big, open landscapes shouldn't be more difficult to shoot as panoramas than a backyard. If it's a result of distance difference between the ground in front of me and the mountains miles away, it's also poor programming. I shouldn't have to memorize where to slow down and speed up in the same attempt. After 15 minutes of error after error at the bonneville salt flats using the kit lens (it's the widest angle I have), I finally took out my iPhone and used that. Worked like a charm.
     
  13. WNG

    WNG TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 12, 2014
    Arrid Zone-A, USA
    Will

    Those are generic error messages. Suggesting to slow down simply indicates it can't detect overlap. If exposure conditions can't produce edges usable as overlap, you can turn as slow as a snail and still get the same error message. Well, from your reply, you are experienced with the body, and using a variety of lenses with it.

    I don't usually shoot in-camera panos often, but they have been landscapes with varying terrain to open sky and sea. I've not experienced any such issue of needing to vary rate of rotation in the same series of exposures. What was necessary, keeping my rotation constant. I may have to slow down or speed up a bit after an error message to do so, but it usually yields success.
    I can see no technical hurdles to shooting at Bonneville Salt Flats....wide open, brightly lit. That should've been a straight forward pano for the camera. But I don't believe it's a coding bug. I and many others would be experiencing the same problems.

    Perhaps more folks will chime in who shoot in-camera panos with their a6000 with their experiences with varying terrain exposures.
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2017
  14. WNG

    WNG TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 12, 2014
    Arrid Zone-A, USA
    Will
    You got me curious and I dug through some shots with varying background and foreground, and differing landscapes left to right. The camera did a satisfactory job IMHO.

    Kit lens @ 16mm: hand-held.

    15672049355_46a483ee57_h. Big Sur California by wNG iMAGE aND dESIGN, on Flickr
    15086439617_74f5d61127_h. Portland Pano by wNG iMAGE aND dESIGN, on Flickr
    This one had the right side edited for centering the composition.
    34610631322_294761c81b_h. oREGON gOLD cOAST by wNG iMAGE aND dESIGN, on Flickr

    Tamron 24mm f/2.5 01BB shot in manual: Some parallax error at the right due to hand-held.

    28948943756_03f4e4b29a_h. bIG sKY 1 by wNG iMAGE aND dESIGN, on Flickr

    Sigma 30mm f/2.8 Art, with the help of a tripod:

    30952082616_a0b97af18d_h. sUPER mOON oVER sUPERSTITION 6 by wNG iMAGE aND dESIGN, on Flickr
     
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  15. bdbits

    bdbits TalkEmount Top Veteran

    974
    Sep 10, 2015
    Bob
    I've shot a number of panoramas on the A6000, both native and legacy lenses. It can be a bit fussy, and sometimes takes a couple of tries, but generally I have had decent results.

    The messages are not real helpful. For me anyway, I find I need to keep a pretty constant rate of speed, maybe a tad slower at the beginning. Usually I find I am rotating too fast. And keeping it level as you pan (assuming horizontal). I think I even did a vertical one once, but might be hard pressed to find it, but in that case you want to make sure you pan straight vertically.

    It's not perfect, and yes you can get better results stitching your own photos, but it is nice for the occasional panorama when shooting out and about.
     
  16. chriscottafish

    chriscottafish New to TalkEmount

    3
    Jul 21, 2017
    Well, at least I have a better idea of what the camera is "thinking" and what it specifically needs. Thank you for that. It's good to have specific numbers in these cases.

    In the two instances I took panoramas forever and got nowhere, my subjects were very, very far away, and flat, like the salt flats or Lake Superior. Being able to stop down or change my shutter speed in-camera may have helped if the salt was too washed out, but when I do it on my old minolta 28mm (aperture ring), the dust spots can be bad by f/8 or 11 on a solid-colored background, leaving a line across my panoramas. In this case, it was with the smal, kit lens. I'm not sure what the camera couldn't detect, but it was error after error. I had to start out deathly slow to avoid "more slowly," and if I didn't drastically speed up at the right time I'd get the "more quickly" error, the same issue when shooting Lake Superior. It got very frustrating when I've had much success in the past using the same technique.

    I gave up after maybe 50 attempts because the adrenaline of anger was building in my stomach. Often times I'll have success after heading an error message, but sometimes, nope. All care and precision leads to an error by halfway through, and if it does eventually work, my horizon a jagged. I could probably walk outside right now and make it work just fine, but it tends to go sour when I'm at a beautiful, big, partially endless landscape I impulsively want to photograph. Flaming Gorge in Utah worked on the first try, but it was a different landscape. It was basically a wall.

    Overall, I just find the panorama to be too finicky. It's not my focus anyway; that's birds. Thank you for your help, and I'm sorry if I sounded snarky earlier. I was hangry and told "you're doing it wrong" when I wasn't doing anything wrong.

    Cheers
     
  17. msullivan

    msullivan TalkEmount Regular Subscribing Member

    160
    Jan 11, 2013
    Phoenix AZ
    I am sorry if I missed this in an earlier post but has anyone suggested that you focus your attention on the the arrow as it progresses across the screen? That solved my early attempts at Sony panoramas. Just move the camera so that the arrow never gets too far behind or ahead as it progresses across the screen. But, in fact, you will get better panoramas but just taking a set of photos in portrait orientation and then running them through Microsoft ICE (a free program) or some other panorama stitching software. Enjoy your camera!
     
  18. bdbits

    bdbits TalkEmount Top Veteran

    974
    Sep 10, 2015
    Bob
    Just an FYI, if you really want some panoramics and cannot get this to work in-camera, there are post alternatives. I do not use Lightroom, but if you do, I understand it has a decent stitching feature. So you could just carefully shoot a few frames and stitch them in there. There are also free programs that do the same, though names escape me at the moment.
     
  19. dbmiller

    dbmiller TalkEmount Top Veteran

    857
    Mar 2, 2012
    New England
    It's funny, I was thinking this week about making a post on my panorama thoughts. And now this thread comes up.

    As you have probably noted, when doing an in camera panorama, the shutter is continually firing as you pan. By looking at several panoramas I have taken, the camera seems to want to add about 90 px to the resultant images for each shutter activation. If you're moving too fast, there's too much of a gap, and you get the "move more slowly" message. If you're not moving fast enough, it will tell you to move more quickly. And sometimes it can't really tell, so who knows which message you will get.

    Why would it be unable to tell? If you aren't holding the camera level, or you aren't turning on the nodal point, the camera will have to distort an image to make it align with the previous section. Confuse it too much, and again it gives up. Longer focal lengths mean you need to move really slow, but any shake will cause misalignment. Wider focal lengths are much easier. I don't think I have been able to do a successful in camera panorama above 50mm.

    In camera panoramas have one advantage, they're easy: One continuous sweeping motion with no manual work to do the stitching.

    Unfortunately, in camera panoramas have several disadvantages:
    • As noted, it can be difficult to get the camera to take the panorama. Extremely frustrating at times.
    • Limited stitching dimensions. Depending on camera orientation and Standard vs Wide mode, the images aren't very big.
    • Even when the panorama works, the stitching job isn't always very good:
      • Camera takes many chunks, and the resultant image is banded
      • Overlap/parallax/distortion errors
      • Subject movement problems (Cars, people, water, clouds)
    • Output is in JPG format. Not going to start a RAW vs JPG war here. But RAW files can be pushed a lot more than a JPG if processing is needed.
    I still take them, but I have been getting more and unhappy with them, and so I bought a nodal slide, and rotational mount, and have attempted some manual panoramas. You can work in RAW, get the dimensions and detail you want, and can avoid parallax issues. But they have their own issues:
    • Time consuming:
      • To avoid parallax, need to know how each lens behaves (Find the nodal point). Only needs to be done once per lens.
      • Got to set up the tripod, get everything lined up, and will be taking many images, depending on FL and orientation.
      • Because time is elapsing, lighting may be changing
      • Depending on how good of a job your stitching software does, you may have to do a lot of fine tuning
    • Location: It's not always convenient to take tripod and you may not have the room to set it up
    • Subject movement: (Cars, people, water, clouds) can all cause issues
    So my last time out, I decided I would try a different tack: I didn't take the tripod. I did try some in camera panoramas, but I also have the SEL1018. My usual panorama mode is wide, taken in portrait orientation, resulting in a 5536x2160 image (2.56:1)

    Here's an in camera panorama taken with the SEL24240 in portrait mode @ 24mm:
    35957977031_e757c56e55_h.

    Exposure is okay, but I'd like to be able to recover the clouds a little more. But the recovery slider on a JPG just makes the clouds gray and doesn't really bring out any more detail.

    Now a shot a from a little further down the path taken with the SEL1018 @ 10mm, then cropped to a 3:1 ratio
    35957966521_5f6d7d3be2_h.

    Not too bad. I did some minor editing: raised the blacks while darkening the greens. Fairly close match taken in a single shot. Had I brought a tripod and tried to do a manual set, the shadows on the ground that were cast by the clouds would have wreaked havoc when it came time to stitch it.

    Oh... And just for grins, an in camera panorama with the 10-18 @ 10mm. It was so wide I had to stop short of the full panorama and only got 4223x2160px. Just a little bit of distortion in the nearer fields :)
    36091339885_078f4e40d8_h.

    I think if I want a wider panorama, I may take just two or three quick images with the 10-18 without a tripod and try a manual stitch. On screen, I like the 3:1 ratio, but the four prints we have hung in the house are all 6x30 (5:1) in a 12x36 frame.
     
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  20. sven karma

    sven karma TalkEmount Veteran

    381
    Oct 5, 2016
    mark evans
    Tried it today for the first time, taking panoramas in portrait orientation seems to give more successful results:

    _DSC2174-01.

    A5100-Sony OSS 50/1.8
     
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