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Canon Digital D60 / 10D + Sigma 8 mm Fish Eye Test

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Canon D60 / 10D /D300 Rebel + Sigma 8mm FishEye
for Cubic QTVR Panoramic images
by Hans Nyberg

Denmark 16.09.02

Last Tuesday just in time for the Aarhus Festival I received the Sigma 8 mm for my new Canon D60.
I had made a lot of research before buying this Lens and I already had been using the Sigma 15-30 mm Zoom for a couple of weeks before I got the Fisheye.
I have been using negative film with my Pentax Full Frame fisheye for 2 years for my panoramas and I was very curious if the D60 and the Sigma could give me the same quality.

After a week I am not in doubt. This is a fantastic tool for the kind of work I want to do.

All the QTVR movies are at highest resolution about 53 mb uncompressed.
2 mb compressed with JPEG 33-45 percent

Some of the QTVR on this page uses a special type of tiling. Each cubic face is divided into several tiles which make them open in a very sofisticated manner. This is one of the options in MakeCubic.

Aarhus Festival performance by Sabroe Seminarium.

The first panorama is from the Festival in Aarhus.

5 images in portrait mode gives me almost 180 degree vertically. In this case no top or bottom image was needed. It was much easier to just retouch what was left to do a full cube.
The images was made hand held and stitching was very fast by hand in Photoshop.

Only software was the free plugin Panoramatools by Helmuth Dersch A MAC OSX version is available from Kekus.com who also makes the the frontend PTMac to stitch images with Panoramatools.

For WINDOWS users PTgui does the same

My way of stitching is just using the plugin to convert to spheric projection (which make them fit together) and blend by hand in a photoshop layer.

Final Quicktime movie is made with the Free tool MakeCubic (MAC) or with Cubic Converter

For Windows users Panocube is available to make the QTVR movie

For other software to stitch panoramas have a look at my Software page

The panorama below was made in less than an hour.

With largest resolution you get a 6000 pixels wide panorama. The QTVR is 1.5 mb

Walking the Street during the Festival

By using the D60 in horisontal mode you get 180 degrees horizontally and 120 degrees vertical. You only need 4 or 3 images to do a panorama which ends up with about 100-110 degrees FOV. This makes it possible to do panoramas of people moving as you can shoot the 4 images very fast.

Hand held camera. Panorama is 6000x2550 QTVR 1.3 mb

Grenen - The top of Denmark

At the top of Denmark at Skagen a sandbank gives you the possibility to have your left feet in the waves from the North see and your right in the Skagerak.

This was what I did not believe I could do with a Digital. A sharp star from the sun and still have details in the shadows. To do that you have to underexpose about 1 F-stop. Then you get the sun star. I do not believe you can do it with a CCD camera, the Canon CMOS sensor is the only which can deal with it. Also I can see that I do not get the beautiful star with the 15-30 mm.
To get details in the shadows you just use a curve in Photoshop.

5 images, Hand held, No extra top or bottom, just retouched. Panorama 6200x3100 QTVR 2.0 mb

Skagen Lighthouse

Again the sun in image. When you look to the north you can see the top of Denmark, To the south you can see Skagen where the famous Skagen Painters lived. The camera was hand held about 20 cm above the balustrade, Using one of the pillars of the balustrade as a fixpoint made it easy to turn around the nodalpoint for the 5 images.

Panorama 6200x3100 QTVR 1,3 mb

Abelines Farm

As far as you can come at the west coast of Denmark you can see this marvellous museum, only 45 years ago occupied by a family who had owned it for 3 generations.

Today a museum where you can see how living was here a generation ago. In 1996 the museum got the Europe Nostra Award.

This is the only panorama where I used a tripod. I only carry a small light stand with a light home made panoramahead. 5 images and both top and bottom shots. Also an extra shot was made of the window which was blended into the panorama at last. The contrast from outside to the shadows inside is very large.

From this panorama I learned that you have to use only 100 asa shots preferably as raw files if you want superior quality. This one was made with 400 asa setting. For ordinary images that is fine, Canon D60 has very little noise up to 400 asa. However the Sigma 8 mm has to be pushed further about one stop in the peripheral areas as it has a large loss of light in the corners. This is made by making a selection with 120 pixels feather and then lighten the outer areas with level or brightness.

Those areas get very grainy and as the outer areas also are interpolated to a much larger size when you convert the image to spheric projection the noise grows to very visible noise. Look up in the dark areas at the ceiling.

Panorama 6200x3100 QTVR 1.8 mb