Wednesday, May 27, 2009

GigaPan Epic 100

So the International Association of Panoramic Photographers is working with GigaPan Systems in the 2009 IAPP photo contest. As part of it, I am writing a review for the Panorama Journal (A magazine IAPP members receive) and boy this thing kicks major butt. This post will be my first thoughts on the GigaPan Epic 100.

The GigaPan Epic 100 is specifically made for larger point and shoot cameras (Like the Canon G10 and the Nikon P6000) and smaller DSLRs with light lenses (Nikon D40/D60/D80/D90 and some of the Canon Rebels). There is a rumor of a full size DSLR version in the works. I'm working with the Nikon P6000, which is a 13MP camera with built in GPS geotagging. The GigaPan unit is mounted on my Gitzo Basalt tripod with a magnesium head. The GigaPan will take full 360 degree images or it will let you program in a specific size.

When I got the package with the GigaPan, I was really impressed. Pulling it out of the box, it looked amazingly simple and possibly very basic. But, upon further inspection, it has a full set of menus that will let you do quite a bit. After configuring the camera for the nodal point, I took some shots with it. It was really neat to see it do what it did. Of course, there were some parallax errors. I had to fine tune the setting of the camera, but it worked out.

One nice thing about the GigaPan is that they have some wonderful videos to help you get the unit setup if you have issues. Of course I watched these videos prior to receiving the unit so it made setting it up a bit easier.

After a few test shots outside I finally figured out where it needed to be. Amazing. I made a full 360 degree image of my street. After taking about 85 shots, I took it inside and threw it into their stitching software. It took about an hour or so to stitch and blend but it got there. The software has issues that I'd like changed and options I'd like them to add, but that's for a later post. I also have PTGui Pro, so I put it in there, too, to see how it would stitch. I don't want to seem like I'm complaining about their software, it does a great job. I just would like a bit more control over the exporting of the image.

Anyway, the image came out nice. Then the software allows you to upload the image directly to your account for viewing and embedding. They also have a system to where to can embed your images with a view into your own website. You can even embed the image into Google Earth. Pretty neat stuff. People can view it, leave comments and other stuff. I am incredibly impressed with it.

So, first glance: I love this thing. I'm taking it on a couple of trips in the next few weeks, so we'll see how it works out. Here is the shot for your viewing pleasure:

Sunday, May 24, 2009

It's Me Again!

Well, I guess I should post something since it's been a while and a number of people are wondering if I died or something. It's been a pretty busy couple of months for me. I had a three page spread on scanning in View Camera magazine. That was pretty cool. I was also published once again in Panorama.

One cool thing for me is that I'm testing the GigaPan Epic 100 for GigaPan Systems. If you don't know what that is, it's a robotic panoramic tripod head that will automatically get all the shots to create a very large panorama. They're relatively inexpensive, but they don't have one for DSLR's yet. (There is word that one that supports DSLR's will be released later this year, but that may just be a rumor...)

Another thing that's going on is that the International Association of Panoramic Photographers (IAPP) is holding their annual panoramic photography contest. There's over $5,500 in cash and product prizes so far and we're building that up. One of the prizes will be a GigaPan Epic 100 - as they are one of our major sponsors for the contest. The Fuji Masterpiece Award will also be given out to one of our best photographers. Check it out at

Well, that's the news here. I hope everyone is having a great Memorial Day weekend! Thank a Veteran and remember those who have paid the ultimate price for our country. God bless America!