The other day I read 8 Guidelines To Taking Panoramic Photos With Any Camera. Armed with the useful information in that article I grabbed a bunch of shots the other day when I took the dogs to a park we hadn’t visited before.1
With one eye on the dogs, I quickly shot several photos of the new housing development beside the park. As you’ll see, if you look carefully, the dogs were in 2 places at once. 🙂
Later on, at home, I started working on making a small panorama from the images.
3 different panorama programs
From various sources I learned of 3 different programs that could do the job for me:
- Hugin, a free opensource program that strongly appealed to my budget.
- Calico, US$39 (NZ$62)
- DoubleTake, €17.95 (NZ$40).
I downloaded them all and gave them a whirl. Attached to this post you see a screenshot of all 3 results together
To make the panoramas I first had to use Photoshop to convert the RAW files from my camera to highest quality .jpg files. Then I mainly used the default settings in each program.
The big exception was Hugin as it created a TIFF file by default. After creating the TIFF I restarted Hugin and set it to export to .jpg. I didn’t notice an option to set the output size, so I later opened the enormous .jpg that Hugin produced and exported it from Photoshop as a medium or high quality optimised and resized file.
Calico was the easiest to use: I dragged in the photos and moments later the panorama appeared.
DoubleTake somehow decided one photo in the sequence was extraneous and placed it on the right-hand end, even though it belonged in the middle. I had to drag it to the correct place.
After installing Hugin I had to open a folder inside the Hugin folder, double click a disk image and run an additional installer. While Hugin worked (seemingly very slowly) on creating the panorama it reported back what it was doing
How the results look
Then I opened each 800 pixel wide panorama in Preview and made the screenshot you see here. Click the image in this post to see the result at full size.
As you can see, each program produced a result that’s fairly different from the others.
Calico (at the top) strongly appeals. It’s very green (perhaps too green), and feels very ‘present’. Calico produced an 85Kb image, at 800*248 pixels. It was really easy to use, and quick.
DoubleTake seems to make the grass very spindly. Something doesn’t feel quite right, but I can’t say what. DoubleTake produced a 98Kb image, at 800*231 pixels. DoubleTake was easy to use.
Hugin handled the blades of grass OK, but the buildings seem a little ‘soft’, and lacking detail. Hugin produced an 11.7Mb image, at 5721*2094 pixels. Remember, I had to process Hugin’s output through Photoshop to resize the image and I chose an optimisation setting of medium or high (I don’t recall which). Overall, Hugin just seemed harder to use, and definitely involved more messing around.
None of these programs is expensive. In the past I would have just paid up for Calico and gone about my photography. Now, though, I need to watch the dollars.
Will I be happy with DoubleTake? Can I be bothered with the messing around that Hugin seems to require? Should I just forget the notion of making panoramas for a while?
It looks like I’m mulling it over.
1 The photos were taken at Cashmere Park, an official off-leash area in Wellington. See the review of the park at Run Spot Run.