Monday, August 3, 2009

I can show you the world

I am doing panorama shots since I met the Canon A60.
Sadly Canon did not refine the software much, so when I moved to the S2 the stitching mostly still looked - well stitched.
It was very convenient when in the beginning of the new millennium I wanted a memory of one of south Texas biggest RV parks what we called home for that winter.
Anyhow I rediscovered panoramas a couple years ago when the landscape just did not fit on a single foto anymore.
I tried lots of programs but I was happy with Autopano. It took care of ghosting, different exposures and mostly was very forgiving to hand held panorama shots. I got myself a little carry around always camera and that time Ricoh made the best for my purpose with the R6. She is still always with me while rinding my sport utility spider from Malaguti.

So when Sony introduced a camera who did a one stop shoot and stitch  and the pictures did not look to bad I wanted to know more about that.
The major drawback with the Sony HX1  is that the panoramas are kind of smallish. My panoramas were mostly in the area of 20.000 pixel or more horizontal.  But then just for looking on the screen a smaller size is just fine and if I need bigger I still have Autopano and can do panoramas the old fashion way.
So after the fist shots it is like having a super duper fisheye lens with you and a perfect in camera error adjustment.
Shooting panoramas was never easier and it is so much better to show people what you see and give the feeling of actually being there.

Tip Activate the grid lines and lay the horizon on the upper or lower line.
Let me demonstrate:
Here is a normal foto with a 28mm lens. Look Ma this was that nice beach we meet the Johnses.

Well, not pretty impressive, no? The Sony HX1 has 4 panorama modes long and thin, longer and thin, shorter and tall and not so short and tall. I always go for the super sized.

now this is more like it

or if you prefer it longer and wider...
(The picture are re compressed to a 1/4 of their original size for faster loading.)

So you see when you used your super duper fisheye mode once you are hooked and there is no going back to that sorry normal picture to show somebody how it looks there. People in real estate should just jump onto the camera because of the possibilities it has for them.
I for myself are pretty impressed after working round 10 years with panoramas how simple and fun it is today (if you have the right camera) to get a beautiful panorama in the camera and onto the computer in a jiffy.
Great, after checking my panos I noticed that google reduces the fotos to 1600 pixel maximal.
Well there is always image shack.
So here you go for the full size:

I just found the first foto I shot with my Sony HX1 it was a panorama what I tried in my camera store. It was pretty impressive with just one big flaw the reason a fast moving customer in the right corner of the pano.

 and here is the big version on Image shack
 Free Image Hosting at
Great, ain´t it?
Well, you haven´t seen nothing yet.
Let me introduce you the devalvr player.  Go to and download the plug in and the stand alone version.
Drag a panorama into the stand alone version.
Ctrl and Shift to zoom, cursor keys to move, the little box corner bottom left for more.
Enjoy yourself with a couple panoramas.

The Sony panorama is limited to much less than 360 degrees. So you will see the ends do not match. Google for surround photos 360 panoramas etc to see a full panorama in action.
Now, want to see something really cool? Fit for a King or Queen?
OK let´s get to Buckingham Palace or the Windsor Castle and have a look, shall we?
Good, the Virtual Tours it is.  Bring some flowers... After you choose the tour, use devalvr as the viewer of you choice for the best experience.
When you are black from London, leave me a little note in our forum here or use the comments at the end of this posting and tell me what the topless lady did with the dog.

So now you think panoramas and virtual viewer are great and want to explore more?
Welcome to the VRmag
Update 2009.8.15
Here is the difference between the SONY HX1 in camera instant panorama and panorama shooting and stitching the old fashion way.

HX1 panorama

HX1 single shots combined to a 360 degree panorama

100% crop HX1 panorama

100% crop single shot combined panorama.
The setting was more color, contrast, and sharpness.


  1. Hey Joe, First of all love your blog, as a new HX1 owner am mighty impressed so far. You state that in panorama there is four modes but my menu only has two, long and thin and standard, not sure which I should use or if I am missing something?

  2. you can change the image size from standard to wide and can shoot landscape 1080 pixel high or portrait mode 1920 pixel high