My experience of shooting 360º panorama on film


    Canon EOS 5360º panoramas of both photos and videos are becoming more popular. They can be found on Google and Yandex maps no longer just as a street view, they are placed on the cards of various businesses in order to attract customers. Over the past 5 years, many panoramic cameras have appeared, social networks have learned to display panoramic photos and videos.

    I work as a panoramic photographer in the Studio , I had the idea of ​​shooting a virtual tour using the technology of the past, not on a digital camera, but on an analog one. There are film cameras that allow you to take cylindrical panoramas, but I did not find the spherical panoramas 360 × 180º shot on film, so maybe I will be the first. Further, a little theory, practice, and, of course, the result.

    All of the foregoing was done solely for the sake of interest and does not bear any practical application.


    I usually use a Canon 5D mark III digital camera to capture panoramas, fisheye a Sigma AF 8mm f / 3.5 EX DG lens, a 360Precision Atome panoramic head and a reliable Benro a1970t tripod.

    In order to take a panorama of the film from my set, I only need to replace the camera. The lens and other equipment will be the same. I decided to choose a Canon 5 for this. This is the progenitor of a Canon 5D digital camera (D in the name Digital), I managed to buy it for only 2,500 rubles, in good condition. Despite the fact that a digital camera now costs about 180,000 rubles. In appearance, both cameras are somewhat similar. The difference in age of the cameras is about 24 years.
    Comparison of two cameras Canon EOS 5 and Canon EOS 5D mark III

    For example, I’ll take a panorama of both an analog and a digital camera, with the same shooting parameters, so that it can be compared with what.

    Kodak Professional Ektar 100 Film BoxOf course, a film is needed in the camera. My choice was Kodak Professional Ektar 100, this color negative fine-grained film with high brightness and color saturation. The fine and even grain of this film allows you to scan negatives with high resolution.

    Bit of theory

    Animation of shooting 4 frames of panorama on fisheye lensThe ultra-wide-angle Sigma 8mm lens allows you to take pictures with an angle of up to 180 degrees.
    To take a full panorama, you need to take only 4 frames in each direction.
    All pictures should be taken from one point, if you slightly move the camera, then the objects of the foreground and background will disperse, which will make further gluing impossible. To achieve the best result, you need to rotate the camera around the optical center of the lens, which will avoid parallax and achieve the best result when gluing. For this, we need a panoramic head.

    Since the lens has a sufficiently large viewing angle in one frame, a very bright sky and quite dark ground can simultaneously get into it. The camera will try to reflect both equally well, but the other, but the dynamic range of the sensor is not enough to equally well show areas in dark and bright places of the frame.

    In order to make the frame more uniform, you need to shoot several frames with different exposures.

    Exposed 3 frames for HDR

    Clouds are clearly visible in the first picture, and grass in the last.
    Then the captured series of frames is combined into one, where both sky and earth are visible, so we get a picture with a wide dynamic range (WDR, aka HDR). Below the comparison clearly shows the difference.

    Comparison of regular photography and HDR

    Such a picture more accurately reflects how a person sees. Then 4 such pictures are stitched into one 360º panorama.

    Animation of gluing 4 frames into one spherical panorama

    Film shooting

    The technology of shooting on film is exactly the same as on the digital one, the only thing is that shooting in HDR would be redundant, since the film, unlike the digital camera sensor, can capture a wider dynamic range. Nevertheless, I decided to play it safe and shoot a series of frames, and I was not mistaken, as it turned out later, the exposure meter of the film camera let me down, and the first 2 pictures of the series turned out to be too dark.

    After shooting, the film needs to be scanned, I had a scanner, but I gave it to the laboratory. The film was scanned with a Nikon Super Coolscan 5000 ED scanner with a resolution of 4280 × 2834, which is 1.8 times less than the resolution of a 5760 × 3840 digital camera. But more is not necessary, since more details are still not available from my film. By reference Kropp 100% scale Canon 5D and scanned with Canon frame 5.

    Result and Comparison

    Next, I collected two panoramas and aligned their white balance, on the next demo you can compare them. As you can see, the film is inferior in quality. But the result still exceeded my expectations. It seemed to me that the difference would be more significant. Thank you for your attention, I will be interested to hear your opinion about this venture.

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