Panorama with Autostitch

Panorama photo is nothing new to us. In fact we were making panorama shots since the film day. That was rather primitive back then.  What we did was we pan the camera as we took several photos of a scene each with a different angle. When the film is processed and printed we stack and line up the prints to form a panorama of the scene.

When 35mm film scanner became affordable we made a scan of the panorama images from our 35mm negative.  After that we stitched the panorama photos together from the scan images manually with a free software suit called Panorama Tools. The process was time consuming and slow but nevertheless we had fun and enjoyed taking and stitching panorama photos.

3 photos panorama stitch of the Pavilion Mall dragon
A 3 photos panorama stitch of the Pavilion dragon taken with the Olympus Pen Lite E-PL2. Camera set to A mode ISO 200 F/3.5 1/80s and the M.Zuiko 14-42mm F/3.5-5.6 II zoom is set at 14mm.

Today all modern digital cameras have built-in panorama mode and some of the cameras even stitch them in-camera. But we still enjoy doing it the old fashion way. We had tried many panorama stitching softwares over the years and many were free software. Some of the free panorama software actually stitched better than the panorama software that came bundled with the cameras. My old favourite was Panorama Tools but now I much prefer Hugin - Panorama photo stitcher  which is based on Panorama Tools with enhanced user friendly features.

However when I want to do some quick stitching for web use and for fun I usually use the demo version of Autostitch panorama stitching software. Even though this version of Autostitch is called the demo version but it works perfectly and is free for download from Autostitch website.  It actually stitch better and is easier to use than the Canon PhotoStitch that comes with our Canon PowerShot camera or the stitching mode of the bundle Olympus Viewer2 software or the Olympus IB software.
The Pavilion dragon stitch with Autostich
This is a 2 photos stitch of the Pavilion dragon stitch with Autostitch software. Camera is Olympus Pen Lite E-PL2 with M.Zuiko 14-42mm F/3.5-5.6 msc zoom lens set at 14mm F/3.5 ISO 200.

In the Olympus software you need to set the camera to panorama mode and follow the instructions exactly. If you missed out any step or did not set the camera to Panorama mode, Viewer2 either refused to stitch or stitched some photos that looked like a masterpiece from the great abstract art master.

That was what happened when my wife took some panorama shots of the 600 ft-long Pavilion dragon with her Olympus Pen Lite E-PL2. She missed out the directional step after setting the camera to Panorama Mode and two sets of photos were not set to panorama mode at all. The not so intelligent Olympus Viewer2 failed to stitch any of this set properly. However this was not a problem for the highly intelligent Autostitch panorama stitching software - it was able to stitch them without much problem.

You can change some settings on the option screen on Autostitch panorama software and after that it run unattended. The single page option screen is about all that you need to do on Autostitch before starting panorama stitching.

The Pavilion dragon Autostitch from 3 shots
Autostitch this Pavilion dragon from 3 shots taken with the Olympus Pen Lite E-PL2. Camera was set on panorama mode ISO 200 F/3.5 and the M.Zuiko 14-42mm F/3.5-5.6 II zoom is set at 14mm. The images is then completed with minor tweak on The GIMP image editor

The demo version of Autostitch panorama stitching software is available as Window software only. We managed to stitch all the panorama photos on this blog post with Autostitch running under WINE and in Ubuntu Linux. Autostitch is not only easy to use it is Wine and Linux friendly as well. The other two free panorama software that I mentioned above have both the Window and Linux version available on their website.

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