No wide angle lens available? 1D + photoshop to the rescue!

For this past weekend’s shooting extravaganza, I went with a slightly modified version of the holy trinity set of primes (35L, 85L, 200L) –as opposed to the 135L.
During the shoot, since I didn’t have a 14mm handy, I performed a little experiment with stitching and at the time, I had no clue if it was going to work. I usually stitch panoramas for nature scenes, but wondered if the same can be applicable to people shots. I was very surprised and impressed with the results. This actually illustrates the point that the 1DII is still a very dangerous and versatile camera and I’m very glad I didn’t sell it after I upgraded to a 1DMKIII. Though I did try to sell it, but to friends/family as I knew they’d take good care of it. I almost had a buyer, but it didn’t get pass the ‘wife approval’ so luckily the camera is still in my possession!

My only reservation with the 1DMKII is the battery life, and high ISO performance, but after this weekend, I no longer really worry about it’s ISO capabilities. The body still performs like a a champ at ISO1250. Since the 1D series is capable of 8FPS, I took a bunch of photos in series, and panned it, in hopes that Photoshop is capable of stitching it together. The results were quite good. Instead of dealing with some fringe distortion on wider rectilinear primes, this technique will work in a pinch. However, it’s not 100% guaranteed because your outcome is dependent on the stitching algorithm and what data it is provided from your shots. But this is where the 1D series shines, and I’m glad I brought this over the 5D as a second body.

Here’s why: In order to pull this off, you need a very fast burst. Due to people’s random movements, you need the series as ‘close to each other’ as possible, and to do this, you need to machine gun the trigger. However, due to the low to a low light environment that makes most auto focusing systems cry, you need to find focus very quickly. If it has to hunt to find focus, then you’re toast. The 1DII allegedly has a superior autofocusing chip than it’s newer brother the 1DMKIII. However I have yet shot anything that confirms that claim. Overall, the decent ISO performance mitigates the need for a flash (which will never in a million years recycle fast enough to achieve the burst shots).

Once you have your shots, sync them up so every photo is color matched, and then go to photoshot. Select File –> Automate –> Photomerge. Then select the series of photos you want to stitch, and there you have it (I used to do this by hand before this amazing technology came about).

Click to view the shot. And if you’re my contact in Flickr, you can see the shots in it’s original size.


Overall, I think I’ll continue to do 1DMKII + 1DMKIII combos from now on. The 5D, though a great camera, and has the added width needed when shooting nature or in tight conditions. I think the robustness of the 1D series will keep me from going back to my tried and true 5D + 1DIII combo. That and the fact that it drizzled and rained that morning. Since they’re both weather sealed I wouldn’t really have to worry about shooting in the rain. The only drawback is, this combo is stupid heavy. To the point where I may have to get in shape again to last all day with them!


About greenbeanfx

Photography is what I do =) If you wish to contact for a photoshoot, send me an email or comment on a blog with your info and I'll get back

Posted on June 22, 2009, in Aperature and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Which version of Photoshop do you suggest for most users? Are you a fan of GIMP or other free/fee imaging software?

  2. You know, any version of photoshop past CS2 is pretty easy to use. At the apple store, Adobe CS4 for STUDENTS is $209. I’ve used PS since the 3.0 days, so I’m pretty used to them. Tried Gimp, and just didn’t bother with it because I’m old and used to my PS ways.

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