One can shoot the spherical 360 panorama using any camera, even using the film-type “snapshot camera”, if you haven’t got anything better at hand. But the best results with the minimal amount of frames can be achieved with the help of the digital reflex photographic camera or at least the advanced compact digital camera, which has a capability to of the wide-angle attachment installation on the lens.
Digital single-lens reflex photographic camera
The majority of the professional photographers shoot 360 panoramas on digital reflex photographic (DSLR), equipped with Fisheye lenses. Such a combination makes it possible to put the spherical panoramas together from 2 or more original frames. Nowadays the definition of DSLR cameras matrix begins from 10 megapixels, so it’s possible to film the high quality and high definition panoramas with the help of even the amateur level DSLR camera.
When choosing the DSLR camera for the virtual spherical panoramas shooting, apart from the other features, it’s important to pay attention to the fact if it’s possible to connect the trigger cable or remote control console to the camera and check out the list of lenses, which are supported by camera.
DSLR camera with Fish-Eye lens
Compact digital camera
Quite good results can be achieved when filming the spherical panoramas by the advanced compact photocamera – the so-called “snapshot camera”. It’s true, that the “snapshot cameras” are not as good as the DSLR cameras in terms of image quality and the availability of controls, but they are also cheaper, lighter, smaller and easier to operate.
To draw the quantity of the frames, which are needed for the spherical panorama production to minimum, there should be the wide-angle or the Fisheye converter installed on the lens of the “snapshot camera”.
It’s highly desirable to have the options of manual focus and manual exposure control or at least an option of blocking them. In order to have more freedom while processing the original frames, you can find the options of exposure bracketing and saving files in RAW format useful.
Compact digital camera with Fisheye converter
When choosing a camera I recommend you to check out the comparisons and tests of the different photo cameras, for example, on the following sites:
Automatic panoramic cameras
There are some panoramic cameras, which work in the fully automatic mode. Depending on the used lens type, such cameras produce cylindrical or spherical* panoramas. Such cameras after being placed on the necessary shooting-from spot, often don’t require any operator intervention into the process. More than that, some automatic panoramic cameras are equipped with the captured material correction function and decodes the files into the necessary for export file format, which makes it possible to perform these actions right in the place, where the shooting is being made. The advantages of the automatic panoramic cameras are the high filming speed and the opportunity not to spend time on the panorama post processing.
Because of the fact, that the prices of automatic cameras vary from 40 to 80 thousand dollars, they are mainly used in the criminal documentation, archeology and in the other “spheres”, which are sponsored by taxpayers, and also in such cases, when it’s necessary to film as much 360 panoramas as possible in the shortest time possible.
*On all the spherical panoramas, which were made using the automatic cameras, I saw the middle-sized black circle in the nadir zone, which made me think, that these cameras, most likely, doesn’t provide a separate shot of the place, where the stand (tripod) was standing.
|Spheron SceneCam||Panoscan MK-3|
Some links to the automatic panoramic cameras websites: