The Gigapan Epic as arrived.

Recently Pixels participated as a sponsor for George Lepp presented by the Wasatch Camera Club. He talked about the Gigapan device, and we printed a stitched image from Bryce on our metallic paper (which I’ve seen 20 feet long at the WPPI with great detail and resolution). There’s nothing new about stitching and there are several high end programs specifically designed to make stitches from multiple images. Even Photoshop CS5 does a good job stitching most of the time. Many photographers have been using stitching for a long time to overcome camera resolution limits, and I’ve seen gigapixel images taken with a point and shoot which offer amazing detail.

Stitching isn’t for everything, and while it helps create higher resolution images from lower priced equipment, it has it limitations. For those occasions where it is an option and you need some advanced stitching such as multiple rows and columns, the gigapan turns the process of capturing all the images from a somewhat difficult one to a piece of cake.

After setting the gigapan up I took it out in front of the store. My first pano wasn’t too great (I missed a step in the setup process) but wasn’t bad. I put a better lens on the camera, read through the directions again, and gave it another shot ending up with this image. It is a stitch of 80 captures (5 rows x 16 columns) with a Canon 7d and the 70-200 lens at 200mm, printed at 240dpi it would be 20 feet long. After setting up the device (takes about a minute), I just hit the go button and waited 15 minutes while it did all of the work moving the camera and capturing the images.

Click on the image to view an explorable pano at gigapan.org

The lens I used still wasn’t quite as sharp as I would like but to give you an idea of what it resolved, here is a small section at 100% showing the tram at the top of Snowbird Resort which in the above images represents a very small piece.

Tram on top of one of the mountains

We plan on making this available as a rental here at the store in a couple of weeks after we prepare some better documentation on how to set it up and shoot with it. I’m also going to try it out with my medium format camera, I think I can equal or better this detail with far fewer images.

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