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57401Re: Ultra-wide lens for full frame

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  • Scott Highton
    Jul 30, 2014
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      I have used fixed focal length Nikkor 14mm, 15mm (original QTVR lens), and 18mm lenses for many years for panorama work. They're all fine lenses (except the 15mm, which is more prone to flare than the others). Most of the time, they sit on the shelf today, however.

      I do 90-95 percent of my panoramic work today with the Nikkor 16mm full-frame fisheye on a full frame Nikon D800. It's a great combination for spherical panorama shooting -- good resolution (about 20,000 x 10,000 pixels for equirectangular result) with a need for only 8 shots (6 around plus zenith and nadir). Also, it's very sharp (I normally shoot at about f/11). No problems with entrance pupil alignment. I usually prefocus at hyperfocal distance, and the EP difference is negligible between most panorama sequences.

      I also use a shaved Nikkor 10.5mm (full frame fisheye for the DX format, but works on FX cameras) on the D800 for pole panoramas (6 shots around, no zenith or nadir needed), but only yield about 12,000 x 6,000 pixel panoramas. It's workable, but not preferred if I can use the 16mm instead. But the results are surprisingly good.

      Don't dismiss fisheyes outright. They're a great option for today's panorama photographer, and offer a very good set of tradeoffs.

      Scott Highton
      Author, Virtual Reality Photography
      Web: http://www.vrphotography.com
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