Compare the equipment for shooting a virtual tour: DSLR SLR and 360 camera. What is better for spherical 360-degree panoramas.
This virtual tour was shot on a Nikon D3500 SLR camera using a Samyang Fisheye lens, NP BASIC panoramic head on the Vanguard ESPOD 203AP tripod, as well as Kolor Autopano, Krpano, Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop software.
This virtual tour was shot on an Aleta S2C camera without any additional processing in Photoshop or Lightroom.
We will compare by the following characteristics:
An important factor, if not one, is the most important when comparing equipment for shooting spherical panoramas and creating virtual tours - this is the cost. The cost of equipment for shooting virtual tours on a DSLR camera consists of the cost of the camera itself, lens, panoramic head and tripod used for shooting. It also needs to include software, which will then need to be used to glue individual photos into spherical panoramas.
PTGui - software package for assembling spherical panoramas from individual photos.
Nikon D3500 + Samyang Fisheye lens + NP BASIC panoramic head + tripod + software $935.95 - $2,050.93 (at the date of price comparison - October 25, 2019).
The price does not include batteries that need to be ordered additionally. They will cost you $10 - $50 depending on how much you will buy. If you plan to shoot all day, the manufacturer recommends storing 4 sets.
You can use any reliable monopod for this camera. In place with this camera, I used the Manbily A-222 monopod. It is quite stable and allows you to shoot excellent panoramas. Examples of work can be viewed at the link above. Monopod cost from $ 15 to $ 85 in various stores.
So, the cost of the Aleta S2C camera is comparable to the cost of equipment for shooting spherical panoramas using a SLR camera.
Shooting 1 panorama on a Nikon camera (8 pictures per panorama) takes from 2 to 6 minutes. Processing 1 panorama taken with a Nikon camera takes 10 to 30 minutes.
1 panorama on Aleta takes 1 minute to take into account the camera’s movement from one point to another, setting the horizon and determining parameters, if necessary. Processing 1 panorama shot with Aleta - 0 -10 minutes (in case of additional processing of panoramas). Panoramas shot with Aleta are stitched inside the camera. You do not need to spend time stitching panoramas manually and purchase additional software for this purpose.
If we take a virtual tour of 30 panoramas as an example, then it can take an average of 11 hours to shoot with creating a tour using a DSLR camera. This does not include time for creating a tour and connecting panoramas with transitions.
With the Aleta S2C camera, as well as with cameras from other manufacturers, the situation is much better. If you do not do post processing of panoramas but 30 panoramas for a virtual morning will take only 30 minutes or so. Immediately after this, you can start connecting the panoramas with transition points.
As you can see, the advantage of the Aleta S2C camera in terms of time over shooting panoramas with SLR cameras is obvious.
A rather difficult stage is the processing of the obtained material and the assembly of 360 panoramas. The build quality of the panoramas shot on the Nikon D3500 camera depends on many factors.
Firstly, the quality of panoramas depends on the quality of the photographic equipment and the process of taking photos.
For example, I used the Samyang Fisheye lens. The angle that the camera with the Samyang Fisheye lens captures in one shot is approximately 180 degrees, I need to take 8 shots, because the area of the fields that the pictures should overlap. All images must be taken from one pointless point. This is a point inside the lens fixed on the panoramic head, which is located on its axis; when the camera rotates relative to this point, the front and back backgrounds do not shift. This allows you to stitch a panorama. If at least one photograph is not taken from this point, then stitching the panorama without visible seams will fail. Or you will have to process the stitched panorama in Photoshop to get rid of visible gluing artifacts. You can read more about this in the article how to take a panorama from your hands without using a panoramic head.
As already mentioned, with regard to SLR cameras, much depends on the skill of the photographer, the process of shooting and processing panoramas. As for the Aleta S2C camera, the camera takes care of this process. In the virtual tour filmed on this cameo, presented above, if you look closely, inconsistencies and gluing points are visible, which, however, if you really want to, can be removed if you process panoramas in Photoshop. Here is an example of such a tour filmed with an Aleta S2C camera with additional processing.
The tour includes 12 panoramas shot with Aleta S2C and processed in Lightroom, Photoshop.
As you can see, although many gross defects have been eliminated, some traces of processing are still visible when examined in detail.
Secondly: the build quality of the completed panorama depends on the capabilities of the program used for this purpose, as well as the skills and abilities of the photographer himself. Some programs align the differences in the exposure of the original shots very well, while others do not so well.
For example, PTGui is a panoramic image stitching program for Windows and macOS. The advantages of this program: speed, automation, full support for HDR (High Dynamic Range) photos.
Third: panorama resolution. The resolution of 360 panoramas shot on a Nikon D3500 camera using the Samyang Fisheye lens can be 14274x7137 which is 101.9 MP. The Aleta S2C camera takes panoramas in the resolution of 11520x5760 which is 66.4 MP. Optical stitching of a spherical panorama occurs in real time, so in a few seconds you get a finished panorama.
Of course, the resolution that can be achieved by shooting panoramas on a SLR camera is much higher, however, you can notice that high-quality panoramas even in 8000x4000 resolution already contain a fairly detailed image even with a significant increase. Here is an example of such a panorama on our website.
Nikon D3500 + Samyang Fisheye lens + NP BASIC + tripod panoramic head allows you to shoot in HDR, which is especially important when shooting rooms, which helps to avoid highly illuminated or vice versa dark areas in the panorama.
The Aleta S2C camera automatically captures 360 panoramas in HDR. To do this, the camera takes up to 7 panoramic pictures with different exposure values. Image quality is good enough. The camera has 4 shooting modes: day, night, sport and manual. Aleta S2C has a function “Dynamic removal of objects”, and really works, moving objects are deleted automatically.
As for noise, the ISO sensitivity settings on the Nikon D3500 range from ISO 100 to ISO 25600. The lower the ISO, the less noise in the photo. There is also an additional high-speed noise reduction function that can be activated to filter out any pixels that may appear when using a very low shutter speed. Nikon D3500 allows you to set the shutter speed up to 30 seconds and has a Bulb mode (manual shutter speed), as well as exposure time of almost any length, which is very important if you are seriously interested in night photography.
In bright lighting, the Aleta S2C camera shoots at a fairly low level, but when shooting indoors and low with low lighting, panorama noise is more noticeable. The camera uses a noise suppression system and as a result, at a low level of illumination, upon close examination, characteristic porridge artifacts are visible.
When shooting panoramas on a reflex camera, horizon alignment is performed in special programs during panorama assembly. When shooting panoramas on the Aleta S2C, the horizon must be taken care of during shooting. Perhaps there is a better way, but I found that you can use the application for a mobile phone that allows you to determine the level to set the camera in a perfect vertical position. If the camera is not set upright, the horizon and the verticals in the panorama will not be aligned.
Using the Aleta S2C camera allows you to shoot spherical panoramas very quickly. Using Aleta S2C does not require special experience and knowledge. Panoramas and a virtual tour can be done in minutes. You will get a virtual tour consisting of HDR panoramas. You need to level the camera every time before shooting a panorama. The manufacturer also reports that in order to get rid of serifs in the panorama, you need to rotate the camera and look at the screen of the mobile device if there are serifs to get rid of them. Or you can shoot in places where the distance to all the objects on the stage is about the same. Choose an Aleta camera if you need to shoot a large number of panoramas in a short period of time in a resolution of more than 8000x4000.
Shooting spherical panoramas using a SLR camera is suitable for you if you have the time and desire to study the technology of shooting and assembling panoramas, as well as if you plan to shoot panoramas in higher resolution than Aleta S2C. Choose a SLR camera when you need higher quality panoramas and you want to completely control the shooting process in order to achieve the desired result. Get ready to learn Photoshop, Lightroom, Krpano, PTGui.
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