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A Beginners Guide to Parallax and How to Avoid It When Shooting Panoramas

A Beginners Guide to Parallax and How to Avoid It When Shooting Panoramas

Sometimes even the widest wide angle lens is not enough. In those cases you have to shoot multiple images and stitch it together into one extreme wide angle shot. You can go as far as 360° around, if you want. But you have to avoid parallax errors.

Shooting wide angle is fun. Almost every smartphone has the ability to make panoramic shots. But have you seen the stitch errors, often visible at the bottom of the image when there is something close to the camera? Those errors are caused by parallax errors. These errors also occur if normal cameras are used for panoramas.

Everyone has experienced parallax at some time. Even those people who don’t take any pictures. Just look at something close by and hold your hand against one eye. Watch how the orientation against the background changes if you hold your hand against the other eye. Suddenly the object has moved a bit against the background. The closer the object is, the more extreme the change will be. If the object is far away, closer to the background, the effect won’t be that obvious, or even invisible at some point.

This is similar to what happens with panorama photography. If you use your smartphone or camera to make a panorama with everything in the distance, there will be no stitching errors. There is no parallax error visible. This is one solution to avoid parallax; just make sure you don’t have any objects that are significant closer compared to the background.

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