Digital cameras now regularly produce 8, 10 and 12 Megapixel images. Panoramic photography can create files ten times larger. But how do you view them?
Microsoft Research’s HD View is an ActiveX browser component, thus the first time you use it you will be asked to install the component. It also only runs in Internet Explorer under the Microsoft Windows operating system. Here are some other examples.
Making panoramas is getting cheap and easy. Panoramic Stitchers, Viewers and Utilities include:
- Hugin, a free, open source panorama photo stitcher, based on Panorama Tools. Autopano Pro ($99 Euros), will automatically detect pictures belonging to a panorama, perform High Dynamic Range stitching, and correct color and exposure variations between source images.
- Photoshop CS2 has a panorama utility built-in called photo merge, while Irfanview, a free photo viewer, has a simple stitcher.
- Microsoft’s Photosynth displays photos in a reconstructed three-dimensional space. Microsoft’s Photo Story 3 is a free download and their Digital Image Suite 2006 has panorama features.
- PTGui is full-featured panoramic stitcher for Windows and Mac OSX that can stitch multiple rows of images, create 360 degree cylindrical panoramas and even spherical 360×180 degree panoramas.
- Panoweaver 5 does full spherical 360 Flash panoramas and High Dynamic Range for $299. The new edition allows you to publish the panorama not only to Java applet, but also to Flash and Quick-Time movie.
- The world’s largest stitched panoramic photograph is this 13-Gigapixel composite of 2,045 photos taken with a Nikon D2x DSLR and a 300mm lens. Kolor a business specializing in panorama stitching tools, used their main product, Autopano Pro, to make the panorama.
- The IVRPA and VR Mag have additional links.
A “virtual zoom” could make small screens more practical. Just zoom in.