panorama software,virtual tour software
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Joined: 2010-12-25
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Gear Advice Needed, Please

I'm looking for a little help here. It's time to step up from the original iPix kit I've been using. That is, a Nikon CoolPix 950 with an FC-E8 lens.

So I own an FC-E8. I also own a Canon 7D.

I need help deciding whether I should buy a lens for the 7D or buy a newer P&S camera for the FC-E8.

I'm not looking for a pro-level rig here. I'm looking for a big step up from the CoolPix 950 and to keep my costs under control. I really only do this as a hobby, with the rare paid side job.

On one hand, I like the idea of buying a new camera because I'm in the market for a new camera anyway. Looking for something that shoots HD video and has underwater housing available. The downside here is I don't know if my old panos are bad because of the lens or the camera. I suspect it's probably a combination of the two, but normal stills with the built-in lens look just fine at screen resolution, so maybe it's the lens. The pics just don't look that hot with the fisheye, and I get an ugly warped look. That could also be because of the ancient version of Easypano I'm using (v 2, I think).

On the other hand, my 7D is obviously a great camera, and I could probably do well with a nice lens for it. I'm guessing the lens price is probably more than the price of a Nikon P&S. Also, I'm not sure how the cropped frame factor comes into play, since a pano shot needs to cover so much area. I understand newer panos are often made from more than the 3 shots I'm used to. I don't mind taking a billion shots around, but I'm not a fan of the idea of having to tilt the camera to cover the vertical.

Then the pano head comes into play. I have no idea what to look for here. I'm guessing that a head built to hold a full-sized DSLR is going to be more expensive than one desiged to hold a smaller P&S.

Any suggestions on where I should start?

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Joined: 2002-11-23
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Posts: 5435

Based on all you have written and said you are best suited to a new Sigma f/3.5 8mm Fisheye lens for your 7D.

This will require 4 rotational shot at 90 degree click stops (Yaw). I.E: A shot at 0, 90, 180, 270 degrees. If you tilt up +5 to +7.5 degrees on the panohead whilst shooting the rotational shots this will close the small hole at the Zenith. Leaving you will the tripod to cap (or patch).

Sell off the old Nikon Coolpix and FC-E8 and use that money to upgrade your 7D kit. I.E: Sigma 8mm Fisheye and a decent Panohead. 

The quality will be a HUGE difference over the FC-E8 and yes even more will be gained with knowing how to get the most from the combination with experience and tips and tricks etc.

This little tour of mine is made with the Canon 7D and Sigma 8mm Fisheye

I have multiple lightly used DSLR panoheads for sale if you need to save some cash or I'm happy to point you in the right direction for purchasing new.

Regards, Smooth [8D]