March 06, 2009

Sweep the leg, Johnny

This week Sony introduced the $499 HX1 camera, notable as it offers a very cool “Sweep Panorama Mode.” This new mode lets you “click and drag” with the camera, pressing and holding the shutter button while pivoting up to 224 degrees horizontally and 154 degrees vertically. The camera itself stitches the images together on the fly, producing images with a max resolution of 7152×1080. Check out this demo video (low res but effective). A number of journalists I met on Tuesday at PMA were clearly impressed.

Coincidentally, I was just about to talk about using Photoshop to do something similar. Our little champ turned one on Monday, so we threw a birthday party on the weekend. My 24-70mm lens wasn’t nearly wide enough to let me capture the folks gathered around the table, so I fired off a quick series of frames, then tossed them from Lightroom to Photoshop for automatic stitching. (Here’s before & after.)

Photoshop’s Auto-Blend algorithm handled the moving people well overall, and in the one area that needed touching up, I was able to simply paint on the auto-generated layer masks to modify the blending. I was really pleased with the results.

So, it’s great to see cameras doing more automatically, but don’t forget that you’ve already got some interesting power at your disposal. (Bridge offers the same single-step hand-off to Photoshop for processing: choose Tools->Photoshop->Photomerge.)

Posted by John Nack at 7:23 AM on March 06, 2009

Comments

  • Mark Ross — 8:42 AM on March 06, 2009

    That looks really nice, John… I love that tool, having tortured myself years ago stitching panos in some pretty sub-standard software. I almost always take a series of pano frames now whenever I shoot and the opportunity arises.

  • Ken — 8:51 AM on March 06, 2009

    Jack,
    One of the things you learn from a one year old, you do not have teach them to be stubborn or self centered.
    I have two grandkids, and I love um…
    Ken in KY

  • Steven Webster — 12:35 PM on March 06, 2009

    Nice use of The Karate Kid in the title….

  • Rod Wynne-Powell — 5:12 PM on March 06, 2009

    John,
    This idea was what I had in mind and mentioned to you in connection with the Canon 5D MkII, and its HD quality video.
    No one ever came back to me, does that mean it went into the Skunkworks?
    Rod

  • Marcos Rodriguez — 11:43 AM on March 07, 2009

    I have to say Photoshop’s stitching capabilities (since CS3) are by far the best I’ve seen, even when compared to the most expensive solutions available on the market today.
    Kudos to Adobe for this.

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