Combine multiple photos to create panoramas that capture the whole scene. Arsenal 2's Panorama feature shows you a real-time preview of your panorama as you shoot. When you're done, just crop the photo and it's ready to share.
Like any panorama stitching software, there are a few things that can be helpful to know before starting to make sure you have a successful stitched image.
Phone vs DSLR/mirrorless panoramas
When a phone takes a panorama, it reads a thin line from the sensor as it rotates, (using gyro data to determine when to take the next line). This has some advantages since it can almost always get a successful stitch, the downside is that it isn’t able to take photos in multiple rows.
Arsenal 2 can’t read single vertical lines on the sensor. Instead, it does a traditional panorama stitch. You take full photos and Arsenal 2 finds matching points in the photos to align them and produce the final panorama. This allows for multiple-row panoramas but has the downside that it requires some detail be in each photo. (So it typically can’t align areas with no detail, like blue skies or walls without texture.)
In the case of blue skies, keeping a little bit of the ground in each photo can help it align.
Tip #1: Stop Down
While panorama stitching software has come a long way, it relies on finding matching details between photos to align images into the final photo. If you have objects close to the lens, be sure to increase your aperture so as much of the scene is in focus as possible. When focusing, I recommend choosing a focal point a third to halfway between the foreground and background. While you can change your focus part-way through a panorama, most of the time you want to find a single focus point that captures everything.
Tip #2: Watch out for Polarizers
While polarizing filters are great to bring out the color in the sky or foliage, when shooting really wide panoramas, they can introduce a strong gradient in the sky. While this rule applies to wide-angle lenses as well, it’s much easier to use a polarizer when shooting a panorama than on the front of extremely wide-angle lenses.
Tip #3: Level your tripod
Actually setting up a tripod for a solid pano is a little more involved than usual because depending on what kind of tripod you have, you’ll need to make sure that both your tripod and head are level. Arsenal’s Pano stitching software can deal with some rotation between images, but it’s more likely to match if the rotation is minimal.
Tip #4: Nodal Point
When objects are close to the lens, they can appear in different positions in each photo (relative to the background). This can cause challenges for stitching. To prevent this, you may need to have your camera rotate around its nodal point. If you have an object less than 5ft or 1.5m away from the lens it is a good idea to find your nodal point.
A nodal point is the point where light rays intersect and invert as they come through the front of the lens and are projected back to the sensor. This point is somewhere in the middle of the lens and it’s different for every focal length you use, even within the same zoom lens.
Lucian put together a quick video to explain how to find the nodal point.
*Note: This is only really required if you have things close to the lens.
In some circumstances, you may want a longer tripod plate so you can slide your camera back and forth. Below are some links to the ones we have tried and that work well.
Tip #5: Useful for more than just huge prints
Panoramas can be a powerful tool and not just for high-megapixel prints. I find there are a lot of situations where a 3 or 4 shot panorama lets me get that extra width I need and lets me leave the ultrawide lens at home.
Tip 6: Overlap
The amount of overlap you need between photos depends on the amount of detail in the individual photos. Arsenal’s Pano feature tries to find the same points in each photo and requires enough overlapping points to calculate the geometric transforms to align everything.
In most cases, I recommend at least 30% overlap, but if you have parts of the scene without a lot of small details, you may need more. Also, don’t forget to overlap your rows if you’re doing a multirow pano. And again, make sure the overlapping portions contain some details. When working with blue skies that have little to no detail, it can be helpful to turn your camera vertical so the sky photos still have some of the ground in them that can be used to align.
Let’s get started with your first Panorama!
Before shooting a Panorama, always make sure that
Camera is powered on
Arsenal 2 is powered on
Camera is connected via USB cable to Arsenal 2
For best results set your camera to Aperture or Shutter Priority
Connect to the app
Check that Night Assist is disabled
If you are using the phone mount, open the settings menu of the app and adjust the Arsenal 2 Placement to “Mounted on Phone Mount”. If you plan to mount it on the camera, select “Mounted on Camera”.
When using the Phone and Arsenal 2 Mount, insert the Arsenal 2 with the blue LED bar facing upwards. See here to learn how to install the mount.
Navigate to the Panorama Mode in the app. Currently, this is found to the left of the Smart Mode at the bottom of the screen.
1. Enable Live View
Tap the Live View icon in the upper right corner of the app. Your camera’s live view will appear in the app.
2. Compose Your Shot
Move your camera and tripod to compose your shot.
3. Tap to Focus
To select a focus point, simply tap on the Live View image. A target square will appear to show the point you selected, and turn green once focused. Make sure your lens is set to auto-focus.
4. Click Start
Press the start button to take the first image of your Panorama.
5. Adjust your camera for the next shot in the Panorama
We recommend at least 30% overlap to ensure a solid stitch. If you see a “No Overlap” message adjust the frame back 10%. Click the “+” to add continue to add frames to your panorama. Continue shooting until you have the full scene you want to capture pictured in the Live View.
6. Click Save
Once you’re happy with the final image, click Save to save the completed image to your image gallery.
7. View and Share your Panorama
Once you’ve completed your Panorama, tap the thumbnail in the lower right corner to view the final image. To share or save the photo, tap the share icon and choose where you’d like to share or save the final photo.
To save your final panorama to your phone or the micro SD card slot automatically, navigate to the Settings screen click “MANAGE” under the PHOTO STORAGE section, and select which photos you want to save to either location.
How Can I Crop My Pano?
We’ll be adding a crop option to Android Pano in the future via a firmware update. This is a time-intensive add given the variations between Android Phones. We’ll make an announcement via our blog as soon as that happens. In the meantime, you can quickly crop your finished Panorama by using your phone’s editing software.
Here’s an example of how to crop using the Google Gallery App:
Please note: we recommend checking your saving options before shooting to ensure your panorama photos are saved to the onboard Micro SD card slot and/or your phone. By default, the panorama photos that Arsenal 2 creates are saved to the device in temp storage until you adjust your preferences in the settings menu.