Stitching Z Simple Way

One of my favorite ways of getting more pixels out of my cameras for landscape work is via a specific form of panoramic stitching. To wit, I tend to use lens shift techniques rather than a complex panorama head on my tripod. Why? Because I can work faster. I outlined this previously in a technique article (Using a PC-E Lens for Panos) on bythom.com.

The reason to use shifting the lens—which on a Z System camera currently requires an adapter, which is why this article is listed here—is that this produces a parallax-free set of images that stitch together really, really well. Using my 19mm PC-E, for instance, I get wide 72mp images out of my Z7 II (13000 x 5500 pixels) in just three photos.

So let's start with the way to do that. To do it right, you need a special component for the 19mm PC-E, the iShoot PC-19E. This is a special collar ring with a dedicated Arca-Swiss quick release plate. You can find that on eBay for US$100 or less. You mount the collar on your lens and mount the collar's plate to your tripod. Now you shift the camera body left/right, up/down while the lens stays in a fixed position (which is what gives you no parallax).

However, now we have a second choice, the RhinoCam Vertex Rotating Stitching Adapter for the Z mount, which allows you to mount a medium format Hasselblad V-mount lens on a Z System camera. The unique thing about this adapter is that it is not centered on the image sensor, but offset. Because medium format lenses have a larger image circle, four rotations of the off-center lens let the sensor see a larger area. On a Z7 II, you get just over 100mp in your results from the four source photos. The RhinoCam Vertex has click stops at the four rotations, which makes getting your images quick and easy. As with the PC-E solution, these images stick without parallax (the Vertex comes with an Arca-Style quick release to mount it to your tripod).

One difference between the two choices: using the PC-E to take three shifted images nets you a wide (or wider, depending upon orientation) aspect ratio; using the Vertex gives you a square aspect ratio. 

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text and images © 2021 Thom Hogan — All Rights Reserved
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