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Tip of the Week: In-Camera Panos with Fuji

Tips & Tricks
B&W Pano, shot with a 45mm TS-E lens

B&W Pano, shot with a 45mm TS-E lens

Making panoramic images is one of my favorite things to do, and I tend to go to some lengths to make them. My tool of choice is usually something along the lines of a Canon 45mm TS-E lens, and I use a technique I described in a previous Tip of the Week piece, “Use a Tilt-Shift Lens for Panoramic Photos.”

That technique takes some time, thought, and setup, and I don’t always have time to do it right. Sometimes, I want to create a panoramic image quickly and easily.

The usual thing to do, then, is to use a wide-angle lens and simply crop the center out. This is a good idea, but unless you’re using a 20+MP camera, you’re going to end up with something pretty small (on the order of something like a 3-4MP image).

There’s a better option.

I’ve been shooting with the Fuji X-Pro1 and the X100 for some time now, and both cameras have what they call a “Motion Panorama” setting. With a bit of practice, you can use this sweep panorama with great effectiveness.

First, hit the “Drive” button on your Fuji camera. On the X-Pro1, this is a dedicated button, but is part of the 4-way rocker on the X100. Once you do so, scroll down to the “Motion Panorama” mode.

Hit the drive button, then scroll down to the "Motion Panorama" mode.

Hit the drive button, then scroll down to the "Motion Panorama" mode.

Once you’re in the Motion Panorama mode, hit the “OK” button on the back of your Fuji.

You will then see a screen that looks like the one in the image below. In our example, we left the lens cap on so that the guides on the screen stand out, but you’ll see whatever you’re aiming the camera at.

The Panorama guidelines on the Fuji

The Panorama guidelines on the Fuji.

Now, hit the shutter button and start panning the camera from left to right. If you go too fast or slow, the camera will stop the sequence of images that it’s taking, and tell you that you’re going too fast or slow. You don’t have to keep the button pressed down, either – just one click will get it started.

Once you’ve gone through the arc, the camera stitches the images into a single JPEG. On the X100, this is about a 7.4MP JPEG, while on the X-Pro1, it’s an 11.1MP image.

Pano from the X100, with a few exposure and sharpening adjustments in Aperture.

Pano from the X100, with a few exposure and sharpening adjustments in Aperture.

Now, this won’t produce the kind of images I mentioned in my previous article on panoramas, but on the flip side, I do like the convenience. The image below, for example, is one of my favorite panos, and was done on the X100 as well.

Cropped pano from the X100.

Cropped pano from the X100.

That’s it for this week’s Tip! As always, questions and feedback are welcome in the comments below.

 

All images Copyright © 2012, Sohail Mamdani.

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Sohail Mamdani is a writer and photographer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook or Google+. You can find his portfolio on his website at sohail.me as well as on 500px and Flickr.

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