HDR Gigapanos in the house!

Gigapan EPIC gets exposure bracketing

That's right folks, the new firmware update for the Gigapan robotic head adds a special HDR bracketing mode. It can either work with your camera's built-in bracketing, or remote control your camera in Bulb mode for up to 9 frames, in 1/3 to 2 EV steps, no matter what DSLR you put on that puppy. Pretty sweet, especially for all the Canon shooters who used to be stuck with that emberassing 3- frame-bracketing. The only way to get even wider brackets is by tethering a Promote Control between the Gigapan and camera, which sometimes gets flaky and adds a lot of dangling wires.

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A happy Gavin Farrell wiring up Gigapan and Promote for some sweet panoramic extravaganza.

New Gigapan units already ship with the new firmware v.171, everyone else can download the update here. Err ... actually not. For some strange reason the firmware updater is not public, I recommend a friendly email to tech support, voiced between confused and demanding.

AutoPano Pro 2.5

And how do you stitch it all together? For such really big panos AutoPano is the most convenient app. I used it for this giant Downtown LA night pano, as well as most others in the gigapano gallery. Being able to start out with a row/columns grid, and later optimizing small local clusters, turns out to be invaluable when your fancy pano robot churned out 500+ photos. I do, however, export the project usually to PTGui for final render, because that one gives me better blending.

The new AutoPano version 2.5 might actually make this step obsolete, because it has new HDR detection and blending. Supposedly. Haven't tested it yet myself. But It definitely does come in a slick dark grey interface, that fits right in with Lightroom and Aperture. It also got some improvements in detecting bracketing series and a new haze removal option.

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I'm especially thrilled that Alexandre Jenny used some example shots from my book DVD for documenting HDR stitching.

And best of all, for most people that's a free update.

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