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EPIC Pro Troubleshooting

EPIC Pro Troubleshooting

Read on to find out how to fix common problems with the GigaPan EPIC Pro. If you don’t find your solution here, contact technical support at GigaPanSystems.com.

6.1 My photos are blurry

There could be several causes for blurry photos:

  1. 1. The EPIC Pro might be moving before your camera has captured the photograph.
    a. Navigate to ‘Options’ > ‘Time Per Pic’ in the EPIC Pro menu.
    b. Use the directional keys to increase the time that the EPIC Pro will wait before moving. This is especially useful for nighttime panoramas.
  2. The moving EPIC Pro platform might not have sufficiently settled before the photograph is taken.
    a. Navigate to ‘Options’ > ‘Expert Options’ > ‘Pretrigger Delay’ in the menu.
    b. Set the ‘Pretrigger Delay ‘to a higher value to allow for more settling time.
    c. Navigate to ‘Options’ > ‘Expert Options’ > ‘Motor Speed’
    d. Set the ‘Motor Speed’ to ‘Med’ or ‘Slow’ to allow for more settling time.
    e. Shoot a test panorama while watching for settling through the camera viewfinder. If more settling time is needed, pause the panorama by pressing the X button and then adjusting the ‘Pretrigger Delay’ using the Quick Menu. (See Chapter 1.5 or instructions on programming ‘Pretrigger Delay’ in the Quick Menu). Note: When you are using larger and heavier lenses it is especially important to adjust the ‘Pretrigger Delay’ and ‘Motor Speed’ settings.
  3. Wind gusts or vibration might have disturbed the lens and camera.
    a. Use a faster shutter speed that is at least the reciprocal of the lens focal length. If you are using a 300mm lens, then attempt to use a shutter speed that is at least 1/300th of a second. Consider increasing the ISO to allow for a higher shutter speed if there is not enough light.
    b. Attempt to shield the lens and EPIC Pro from the wind by placing it to the side of an object such as a tree, car trunk, or a large collapsible portrait reflector. In extreme conditions, consider placing the EPIC Pro inside of a small camping tent.
    c. Consider taking two or three photographs per position at the same exposure to increase the probability that one of the photographs is not blurry if the disturbance is intermittent.
  4. Auto focus may not be yielding consistently focused images.
    a. Navigate to ‘Options’ > ‘Expert Options’ > ‘Shutter Length’ in the EPIC Pro Menu. Increase the value of the ‘Shutter Length’ setting to a value greater than ‘Time per Pic’ to permit the autofocus sub system longer to achieve good focus.
    b. If you have a faster lens (lower minimum aperture value such as f/2.8) consider using this lens. Note that a zoom lens will normally have two values printed on the lens. Aminimum effective aperture at the shortest focal length and then a slower effective aperture at the longest focal length.
    c. Consider using manual focus or a mixed manual focus and auto focus approach with areas such as sky, water, plain walls that do not contain detailed features.

    (See Chapter 2.8 for more information on auto focus)

 

6.2 My photos have a narrow depth of field

There are several factors that affect the depth of field. You can increase the depth of field on your camera by:

  • * increasing the aperture value
  • decreasing the focal length
  • increasing the distance to your subject
  • using a smaller size image sensor
  • using auto focus to shift the critical focus if appropriate You can also consult a depth of field chart provided by your lens manufacturer. There is a point at which you will experience diminishing returns in image quality while increasing the aperture value to maximize the depth of field. The image will begin to be degraded by diffraction losses if you use to high of an aperture value such as f/22 versus f/8, f/11 or f/16. You may be able to use auto focus to increase the sharpness of your panorama depending upon your subject, available light, lens, and camera. Using auto focus allows you to move the critical focus for each position in your panorama.

    (See Chapter 2.8 for more information on auto focus)
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6.3 My camera is missing pictures, or the first exposure

There could be several causes for your camera to miss pictures:

  1. 1. The EPIC Pro’s platform is moving faster than your camera can take pictures.
    a. Navigate to ‘Options’ > ‘Time per Pic’ in the EPIC Pro Menu.
    b. Use the directional keys to increase the time that the EPIC Pro will wait before moving.
  2. While using auto focus you did not focus the lens before starting your panorama.
    a. Press the shutter button on your camera halfway to engage the focus system and achieve good focus before starting your panorama.
  3. Autofocus is not achieving focus and not taking pictures.
    a. Navigate to ‘Options’ > ‘Expert Options’ > ‘Shutter Length’ in the EPIC Pro Menu. Increase the value of the ‘Shutter Length’ setting to a value greater than ‘Time per Pic’ to permit the autofocus sub system longer to achieve good focus.
    b. If you have a faster lens (lower minimum aperture value such as f/2.8) consider using this lens. Note that a zoom lens will normally have two values printed on the lens. A minimum effective aperture at the shortest focal length and then a slower effective aperture at the longest focal length.
    c. Consider using manual focus or a mixed manual focus and auto focus approach with areas such as sky, water, plain walls that do not contain detailed features.

 

6.4 The electronic trigger cable is not actuating the camera shutter

There are a few common reasons why the electronic trigger cable might not be actuating the camera shutter.

  1. Ensure that the electronic trigger cable is connected to the camera body and to the EPIC Pro on the left of the LCD display.
  2. Verify that a memory card has been inserted into the camera and that it is not full.
  3. Verify that the camera is powered and that there is sufficient charge on the EPIC Pro battery to complete a panorama. (See Chapter 2.2 for checking battery status.)
  4. If you plan on using manual focus, verify that the lens is in the manual focus mode.
  5. If you plan on using auto focus, ensure that you are able to achieve focus by pressing the shutter button half way to engage the auto focus sub system.

(See Chapter 2.8 for more information on auto focus)

 

6.5 The electronic trigger cable is not allowing the camera to autofocus

  1. Navigate to ‘Options’ > ‘Expert Options’ > ‘Shutter Length’ in the EPIC Pro Menu. Increase the value of the ‘Shutter Length’ setting to a value greater than ‘Time per Pic’ to give your auto focus sub system longer to achieve good focus.
  2. If you have a faster lens (lower minimum aperture value such as f/2.8) consider using this lens. Note that a zoom lens will normally have two values printed on the lens. A minimum effective aperture at the shortest focal length and then a slower effective aperture at the longest focal length.
  3. Check the servo mode or release policy of the servo mode. Different camera manufacturers use different terms for the servo modes. Typically a single servo mode uses a focus policy where the camera will not actuate the shutter unless the auto focus system communicates that a good focus was achieved. On some cameras you can change the default focus policy to a release policy where the photograph will be captured regardless of whether the camera achieves good focus. Continuous servo modes typically have a default policy of release where the trigger will be actuated regardless of the whether the camera achieved a good focus. Release policy can cause more problems than it solves depending upon your equipment and the subject you are photographing.
  4. Consider using manual focus or a mixed manual focus and auto focus approach with areas such as sky, water, plain walls that do not contain detailed features.

    (See Chapter 2.8 for more information on auto focus)

 

6.6 My panoramas are distorted or misaligned

There could be several causes for distorted or misaligned panoramas:

  1. Check your setup for errors.
    a. Go through the Set-up steps in Chapter 2. Note: Remember that you must repeat this every time you change the camera, lens or focal length.
    b. Make sure that your camera is tightly mounted on the EPIC Pro unit.
    c. Make sure that the EPIC Pro is firmly mounted on your tripod.
    d. Make sure that your tripod is on steady ground.
    e. Make sure that nothing disturbs the EPIC Pro while it’s taking photographs.
  2. Make adjustments for vertical or horizontal lines in your panorama. GigaPan Stitch aligns the larger elements of photos, and thus might ignore vertical or horizontal lines such as poles and window frames.
    a. Try to avoid taking panoramas with too many vertical lines in the foreground.
    b. Try using a third-party tool to stitch your panorama.
  3. Check and adjust the platform’s forward-back position. If you’re taking macro panoramas (that is, really close to the subject), you’ll need to adjust the position of the platform.
    a. Turn to Chapter 2.9: Reduce Paralax Error.
    Note: This is a time-consuming process, and should only be used when necessary. However, it may be necessary for panoramas that have subjects that are both close and far away, and macro panoramas.

 

6.7 My panoramas have vignetting

Vignetting is the result of less light reaching the edges and corners of a photo than the center of a photo. Vignetting manifests itself as a pattern of stripes in a panorama. You can adjust camera settings to minimize vignetting and you can reduce vignetting using an image editor before stitching the photos together.

Methods of minimizing vignetting while capturing photos

  1. Reduce the diameter of the camera's diaphragm by using a larger aperture value such as f/8 versus f/4. The aperture value is inversely proportional to the diameter of the diaphragm opening.
  2. Use a smaller focal length such as 200mm versus 400mm.
  3. Use a petal type lens hood or no lens hood.
  4. Newer Nikon and Canon cameras have vignetting compensation settings that help reduce vignetting for supported lenses. Nikon vignetting correction controls are located in the custom function menu. Newer Canon cameras support ‘peripheral illumination’ settings for certian lenses.
  5. Increase the amount of overlap to an percentage higher than the EPIC Pro default of 30% using the ‘Picture Overlap’ setting in the EPIC Pro Menu.


Post processing photographs to remove vignetting before stitching
At times you may need to rely on editing your photos in post-production because your camera adjustments during the capture of the panorama were not enough to eliminate vignetting or the settings would have prevented you from capturing the images due to low light conditions. Note that you are able to adjust jpeg format images to minimize vignetting, but you are able to make a more aggressive adjustment to files that are in the camera RAW format.