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Forums » General Gigapanning » Exposure AND Focus Bracketing ....

Exposure AND Focus Bracketing ....
Art Pollard Art Pollard
Total Posts: 11

Has anyone figured out a way to both focus bracket AND exposure bracket using the Gigapan (automatically)?

I’ve been shooting some 360s x 180s and have to use a 24mm lens. (Which takes 35 photos to capture.) I’d like to get more resolution so if I can shoot with a 50mm lens, it should take 90 shots so three times the resolution. Unfortunately, if I do that, I don’t have the depth of field that I get with the 24mm which leads me to focus stacking.

I’ve tried to find an external control that can do this but haven’t quite found what I’m looking for — yet. Some do focus shifting, some exposure bracketing rarely both. The one I found that does both won’t do Nikon (I’m shooting with a D800E.)



cwinhall cwinhall
Total Posts: 27

Hi Art,

This may come across as a dumb suggestion but seeing as you haven’t mentioned what you are photographing I will suggest it.

Have you tried increasing your aperture on your camera to increase the hyperfocal distance, thus maximising the subject in focus.

There are many apps out there that will work out your most efficient hyperfocal distance depending on your lens, your aperture and your desired focus distance.

Hope this helps.

Art Pollard Art Pollard
Total Posts: 11

Thanks. Right now, I can do the hyperfocal thing with my 24mm (on a full frame) and get from 5’ to Infinity in one shot when focused just shy of infinity. But what I’d like to do is to use a 50mm lens which will take the number of shots per panorama from 35 up to 90 and I’ll get higher resolution in the process. Unfortunately, if I use a 50mm lens, I’ll need two shots to capture the same focal range.

Nathan Wong Nathan Wong
Total Posts: 22

Not sure if this is what you’re talking about, but I ran across this person’s pictures on Flickr. You might want to get hold of him to see how he does it. http://www.flickr.com/photos/seanmolin/6911745136/

cwinhall cwinhall
Total Posts: 27

I think he is after something the opposite of that. Am I right in saying that you want the whole image to be in focus Art?

Your only option I feel to automate this would be to do it through software for controlling your camera.

Nathan Wong Nathan Wong
Total Posts: 22

He might be able to do the opposite by focus stacking, so that guy may still be able to help. I think it’s just easier to set the hyperfocal distance with the aperture.

Art Pollard Art Pollard
Total Posts: 11

Yes, I was planning on focus stacking and exposure bracketing. I’d like to be able to have the entire panorama in focus. So right now, I shoot the 360 panorama with a 24mm lens which gives me the depth of field that I need. (I can go from 5’ to infinity at f-16.) I’d like to use a 50mm lens which will capture the same panorama in 90 shots that I currently use 35 shots to capture. This will give me greater resolution. However I don’t have the same deep depth of field with the 50mm lens as the 24mm lens. Because of this, I’ll have to resort to focus stacking to get the deep depth of field I’m seeking.

What I’d like to do is find a device which is capable of controlling the focus of my camera (D800E) as well as exposure bracketing. Even better would be if there would be a way that the Gigapan head could trigger the device. I’ve thought about programming an Arduino board to do this and have downloaded Nikon’s specs for controlling the camera but after reviewing the docs it is clear that it isn’t a trivial process. I’d like to automate this as much as possible as that way I can avoid errors if/when I do it manually.

Any ideas?

Jason Buchheim Jason Buchheim
Total Posts: 86

Hello Art,

I do not believe you can control focus with Nikon computer interface in an ‘Absolute’ sense, with repeatable results for each frame- I believe its a relative control (focus in some, focus in some, focus out some, focus out some – not ’move camera focus to this point)

I believe you would be best suited to go ahead a build an Arduino device that focused the lens in steps and fired the shutter. It would be trivial to have an Aruino control a stepper motor driver and have the stepper motor attached to the lens with a pulley. Not sure how to have limits set, but there would be plenty of switch inputs capable of receiving a limit switch setting on the Arduino, and the Arduino could fire the shutter of the camera AND send a signal back to the Gigapan unit to advance to the next frame when its time.

It is easy to have the Gigapan send a signal to the Arduino, the arduino inputs will directly detect the Gigapans USB outputs. I have done this. Maybe an optoisolator is advised though.

It would be a fun project! Now I want to go build one…

Here I find someone built similar project with servo http://adisoffer.tumblr.com/post/23469538631/bu…

and here is an instructable project


Prosound Prosound
Total Posts: 1

Art for your camera there is software that will control exposure bracketing, altho it would be a nightmare to use with a Gigapan. You would have to use Helicon Focus available at www.heliconsoft.com/heliconfocus.html
Installed on a labtop helicon focus would do the exposure bracketing, but you would manually have to move the gigapan from each part of the pano to the next and shoot the exposure bracket from that position once you have all those shots done. Then use the helicon software to stack each positions shots together then use the stich software to create the pano.
I have done it, but it takes a while to do where its worth it or not is really up to you. This is the only way I know to do this atm but some clever software would allow this to be automated but alas im not a programmer….
hope this helps


The Gigapanographer Currently Known as "Kilgore661" The Gigapanogra...
Total Posts: 108

This gigapan http://www.gigapan.com/gigapans/124980 was made with a 200mm lens using exactly the technique Prosound suggests.

Edit: My bad, that was done with a 17-55 at 55mm. This one http://www.gigapan.com/gigapans/120810 was done with a 200mm.

Forums» General Gigapanning » Exposure AND Focus Bracketing ....