What Equipment Do You Need to Shoot Panoramas for Virtual Tours


A high-quality DSLR camera is required to create panoramic images. It should have a variety of lenses and be able to expose bracketing. Changeable lenses are essential for creating a detailed and practical panorama. A high-megapixel camera is required to use a wide-angle lens or fisheye one. Because a wide-angle lens bends light so that more images can be fit on the same number of pixels, low-megapixel cameras will not be able to handle the stretching around the edges of your fisheye images. A fisheye lens should have a minimum of 16 megapixels and a wide-angle lens with a minimum of 10 megapixels.

If you have the budget, consider purchasing a camera with exposure bracketing. This will enable you to take high dynamic range (or HDR) images, and it is an excellent tool for creating roundly exposed images for virtual tours. Professional-grade DSLR cameras will have exposure bracketing and high megapixels. The Canon 60d is a great entry-level camera. They are available for as low as PS600 and produce stunning images. The Canon EOS 5D Mark IIi body is public for less than PS2000 if you’re willing to spend more.


Opinions differ on which type of lens is best for achieving the best results. While some virtual tour photographers prefer wide-angle lenses, others prefer a full-finish eye. Both have their advantages. Wide-angle lenses reduce pixel distortion at the edges and decrease the chance of pixilation in a panorama. This can severely impact the quality of your virtual tours. However, they require more images to create one picture. This can significantly increase production time and post-processing time and make it more likely that some of your photographs may not be appropriately stitched. Full fisheye lenses, on the other side, only require a handful of images to create a panorama. However, they use the same amount of pixels to take a larger photo, so the quality is lower. If you use your fisheye lens correctly, focus well, and pay attention to how your images look, then there’s nothing a fisheye can do better than a wide-angle. It also takes less time and is easier to use. The Sigma 8mm autofocus is a great choice and can be purchased for as low as PS800.


Tripods are something amateur photographers often get wrong a lot before they master them. Remember that your panorama scene must be centered around your nodal point. Your first concern is to ensure that the camera doesn’t move from its nodal position while you are shooting. Wind, accidental knocking of the tripod, and having to reposition your tripod head are your enemies. These are all things that can be avoided by investing in sturdy equipment. A Manfrotto tripod head and legs can be purchased for as low as PS500. The ball tripod head makes it easy to level your Panohead in any situation, even on rough terrain. Recently, I shot a panoramic photo of a four-story sculpture from nine feet above the ground. I was able to stabilize the tripod by placing two legs on a wooden beam and the third on the shaft. The tripod almost doubled in size, making it impossible to take a panoramic shot without a ball tripod head.


The Panohead is a unique piece of equipment used to find the nodal point (or no parallax). Panoramic images can be made from the same perspective by using the nodal point. If your perspective changes by even a few millimeters, objects will appear slightly closer or farther apart from each other. This can cause problems when stitching them together. You can address this problem without purchasing a pano head and tripod. The Philopod Pitch Variation method, which is extremely popular, can be used. However, you need a good tripod to ensure that your panoramas will look great every time. Panoheads are available in a variety of sizes and shapes, including the affordable Panosaurous or the massive Motorised Automatic Rotating VR Head. After trying several, I found that the fully robotic T-800 Astala-vista pano heads are capable of doing very little that is impossible with a modular setup. For a refreshingly budget-friendly PS200, pick up a ninja Nodal.