Ask the VR Photography Experts

Q: I am inquiring wether or not it is possible to use a 28mm f/2.8D wide angle lens to be able to make cubics. Could use this lens and take images every 45 degrees, stich these together to get someting close the the product of a spherical fisheye output?

A: The 28mm Nikkor lens, when used in portrait mode on a 35mm camera, has a vertical field of view of about 65° and a horizontal field of view of about 46°. Thus, shooting an image every 45° horizontally would not provide any overlap for stitching. The 28mm lens requires that neighboring images be shot every 20°-30° (18 or 12 shots per 360° horizontal view) in order to have sufficient image overlap for stitching.

Similarly, the 65° vertical coverage (32.5° above and below center) is insufficient to cover the full 180° vertical view, even if you shoot a top and bottom "cap" image facing straight up and straight down.

Therefore, you would probably need to shoot 3 rows of 12-18 images each (one angled upward at 45°, one level with the horizon, and one downward at 45°), plus your top and bottom "cap" images, in order to have sufficient overlap and full coverage of the entire cubic scene.

Then, you would need a multi-row stitching software application, such as the RealViz Stitcher, to assemble it all (Apple's QTVRAS does not handle multi-row stitching).

So the answer to your question is "Yes, you can use that lens to shoot cubic VRs." However, each panorama will require 38-56 source images and a cubic stitching software application.

- Scott Highton