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Shooting panoramas with a DSLR : example with a Nikon D7200

How to shoot, assemble and link panoramas with a DSLR ?

Here is an example with a Nikon D7200, with a complete zenith, and a partial nadir (opposite of the zenith, cropped or replaced by your logo). This technique can be used with other brands (Canon, Sony, …) or models than the D7200. Double-check that the HDR is supported, or, in case of bracketed shots , that you can trigger the correct amount of pictures automatically. For regular use, it is also important that your settings remain permanent, so that you don’t have to manually alter the default settings each time you turn the camera on. With Nikons, this is the difference between D3000’s, D5000’s and D7000’s series.

What you need ?

1/ Lens

We used a manual focus 8MM Samyang lens : Manual focus is no problem because focus will always be locked to “infinity” when shooting panoramas. You will need to turn the aperture ring of the Samyang fully to F22, otherwise you will get an fEE error on the D7200.

A 8MM Samyang on a Nikon APS-C will require 8 shots or even 6 shots if you accept a bigger nadir. If you go for the more expensive Sigma 8mm, then only 4 shots are enough !

2/ Panoramic head

We also need a panoramic head, that will allow to shoot the pictures respecting the nodal point to avoid parallax errors. With the ultralight Tomshot360 panohead that fits on the Samyang, Sigma and some others, you don’t even need to adjust the nodal point any more. With the Nikon D7200 APS-C sensor (1.5x crop factor), the Tomshot head is tilted 5.5 degrees vertically, and you will have to shoot diagonally to have the entire zenith, without having to take an additional dedicated picture. Please note that settings are different for a Canon DSLR, due to the different crop factor (1.6 instead of 1.5).

Here you have the Tomshot’s lens compatibility list, giving the number of shots and the size of the nadir (zenith is allways captured) depending on your DSLR and lens model.

3/ Tripod & Remote Shutter

Then of course, you need a good tripod, like Nodalview’s tripod for example. We also suggest a remote control shutter : it’s a must to shoot steady HDR or bracketed shots. There is Nikon’s wireless remote control (ML-L3), or Nikon’s smartphone’s app “Nikon Wireless Mobility” that will allow you to shoot remotely, but 1/ we could not find a way to shoot brackets automatically, and 2/you have to always activate the remote in the settings of the D7200 before using them (no permanent setting)

Therefore we prefer the wired remote control from Neweer, that does the job :

Shooting HDR (one picture) or bracketed pictures (3 pictures or more) depends on many factors : HDR is faster and gives good results, while bracketed images give stunning results but impact the upload process : You upload 24 pictures (brackets of 3 pictures) instead of 8.

Shooting an HDR panorama

In the settings of the D7200 (Menu button, then Shooting Menu), select HDR ON (for series, not single shot), and a sensitivity option. Hopefully, these settings will remain when switching off the D7200.

If the HDR setting is disabled, turn BRKT mode OFF by pushing the BRKT button on the left side of the D7200 (near the lens), and selecting 0 pictures by rotating the “main command dial”.

Shoot the eight pictures with the remote control, turning 45 degrees clockwise.

Shooting a bracketed panorama

The settings in the D7200 are a little more complicated, if you want to shoot bracketed pictures automatically, with only one tap on the remote control.

First, make sure the HDR mode is OFF (Menu > Shooting Menu), otherwise, bracketing is disabled.

Setting the number of pictures and the EV interval

While pushing the “Brkt” button on the left side of the D7200 near the lens, rotate the “main command dial” to the desired number of pictures. And with the “subcommand dial”, select the EV interval. A good choice is 3 pictures : EV-2, EV0, EV+2.

Shooting the whole bracket automatically

Rotate the “mode dial” on “A”, and the “release mode dial” on “Self timer”.
In the Custom Settings Menu of the D7200, select c Timers/AE Lock, C3 Self Timer, and apply a self timer delay of 2 seconds.

Here we are : only one press on the shutter remote control will trigger 3 pictures EV-2, EV0 and EV+2 in sequence.

Shoot the eight x 3 pictures with the remote control, turning 45 degrees clockwise.

Stitching the individual pictures on Nodalview

Login to your account in Nodalview, and select in the menu : Assembler Studio.

Select the “8 shots every 45 degrees” shooting scenario, 3 brackets (or only one for HDR), the fisheye lens for the Samyang 8mm, and AutoRender.

After giving a name to your panorama, select the 8 pictures (or 24 bracketed pictures) from the D7200 memory card connected to your pc. Wait for the upload and assembly process, then click on “View Tour” and double-click to view your new panorama.

With Nikon D7200

Panorama built with Nodalview and a Nikon D7200
Nikon D7200 Panorama

As a comparison, same pano with Samsung Edge 6 plus :

Panorama built with Nodalview and a Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge +
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge + panorama