Projections in Panorama Photography

Stitching programs often have a variety of way to project a spherical panorama on a flat surface. The wider the view, the more distortion is introduced in order to achieve this “impossible task”. Choosing the best method (and compromises) for a specific panorama can be confusing!

I’ve stitched the same image, a 4 image panorama covering 142 degrees horizontally and 80 degrees vertically, in most of the options offered in the stitching program I use, PTGui. I skipped the transverse versions, as they are the same as the standard versions, except they are designed for tall images, like trees, skyscrapers and waterfalls.

In looking at these images, note the different ways the edges are distorted or compressed. Also, the waves provide a lot of clues as to what each projection does to the image. In this case, I think the rectangular projection with horizontal compression does the best job.

projections 1

projections 2


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