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PostPosted: Sun Oct 26, 2008 9:48 am 
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I know, this sort of question has been asked countless times before, but since both hardware and software evolve, yesterday's answers might have to be amended.
So here it is : I need a new computer, and I am aware that the soon to be released 2.0 version of Autopano will benefit from 64 bit and graphic card acceleration, as does Photoshop CS4.
So, it will be Vista 64 with as much RAM as I can afford... but what else is important... up to which point does it make sense to spend extra money on a faster graphics card, how important does a scratch disc remain with increased RAM, and so on.
The budget is limited to NZ $ 2000 -3000, which is 1000 - 1500 Euro.
Thanks for your ideas. - Jef


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 26, 2008 9:57 am 
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Jef,

Seems to have been a while since you posted here.

What sort of panos do you shoot and with what camera/lenses? Do yoiu use bracketing a lot?

I guess I am asking how many images at was res. do you normally stitch for your panos?

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Many different Nodal Ninja and Agnos pano heads. Merlin/Panogear mount with Papywizard on Nokia Internet tablets.
Nikon D5100 and D40, Sigma 8mm f3.5 FE, Nikon 10.5mm FE, 35mm, 50mm, 18-55mm, 70-210mm. Promote control.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 26, 2008 7:55 pm 
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Hi Mediavets,
For my (infrequent) panos, I use a Fuji S5 with Nikon 10.5, 50 1.8 and 105 Micro. Most panos would be made up of 20-40 images at 12 Mpixel, if starting from RAW, or 5 times that amount if starting from bracketed JPGs.
A few times I have taken it a step further, by taking 3 or 4 different focus settings. In that case, it's first to Photomatix, then to Helicon Focus, and finally to Autopano Pro. That of course is not a very efficient workflow, and I have great expectations for Autopano 2.0 Giga . If it works out the way I understand it, it will allow us to do all these things "in house", and hopefully quite fast.
Of course, nobody buys a computer in function of just one program... I do quite a lot of real estate photography, and there Photomatix first has to crunch through 20 to 30 sets of bracketed shots before I adjust colour, perspective, levels, and apply sharpening... Speeding up all those repetitive steps should save me a lot of time.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 26, 2008 9:07 pm 
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For APP the most important thing seems to be disk read/write speed. Use RAID if you can afford it. All the other things aren't as important. Of course RAM is always good to have, lots of RAM = less disk use.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2008 4:49 pm 
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It would be easy to overspend on the graphics card. For photoshop CS4 they take advantage of 512mb or 1gb of memory (not necessarily required but helpful for big images) but the speed of the card is not very important (any modern mid range card will do great). I can't speak to APP's use of the GPU


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 9:14 am 
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Get some Velociraptors and go for some RAID solution, 5 or similar if you can afford the disks. At least get two and strip them.

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Some of my panoramas, posted in the Autopano Pro flickr group.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 4:07 pm 
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foundation wrote:
It would be easy to overspend on the graphics card. For photoshop CS4 they take advantage of 512mb or 1gb of memory (not necessarily required but helpful for big images) but the speed of the card is not very important (any modern mid range card will do great). I can't speak to APP's use of the GPU

How long do you expect to use the PC? My guess is that programs will start to use the graphics card features more and more. CS5 and CS6 and CS7 will probably each use more and more of it.

On the other hand, I've added RAM and Disk, and am considering a processor upgrade and a new video card. $100 in RAM here, $100 for a faster processor there, .... pretty soon I could buy a new system. While the price of more capable PCs is very low, the software is the issue--I have to buy Windows pro (for networking) and Office, and a bunch of other apps..... And then there is the cost of setting everything up....


Last edited by hankkarl on Tue Oct 28, 2008 4:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2008 12:43 pm 
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hankkarl wrote:
...While the price of more capable PCs is very low, the software is the issue--I have to buy Windows pro (for networking) and Office, and a bunch of other apps..... And then there is the cost of setting everything up....

You don't have to purchase Microsoft Windows or Microsoft Office. There are free alternatives. Instead of Microsoft Windows I run the Ubuntu distribution of GNU/Linux, which has very good networking, including Samba, which provides compatibility with Microsoft networking. Instead of Microsoft Office I use OpenOffice, which provides all the word processing and spreadsheet capabilities I need. Instead of using Adobe Photoshop, I manage with The Gimp.

Setup is still a cost, of course, but sometimes you can find someone willing to set it up for you, in exchange for some of your time.

I have been watching computers become obsolete for a long time. Almost always a computer is discarded because it doesn't have enough memory, so I advocate getting as much RAM as you can afford. When I got my current computer, several years ago, there was a problem with the motherboard. The shop that built it for me was willing to replace it at no cost, since it was within the warranty, but I asked them to replace it instead with a motherboard that would hold more RAM, and to install as much RAM as the motherboard would hold. As a result, my computer, though several years old, is capable of running modern software.

If I were buying a new computer today, I would get one with 16 or 32 GiB of RAM and a 64-bit processor. I would count on being able to add external hard drives in the future, but you can't add external RAM.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2008 1:40 pm 
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Tried open office, its not bad, but not as good as MS products. Sure, if all you're doing is some elementary word processing, its ok (although my kids hate it compared to MS word).

The open office spreadsheet again is ok for simple stuff, but adding macros and such, its not compatible with excel.

But if you have to do complex Access stuff, the open office db seems to be lacking.
Powerpoint had no equivelant--the open office version is much more difficult to use.

Gimp? not even close to PS CS3. And what about all the other apps from Adobe? What's the free version of Dreamweaver? Aftereffects? Premier? Fireworks? Flash? Illustrator?

There is both an initial cost and a royalty to using the free stuff. But its paid in time, not money. As you mention, the setup costs time (or money if you hire someone to do it). The use of the programs costs more time than the use of the commercial offerings. For example, you can crank out a website with nothing but a text editor, but its a lot faster with a tool like Dreamweaver. And the integration of the Adobe products makes you even more productive.

As the man in the commercial (the guy selling oil changes) said "you can pay me now, or you can pay me later."

Edit: Oh yea, one more thing. There are free pano stitchers. But none are as good as APP.


Last edited by hankkarl on Wed Oct 29, 2008 1:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2008 2:08 pm 
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Topics like this tend to get long, so here is my 2 cents, and nothing more:

I had far less **** with Linux than I did with years of using windows, far less times wasted on pointless fails. When something does go wrong, I actually get a meaningful error report based on which I can fix things (unlike Windows, where the answer is either a reinstall or format).

Ideas of what is good can differ. OpenOffice writes standards-compliant documents in open formats that can be viewed on many platforms. Also if you save the same document from MS Office and OpenOffice you will see that the OOo one is over 50% smaller.

People sometimes (often!) hate things just because they're different, its also something that needs to be taken into consideration. Never mind that that something can be better in many ways, but it has different icons so they hate it. People. Usually its just a matter of taking a day or two to learn the things that are new or different to the other product we've been stuck with for years.

Gimp has things that Photoshop doesn't and vice versa as well, but its true that Photoshop has many more things that Gimp doesn't than the other way around. Also there is no replacement yet for the top 3 non-linear video editors for Windows and Mac.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2008 9:57 am 
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Thanks to you all...


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