1) Adrew is right about the entrance pupil of Fisheye lenses for being depended ont the angle of entrance of the lightbeam. Due to the design of a Fisheye the nodal point (or better the NNP) can shift quite a bit resulting in a shifting nodal point for different shooting angles...if you shoot 6 shots you have a different overlap then when you shoot 4 shots....so your nodal point changes (believe it or not).http://michel.thoby.free.fr/Laseresult.html
2) Klaus is right about the nodal point being critical to shooting with a fisheye lens (the shorter the lens the more critical the nodal point is since usually a shorter lens catches more foreground background difference so more chance for paralax difference, then when you shoot with a 400 mm tele from a mountain pass with a clear field of view)
3) Having said that 3.5 mm off is a lot but not that much of a lot. Now APP has a nice editor to correct a lot and some settings that can help as well. But Kolor has cleverly hidden those settings a bit, but in this case you need to play with them.
Now I'm always a bit sloppy so I needed some fallback in my pano's...all recommendation made sence at some point.
Step 1: Importing
- Improvement to be made:
1) Don't import the zenith AND the nadir....(I hope I'm not talking Arab here?)....leave the nadir out the calculations. That way APP/APG has more "room" to play with the remaining pictures. This works only if you have shot using the 6, 1, 1 shooting pattern (I drop the nadir unless the nadir has information I desperatly need, like a non-repeating carpet).
2) Create a fake .XML using Papywizard (analyse th .XML it's no rocket science) and recreate the shooting pattern used....it's no silver bullet but importing with a fake .xml sure saved my day sometimes. Of course if you shoot using a Panoneed (or any of it's competition) you would have had an .xml (right Klaus).
Step 2: Detecting the Pano and editing the Pano
1) I know this sounds silly but actually getting the images in the proper orientation helps....my camera used a lens bound orientation sensor an I used a mechanical SamYang FE so I had to turn all images 90 degrees before I hit the detect button (except the zenith of course). As I said it's alchemy but I received marginally better results in doing so.
2) In tab Group Settings - Detecttion set Detection Quality to "High" and leave control points at default.
3) In tab Group Settings - Optimilisation set Optimalisation preset to "Fisheye" and "Lens distortion corrections" at "Enabled" and "Focal calculation" at "Force Identic", in order to stop APP/APG get stuck in senceless focal calculations (in which it gets stuck because the NNP is slightly off) and set distrotion calculation at "Automatic" or even "Force different", set the distortion to "Second order". This gives APP slighly more play when distorting the images (at least thats my theory and it's alchemy remmember).
4) In tab Group Settings - Preferd projection to Spherical (this can be done later in the editor but I've noticed some improvements when using this setting earlier). Set prefered extend to "Maximum projection range".
5) Go to the image properties window and check that the correct lens is detected for all the images and that the lenstype is set to Fisheye...this does happen automatically if the camera detects the FE but if you use an old mechanical lens (or a new SamYang) you should set this manually (do not forget this).
Press the green Detect button and pray to saint Steve if you are an Applelite (which me the heretic is not).
After a while you are rewarded with a panorama in the right window of the program....now it is time to press "edit".
1) Check the global RMS.....in my case.....I get a 3.26 which is okay for a FE (but unacceptable for a longer lens). This is due to the migrating character of the NNP using FE's and APP/APG is quite happy to stich a pano using that setting.....if this is way high, your sort of up the creek without a paddle so lets get a paddle....press the button with the little starfield (the control points editor button). The control point editor window opens. Select the first shot of the row and the last (in my case the 7th) using shift to select all of them. You see and list of RMS (Root Mean Square's ) of all the links APP/APG has come up with.....some a great, some are not so great (mine at the moment range from 1,77 to 3,90 and that is reasonable but not great (right Klaus?). So I click the control points tab in the same window to se the results of all the individual control points. The best control points have a RMS of 0.05 the worst an RMS of 8.4......Now I select everything >= to 4.000 (using the shift key) and then I take the plunge and press <delete>. Then you have two buttons to press....
a) The Optimization button (BAD, BAD button)....
b) The Quick Optimization button
At this point NEVER EVER EVER NEVER chose the first one.....since it can destroy all the work you just have done (even when manually reaganging CP's and manually shifting images around). I have wanted to wage war on the entire French population on more then on occasion when I started using APP and hours of work were distroyed by one little button, but luckyly for the French Audrey Tautou exists (and the Force de Frappe but that is of minor importance
). Note to mr. Jenny an "Are you sure?" under this button would be nice (as in much appreciated and a reason to upgrade). And yes you can use the "Control-Z" button I found that out to ;-) after some (as in a lot of) wasted time and effort.
Use the Quick Optimization button and APP/APG does some magic.....it will adapt the warping parameters to the new settings. And as a result the good control points turn more gooder or even better. Great that is what we want....a quick fix without a lot of mannual hacking CP's right...well APP/APG provides....now if you have a global RMS of 1.99 (even Klaus would sort of like this, right Klaus?).
Then we pray to reverend Thorvald and press the little cogwheel.....the render settings menu appears....
Step 3: Rendering the Pano
In the render settings I leave everything as it is.....(this is an industrial complex right, so no sea in the picture, since if there was I would clicki the checkbox "Diamond Weighing" in order to blend waves a bit more (these pesky critters never pose when you want them to) and save a bit of trouble in the post editing (also this is alchemy, sometimes it helps sometimes it doesn't)....BTW it helps with fast moving clouds as well and even if there are no people or machines moving I would keep the "Anti ghost" settings because this setting also seems to a slightly better job of stitching....details that are not stiched correctly can be ghosted away.
Step 4: Render.....
Step 5: Check the render for defects....some will remain....if you are a bit sloppy....(in your case due to the lens not being possitioned correctly).....
First I drive the pano through KRPANO (buy at KRPANO.com or order with Panotour) in order to obtain 6 nice squares that are corrected in order to let straight lines run straight again....(use the Convert Sphere to Cube droplet.bat).....then I edit out the defects on the squares. Tedious work in your case since you have an allignment error to start with so I suspect a lot small errors , I use the Gimp Transformation - Perspective transform on local selections, and then correct the edges using the clone brush, but maybe Cowdung and Mud has come up with a more appropriate algoritm. After all the 6 squares have been treated and I don't edit defects that run over the border of the squares...you can recompose the Equirectilinear using the convert Cube to Sphere droplet.bat).
Some nifty editing on the equirecty to remove some "over the border defects" and hey, ready for sale, right....and well if you're worried about the final stitching quality remember what Google did to the Cologne cathedral. http://www.google.com/intl/en/culturalinstitute/worldwonders/cologne-cathedral/
And be happy....