I do have another challenge and wanted to see what you thought. I bought a 15mm Sigma fisheye lens, so now I only have to take 6 shots around. I took shots of a football stadium...6 around plus 1 zenith. I wanted to get your expertise on the best way to stitch this kind of pano with a zenith. I did use the control points editor and delete all the bad links. My question is the 7th image..the zenith...what images should it be linked to? Or any tricks? I have put these images in the same place if you wanted to take a look.
This stadium is really cool. The file is Centerfield.zip http://mediafuel.net/downloads/lucasoil
I'm just rendering it - takes a while on my old PC - then will post.
Anyway - here are some tips:
1. I use a Nikkor 10.5mm FE on my Nikon D40. This is optically the same as your Canon 15mm FE on your Canon 5D - both are fullframe FE lenses and produce images with 180 degree FOV on the diagonal.
Instead of shooting 6-around at eero degrees pitch and the zenith at +90 degrees I shoot the main row of 6-around at about -10 degrees of opitch and the 'zenith' at about +65 degrees of pitch.
This gives full 360x180 coverage and just leaves a small 'hole' at the nadir no larger than the rotator of my pano head (a NN5) and covers the zenith but with many scenes will also give more chance of getting a good link between the 'zenith' and the main row. In theory one good link between the zenith and the main row is enough.
You might try this and shoot say threee zenith shots - a couple at +65 with different yaw values and one at +90 - that way you'll have a choice.
2. Shoot with fixed manual settings for both aperture and shutter speed. And custom white balance. And fixed manual focus, FE lenses have huge DOF.
3. Use a larger aperture - I don't think there's any need to stop down to F22 in fcat such a small aperture may cause problems with image quality - I usually shoot at F6 to F8 with my Nikkor 10.5mm FE. FE lenses have huge DOF anyway.
4. The Canon 5D with the Canon 15mm FE is a very nice pano setup. You will get great results, with finished final 360x180s of at least 10000x5000 pixels which will provide a nice degree of zoom-in capability when displayed as fullscreen VRs. Only downside is they will take longer to render; a fast quad core CPU with at least 4GB RAM and some fast hard drives would be a great platform for stitching this sort of scene shot with your 5D/15mm FE pano setup.