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PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 7:13 am 
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Oops, should have done a little more reseach, the panogear setup comes with an L bracket. Tick that one off!


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 6:35 pm 
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Hello "Guinea Pig" ;)

Very happy if you could share your experience with us ...

Concerning connectivity to the mount :

- you can use the mount only with the hand-controler who have some built-in panorama capabilities.

- you can use a "wired" direct link whith a computer trough the Hand controler connected with a RS232 cable (who is normally delivered with the mounth) this cable should be connected to the PC trough a USB/SERIAL device like "Keyspan" except if your PC is equiped with a RS232 port ... but this become very rare with modern PC's!
By this way you will be able to use Papywizard to control the head! (to be confirmed in practice)

- you can use a BT device like the Deltawave "PayMerlin" BT module or like of one of the "Ursa Minor" BT modules
By this way you will be able to use Papywizard to control the head! (to be confirmed in practice)
or the Androïd experimental application (PanoramaApp free on Android Market) (to be confirmed on practice)

Waiting for news ... :):):)

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Merlin + Papywizard on Windows 7 & Nokia 770 § N810 & Acer (Netbook) + PanoramaApp Androïd + Deltawave PapyMerlin BT + Autopano
Spherical Pano (180 x 360) with Canon 40D + Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 Zoom & Pôle Pano with Canon 5D MK2 and shaved Tokina 10-17 3.5-4.5 AF DX Fisheye
Gigapixel photography with Nikon D200 + Sigma 70-200 F 2.8 EX DG APO HSM


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2012 12:08 am 
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Thank you for your input!

I have placed the order for the All-View and expect delivery sometime next week. As soon I have it I will begin posting close-up photos and video overviewing the features that are apparent to me. I will then begin delving into setting it up to use papywizard and reviewing its functionality. I will definitely use a RS-232 direct cable for the time being to get papywizard working. I will also be testing out the controllers built in ability to take panoramas on its own, and am particularly curious as to whether it will be capable of taking Gigapans. I've read through most of the manual, and it seems to have the functionality of take multiple row panoramas, so a Gigapan shouldn't be out of reach. This would be nice to have built in, especially for the price!

I will keep you updated on how I go.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2012 4:53 am 
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Ok Guys,

I just received my All-View today and have begun fiddling. My first impression is that it is a big mount, but feels very sturdy with my 60D, battery grip, and Tamron 18-270 lens. It is made out of a hard plastic that feels very durable. The head moves smoothly and balances the camera nicely.

The first thing I tried out as soon as I had it put together was the built in Pano mode, and I love it! It is very simple to setup, and will be capable of taking gigapans quite easily. I've posted a video of it in action ( see link below ) as well as the below photos. One thing is that it does not ship with any battery supply, but I was able to use a cheap universal supply I had laying around to power it for the time being.

My next step will be attempting a gigapan with it as is. I will then begin testing out papywizard as soon as I have a usb to serial converter. Feel free to post any questions you have and I will investigate.

Video of All-View in action
http://youtu.be/pO9lNQmV_PA

*** Edited by Rob - the other image locations were dead links, please re-edit the links if you still have images available? ***


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2012 5:54 am 
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Very interesting, please keep us posted on your adventure with the Celestron All View

Thanks
Henrik


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2012 6:49 am 
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Will Do.:)

One thing I should update is the material, I thought at first it was all plastic but there is actually quite a bit of metal on it. I'm not sure what type, but it feels like it might be either pot metal or aluminum, though I'm no expert. Also, for anyone that is wondering, the tripod IS REMOVABLE! You can see the bottom of the mount below, I believe it's a standard thread.

*** Edited by Rob - the link originally provided is now dead, please edit the post and give us a new link? ***


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2012 6:53 am 
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What about power ? Are batteries included in the bottom of the head ? or external power supply ? interested also to know weight of the whole head ? :)

Thanks

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2012 9:40 pm 
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The battery compartment is inside the head, it holds x10 AA batteries. At this point, power is my main concern with the head, as I don't believe 10 AA batteries will be capable of powering the head for a full length gigapan. I will most likely be getting and external juice-pack to power the head on extended shoots.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2012 7:08 am 
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my27questions wrote:
The battery compartment is inside the head, it holds x10 AA batteries. At this point, power is my main concern with the head, as I don't believe 10 AA batteries will be capable of powering the head for a full length gigapan. I will most likely be getting and external juice-pack to power the head on extended shoots.

Thanks for details, perhaps find a way to adapt a battery inside the head ? as it's done for Panogear ;)

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2012 8:30 am 
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I would like to do something like that, so there aren't any cords to worry about getting tangled up in. For the time being though, I'm just going to pick up a simple 12v power pack like the Celestron Power Tank, it seems pretty nifty and would be able to power the head all night, and possibly my camer too. Does anyone on here have any experience with power packs like that?


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2012 8:38 am 
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By the way, here is the link to my first Gigapan attempt with this head. The location is nothing special, but gave me a good place to setup the rig to be undisturbed. I had 2 major issues that I felt ruined the panorama 1. The L Bracket that is included with the mount does not allow my camera to move far enough back to center the nodal point over the pivot, which caused the issues with bars that you will see. 2. I shot this at F22 to try and allow for the largest focal range since there are many foreground objects, but this actuall hurt the overall clarity of the shots since my lense gets fuzzy at high f-stops. Any advise from you guys on taking photos like this to prevent these types of issues would be greatly appreciated.

Gigapan Link: http://gigapan.org/gigapans/100780


Last edited by my27questions on Fri Mar 16, 2012 8:38 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2012 12:43 pm 
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well you just need to adjust the Nodal point, as you have a few close errors.
It would be interesting if you can it to shoot multiple exposures per position (HDR)

thanks for sharing and keep us posted, please
Henrik


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2012 9:21 am 
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tived wrote:
well you just need to adjust the Nodal point, as you have a few close errors.
It would be interesting if you can it to shoot multiple exposures per position (HDR)

thanks for sharing and keep us posted, please
Henrik

Not a problem. I am going to test the HDR functionality out tomorrow. I'll use the cameras built in exposure bracketing (of course) with the continuos shot setting, I think since the mount is able to keep the shutter release open continuosly for extended periods it should be like holding the shutter normally for 3 shot bracketing.

Also, as far as the power situation is going, I picked up a 500 amp lead-acid power supply from Walmart for like 50 buck, and also a cigarette adapter to plug into it and into my nount. This is very similar to the Celestron power tank, just without the big flashlight. I hope that when fully charged, this should be able to power the mount for an entire days shooting. I'll let you guys know how it works out.

On a side note, I have ordered the serial-usb adapter to connect the mount to my laptop. I will begin testing papywizard as soon as its in.

*** Edited by Rob - the image locations were dead links, please re-edit the links if you still have images available? ***


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2012 7:39 am 
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Well, I have discovered a major problem with shooting gigapans with the handset control on this mount. It seems that when the field of view is too small, and the range of the photo is too large (which is the situation when shooting gigapans), the handset looses it's marbles and begins functioning eratically. Example: If I set the field of view to my zoom lense at full zoom (which works out to about H:8 degrees V:5 degrees based on the measurements from the auto setup mode), and set the picture range (+- 90 degrees horizontally from center and +- 10 degrees vertically from center), then set the halt time ( 2 seconds) and the exposure time ( 5 seconds), the mount should then calculate the amount of shots it takes to take the photo but instead shows an asterisk and begins counting down from random numbers after moving to the first point. This basically make the auto shooting useless because it will sometimes countdown from as much as 600 seconds between shots, even though I only set it for 2 seconds hault and 5 seconds exposure. I will be speaking with a celestron rep tomorrow if possible to explain the issue, which seems to be related to the software in the contoller. Looks like I'll be using papywizard out in the field instead.

See the link below for a video of the issue.

http://youtu.be/gA-2v6jcWtc


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2012 12:54 am 
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my27questions wrote:
Well, I have discovered a major problem with shooting gigapans with the handset control on this mount. It seems that when the field of view is too small, and the range of the photo is too large (which is the situation when shooting gigapans), the handset looses it's marbles and begins functioning eratically. Example: If I set the field of view to my zoom lense at full zoom (which works out to about H:8 degrees V:5 degrees based on the measurements from the auto setup mode), and set the picture range (+- 90 degrees horizontally from center and +- 10 degrees vertically from center), then set the halt time ( 2 seconds) and the exposure time ( 5 seconds), the mount should then calculate the amount of shots it takes to take the photo but instead shows an asterisk and begins counting down from random numbers after moving to the first point. This basically make the auto shooting useless because it will sometimes countdown from as much as 600 seconds between shots, even though I only set it for 2 seconds hault and 5 seconds exposure. I will be speaking with a celestron rep tomorrow if possible to explain the issue, which seems to be related to the software in the contoller. Looks like I'll be using papywizard out in the field instead.

Has this issue with the software been fixed by Celestron? Any update on your views of the product, now you are a long-term user?
Does anyone know a vendor in Europe who stocks the AllView product with the nodal point adjusting bracket and camera mount?

Thanks,
Rob

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2012 11:03 am 
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RobSherratt wrote:
Has this issue with the software been fixed by Celestron? Any update on your views of the product, now you are a long-term user?
Does anyone know a vendor in Europe who stocks the AllView product with the nodal point adjusting bracket and camera mount?

Hi Rob!

No good for spherical panos, i´m sure, because of the very huge base - even bigger than the Merlin´s base - the Nadir-shot will show nothing but the base.
I´m curious about how steep the downlook-angle can be - by judging the head visually it must be even less than with the Merlin.

So it might be good for mosaics - depends on the preceision of positioning when you use long lenses and the speed of the moves.
Looks quite sturdy - but i wouldn´t expect miracles - regarding the price.

I guess it can´t do better than the Merlin - but it´s bigger, seems to be heavier and most likely less comfortable than the Merlin.

best, Klaus

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2012 1:47 pm 
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klausesser wrote:
No good for spherical panos, i´m sure, because of the very huge base - even bigger than the Merlin´s base - the Nadir-shot will show nothing but the base.
I´m curious about how steep the downlook-angle can be - by judging the head visually it must be even less than with the Merlin.

So it might be good for mosaics - depends on the preceision of positioning when you use long lenses and the speed of the moves.
Looks quite sturdy - but i wouldn´t expect miracles - regarding the price.

I guess it can´t do better than the Merlin - but it´s bigger, seems to be heavier and most likely less comfortable than the Merlin.

best, Klaus

Hi Klaus,

Thanks a lot for your reply.

The nadir shot footprint size for spherical panos is not a big issue for me. I will suspend a plumb line from the tripod and mark the nadir point with a stone, and then will take the nadir shot manually, and substitute the image. This is what everyone has to do anyway to get rid of the tripod footprint.

As to weight, no motorized mount - even the Merlin - is going to be a feasible solution for backpackers. There are "manual" pano mounts e.g. the PANO3 from SUNWAYFOTO that weigh 1.5 kg that would be more suitable for backpackers I think. My own plan is to continue my motorcycle touring and photography of Greece for some time to come. I have panniers and a small folding trolley. One of my panniers is adapted to carry all my photo gear. My DSLR and two pro lenses weigh over 5 kg anyway! The head of the "AllView" weighs about 4.5 kg, and the supplied tripod is 5.5 kg. The head is dis-mountable and I will be using it with my lightweight camera tripod (1.5 kg).

The speed of line-up for successive shots is a couple of seconds. The "AllView" can track very fast, it has better servos than the Merlin, and there are some videos on YouTube showing it panning 180 degrees in three seconds. Most of the delay between shots will be the shutter release and camera stabilization delays which are in any case programmed by the user.

As to the price, it is $399 in the USA which includes (heavy) tripod, camera mount brackets for landscape and portrait, controller, cables. Comparing this with the all-mechanical PANO3 from SUNWAYFOTO, which costs 499 GBP in Europe, I think the AllView mount is exceptionally good value, and I am expecting the price to the users who join with me in the group buy will be less than 400 Euros.

I am going ahead with organizing a group buy if I can find another 9 people. Please see the other thread I started, there are links to user manuals and the Celestron official video footage.

Best regards,
Rob

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2012 10:11 pm 
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RobSherratt wrote:
Hi Klaus,

Thanks a lot for your reply.

The nadir shot footprint size for spherical panos is not a big issue for me. I will suspend a plumb line from the tripod and mark the nadir point with a stone, and then will take the nadir shot manually, and substitute the image. This is what everyone has to do anyway to get rid of the tripod footprint.

Hi Rob!

Depends on what you´re shooting for. For commercial purpose you need to be not only good but also effective - which means that time counts while quality has to be top-level.
Doing extra Nadir-shots and compose them adaequately usually takes much time. I use to retouch the Nadir-hole . . because my Panoneed head produces a very small hole. That´s time-effective - usually takes around 5 minutes with some experience: http://360impressions.de/KBogen3/

How exactly will you shoot your Nadir using the AllView?

I mean the AllView-construction might be interesting for hires-mosaics. But here you use tele-lenses of about 200-600mm. That means - definitely with 600mm - you need very, very high precision combined with acceptable speed. The Merlin works fine up to 200-300mm - but runs very slow with longer than 100mm-lenses.

What´s the payload for the AllView? What´s the precision? What´s the speed? What are the functions of the controller regarding panorama-photography? Does the controller write XML-files for positioning in APG?

I just read:
payload 4Kg - that´s not sufficient for hires - 8Kg would be appropriate for 600/800mm).
weight of the head (without or with tripod?): 9,5Kg.

Torque? No information.
Precision? No information.

These are two vital values for panorama-photography.

best, Klaus

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2012 12:53 am 
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klausesser wrote:
How exactly will you shoot your Nadir using the AllView?

I mean the AllView-construction might be interesting for hires-mosaics. But here you use tele-lenses of about 200-600mm. That means - definitely with 600mm - you need very, very high precision combined with acceptable speed. The Merlin works fine up to 200-300mm - but runs very slow with longer than 100mm-lenses.

What´s the payload for the AllView? What´s the precision? What´s the speed? What are the functions of the controller regarding panorama-photography? Does the controller write XML-files for positioning in APG?

I just read:
payload 4Kg - that´s not sufficient for hires - 8Kg would be appropriate for 600/800mm).
weight of the head (without or with tripod?): 9,5Kg.

Torque? No information.
Precision? No information.

These are two vital values for panorama-photography.

best, Klaus

Hi Klaus,

Nice very high res spherical panoramas on your site, thanks for the link. To date my panoramic shooting has been using just a pan head tripod with manual settings, it is far too laborious. This will be my first use of a motorised head. My usual set-up will be Canon EOS 500D + EFS 17-55 f2.8, weighs 1.2 Kg, requires about 300 mm clearance from pivot point when used at full zoom. The lens is a big lens with immaculately sharp image quality, I will normally use it at its 55 mm setting, but with lens hood it measures about 300mm so a big mount is required. The weight of the AllView head without tripod is about 4.5 kg. I may use my own camera tripod instead of the supplied tripod, but will test for stbility before deciding.

As to the Nadir shot, I have not read anywhere about a completely automatic solution being possible with any mount. I think my priority in any case will be large high res HDR panorama photographs suitable for print publication. I will not need the full 180 degree vertical coverage.

All the other information that I have about the AllView is posted on the thread about the "group buy" I am attempting to organise. The price for an all-inclusive package of approx 400 Euros is a key factor for me. Other solutions work out much more expensive when you price in all the extras needed. Maybe see you on that thread instead of duplicating info here?

Best regards, Rob

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2012 2:30 am 
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If you are thinking of using the Celestron SkyWatcher AllView panoramic head as a standalone head to make panoramas, you will be disappointed. I purchased this product in April of this year for the purpose of taking large (gigapixel) panoramas with my DSLR and telephoto lens. After some initial frustration with using it for panoramas, I discovered via some postings on an internet forum that the panorama software shipping with the panoramic head had major software defects and that an updated version was available. An email to Celestron Tech Support resulted in a copy of the new software a couple days later. After installing the software, the head appeared to work correctly.

I used it on a subsequent trip to Yellowstone to take a number of gigapixel panoramas and didn’t discover until I got home that there are defects still in the hand controller software that prevent stitching software from automatically stitching the photos. There are two defects, one adds extra exposures to some, but not all rows of photos. For example, one of my panoramas had rows 1-6 with 56 exposures, rows 7-9 with 58 exposures, and rows 9-16 with 56 exposures. The second causes each row of exposures to be offset from the one above and below it by about a half a frame. While it is possible to manually add control points so that the software can stitch the exposures, it could easily take 40 hours to do an 800-1000 exposure panorama.

The defects show up anytime that you use a telephoto lens with a field of view (FOV) of less than about 3.5 degrees (equivalent to about a 200mm lens and longer). I reported this to Celestron in August, who initially responded with “We'll ask our software engineers and will let you know asap.” After a couple of months and a couple more emails asking for status they are now saying (as of 10/18/2012) “The current firmware and basic software included cannot solve your two problems.” As of this writing the current version is AllViewV0309AZPanoB18.ssf (Ver.03.09.24). It’s unfortunate that such an excellent control head has one of its major features crippled by software defects. Smaller panoramas may work on this head, but if you are going to do a smaller panoramas, there are lighter weight and more cost effective solutions.

To be fair, there is an alternative solution. After reading about Papywizard on a forum, I thought I'd give it a try. I had a problem with the most current version, as soon as the head advanced to the second row the head started rotating around the declination axis uncontrolably. I switched to an earlier version at random (2.1.18-1) and it works fine. I took it to Donner Summit in the Sierras yesterday and was able to do an 897 exposure panorama without any problems. Unfortunatley, if you’re like me and do mostly landscape photography, the added weight of a laptop in addition to the head and tripod (14.6 Lbs.) plus a 12 volt battery, a camera and a big telephoto lens is a bit much to pack on a trail. The laptop battery life also limits you to one large panorama (about 90 minutes for 1000 exposures).


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2012 11:46 am 
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Hello Phill, welcome to the forum and many thanks for your "invaluable feedback" !!!:)

This confirm my own position about the usage of the AllView mount.

In my opinion, in the actual situation ....

The AllView Mount isn't "actually" a correct alternative to the Merlin head.
Helas the Merlin head isn't more availlable in North America.
This situation is "purelly" dependant of a "Commercial/Marketing decision of Celestron (Skywatcher affiliate)

Fortunatelly the Merlin head is still availlable in all the rest of the world !

If you have allready the Allview mount or if you live in North America, the AllView is best used with full capabilities (except excessive weight, excessive pricing and excessive "foot print") by using :

1. Papywizard preferably with a BT module and with a Nokia N800 or N810 (still availlable at very attractive price as "second hand" on Ebay)

2. T&C "touch-control-panel" very portable solution and full autonomous more expensive then Papywizard/Nokia solution
http://www.kolor.com/buy/photo-hardware/accessories/controleur-tactile-autonome.html#.UIPOicWvGSo
http://magasin.skivr.com/materiel/rotules/panogear/accessoires-panogear/controleur-tactile-panogear.html

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Spherical Pano (180 x 360) with Canon 40D + Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 Zoom & Pôle Pano with Canon 5D MK2 and shaved Tokina 10-17 3.5-4.5 AF DX Fisheye
Gigapixel photography with Nikon D200 + Sigma 70-200 F 2.8 EX DG APO HSM


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2012 12:12 pm 
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phill.butte wrote:
I used it on a subsequent trip to Yellowstone to take a number of gigapixel panoramas and didn’t discover until I got home that there are defects still in the hand controller software that prevent stitching software from automatically stitching the photos. There are two defects, one adds extra exposures to some, but not all rows of photos. For example, one of my panoramas had rows 1-6 with 56 exposures, rows 7-9 with 58 exposures, and rows 9-16 with 56 exposures. The second causes each row of exposures to be offset from the one above and below it by about a half a frame. While it is possible to manually add control points so that the software can stitch the exposures, it could easily take 40 hours to do an 800-1000 exposure panorama.

The defects show up anytime that you use a telephoto lens with a field of view (FOV) of less than about 3.5 degrees (equivalent to about a 200mm lens and longer). I reported this to Celestron in August, who initially responded with “We'll ask our software engineers and will let you know asap.” After a couple of months and a couple more emails asking for status they are now saying (as of 10/18/2012) “The current firmware and basic software included cannot solve your two problems.” As of this writing the current version is AllViewV0309AZPanoB18.ssf (Ver.03.09.24). It’s unfortunate that such an excellent control head has one of its major features crippled by software defects. Smaller panoramas may work on this head, but if you are going to do a smaller panoramas, there are lighter weight and more cost effective solutions.

Hi Phil,

Thanks for posting this info. I'm a bit concerned at your conclusions - because my AllView is on the way and I bought it especially for Giga Pixel shots. Are you absolutely sure that what you are describing is a software fault? Sorry to disagree with you, but I do not think it is a "fault" in the software, whereas I certainly agree that Celestron should provide better support and advice than they appear to have done. May I explain in more detail?

The controller has an "Preset Pano Mode" for 360 degree panos in which you create one of two presets, each defining the number of rows, inclination/declination angle, and number of shots required per row. When creating this type of preset, the number of pictures per row is a critical parameter that must be calculated, as must the angular steps. The goal is to achieve a 25% overlap between successive shots. This means that the number of pictures per row will vary from the maximum number of shots corresponding to inclination / declination angle of 0 degrees down to a single shot at the zenith (inclination 90 degrees) and nadir (declination 90 degrees).

Even with the "Easy Pano" mode which allows less than 360 degree panos to be taken, I would be disappointed if the number of shots per row was static. We are basically photographing a spherical field of view, taking sufficient images to cover the 0 degree "horizon" and then needing less images as we progress towards the zenith and nadir. The "stitching software" is capable of assembling the images to form a 3D spherical view, or a cylindrical view (for say a few rows of shots in the region +20 to -20 degrees) or a rectilinear projection for printing a part of the pano, where the horizon is printed as a straight line.

So, I think the "issue" is not in fact a software fault in the controller, but is instead there is a need for additional software to calculate the required parameters for instructing the stitching software as to the angular position of the images. Papywizard resolves this by providing an XML positioning file to the stitching software, but note that even with Papywizard, the number of shots per row will decrease until at the zenith and nadir limit, there is just a single shot taken. An alternative mechanism e.g. with PTGui Pro is to create a non-linear grid where the number of shots per row and the row angle correspond to the parameters displayed on the AllView controller. This process is described three quarters the way down this page, the heading "non uniform grids". I expect there is a similar capability in AutoPano Pro, but I have not tried it out yet.

http://www.ptgui.com/examples/creating_gigapixel_panoramas_with_a_robotic_panohead.html

It might be a reasonable expectation that Celestron should provide some support in terms of helping users like you and me to calculate the required settings for the AllView controller, and then maybe even helping us to generate the XML file needed to instruct software such as PTGui Pro and AutoPano Pro as to the exact positioning of each image. You can call me naive if you wish, but I do not think it will be difficult to come up with a simple procedure that resolves all these issues. I'm starting down this route now, and I hope developers of AutoPano Pro and PTGui Pro may be willing to assist me in my endeavours. When I have produced a suitable spreadsheet and have tested the calculations and the XML output with AllView and with both AutoPano Pro and PTGui Pro, I will make the spreadsheet available free of charge through these forums. The spreadsheet of course does not have to be used "in the field", only at the time images are uploaded to PTGui Pro or AutoPano Pro.

One of the great things with Papywizard is that it does all this hard work for you without making you aware of the math involved. However I want to find a solution that does not require me to use an additional laptop/ handheld for control purposes in the field. Even though Celestron might appear to be unhelpful, maybe because they lack the necessary expertise, I think in a couple of months time I will have developed a solution and a process that overcomes our concerns. Meanwhile if anyone has a spreadsheet already developed to do this, please let me know now, so you will get all the credit :-)

Best regards,
Rob

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Rob Sherratt, British ex-pat living in Corfu, Greece
Professional Engineer; Amateur Musician, Photographer and Motorcyclist; Novice Moderator for this part of Kolor Forum!
"If all life's a stage, how come I can't remember my lines?"


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2012 1:08 pm 
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RobSherratt wrote:
One of the great things with Papywizard is that it does all this hard work for you without making you aware of the math involved. However I want to find a solution that does not require me to use an additional laptop/ handheld for control purposes in the field. Even though Celestron might appear to be unhelpful, maybe because they lack the necessary expertise, I think in a couple of months time I will have developed a solution and a process that overcomes our concerns. Meanwhile if anyone has a spreadsheet already developed to do this, please let me know now, so you will get all the credit :-)

Hi Rob!

I definitely agree to Claude! My suggestion: IF the Allview is PapyWizard compatible electrical then you´d be better off using a Nokia via BT, running PW or - more comfortable and reliable - the TC handheld via serial.
The TC is the size of a small cigarrette pack, gets power from the head´s accus and using it you can forget any problems.

If the Allview is not compatible - i sugest to send it back and to get a Merlin or a Gigapan Epic pro for doing gigapixels. Or one of the more expensive heads if you inted to make a business from gigapixels.

To be honest: dealing with gigapixels definitely means using adaequate tools. Inadaequate tools can work also - but most likely cost very much more time to realize projects. So in the end it´s a question of why you´re doing gigapixels: as a hobby just for fun or with the intention to make a business out of it.

Doing it just for fun: time is no issue then. Doing it business-wise: time very well becomes an issue.

best, Klaus

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2012 1:46 pm 
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Support request submitted to Celestron today:

Quote:
Support ID Ticket Ref WBH-250393
Sky-Watcher AllView Mount (item# S20150)


Please could you provide me with exact details of the calculations performed by the AllView controller firmware version B18 when determining the number of images taken per row, and number of rows? I need to know your algorithm for a given Horizontal and Vertical field of view, and set of 4 coordinates Right Limit, Left Limit, Up Limit and Down Limit. I need to know the exact % image overlap (vertical and horizontal) and number of images for each row and adjacent image, and I need to know the altitude and azimuth angles for the exact center of each image.

The reason for requesting these details is that I have to generate an XML file containing picture position data in "Papywizard XML format" in order to import images (up to 128 per row, 9999 per panorama) into PTGui Pro and AutoPano Pro for accurate stitching when creating GigaPixel panoramas. I will supply the spreadsheet calculator free of charge and free of copyright restrictions to you for distribution to other users of the AllView mount.

I believe that once such a spreadsheet is provided to "AllView" customers, the criticisms of the product (e.g. on Kolor AutoPano forums) will go away, and the product will become extremely popular. I am currently making a supporting case for your AllView product on Kolor Forums (search for posts under my name) and I hope you will give me the back-up that I need to automate the panoramic stitching process in this way, without having to use a separate controller e.g. PapyWizard or TC at extra cost and complexity.

Best regards,
Rob Sherratt

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Professional Engineer; Amateur Musician, Photographer and Motorcyclist; Novice Moderator for this part of Kolor Forum!
"If all life's a stage, how come I can't remember my lines?"


Last edited by RobSherratt on Sun Oct 21, 2012 1:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2012 3:40 pm 
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You raise some good points, I will admit to having a bias towards software defects since I’ve spent the last 30 years trying to prevent, testing for, fixing, and developing work arounds for software defects. Thanks for pointing out the “non-uniform grid” option in PTGui, that’s the program I use and I missed that. However, I don’t believe that this panohead was designed to take a non-uniform grid. I also have a Gigapan Epic 100 and it scans in a uniform grid for both a 360 x 180 panorama and a regular pano. I personally would not want the head to scan a non-uniform grid unless it also provided a file with the head position for each exposure. Imagine having an SD card of 896 exposures with a variable and unknown number of exposures per row and with the top 20% of the exposures being sky. Also imagine that the middle 20% is the sky/forest interface and the remaining photos are all forest. Your job, without any other information, it to determine the number of images in each row so that you can feed it into the stitching software. That’s not something I want to do. At the end of this I've incluuded a test can you can try. I believe that the controller uses the 25% overlap as a minimum around the equator. As it gets to the zenith or nadir the overlap is closer to 99 %. I don't think the software in the controller is doing spherical geometry, it's just calculating the field of view, adding 25% overlap, and dividing the result into 360 for azmuth and 180 for altitude to get the amount of movement required for each image.

When I used Papywizard for the 897 image pano I did on Thursday, it was rectangular. But even if a larger pano had a variation in the number of images per row, at least you have the xml file. I love that feature, I wish the Gigapan head had that capability.

I am considering buying the Nokia N810 as a "replacement controller", they are quite inexpensive now. But they are also no longer supported and batteries don't last forever. Even if I used one instead of a small laptop or nettop, it would only save a couple of pounds. I think the answer for me is an inverter to plug into the car power socket and a few 100 foot extension cords. If I need to go on a trail, I'll use the Gigapan Epic 100 and a my small 250mm lens.

Could one of you point me to the site for purchasing the BT module, I'd like to try it out.

Below is an example a repeatable test case that shows the defective operation of the SynScan controller when used in pano mode. When you get your control head and update it to the latest hand controller version you can try this to see the problem.

Test set up

You don’t need a camera to test this. Using a multimeter with a continuity checker that beeps, connect one test lead to the tip contact of the shutter release cable and the other test lead to the sleeve contact of the cable. Verify that the continuity checker beeps when the controller activates the shutter. You may need to reverse the test leads of the multimeter to get it to beep.

SynScan settings

Using the SynScan controller, enter the Easy Pano Mode
Set the Horiz FOV to 003.3
Set the Vert FOV to 2.0 (This FOV corresponds to using my Canon 60D and 400MM telephoto lens)
Set the home position
Select the “Wide Angle” option
Select “Picture range by Editing”
Set RGT LMT=+067.1
Set LEFT LMT=-061.5
Set UP LMT=+005.3
Set DOWN LMT=-029.0
Set Halt Time=00
Set Auto Shooting “Yes”
Set Exp. Time=000.5

Then press enter to start, you will hear the continuity checker “Beep” each time a photo is taken.
The head starts in the upper right corner with the first shot and takes photo 1. It then moves a small amount to the left (about a third of a frame, far less than the subsequent photos) and takes photo 2. It then moves about three quarter’s of a frame to the left and correctly takes photos 3 through 49 after each movement. Without moving it takes photo 50. That gives a total of 50 photos in row 1.
The head then rotates down to take the second row of photos. It takes photo 51. It then moves a small amount to the right (about a third of a frame, far less than the subsequent photos) and takes photo 52. It then moves about three quarter’s of a frame to the right and correctly takes photos 53 through 98 after each movement for a total of 48 photos in row 2. The third row takes photos 99-147 for a total of 49, the fourth row has photos 148-196 for a total of 49. I stopped after that because there were clearly problems that showed up right away.

During this time the SynScan controller showed that there would be a total of 1049 exposures. A panorama with 50 columns and 21 rows gives a total of 1050 photos. A panorama with 49 columns and 21 rows gives 1029 photos. There is no way to get a rectangular panorama that results in 1049 exposures!


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