New to the swinging lens panoramic camera business? An old hand that just wants to judge what I have to say? Read on, hopefully my few tips will be helpful. I just wrote things I have found helpful for myself.
1. Do not ignore the spirit level inside your viewfinder. Yes, you might want to take a picture at an angle, but be warned: you’re going to get severe bending upwards or downwards in the corner of your shot if it’s not level. That being said, you can get away with pictures that are straight up or down, or vertically oriented, but otherwise, don’t ignore your spirit level. That being said, feel free to if you like the warping (because I do it all the time, on purpose).
2. If you’re using the night exposures (1/8, 1/4, 1/2 of a second), make sure the camera is either on a tripod or on a very level surface, and use a cable release if possible. If you’re using a cable release, though, only install it right before the picture being taken and don’t let go of it, in case its weight depresses the button prematurely. This has happened to me quite a few times, and it is aggravating.
3. Keep in mind that the aperture you’re using controls the focus. Since this is a focus free camera, the smaller the aperture you use, the closer in the focus will be. At f16, for example, 3 feet from you and beyond should be in focus, but if you’re shooting at f2.8, the area in focus will start much farther away from you. I tend to err on the side of longer exposures, so I can use f16 as often as possible.
A 1/2 sec. exposure on Kodak 100UC at f16:
4. Generally, just remember a certain amount of care needs to go into shooting any fully manual camera. It’s helpful to have a specific order to do things in. I always advance, set the shutter speed, set the aperture, compose, and shoot.
5. Know that you’ll have to crop the very right and left sides of the shot, as they’re always a little blurry, and shoot accordingly.
6. Be careful shooting anything moving, because it’ll either get kind of squished or elongated if your shutter isn’t fast enough. Although, that could just as easily be something to play with.
7. Experiment! Ignore my suggestions if you have to, and have fun.