One of my first priority when I make landscape or travel photography is to create an image that could be printed at large size. I love printed photos and there is really no comparison between a large print on the wall and a computer screen. That was the reason that I started shooting medium and large format film, and also got a 6×17 panoramic camera a few years ago. Those were the times where 10 or 12 megapixels were considered high resolution ! I could stitch images together but it was really a burden.
Eventually, the Nikon D800E came and changed everything, at least for me. It matched the resolution of my 6×9 medium format camera and being digital, meant that I could experiment at no cost at all (films costs money !) and also stitch much fewer images than with my D700 for example, so I could reduce the possibility of any mistakes, or even being able to include moving subjects in the frame.
The image you see above is a 433 megapixels capture shot at Meteora, Greece. It took about 40 images (if I recall correctly) to create this panoramic photo. A 3 meters wide print at 300dpi with stunning detail, and you can easily go above 4 meters long at 200dpi or even more if I interpolate. It sure is difficult to find a place to hang it on my wall !
I used the Nikon D800 with the Nikon 28-300mm lens, not the best performer in terms of image quality, but I used a focal length of 135mm for the whole capture and I did not have with me my 135mm prime, Still, image quality was very good. This shot was actually a test to see if I can produce an image like that in the specific location. I will return eventually to reshoot it in a more appropriate time of the day (aka golden hour).
Stitching images was done in Autopano Pro, and as you can imagine it took a long long time, but the result was impeccable. This is the largest image I have produced so far, until the next one of course.
Usually, the more images you shoot for a stitch, the probability of a mistake increases. The D800E is really a superb tool for this kind of work, and most important, an affordable one, since the next step is a medium format camera which costs thousands.
As you can imagine, everything was shot in manual mode (including the White Balance) in order to maintain exposure and colour consistency.
Here are a few crops from the final image.
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