Types of Panoramic Photography

Panoramic photography can be classified into three types: cylindrical, spherical, and planar.

The cylindrical panorama includes inner-cylinder and outer-cylinder panorama. The shooting technique of the cylindrical-panorama involves three methods: horizontal, vertical, and oblique. And the spherical panorama includes inner-sphere and outer-sphere panorama.

types of panoramas

“Peloponnese” captured by Giovanni C.

Inner-Cylinder Panorama

The setting of the camera stays fixed while shooting, and the image is formed through the post processing of the photos taken by turning the camera or rotating 360° of the conventional camera. This method is known as the inner-cylinder panorama. Since the images for display must be placed inwards from end to end to form a cylinder, the viewers standing in to appreciate the images, so this technique is called the inner-cylinder panorama.

Outer-Cylinder Panorama

When you take this type of panorama, keep the subject fixed and take photos of the whole circle of the subject. When the images are for display, they are also placed from end to end to form a cylinder, but they should be outwards, and the viewers stand outside of the cylinder to appreciate them. So we call this kind of technique outer-cylinder panorama.

Inner-Sphere Panorama

At present there are two methods to shoot this kind of panorama.

  1. Shoot the images of the subject’s front, back, left, right, up, and down side with the splicing form by conventional medium format cameras the scenes all around are included. For display, the images should be put together to become a hollow ball, with the images inwards. And the viewers stand inside of the ball to watch them.
  2. Use the fish-eye lens or a conventional lens to shoot many piece photos, and then put them together for composition by special software. The panoramic display of this form can only be demonstrated through the computer.

Outer-Sphere Panorama

The subject must be a sphere or close to a sphere. While shooting, you should rotate at equidistant around the subject to make the multi-dimensional rotation shooting, until the whole scenes of the sphere are completed. Then the images should be pieced together to form a sphere, with the images outwards. This technique is called outer-sphere panorama. Now, we can see the whole Earth satellite photo map online, which is shot by this very technique.

Planar Panorama

This kind of technique is generally used for images that cannot be completed in one time, such as streets or building groups. The camera is translated at equidistant along the subject, until the whole subject is completed. Then the pieces are synthesized to be a panoramic photo, which is called planar panorama.

About the Author:
Smith Chen is the marketing manager of FastPano, a photo stitching software company.

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3 responses to “Types of Panoramic Photography”

  1. Jayesh says:

    Please provide a lesson or link,

    on How to shoot a Spherical Panorama using a normal lens.
    (if anyone talked about the fish! Eye one…).

  2. Ricky Bobby says:

    Should have posted an example (a picture) with each description else great tut.

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