Tips and Tricks

One of my primary jobs at Gigapan is to educate photographers on the art of shooting gigapans. I’ve gathered several tips and tricks over the years and love to share them when training a new user, conducting a workshop, or presenting a webinar. I thought I would share some of these tricks with our blog readers as well.

These tricks are pretty simple while others are a little more technical, but all of them help ensure better final Gigapan images whether you’re new to gigapixel imagery or an old pro.

Set the Correct Field of View (FOV) 
If set incorrectly, there are a few things you will experience. The most common is what I call window panes.Window panes are black vertical bars you get in between the columns that appear in your chosen stitch software, and usually results from having a larger field of view than the lens you are using. This may seem pretty simple, but even experienced Gigapan users make this mistake (including myself!). On a recent trip to New York, I was fortunate enough to have access to an unobstructed rooftop, but forgot to set my FOV correctly. My EPIC Pro was set to a 25 degree FOV (50mm equivalent) but it should have been set to a 13mm FOV (100mm equivalent). Everything looked fine while shooting, but when I went to stitch, nothing lined up and it looked like a Picasso painting. Luckily, I will be able to go back up to the roof when I return in August to get it right.

Here are a few FOV’s for common lens focal lengths to help you make sure you are set up correctly. (Please keep in mind that these numbers are based on the EPIC Pro, a full frame DSLR and may differ from your set up by 0.2-0.4 degrees)

i.  50mm = 25.0 degrees
ii. 70mm = 20.0 degrees
iii. 100mm = 13.0 degrees
iv. 135mm = 8.2 degrees degrees
v.  150mm = 7.4 degrees
vi.  200mm = 6.5 degrees
vii. 300mm = 4.5 degrees

Setting Pre-trigger Delay
Minimize as much movement as possible when shooting long exposures. Pre-trigger delay gives the EPIC Pro additional time to settle between movements to each location. The default is set to 0.5 seconds, but I like to set mine to about 1.5 seconds when I do long exposures. This will give the EPIC Pro more time to get a clear image at each location. This will vary depending on the strength of any wind you experience, as well as the weight of your camera and lens combination.

Enable Mirror Lockup
Mirror Lockup is another way to make sure you eliminate excessive shake. To do this, enable Mirror Lockup on your camera. Then, on the EPIC Pro, go to Options > Mirror Lockup and turn it on. There is another option for this with Canon cameras in Liveview. If you put the camera in Liveview mode and enable Mirror Lockup, it will flip the mirror up at the beginning of the pano and leave it up the entire time. If you decide to go this path, you do not need to turn on Mirror Lockup on the Pro.

Use External Applications
I prefer to switch to manual shutter mode and use an accelerometer app when shooting. Accelerometers are a great way to see the vibration and movement of your EPIC Pro. There are several free accelerometer apps for the Android and iOS phones. I personally have used two for my android: AcMeter and Accelerometer Meter. I find myself using AcMeter more frequently because it offers Point, Graph and Speed options. iOS offers AccelMeter, 3D Accelerometer, XYZ Tools and Sensor Kinetics. I tested all of them and found Sensor Kinetics to be very robust and useful. Once you download the app to your phone, launch the app and place the phone on the Pro. When the Accelerometer shows a flat line or stability, trigger the shutter with your remote trigger cable. Once the image is taken, press OK on the Pro to move to the next position.

Image Review
Most of you are familiar with image review. You take a photo and it displays on the back LCD for usually 2-6 seconds. It’s a great tool when shooting single images to see if you captured what you wanted with the right exposure. Unfortunately, it can also ruin your panoramic images. How, you ask? Allow me to explain: The EPIC Pro triggers the camera to fire the shutter. If the camera is busy at that time, for example reviewing a previous image, then the shutter will not fire, causing you to miss the current image locations in the pano. If you are not paying attention this won’t be known until you go to stitch. Often times at that point, it’s too late to return and reshoot. The solution is to simply turn off Image Review to avoid this small but important adjustment. 

My hope is that you find these little gems of advice to keep in your pocket and lend to greater success when you take panoramic images. If I could leave you one final piece of advice, it would be this. Slow down, breathe, double check your settings on both your camera and the EPIC Pro and enjoy the process. We are photographers because we love to capture the beauty in life. We are masters at freezing time for others to view forever. 

Gigapan Launches New Membership Services

Gigapan is happy to present exciting new changes to Membership! We have created an accessible way for all types of Gigapan users to network, grow their business, participate in monetization opportunities, expand their audience and continue to discover remarkable HD imagery from every corner of the globe and discipline.

By introducing a set of tiered membership levels, we have provided everyone from enthusiasts to professionals access to better functionality and added opportunities, helping our users expand their global reach. Members can now choose which level best fits their needs: Basic, Premier, Elite or Enterprise. We started by adding new features to Basic Membership, and added even more inspiring features at the paid levels.

As an existing Basic member, you will continue to enjoy all of the benefits you have always had. All you need to do is sign in to explore the new features and layout. All of your existing information and images remain the same.

If you are new to Membership and thinking about signing up, check out the details and learn more at Joining is simple and if you are upgrading to a new level, all your images and content will follow you.

Foundational access to Gigapan functionality, including:
• A customizable profile page
• Print monetization (25% revenue share after costs)
• Unlimited uploads, galleries and storage, and no limits to traffic for your images

PREMIER $25/month
Includes all the functionality of Basic, with added features including:
• Tools that help you organize your work
• Generate more revenue on prints (100% revenue share after costs)
• Promote yourself or your business

ELITE $100/month
Provides added features for the professional and prosumer member, including:
• Print monetization, 100% revenue share after costs
• Discounts on digital products and hardware
• Enhanced promotional tools including a searchable for-hire badge
• Access to contribute on the Gigapan blog as a quarterly contributor

Enterprise $1000/month
Offers the most comprehensive organizational tools including:
• Customizable account handling and access for teams
• Special pricing for unlimited digital products
• Generate more revenue on prints (100% revenue share after costs)
• Personalized service and support

Not only have we added new membership levels, but we’ve also done some housekeeping to the structure of membership. Based on research, design and feedback, a new layout has been created. Here is a walk-through of those changes:

My Gigapan
Once you sign in, you will always be able to return to your portfolio by clicking on “My Gigapan”, which automatically routes you to your entire image archive, with personal galleries, favorites and snapshots in one central location.

To keep our members connected, we’ve created an epicenter of network activity. This is where you will be able to keep track of Groups you’ve joined, Forum posts you’ve recently written, retrieve and send messages, and access the Gigapan Directory.

We have renamed the Images section to Portfolio, a central location to view and organize every one of your images.

Your profile is your presentation to the world, so we’ve given you more opportunities to customize this page. Previously, this is where you were directed when you clicked on your username. It is now the central place to create and share your identity, and it is the only public section of your account that anyone can view. You can choose a specific name or business under which you are known, versus being presented purely as your username. In addition, you can curate the images, galleries, snapshots and favorites that you wish your audience to see, along with a list of the gear you use.

For Premier and Elite members, the ability to market oneself as “For Hire” is available in this area as well. This feature integrates into the Directory to highlight a member’s availability and is searchable


This newly added section provides a dedicated space for personal settings, retrieving and changing your password, updating your email address, setting your email preferences, entering your shipping and billing address, setting print monetization on or off, and access to digital products.

For Premier and Elite members, we’ve included a feature called Projects, giving users the structure to create sets of images that allow them to keep track of a more complex workflow.

For Enterprise users, a special section is provided called Team, within which an administrator in an organization can manage the people in their company that they’ve assigned to a Gigapan job. The ability to assign roles, limit or open up access to those team members, invite and search for photographers, and collaborate in a common workspace, is part of the added value to this highest level of membership.

Print Monetization
All members also now have the opportunity to make money by allowing people to print their images. In this new structure, a member can easily set his or her retail price as desired, or leave retail prices as is, while still benefitting and making money. Basic members will receive a 25% revenue share of the retail price above Gigapan costs, while Premier, Elite and Enterprise members will keep 100% of the revenue share above Gigapan costs.

We are excited to present this new membership structure to the world. We look forward to your feedback and are thrilled to welcome you and new members to the expanded Gigapan family.

For more information about the new membership features and details, visit the Gigapan Membership FAQ and our press release

Camera Compatibility with the EPIC Series Panoheads

Looking for the right EPIC panohead to pair with your camera? Before learning about the differences, a few basic camera requirements should be explained. To maintain consistent exposure, focus and white balance throughout the panorama, your camera must have the following features:
• Allow locking or manual control of exposure settings (aperture, shutter speed, and ISO) for a series of photograph
• Allow locking or manual control of focus for a series of photographs
• Allow locking of white balance for a series of photographs 

Armed with this information, you can now choose the best panohead for your scenario:

The Gigapan EPIC Pro is for DSLR cameras and actuates the shutter electronically via one of the seven cables that come in the cable kit with the Pro. The included cables are the Canon N3, Canon/Pentax E3, Nikon 10–Pin, Nikon MC–DC2, Nikon MC–DC1; Olympus RM–UC1 and Sony RM–S1AM. A compatible camera needs a port that accepts any one of these cables, but a camera with an incompatible cable port can be triggered by hand using a remote switch. Keep in mind that the EPIC Pro’s weight capacity is 10 lbs. for the camera/lens combination.

The ideal camera for the EPIC Pro should be no more than approximately 88 mm wide from the center of the tripod mount (you can adjust the center by purchasing the vice/clamp set), or have an overall width greater than approximately 177 mm wide.

EPIC 100
The Gigapan EPIC 100 is for larger point-and-shoot cameras. This model uses a mechanical button pusher that physically presses the camera’s shutter button. For some Canon cameras (such as the Powershot G12), the EPIC 100 has an option for electronic triggering, via the EPIC 100 E3 Trigger Cable. See the EPIC 100 camera list for those models designated as qualified. This cable is an accessory and can be purchased from the Accessories page. The Epic 100’s weight capacity is 3 lbs.

It’s recommended that your camera meets the measurement requirements that allow for parallax adjustment. See Figure 1 at the bottom of this post for the camera measuring guide. The EPIC 100’s specifications are as follows:

    Outer Lens Diameter - 68.5 mm
    Screw mount to edge of grip handle - 57.4 mm
    Center of lens to left camera face - 54.5 mm
    Bottom of camera to center of lens - 36.2 mm 


Finally, the EPIC is designed for compact cameras. Like the Epic 100, it uses a mechanical button pusher that physically presses the camera’s shutter button. Its weight capacity is 1.5 lbs.

EPIC’s measurement requirements that allow for parallax adjustment:

    Outer Lens Diameter - 68.5 mm
    Screw mount to edge of grip handle - 24.0 mm
    Center of lens to left camera face - 39.3 mm
    Bottom of camera to center of lens - 36.2 mm 

Questions? We would be happy to assist you with determining your camera’s compatibility.
 Contact me at

New Gigapan Field Backpack

As a company, Gigapan listens very carefully to our customers and it was clear that our EPIC Pro backpack wasn't meeting our more advanced users’ needs. I myself, like most outdoor photographers, am always looking for a better backpack; one that has enough storage for a full day’s kit of photography gear (and water, lunch, a coat...) but is functional enough for remote locations. Gigapan clearly needed to create a pack with more storage, better support, and a place to put a notebook for in-the-field image management. 

After gathering customer feedback and extensive field testing of other backpack models, I dove into the design process. My requirements were centered around carrying the EPIC Pro, adding in a modular storage insert, creating additional space for lenses and camera bodies, including a pocket for a large notebook, and crafting a solution for carrying a large professional tripod. I was quickly able to accommodate most of the requirements by expanding the current pack size, adding a waist belt and sternum strap, and adding a notebook tray to the front flap which would open fully so accessing the pack when it is on the ground is easy. I also added mesh pockets for easy access and storage. 

One challenging part was working to develop a heavy tripod mount that was balanced and clean when not in use. The solution was a foot cup on the bottom and a top strap centered on the front flap that zips into pockets when needing to be tucked away. This allows for heavy, professional grade tripod carrying with clean lines and no dangling straps to get caught on branches or in airport x-ray machines. When using lighter tripods, users can store them on the pack’s side in the mesh pocket and secure them with a buckled strap. 

What is now available is a backpack specifically designed for professional grade, heavy use: the new Gigapan Field Backpack. 

Here are the specifics:

• Full harness, padded shoulder straps and waistbelt to help support additional carrying capacity with rugged rubber top handle for easy grip

• Black ballistic material shell (similar to the current EPIC Pro backpack) with large-pull, YKK weatherproof zippers

• Tall, zippered mesh accessory pockets for water bottle or small tripod with adjustable side webbing strap and side release buckle for easy handling/attaching of coats and accessory pouches

• Zippered compartment for storing tripod straps when not in use and room for larger tripods at the center of the pack for easy transport

• Larger front accessory compartment for storing media and personal gear, padded laptop pocket, and back panel with raised foam padding and nylon ventilated mesh to improve air flow

• Six inches of space above the packaged Pro to store extra lenses and accessories

• Gray nylon and tricot material interior, allowing for adjustment of removable padded insert and webbing straps on the sidewalls

• Backpack insert included for organization and padding

• Specifications:
Height: 19"
Width: 11"
Thickness: 9", tapering to 5"
Weight: 3.8lbs (including 0.28lbs insert)

As we get close to the end of summer, I hope all of the new Field Backpack features encourage you to go out and shoot amazing images HD images around the world. To learn more about the new Field backpack and other Gigapan Gear, please visit the product page:

Gigapan Hackathon and Map View Release

The Gigapan web team came together last Thursday to participate in our first ever hackathon. Our goal was to add new value to the website, do it as a team, and develop the end result in one business day.

We debated on what we could quickly develop. We knew it had to be interesting, a feature our Gigapan community could use, and doable given the self-imposed time constraint. Using our collective voice, we decided to develop Map View, which allows people to view their gigapan in relationship to surrounding gigapans in a Google Map environment. We not only wanted to create an improved geolocation tool for all Gigapan users, but also wanted to reply to recent feedback from our existing members.

Working as a team, we shared our ideas on the engineering design and implementation for this feature. Then, we created a functional prototype and brought this to our in-house creative director, Carrie, who helped us shape and craft our designs into what we hope will be an interesting new way to explore gigapans. What you see today is our initial design. Future features and user interface design will be added to continue improving the geolocation functionality on

Map View can be explored here or by clicking “View on Map” on any geolocated gigapan. If you want your gigapan included on the map, you can click the "Geolocate" button on your image details page.

We learned a lot and are thinking through everything learned to apply our insights toward our next hackathon. Since the team really enjoyed the challenge and working closely together, we hope to be doing many more.

I'd like to especially thank the Gigapan management team for empowering us to take an entire day to create an exciting new feature in such a short period of time.

Gigapan Rebrand : Mission, Values and Mantra

Gigapan has seen some exciting times in recent months, one of the more notable things being a look at the Gigapan brand itself. With a deeply rich and interesting history, coupled with advancements and opportunities in technology, we have found ourselves at a crossroads to investigate what Gigapan really stands for in the world today. The process involved has included looking intently into our culture, our founding vision, the current state of the brand overall, and the direction toward which we strive as a company and as a community of loyal Gigapan users and potential new enthusiasts.

What has emerged in the first stages of our massive rebrand are the foundational elements of the company's mission and values. These represent our core beliefs, our goals, what makes us unique, and what will drive us into the future. The Gigapan mission is a clear articulation of our core motivations in the world; essentially what gets us out of bed in the morning. Our values are those core traits and deeply held perspectives that will inform us in our business strategy, design, communications and community involvement. In addition, we have created an evolved mantra which we are unveiling here and which will serve as our tagline moving forward.

We proudly present the following, and hope that it inspires you as much as it inspires us. 

We inspire and connect the world by providing an ecosystem that enables people to experience, create, store, share and monetize remarkable HD imagery.

1. Openness
We strive to be thought leaders and supporters of our entire industry, embracing every innovation toward the greater good, regardless of provenance.

2. Intellect Being born from the pioneering spirits of engineering brains, we value intelligence, research, thoughtfulness and learning. In taking the role at times of an educator, mentor, arbiter, and guide, we assist people to experience a process of discovery and self-improvement and uphold the philosophy that knowledge is power.

3. Design Thinking
We strive to provide an inspiring experience and uphold the importance of both form and function. We encourage the pursuit of aesthetics, usability, simplicity and strategic thinking in every act. We endeavor to craft each interaction, whether digital or physical, as the best experience possible.

4. Individuality
Being the greater sum of many unique parts, we embrace self-expression, a clear and strong voice, and authenticity as impetus for our actions and decisions. By encouraging the many varied traits and personalities of our community, we empower those around us to promote their own perspective and vision.

5. Creativity
At our core, we encourage and enable a search for invention and the artistic pursuits that surround all aspects of remarkable HD image creation and the technology that enables those pursuits. Combining a love of problem-solving with the inspiration of the created object, we celebrate the expressive qualities of the artist, photographer, technologist, researcher, educator and maker.

6. Fearlessness
We accept challenges with a fearless spirit in the face of a constantly changing world. We are proud of our mastery and knowledge, but not boastful, harnessing bravery and humility in equal measure. Our internal drive to move forward technologically, creatively and altruistically, supersedes barriers and empowers us to enable others by example.

OUR MANTRA The importance of a company's mantra cannot be understated, because it needs to be used frequently and apply to the brand in the current day as well as into tomorrow. The task of distilling Gigapan to its essence was, as it should be, thoughtful, collaborative and careful. It was all about stripping away complexities in a search for clarity and enlightenment. What we have unearthed is a sentiment that relates to the entire narrative of the Gigapan brand: In its genesis, Gigapan took us to the cosmos to show us something we had never laid eyes upon before. In its commercial iteration, Gigapan has allowed us to expand our view and discover remarkable details that, even with the naked eye, were often hidden. And into the future, Gigapan will give us the opportunity to broaden our own personal vision by empowering us to create, share, learn and engage more than we could ever imagine.

Thus, our mantra, our directive, is "See more."

We will see more, not only in the literal sense as HD imagery will move increasingly into our vernacular; we will also experience more, realize more, succeed more and collaborate more. As Gigapan moves into a future where we continue to leverage the original core of gigapixel panoramic image capture and viewing, we encourage the world to open up not only their seeing eyes, but also their internal vision for what is possible.

Gigapan. See more.