Monday, March 28, 2011

Stitching...A Face? In Ultra-High Resolution?

Last week I bought myself my one big treat of my hard-earned money. I wasn't really going to spent it on anything else big or treat-ish, since I don't like spending if I can help it unless it's on food or very small things, or necessities (so a bus pass every month) so this was the one big thing in a while.


It was a 55-250mm lens.


I already had a 75-300mm lens. It went further out than the 250mm. Why did I buy a lens that didn't even go as far, and was in fact more expensive?


It was the reason it was more expensive that was precisely why: Much better-aligned lens elements, smaller, not as heavy, fast motor, much higher quality, and my 75-300mm was otherwise useless beyond 75mm.


I don't know how but whenever you zoom out with that lens it goes blurry no matter what. I must have banged it or done something to it. Or it simply, being of low quality, ran its course and wouldn't focus anymore. Already the numbers and logos on the barrel had wiped away with wear. And I'd only bought it in June 2009.


This lens has image stabilization, is not as heavy, has a faster motor (for auto-focus) and in all respects works better and faster and nicer. Even if it can't reach 300mm. That's fine with me.


Since starting to use it on Saturday (I bought it on Wednesday but I had a time-lapse going on upstairs) I've tried a few things. Namely, today I took about six photos of my friend's face. Then I stitched them together, one by one, putting a portrait of him together with each super-close picture:
One portrait, one face, in all its glory contained within six images morphed together. I'm sorry I didn't include his left cheek at the right side of the picture.


I took one shot of each eye, one of his mouth and nose, another of his chin and collar, and so on.


It's the first time I've tried a panorama of such a subject. I was sitting across the table from him, a little further back so the lens could focus, which was about a metre and a quarter or so. Those images were taken at 250mm.


The big attraction for these kinds of photos aren't exactly for the composition as much as it is for the high-resolution detail they have. Each picture only forms part of his face. Then you can still go about ten megapixels into each individual picture. In result you have a huge portrait in which you can view every hair follicle, pore, crevice, and mark on the surface of the skin.


Yeah, it's great, though it is probably great for anything other than skin. Which is why I have another example:
This is a more horizontal panorama of Ottawa's downtown seen from the west. Each photo was taken at 250mm. Right now on this page it looks like it does if you were looking at it from Bayview Station, where I took it. But click on the image and then the magnifying glass, and see what I mean. Notice the window washers on the blue building near the middle?


Unfortunately for both images above, there was no way I could put them in original size on this blog. The image of my friend, Brent, was 11mb. That would have either taken forever for me to upload it or the website would have told me it was impossible. Therefore it's resized for web quality. Full-resolution of the image is on Flickr.


The panorama of the city is 1mb on here and Flickr. Its normal size is 38mb. On my computer you can almost get right to the windows. That's the annoying problem; it defeats the purpose of high-resolution imagery because online they're too big in file size. Quality is lost.


I think it's cool to do, though - high-quality photos where you can zoom in and see every detail. And I've never put a face together on the computer before. It was almost surreal.


Justin C.