360 Degree Panoramic Photographic Image Quality – A Slight Critique

The only shortfall we found when analysing the quality of the experience was that of the panoramic photography which is described as being built up of only 6 HDR shots per location producing panoramic photos in excess of 110 megapixels. The fact that 6 shots were used instead of the typical 4 shots which are used for Street View / Google Business View implies that either a similar rig was used as was to shoot the 360 degree video or that a DSLR with a 8-14mm fisheye zoom lens was used to shoot the stills. This is apparent when zooming into the details at any given location.

In a test using a Canon 5D mounted with an 8-14mm fisheye zoom lens we managed to take a panoramic shot of resolution 14750×7375 or 108781250 pixels (109MP). So it seems fairly possible that using a higher spec camera could increase the resolution over the quoted 110 mega pixel range.

This said, however, if we were to produce a high resolution virtual tour of Abbey Road Studios, we probably would have opted for a wide angle lens or even standard 24-70mm zoom lens to capture virtual tours in the range of 400 mega pixels such as what we produced for City Airport Manchester to maybe even a select few giga pixel panoramas with only a trade off in the amount of time required to take the photography as a smaller field of view on the camera requires more shots to capture the full scene which ends up with a higher resolution outcome.

Another point to note is the quality of the video overlays which show some degradation and pixelation when zooming in although that may be a limitation of video recording resolution (if it shot in 4K?).

It’s obvious that a lot of planning was involved in the production of the virtual tour experience Inside Abbey Road, it’s a shame though that maybe post production was favoured to the virtual tour photography itself although a few may argue that the resolution of the locations when fully zoomed in was adequate and also the true limitation may have been on the limitation imposed by the resolution limitation of the Google Maps API?

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