Getting 18GB images from your DSLR with the GigaPan EPIC Pro
By Darren Quick
March 25, 2010
Following the release of the GigaPan EPIC and EPIC 100, GigaPan Systems has upped the ante with the introduction of the EPIC Pro. As the Pro of its title suggests, the latest robotic camera mount to help take panoramic gigapixel composite pictures is designed to work with most DSLR cameras with its ability to hold a camera and lens combination up to 10lbs.
Based on technology employed by NASA’s Mars Rover, the EPIC Pro features powered camera movement and simple fore/aft up/down adjustment for optimal positioning of the nodal point and varied camera/lens combinations. It is capable of a full 360° panoramic and -65 to +90° tilt range of motion with precision incremental movement – 0.04°/step for tilt and 0.12°/step for pan.
Designed with a magnesium chassis and aluminum arm for strength, durability and portability the unit weighs less than 8lbs with its battery pack. The included rechargeable battery pack (7.2V, 4300mAH) can be charged on its own or while shooting when inserted in the EIC Pro. It also fits easily to standard tripods with 1/4” thread.
A multiple triggering option allows the device to take pictures at each image location up to 20 times per position for exposure bracketing or multiple image enhancement. Adjustable features include time between exposures, motor speed, aspect ratio and picture overlap.
The GigiPan project is a collaboration of Google, Carnegie Mellon University and NASA Ames Intelligent Systems Divisions Robotics Group with the aim of shooting gigapixel composite images, presenting the data as a single image and providing efficient web access and browsing and zooming of such images.
The GigaPan Systems EPIC camera mounts direct users through the steps to capture a gigapixel image. After the user sets the upper left and lower right corners of their desired panorama the EPIC works out how many photos the attached camera will need to take, be it hundreds or even thousands, and automatically organizes them into the correct rows and columns needed to capture the panorama.
Once the images are captured and uploaded to a computer (Intel-based Mac or PC) the included GigaPan Stitch software aligns and blends the individual pictures together into a single gigapixel image that can be uploaded to GigaPan.com for viewing and sharing. The GigaPan Viewer on the site allows users to zoom in and out and take snapshots. GigaPan images can also be embedded on other sites.
The GigaPan EPIC Pro designed for DSLR cameras will be available from April for US$895, while the smaller EPIC 100, designed for a broad range of point and shoot cameras and several smaller DSLRs is already selling for US$449 along with the EPIC which is for use with compact digital cameras is available for US$349.
To get an idea of what is possible using the GigaPan mounts check out the GigaPan.org site for a collection of awe-inspiring panoramic shots.