As you probably noticed from my posts, I’m a huge fan of Canon’s TS-E 24mm f/3.5L II lens. One of the reasons is that I can make pixel-perfectly stitch-able 2.4:1 wide panoramic shots – like the one below – with it. The only difficulty in making those images was composition: it isn’t easy to visualize a shot when you only see half of it.
But that difficulty is past now.
A couple of weeks ago I received a package from ALPA, containing their brand new ACAM Super Wide Converter. They sent it for certification with our upcoming Mark II Artist’s Viewfinder app, and also for my personal use. It was like Christmas for me. Quick first tests showed that the adapter has a conversion factor around 0.5x, which number was later confirmed with formal measurement in our lab. In other words, you can simulate a 17mm lens attached to a full frame 35mm using that. Or you can view almost the whole wide frame that will result from the TS-E stitch!
This is no small feat: you can walk around carrying a finder and checking lots of stitched composition without actually setting up the camera. And the actual capture needs less than half of the time it used to require.
The whole setup
The following image shows the setup I use for taking the images for pano stitches.
The camera and lens is nothing special, however the thing on top is. Attached to my iPhone is the ACAM wide adapter. The phone is held in position (note that the lenses are centered to avoid horizontal parallax) by an ALPA iPhone Holder. This is the Mark I, they now sell the Mark II complete with the wide angle adapter. As the holder was designed to be used on ALPA cameras, thus I also use an ALPA hot shoe mount adapter.
How much? – you might ask. You should log in to ALPA’s site to see their current prices, but as a guide: this whole viewfinder setup will set you back around $1150 (including the holder, hot shoe adapter, ACAM wide adapter and our Viewfinder iPhone app). If you think that’s a lot for a viewfinder, I recommend you to check out prices on a Linhof 45 Multifocus Viewfinder, for example (hint: it is around $2000 for way less functionality).
The ACAM wide adapter itself selling for less than $60 is extremely affordable considering what you get in exchange. I recommend every serious landscape and architecture photographer to check out this solution. Paired with our upcoming Mark II Artist’s Viewfinder it offers unprecedented value and functionality.
Today we announced the beta of Mark II Artist’s Viewfinder that sports real-time distortion correction for the ACAM SWC, making the above rig much more valuable. Read my post about it.