Brad Templeton's Photography

Historical Panorama Equipment

Here is some of the equipment I used to make panoramas in the past. I change my equipment frequently. From 99 to 2001 I shot on film. Then I moved to digital.


Olympus D300

When I got this digital camera, at 1024x768 it was top of the line. Today it's left in the dust, but it's what got me back into photography. It made me realize that when I got a good shot, I wished I had it at higher resolution than the camera did. So I went back to film. Digitals aren't yet near the resolution of film so I am still shooting on film, but since for panoramas I tend to only do about 2000-2500 pixels high, the next generation of digitals like the EOS D30 will probably do the job for me for panoramas.

Some of my earliest panoramas are shot with the Olympus.

Pentax P&S

My P&S had been lost, but my girlfriend carried this Point and Shoot. While the zoom lens is slow, it's pretty decent, and sometimes we would shoot panoramas on it. The early film panoramas, like Burning Man 98 and Burney Falls, are shot on this.

Canon EOS Rebel 2000

I like the Rebel 2000 body, even though near the bottom of the line, because it is light and still has most of the features I need. It's great for travel.

Canon S40

This 4 megapixel digital is super-small, so I can carry it with me wherever I go. If I have the D30 or D60 I shoot with that of course, but if not, this will do the job. It also has, as many new cameras have, a panorama mode that makes it easy to lock the exposure and place overlaps. And in portrait mode it's as high as the D30 in resolution, though the lens is not as good.

Canon EOS D30

This superb digital camera takes EOS lenses, and is very low noise. While film has more resolution, digital cameras are better for panoramas because it is far easier to get even exposure on them. Once you set things manually two images will expose exactly the same.

On film, you can set the film exposure manually, but then you have to work to get the scanners to not alter the exposure or colour correct. That's hard to do with lab scanning, so you often need to scan on your own.

The D30's large sensor produces very clean images. Because you always shoot in portrait mode, you get images 2200 pixels high, which is pretty good, suitable for 12" high printed panoramas.

Canon EOS D60

Panoramas shot after July of 2002 will be on this camera. Like the D30, but 6 million pixels (which is all I ever scanned film for panoramas with one exception.) Ie. Panoramas almost 3000 pixels high.

Canon EOS 20D

Starting in 2004 I moved to this 8 megapixel camera with great low noise.

Canon EF24-85 f/3.5-4.5 zoom

This lens was used for most of my panoramics, especially the 24mm wide end. The lens has a great range, and does good wide angle though in time I found it to be overly distorted which interfered with some panos and I moved to better lenses. A few narrow panos are shot at the 85mm end, like Burning Man 99.

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8

This prime lens has been used for several panoramics, including the great Lake Powell shot. It's crisp and sharp for when a narrower field is needed, and fast.

Canon EF 70-200 f/4L

This new lens, in the "L" series is expensive but this lens may be the sharpest zoom anybody makes. I'll be using it for all my narrow field panoramas. You can see it in some like the Treasure Island night view of SF

Tokina 28-70 f/2.8 ATX PRO

This lens, fast, sharp and cheap, was my wide angle until I switched to the D30/D60 and needed wider. I sold this.

Sigma 17-33mm f/2.8

This super wide angle zoom is a must on the D30 and D60, which have a 1.6x narrower field of view than a 35mm camera, so the 17mm length looks like a 27mm length. Still, I wanted sharper so I got the

Sigma 20mm f/1.8

This lens is under-rated because it is not very sharp at f/1.8. However, it is reportedly shaper at f/2.8 than the Canon f/2.8 is. And it's very sharp at f/8 which is of course where I shoot most daytime panos since I am lways on a tripod.

Olympus Stylus Epic

This astounding camera costs only $89 and has a super-sharp fixed f/2.8 35mm lens. It fits in a shirt pocket, so I carry it around and sometimes use it for panoramics handheld or on a mini tripod. This camera is the best bargain in the world, I suggest everybody get one. The best camera in the world does not good if you don't carry it. This one you will carry -- if you don't have an always-carry camera, the link above will take you do a decent camera store.

The great panorama inside Bryce Canyon was shot with this lens. It has a bit of problem with light fall-off. I'm waiting for pano software vendors to get around to correcting light fall-off and vignetting.

These days the Canon S40 is my portable camera


In my film days, I almost always shot on Superia 100 or Reala 100. Sometimes the P&S had Superia 400. I also love the results from Velvia, but when you are intending to scan, negative film is easier than slide film. You can get it scanned more places and it records more information. However, sometimes Velvia can't be beat.


When I shot on film, I typically got a low-res Kodak Picture CD with developing. This was enough for prototype panoramas. Later, if I wanted to build one full-res, I would scan at full resolution myself on my photosmart or send it out.

Today, you can get better scanning with your film, but you are crazy to be shooting on film for panoramas.