Panoramic vs. Spherical Virtual Tours. Which to Choose?

By Joseph Ortiz President, IPIX InfoMedia | January 27, 2012

Like many technical specialties, there are many options and "speeds and feeds" related to panoramic photography. Considerations go beyond the simple quantification of total cost. Yes, at the end of it, cost will be the most tangible consideration. But for approximately the same cost, you will have a wide range of options available. How do you decide which is best for your need?

Creating a virtual tour is, after all is said and done, a photographic process. More specifically, it is a panoramic photography process. You should consider two areas when deciding on an approach:

No matter which type panorama capture approach you choose, you will also have to consider which type of camera to use. We'll first cover the camera selection.

Rather than compiling a primer on camera selection, I'll share a few key points to keep in mind. First, decide on film versus digital. Then, balance your needs for particular resolution and other features versus cost and time.

Film Cameras

Choose film over digital if you want to lower your upfront camera cost and don't mind paying for hardcopy archival prints. Use film if you need to capture a scene in which there are dark showdown details in the same frame as brightly lit detail. In these cases, film captures a higher dynamic range than most digital cameras. Finally, use film if you want to get more resolution for your camera dollar investment. More resolution is better for Panoramas. You can scan at very high resolutions. Choosing either 35mm standard or Medium Format will provide you with a larger visual frame to scan compared to most sub-$1000US digital cameras.