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  • Questions before purchasing Mecha e1

    Hi guys,

    I am new here and have found Mecha e1 through Google search. I tried to get all answers from its product page but there is no much that answering my questions.

    Can you please help me with the following:


    1)Does Sony a7s(first release) camera work with Mecha e1? There is alpha camera shown with Mecha e1 on the product page but there is no list what cameras are supported. I have tried to search for the cable(Sony RM-VPR1) model but I could not find anything

    If it does, I guess I need to choose Sony cable(Sony RM-VPR1), right?
    Also what shoe do I need?

    2)My guess, there is no auto stitching that is happening inside firmware.

    If it is correct, what software to use for batch stitching?

    By batch stitching I mean that you tell software where all single images are and it will group them by time or any other method and stitch each group into a single panorama automatically.

    Since the first release of Sony a7s does not have HDR I will use auto bracketing to take 3-5 images for every shot, stuck them in Photomatix Pro and then use stitching software.
    Any reason why it won't work?

    I do small projects and big ones(100s of panos) and if there is no automation for most of the processes I probably won't buy Mecha e1. I have to spend a lot of time to put panos on google maps(last 330 from my Theta V took almost 8 hours just to place them correctly on Google Maps. I just do not want another extra hours of work added. But I like the idea of a rotating camera(I can hide at the back while it rotates). I also like that I can change my camera with Mecha e1 to a better resolution one any time.

  • #2
    Mecha E1 is a good tool and useful for photographers, not only for panorama, IMO any photographer should have it.

    When used for panorama taking, It rotates the camera and take photos, any process/software you used successfully with manual head will work with Mecha too.
    About cable, I'm not 100% sure what cable with work with your camera.
    I guess you'll receive some help here about this from others kind to share their knowledge.

    Dorin
    1. Mecha it possible.
    2. Mecha it easy.
    3. ..

    Comment


    • #3
      Thanks Dorin. The problem is I do not use any software for stitching and that's why I have asked about stitching software as well.
      My Theta V and Matterport Pro2 that I am using both come with auto stitching on board/cloud.

      I use Pano2VR Pro and I know it has a separate app for stitching but so far I have not used it. I use Pano2VR Pro to submit Theta V panos to Google Maps for my clients and sometimes to connect Theta V panos with Matterport tours placed on maps for the same client.

      I know that Mecha e1 can be used for many things but at this point I only need details about using it for creating 360 panoramas for business tours, GSV and may be some community project for GSV.

      I may get a separate & cheaper DSLR or mirrorless camera just for using it with Mecha e1. Maybe it's just worth to buy a camera for saving my Sony a7s from any damage during capturing with Mecha. This way I can get the one that works with Mecha, has HDR stitching on board and may be even GPS. But at least for now I need to understand a workflow with capturing & stitching.

      Comment


      • #4
        PTGui is a good software, highly recommended, you can set templates and/or use folder, or drop images and use template even auto stitching.

        No experience with Photomatix Pro, it should work as well.

        Dorin
        1. Mecha it possible.
        2. Mecha it easy.
        3. ..

        Comment


        • #5
          Sony RM-VPR1 is the correct cable for A7 series.
          PTGUI can be used in batch mode. It can be almost automatic once you learn how to use it for batch mode.
          See how PTGUI 11 can generate the HDR pano quickly for you
          https://youtu.be/Cmv1z_pIQ1k?t=505

          Nick
          Last edited by nick fan; June 10th, 2019, 05:42 AM.
          Fanotec
          We listen. We try harder.

          Comment


          • #6
            Thanks guys. Will Sony Nex-6 work with the same cable(RM-VPR1)? This model is old, pretty cheap now and has HDR processing on board. And because of its price it won't be a big deal if I accidentally damage it during taking pictures with Mecha e1. Another good thing I have already all lens I need for it.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by MikeWM View Post
              Thanks guys. Will Sony Nex-6 work with the same cable(RM-VPR1)? This model is old, pretty cheap now and has HDR processing on board. And because of its price it won't be a big deal if I accidentally damage it during taking pictures with Mecha e1. Another good thing I have already all lens I need for it.
              Unfortunately, NEX3/5/6/7 has no wired remote port. It only accept IR remote. MECHA has capability of sending the remote signal. But I need to make a cable for it and a way to attach the IR emitter to the camera.
              Fanotec
              We listen. We try harder.

              Comment


              • #8
                Thanks. What if I have a camera(dslr or mirrorless) that has a panorama mode and its stitching it on board will it simplify the process and save a lot of time if I want to use it with Mecha e1 and get all stitched and ready to work with 360 panoramas directly from a camera? Not sure if any DSLR or mirrorless can actually do it for 360 panoramas but if some can I would consider it for using with Mecha e1.

                I am just trying to avoid a few things:

                1)a huge expense to buy PTGUI Pro license for batch stitching.
                I have Pano2VR Pro and I am quite happy with its functionality for custom tours and google street view. It seems with PTGUI I have to pay almost $900 AUD just to be able to stitch photos taken with Mecha e1. It is very steep for a very limited functionality I need from the whole PTGUI software.

                2)a huge time required to batch stitch into 300-500 panoramas that I can easily do in a day.

                I do not mind to keep doing it with my Theta V but due its bad wireless range and the fact that it uses 2 simultaneous shoots I often do not have time to hide.

                Timer delay works for hiding but ideally and outdoor it needs to be 10 sec to reach a place for hiding. My smartphone should be left near the Theta V(i usually put it on a ground under a tripod)

                This is not just to keep the Theta V to stay connected to my smartphone, that is also because GPS for the photo is taken from my smartphone GPS where Theta app is running.

                So as you can see I am losing at least 20 seconds on each panorama to walk from/back and I am still getting bad GPS data for each. And it has nothing to do with my phone GPS being bad, it is most likely the problem with Theta software writing GSP into EXIF data in some strange/wrong way.

                I recently shoot a local park and all panos has been shoot within 200m radius. Some of them were close to their real spot after I put them on Google Maps but a few were missing. To my huge surprise I found most of them sitting on top of each other about 5km away from that park.

                That's just unacceptable for running a business with 360 tours as it takes ridiculous time to correct each pano location before submitting them to Google Maps. I was not happy with 30-50 meters errors at the beginning of using my Theta V but now GPS errors in Theta V panos come even in kilometers.

                I know that Mecha e1 won't fix GPS problem in any way but at least it will eliminate any need for hiding. I will probably loose the same 20 seconds on the Mecha rotating but the fact that I can use different cameras with it brings a lot of choice and easiest to upgrade to a better camera.

                But its minus to me is an expensive tool for stitching and the fact that I have no idea how much time it will take PTGUI to stitch say 400 HDR processed images into 100 panos and how much time it will take to batch stitch 1200(3 brackets) or 1600(5 brackets) if I want to combine bracketed shots into HDR in PTGUI before batch stitching.
                Can someone please tell me how much time you spend on batch stitching specifying how many photos you are using for how many panoramas and whether you are using HDR combining in PTGUI or not?

                I watched some videos with batch stitching with PTGUI on youtube but their creators always skipped to the end of stitching and I cannot even estimate the time spent on it

                And the last question which is related to EXIF data produced by PTGUI. What time will I get recorded in EXIF data for each panorama after stitching with PTGUI?
                Is it recording time when each panorama stitched on a PC running PTGUI or it takes into account an actual time when a set of photos for each panorama have been taken, averages it and record it as a time for a panorama?

                If it averages time from a set of photos for each panorama I can see how I can use a GPS logger to apply correct GPS data to each pano. If it uses timesmap from a PC where PTGUI is used at the time each panorama this simply won't work for rewriting/adding their locations using a GPS log file.

                Comment


                • #9
                  MikeWM,

                  I doubt the in-camera stitching will work for spherical 360 pano.

                  Stitching/blending/rendering is CPU/ GPU intensive task and is hardware dependent. It seems you want to do some advanced work. Be prepared to invest time and money in order to achieve it.
                  you are probably looking for such a camera.
                  https://www.kandaovr.com/obsidian-s-r/

                  Nick
                  Last edited by nick fan; June 17th, 2019, 09:23 PM.
                  Fanotec
                  We listen. We try harder.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Sorry guys for not following it frequently and replying asap. I have a few 360 cameras already(Theta V, Theta Z1 and Matterport Pro2) and have some good solutions for a Matterport replacement. So I am not really looking to invest a few 1000s into something specific for GSV. What I like about Mecha is its price and ability to use my mirrorless A7s to get the best resolution when it is important for the client and they need to have an outdoor 360 tour. Matterport sucks outdoor, Z1 is ok but not the best in terms of resolution.

                    I am almost ready to hit the buy button for Mecha but before I do can you please answer the last question. I do not have a fisheye lens for my Sony A7s but I have 16-55mm lens for it. Will it be ok for taking just a few(one per each rotation point) straight horizontal shots with this lens to make 360 or I need to do extra 2 45 degree shots per each rotation to make a good panorama?

                    If 16mm brings a need to do extra shots per each point of rotation will the lens on the link below be good to avoid it?

                    https://www.amazon.com.au/7artisans-...74440697&psc=1

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      You can use any lens which allows you to make panorama and use the shooting technique and process specific for that lens and camera combo.
                      MECHA will not change that, it only will rotate with motor instead of manual, trigger the camera automatically and offers others helpful features as well.

                      Dorin
                      1. Mecha it possible.
                      2. Mecha it easy.
                      3. ..

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Thank you Dorin. I think my question was not clear.

                        Will 4 pictures done with a 16mm lens be enough to make a full panorama or I will also need to do two extra tilted(one up at 45 degrees & one down at 45 degrees) shots per each 90 degree horizontal rotation? I am sure with 8mm lens you can get away with 4 shots as 8mm lens are super wide and it will cover the area above and below, but I am not so sure about 16mm focal length. Since Mecha is just a single axis rotator in a horizontal plane only these tilted shots need to be setup manually at every rotation point.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          If you can make a full panorama manually using ,say, only the tripod without tilting, then you can do it with MECHA as well

                          That said, will be two axis MECHA available at some point, so if you can't make a full panorama without tilting as described above then surely you'll be able using the upcoming two axis MECHA.

                          Dorin
                          1. Mecha it possible.
                          2. Mecha it easy.
                          3. ..

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            The problem is I have never tried to make any panoramas with any lens using dslr or mirrorless. I do not have any rotator and so far my experience with 360 is either one click cameras or a Matterport camera. So I am not sure what a minimum FL required for a lens to do a full panorama with automatic rotation only and taking as less shots as possible.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              If you have a tripod you can test it first without a rotator, you can ignore parallax (though you can have NPP rotation even of a tripod with some care) and focus only on overlap.
                              Is mandatory to try to make panoramas with a lens using dslr or mirrorless before purchase to see what it takes apart from MECHA or any other panoramic head.

                              MECHA is a good purchase and good to have for any photographer who need some automatic rotation, being panorama making, turntable in studio for object movie or video presentation, so on.

                              Even if rotation is not required in the actual photo/video outcome, MECHA could help the preparation, a quick random pick, say I photograph a bottle of perfume, is in light box perfectly clean the light is even and good and check in live view and just want to have slightly different angles for me or for my customer to chose from, I can touch the bottle and rotate it then look again an then touch and rotate again, sure using gloves , with care, so on, or I can use MECHA, if I do this for 100 objects the time and precision and less ques/stress I gain pays MECHA twice as much, and that is only from object photography, let alone panorama and video presentations.

                              AFAIK MECHA is now out from beta stage (in the store that was accompanied with "hence the reduced price") that mean it might be more expensive in the future, so buying now is a good idea.

                              hope it helps,
                              Dorin
                              1. Mecha it possible.
                              2. Mecha it easy.
                              3. ..

                              Comment

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