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Rig calibration / PTGui questions

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  • Rig calibration / PTGui questions

    Despite having the right equipment and probably right settings I'm still having trouble of producing perfectly stiched (with no visible errors) 360x180 panos. While most of my panos are almost good, most of them still have little errors that (usually) have to be corrected with Photoshop.

    I shoot with Canon 7D + 8 mm Peleng (manual) lens with Nodal Ninja 2 head. I make (usually clockwise) 8 shots in total: 6 shots in portrait mode at 0° plus one zenith and on nadir at 90°.

    Next, I stich the images using PTGui. My settings are:
    Lens type: Circular fisheye (Focal length: 8 mm, Focal length multiplier: 1,613)
    Horizontal field of view: 176,9°
    (Optimizer settings)
    Anchor image: Image 0
    Optimize lens field of view: (checked)
    Minimize lens distortion: Heavy + lens shift
    Optimize using: Panorama Tools Optimizer (slightly better results than PTGui optimizer)
    Control Points: Delete Worst Control Points

    Since my previous settings, which were found by trial and error, produced somewhat good, but not perfect results, I recalibrated my pano head using Smooth's method ( This improved PTGui Optimizer Results, but I'm still struggling to get a good image.

    So here's a set of test source images:

    The calibrated and stiched pano (Optimizer Result: 0.76, which is quite good):

    The bottom of calibrated pano:

    Now here's a strange part: if I add zenith, the pano becomes like a monster:

    Adding nadir makes it even worse:

    So my questions would be:
    1. Is my rig calibrated good enough ?
    2. What am I doing wrong regarding the results when adding zenith / nadir images ?
    3. Do you have any other suggestions regarding PTGui settings ? Maybe I should include something more in my workflow ?
    4. (optional) Is it worth shooting 6 (+ zenith / nadir) shots on APS-C having 8 mm lens, or 4 shots (+ zenith / nadir) is enough ?