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Panoramic Photography

Panoramic photography is a style of photography that aims to create images with exceptionally wide fields of view, but has also come to refer to any photograph that is cropped to a relatively wide aspect ratio. While there is no formal definition for the point at which "wide-angle" leaves off and "panoramic" begins, truly panoramic image are thought to capture a field of view comparable to, or greater than, that of the human eye - about 160° by 75° - and should do so while maintaining detail across the entire picture. The resulting images are panoramic, in that they offer an unobstructed or complete view of an area - often, but not necessarily, taking the form of a wide strip. A panoramic photograph is really defined by whether the image gives the viewer the appearance of a "panorama," regardless of any arbitrary technical definition.

Photofinishers and manufacturers of Advanced Photo System (APS) cameras also use the word "panoramic" to refer to any print format with a wide aspect ratio, not necessarily photos that encompass a large field of view. In fact, a typical APS camera in its panoramic mode, where its zoom lens is at its shortest focal length of around 24 mm, has a field of view of only 65°, which many photographers would classify as wide angle. Cameras with an aspect ratio of 2:1 or greater (where the width is 2 times its height) can generally be classified as being "panoramic."

Source: Wikipedia: Panoramic Photography

For more information on the use of this technology in heritage documentation and Digital Preservation, please see the following articles in our Knowledgebase:

CIPA: Heritage Documentation
Why Use HDR Photography: Practical Applications Past Hyper-Real Photos
Creating HDR Images: Photography and Processing


  • Peleg, S., M. Ben-Ezra and Y. Pritch. "OmniStereo: Panoramic Stereo Imaging." IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence, March 2001: 279-290.
  • Sormann, M., G. Schrocker, A. Klaus, and Konrad Karner. City Documentation: Creation and Visualization of High Resolution Panoramic Image Mosaics. Schrenk, M., ed. 2004.