Fuji X-T1 – Banding in Panoramas (Partial Solution Found)

20030109-241 040113A x640 q6-2400 IMAX lobby_DCE

It comes to no surprise to anyone who knows me that I love panoramas.

20150329 223015 t2i pano 2band 50p_DxO-P100_DCE

Some people say you just need a wider lens* or you just need to focus on a traditional photograph to get better composition or you just need to crop a standard shot narrower, but these people miss the point.

A traditional photo is like eating only one dish of nearly all the same thing (which can be great), but a panorama is like getting a five piece entree (with side dishes!) and you get to see it all and mix and match flavors to your heart’s content.

*(But I wouldn’t mind getting my hands on that gorgeous Fuji 10-24mm or a 12mm Rokinon.)

So when I got my Fuji X-T1 and discovered how good the in-camera panoramas could be, I was thrilled. Saving post-processing time not going to Autostitch is great! and you get to see the panorama immediately.

Fuji X-T1 panorama

Getting level with the horizon is the toughest part, but that’s a problem with all in-camera panoramas.

However, I just noticed something interesting in a sunset panorama that I made last night. At EV-3, I noticed vertical banding in the blue sky.

20150914 185522 DSCF6743 XT1 banding_DCE
Click to enlarge a little

It is slightly visible in this reduced size, but it is very noticeable enlarged. The bands are vertical weather the camera is in landscape or portrait orientation. Below is a better example.

20150916 072532 DSCF6832 XT1 2000th f2.8 iso200_DCE
Click to enlarge a little.

I assume that the bands are due to the smooth nature of the cloudless sky with the difficult sunset gradients and exposure, but I did some testing and it turns out that:

If you set the shutter to 1/1000 or faster, the bands appear.

The automatic shutter mode in panorama mode appears to default to around 1/250, but sometimes I have to sweep faster to get all the shots in before the camera stops the panorama early. At 1/250, I get a little nervous that the sweep will be blurred, but I guess there is a price to be paid for getting in-camera panoramas.

**Update** The bands still happen every once in a while with auto shutter (whether or not you change the EV). My guess is that there is an exposure difference across the lens that is blended with good software, but isn’t address in-camera. Hopefully, Fuji will address this in the future.

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