The Sony A55 Sweep Defect
The image to the right is a snippet from a full sized panorama image taken from my Sony A55, notice a problem?
In an earlier post I described the Sony A55’s sweep mode. That is the the ability of the Sony A55 to stitch together one panoramic image from a number it takes as you sweep the panorama with the camera. I often use a series of individual images to create such panoramas, taking the images is usually not too difficult (but there are a few gotchas to watch for when doing this sort of photography), but stitching together the images is rather tedious. In general, I like the feature and will be using it regularly, but it does have one problem and that problem should be evident to even the point and shoot photographer.
What is that problem?
That problem is in the middle of the sweep the camera decided to change the exposure and that exposure shows up as the line visible in the tree. The line is even more obvious in the full photo:
The exposure shift is clearly seen about ⅓ of the way across the image from the left side. The image above comes in its full sized glory, just click on it and you can really see the exposure shift.
Dealing With the Problem
Now, I have considered a few possibilities. One is there is a setting I have not yet learned about to direct the camera to lock the exposure during the sweep. Possible, but the camera really goes into tight lockdown when turned onto sweep mode, that is I don’t see much of anything is left to the photographer to control, just point the camera at the proper end of the panorama, press the button, and sweep the camera across the panorama.
The other possibility is to go back to the old fashioned style of panorama images and snap a bunch of regular single frame photos and use The GNU Image Manipulation Program to manually compose the panorama. I’m not keen on this notion. What I will have to do is to work the mode and try to learn under what conditions exposure shift during a sweep is likely to happen. Taking multiple sweeps is also probably going to be routine as well, and maybe during one sweep the camera will retain a constant exposure setting.
The GNU Image Manipulation Program or Photoshop
Another possibility to deal with the problem is to use software such as The GIMP or Photoshop to correct the problem. That is an exercise I have yet to undertake and if I were better at image retouching using The GIMP I would probably be able to do it quickly, I have an idea of what I would need to do but I am not the greatest with the tool. That would be an evening’s work with frequent Googling for tips and tricks.
Dear Sony, Please Fix
This is a definite problem with the sweep feature and one I would hope Sony would correct. I wonder how hard it is to flash the firmware of the Sony A55?
On the whole, a lot of the photography I plan to do is not going to use the sweep mode, so this is not a huge defect, but when I when I take sweep photographs, I will have to anticipate and work around this problem.
What have you done to deal with this problem?