...our Coastal Optics lens arrives...
I finally got a Nikon body to test the coastal optics lens out. Its been sitting in a box for a week, along with the rotator and iPix software. Its a beautiful bit of glass. When I attached it to the Nikon though, a D1x, there was a slight bit of give. This didn't worry me a first, but it turns out its just enough to crop the fisheye circle at the bottom.
I then installed the iPix software. I tried on my Intel Mac first, it wouldn't let me install the software for the dongle...OK, I tried on my Windows machine, the dongle software installed, but iPix software wouldn't recognise the dongle. I'd been wary of this software from the start. About a week after we ordered it, iPix went bankrupt. I though that we'd bought a dud. The next day I phoned our supplier, he walked me through getting the software going on Windows - turns out they hadn't sent us a license. They also informed me that the iPix software was known not to work on Intel Macs. Once he'd sent the licenses everything started working on Windows. With my new understanding of the dongle/iPix relationship, I tried installing the license files on my Mac, and what do you know, it worked!
The lens wasn't so successful, I had to make a short video of the wiggle, which has been forwarded to Coastal Optics...the lens uses a t-mount - which I've heard good and bad things about. I think maybe we just have to look out for one with a better fit. In the meantime, a bit of Rizla packet between the lens and camera does the trick.
I went out this evening - bored of making panoramas of my toilet:
This is what the combination of lens and software can do - this is in equirectangular format, which I can load into Panodome or QuartzComposer
I'm glad I got the software going. In moment of panic, I went and tried RealViz Stitcher Unlimited. Which since the demise of iPix has gained a back-to-back fisheye feature. The results aren't quite as good - it doesn't seem to do the colour matching that the iPix software does. Hopefully this will open things up for an OpenSource solution soon, iPix defended their patents quite fiercely - that was the reason for the < 160º limit in Panotools.