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Iris photos are blurry

A consistent problem I have noticed with the Iris is that the images being taken lack any crispness to edges.  Everything seems a little blurry, especially if viewed on a larger screen.  However, even when seen at its native size (8000x4000) without any stretching, the images lack that crisp feeling.

 

Does anyone else have an issue with this?

 

My theory: the internal fan is causing vibrations during image capture which affects the lenses and the light coming into the camera. 

Official comment

Can I ask that anyone who is experiencing this issue raise a Support Ticket (if you've not already done so).

This will be the quickest way for us to respond and resolve the issue for you.

However, just to comment on a couple of points raised:

  • Thanks to everyone who is uploading either examples or recommendations for exposure settings. This helps not only us to better understand your issue but the sharing of exposure settings helps everyone to understand how best to use iris360 and in what conditions.
  • It's a very valid point that iris360 was developed primarily for use with the Google Street View | See Inside program. As such the optics and exposure controls are optimised for interiors, not exteriors. For example, iris360 has a ceiling shutter speed of 1/1000 sec and a fixed aperture of f/4. If you shoot outdoors on a bright day with HDR on and ISO 400 then your images will likely be overexposed since it can't cover the 5 exposures needed at that high an ISO.
  • We are currently investigating the units that have been returned and on inbound to identify what may be causing the focus issue. We will update any Support Tickets showing this issue as soon as we have more details
Andrew Baddeley

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39 comments

1

I thought the same when I looked at the first test panos, too. I got my Iris today and still have to play around with settings. Vibrations sound like a very good reason for the issue.

What tripod do you use?

1 vote
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Got my camera few days ago and after 3 days of real sweat (102 degree temperature photo shooting) I believe I possibly found an answer to the blur or lack of clarity as well as some of my findings over lots of hours taking shots and testing.

1. Using the Automatic Exposure in sunny days the shots don't look good at all. After taking dozens and dozens of pictures outside today I found these settings to work the best: Exposure = Manual, ISO = 200 and Shutter Speed 1/500 or even 1/250. 

2. The camera only takes a good quality image up to xx feet. Everything else is out of focus. That is OK since in a virtual tour other spheres closer to those other scenes will show up those scenes in better quality - makes sense?  This got me for the past two days since I was focusing on each sphere individually and not as part of a group or the actual virtual tour.

3. From your experiences and mine as well as a buddy of mine in UK who also just got the camera a few days ago - we are all experiencing the same lack of clarity shots - I hope there is nothing wrong with the camera and our firmware is up to date (I tried to update and failed because it told me the firmware is up to date) because even with the above mentioned ISO and Shutter speed I am little dissapointed of the quality of my shots after so many tries. Hoped for much better quality. This might also be due to the powerful sun I have in Texas. I have yet to test for indoor shots in proper lighting or at night but I am hoping that we can soon learn the best settings in each situation for taking great quality shots.

4. When taking 50/50 make sure that you are looking at the image and the logo of your camera - this got me also  - and took two dozen wrong shots - live and learn.

1 vote
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I would like to know the settings of this image (ISO, Shutter Speed, HDR, Timer, etc): https://www.nctechimaging.com//samples/iris360/Gallery/TimberlineLodge2/TimberlineLodge2.html

of this one:  

https://www.nctechimaging.com//samples/iris360/Gallery/TimberlineLodge/TimberlineLodge.html

Of this.

I hope they were not taken with the iStar but posted as being taken with Iris360 because for the life of me I cannot get this kind of quality with my brand new iris360.

3 votes
1

I am having the SAME exact problems, photos lacking crispness. I'll up the sharpness in lightroom, and that seems to help a bit on certain panos, but in certain areas it can make things look very pixelated. I have seen some of the customer imagery on the showcase, and I just can't for the life of me figure out how they got such crisp images! (and without fadedness in the dark areas). Like this:

https://www.nctechimaging.com//samples/iris360/Gallery/im8x102/im8x102.html

I'm so thankful I'm not the only one! But seriously, how are those images in the showcase coming out so great? I did a couple panos yesterday for demo purposes and I just feel like I couldn't hand that over to a client in order to sell him on us doing a tour for him. Here it is:

http://bit.ly/springhavendemo

Keep in mind, I think I upped the sharpness TOO much in the charter room (and there was a glitch in the door that's far away, that I hadn't edited out). Also, do you think the way these tours are hosted has anything to do with quality? Because the ones I took yesterday look more pixelated than the demo tour than they do when I'm looking at them in lightroom...

1 vote
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Almost everyone is all of the sudden reporting the same issues. In my case I have bigger problems with the focus of the lenses since nothing is ever clear or sharp as they should for these lenses (up to their mg), since you can only get so much from them and I am working with nctech in resolving the problem.  One thing to notice is that we've been under possible wrong understandings. The camera does have 32mg but that is divided by four lenses thus in reality each lens has 8 mg and thus todays standard DSLR are over 20 mg pixels and therefore you get much better pictures with it. We might assume that this camera should get 32 meg per each lens and I don't believe that is the case. Hence possibly false expectations from all of us.  Whatever the case - we need to collect our knowledge and figure this out and for all of us to take great shots.

0 votes
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Wow, I'm glad I'm not the only person experiencing this issue.  I would really like to get some official replies from @nctech.  

I have taken a bunch of panos with the Iris and overall Im very disappointed with the results. I have 2 main issues with the camera:

 

1. Photos lack any kind of focus.  Fuzzy lines everywhere.

2. Poor performance in various lighting situations.

Number 2 was a real shock to me.  I have had multiple shoots have problems because it was unable to pick up detail in darker areas of the shoot.  Its like the HDR is underexposing the dark areas, which leaves massive shadows that shouldn't be there.  I played with all the different settings in manual and auto exposure, as well as.   On top of poor HDR, it washes all the color out.  Nice warm lighting becomes horrible white fluorescent, and I have to go back and heavily adjust in lightroom to fix it. 

Our company just got the new samsung gear 360 in for testing, and I am very pleased with the performance in dimmer light areas.   For being almost 1/10th the cost of the Iris, I expected the iris to perform better.

1 vote
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I TOTALLY agree with the false expectations, and I struggled with this for a while, thinking that what I was getting was just as good as it gets. But then I saw the showcase gallery with customer images, and I was just in shock at how good their quality is on there! Look at this one:

https://www.nctechimaging.com//samples/iris360/Gallery/im8x105/im8x105.html

It's very crisp, no pixelation, no underexposed shadows (fadedness, as I like to call it)...I just don't understand how they're getting that. If that's possible with the iris360, I want to know how it's being done!!

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Also, Ryan Ramsey - I too was extremely shocked at the poor performance in various lighting conditions. I get patches of "fadedness" in darker areas of rooms, due to the HDR, and they look horrible. We were thinking about going into real estate tours, and did some test shots around our house, and I had a particular image that was literally just GREY patches instead of pink walls underneath the bathroom lights. Since it was a small bathroom, I couldn't move it around & there was no other light in that room at all. I contacted NCTech and they said that it looked as if it was just a bad area, with the lighting the way it was, and that I should try with other areas of the house, as if there was nothing to be done about it. We have obviously decided to not pursue real estate tours with the iris! 

0 votes
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Just two cents. For 4 days I have struggled and took shots with every setting. Here are my findings:

  1. Automatic exposure setting did not work for me.
  2. HDR+ definitely gets up to 9 shots per lens thus much better quality. Give it a try.
  3. Outside the best shots I got was with manual exposure, 1/500 shutter speed and 200 ISO.  1/250 shutter speed worked almost the same.
  4. Later in the evening I increased the ISO to 800 or 1600 and got great shots.
  5. I think you need additional sources of light when shooting inside and only on higher ISO and lower shutter speed. I tried even 2 secs shutter speed and 1600 ISO and got good colors.

My problem is the lenses focus, because no matter how good colors and lighting I got - the focus clarity of images is a definite problem and I am working with nctech in resolving that problem.

1 vote
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Thank you for all of your input Marcello, it's really appreciated! I agree, the focusing really is a huge problem, and because it's something that's not in our control, we really need NCTech's help. Let us know when you hear from them!

1 vote
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Dont give up Kendra Marie Sakoian.  Go ahead and experiment with higher ISO and lower shutter speed (manual exposure setting). If a small bathroom - even with the best equipment in the market you won't be very successful. Iris360 should be at least 1 meter (3 feet) away from any walls in order to get a good sphere.  Try these settings and even set the shutter speed to one or even the slowest setting 2 seconds in darkest rooms.. This means that the camera lens is open for 2 secs (long time in camera time) letting lots of light inside and getting a better quality shot. Since it takes a lot of time to process on the camera, set the camera to no stitching but saving the raw images and try HDR+ which does not let you process on the camera but only on using the software "immersive studio" from nctech on laptop or tablets where you can batch process (all of your shots at once)..

What I have done is the following:

  1. leave the camera in the same spot.
  2. write on a piece of paper the settings of the each shot
  3. take one shot (photo stitching off) on the camera and continue writing down the settings
  4. once you take say 20-30 shots. bring the mini sd into your laptop or samsung tablet (has the mini sd slot input) because apple ipads does not and do the processing. leave only the 4 first checkmarks on and on advanced make sure hdr processing is checked.  It will take awhile but it is worth it.
  5. Once complete check out each image on your screen (as is) or if you have time start the immersive studio viewer which loads each image in a 360 sphere for best viewing.  This is how you will see which setting is best in that location with that light!  I know it takes a bit of time but this way you can learn, take notes and memorize what the camera can do in each lighting situation and what works best.

Let us know how it works.. Best of luck.

0 votes
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Most images in the showcase gallery were done with the first generation of Iris360, different lenses, sharper then the wider lenses they've put on the second generation..

I totally agree for the lack of sharpness and the poor HDR rendering (colors and especially exposure toning)

1 vote
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Carolina Kim - Do you know the settings of the software when you took this shot?  Try a few with these settings:

  1. Exposure = Auto. HDR+ and 100 ISO
  2. Exposure = Auto. HDR+ and 200 ISO
  3. Exposure = Manual. 1/500 Shutter speed. HDR+ and 100 ISO
  4. Exposure = Manual. 1/500 Shutter speed. HDR+ and 200 ISO

Take them in this order then when you review the sphere see which one in full sun looks best and replicate that setting in similar situations

0 votes
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Wait.... The Iris did THAT to a cloudless sky? Omg I thought I had problems!!!

Maybe check the ISO setting? Could be too high and blowing everything out and then over correcting.

0 votes
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Guillaume Boily - it this is true we are screwed. I cannot imagine an upgrade camera to give out worse quality images! The other thing as I find out is I believe a huge misunderstanding.  32 mega pixels is for the entire camera and not each individual lens. I hope to be wrong but if I am not Samsung Galaxy phone has 12 mega pixels quality and outdoes iris360.  And last I thought that 8k was refering to the camera/lens resolution (if 4k TVs are great) then I thought that 8k is even better quality. 8k sadly refers to the actual image width (8000 x 4000 pixels).

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You guys are making me very nervous!! My camera is incoming and now I read all of this....

Marcello sounds like you have been testing it comprehensively - do you perhaps have examples of Panos taken inside and outside now that you know which settings work best for you?

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Johan. I spent 4 days non stop taking photos, taking notes of settings and processing and trying mostly outside since I wanted to start my shots in a local park and submitting them to Google for consideration into the Trusted Photographer program. I've come to lots of realizations and better settings which I posted in this forum if you read them. One of them is that all of us are missing the point entirely. We're using a virtual tour camera which is supposed to take good and easy photos close up and everything further away will be out of focus as it should because the next photo sphere closer to the previous out if focus subject will now be in focus. Makes sense? We need to learn which settings work best in each indoor/outdoor scene, then create a virtual tour and then as a whole judge the quality. That is because in photography you cannot have something close up in focus and at the same time something far away as well in focus. It is photography 101 basics. The issue here is how to get something that is closer in focus and I myself have issues with that and this is the reason I am posting here. In my case I tried everything and I attained good quality color and light but never clarity of image far or close up and believed that my lenses are not in focus correctly. As such I am working with nctech right now to correct that problem and will post further results when I have them.

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Marcello, i´m having very serious chromatic aberriation issues with my camera. It doesn´t matter if i try differents settings which I have already done, the results are the same. 

0 votes
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Chromatic aberration and sharpness has nothing to do with settings like shutter speed and ISO. Pictures come out bad because of the lenses and HDR processing.

2 votes