When we introduced the ALPA 12 PLUS in autumn 2018, a milestone was reached, and something like the "masterpiece" for architecture, industry, plus landscape was achieved. The maximum stitched image field of 94*80 mm and an image circle of over 120 mm marked the maximum possible with today's optics.
However, customers and dealers who intended to use the large image circle of an HR 90, HR 70, and in future HR 138 for panoramas in landscape photography also contacted us very quickly. After initial question marks as to whether we could maintain our precision in the range of 1-2 hundredths of a millimeter over an even more significant displacement distance, we started the ALPA 12 PANO project.
Rotational panoramas vs. flat stitch
A rotation panorama by turning the camera to the nodal point - and thus also in the sweet spot of the optics - on the tripod is at first glance the simplest way to achieve impressive panoramas. Nothing will stop you, if you know the exact nodal point and have the necessary equipment (stable tripod, rotating pano plate and rail) at hand. ALPA offers such material and turns every ALPA into a panorama camera for 360 degrees.
But who doesn't know the rotation pictures with the often unavoidable "bananas," which often require a heavy crop afterward? The accurate adjustment of a nodal point is often not everyone's cup of tea. The determination of the final image detail remains random due to the system. Depending on the focal length and sensor type, the removal of the color cast is necessary for both methods. Moreover, a stitching capable image processing software is indispensable for the composition of the images from rotation.
The shift in the plane (or "flat stitch"), on the other hand, enables very accurate framing with today's digital backs with Live View. The time-consuming search for the nodal point is no longer necessary, and cropping remains minimal or non-existent. Besides the usual image processing for exposure compensation and image corners, no dedicated panorama software is required.
When shooting in flat stitch, the photographer can apply simple tilt for sharpness enhancement. A subsequent distortion correction (ALPA Lens Corrector with individual correction files for stitching formats) is possible if requested.
Robots can not automate such flat stitching images during the process. But ALPA also stands for conscious and thoughtful photography by enthusiastic photographers.
ALPA 12 PANO
The latest member of the ALPA family has a total of 70 mm of shifting range (35 mm left and right) for breathtaking panoramas. A new, easy-to-operate locking system controls it with "pre-programmed" formats. This mask can also be individually adapted to customer requirements. Besides, the PANO offers a further 10 millimeters of vertical shift (rise and fall) for optimum image framing. The setting can be blocked against unintentional adjustment. The two functions are deliberately separated so that maximum precision is possible.
To achieve this precision, we have used the most extended linear bearings ever installed by us. A unique manufacturing process has been used. All movements take place in a stable outer frame, which is characteristic of ALPA cameras. Since the body can also be used in portrait format, it has a total of four screw-on points for spirit level modules. Apart from the supplied module, the user can also purchase additional modules. The new PANO shares the ergonomic and iconic handgrips with the ALPA 12 MAX. Every single handgrip or pair is individually milled from FCE-certified rosewood and carefully hand-finished. As a result, they do not offer only safe but also stylish manipulation at any temperature.
This is a limited edition! The ALPA 12 PANO is available from stock. Due to the large initial demand, however, only a few copies are still freely available. First come, first served!