3D-360.com Virtual Reality 3D-360 degree view of panorama: Self-Portrait by Proxy III a.k.a. Crime Scene IV
This is an attempt to shoot a reasonably large gigapan using both focus bracketing and exposure bracketing. Each image in the 22 column, 10 row panorama was shot at five different focal distances and five exposure levels (so a total of 5500 separate images). It took about 20 hours of shooting over three nights. For gear geeks, I used my Canon 7D with a Canon 17-55mm f/2.8 lens at 55mm (so 88mm as 35mm equivalent) at f/11 and exposures from 1/15 second to 15 seconds.
I think the focus stacking is quite successful. The image is pretty sharp from the nearest point (the back of the central brown chair, less than a metre away) to the farthest point (the wall upstairs visible in a mirror, ten metres away). I think the focus stacking software has done really well given that I was asking it to stack images that were completely out of focus and/or hugely under- or over-exposed. I have only found one area where the software has created a stripe of the sort that happens when the change in focal length between successive shots is too large. For the benefit of anyone wanting to try the same sort of thing, I will add that I found the current version of Helicon Focus (5.3.7) seemed to have bugs in its batch mode and the support people at Helicon gave me the impression they didn't really care.
The exposure bracketing has not worked out as well as I had hoped because it would seem there is no software for tone mapping that works with images as large as this so I had to manually merge the different exposures by hand using the old cut-and-paste-with-masks technique in Photoshop (with which I have no expertise). The largest version of this image that I have been able to tone map is http://gigapan.com/gigapans/125210.
One significant problem that I didn't think about until it was too late is that the two groups of ceiling lights use different types of light bulb so they produce different colours of "white" light which makes setting the white balance tricky.
I will be very interested to hear from anyone who knows of a tone-mapping program that can cope with large images. (And when I say "knows" I mean "have themselves successfully tone mapped an image of over 30,000 by 15,000 pixels" - I have had too many recommendations for software that "should" work.)