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26-gigapixel picture of Paris


It would seem 26-gigapixel panoramic websites are all the rage. You may remember my earlier post from December 2009 on a similar site offering some mind-blowing views of Dresden, but it looks like this latest site takes the whole experience to a whole new level.

Not least because of the beauty of the next city which got the 26-gigapixel treatment: Paris.

Like their German counterparts, the French photographers – led by Arnaud Frich, “the most famous panoramic photographer in France” – also used Canon 5D Mark II. But to speed the process up they used 2 cameras to capture 2346 single images, which they then stitched together to create what they claim is the biggest ever panoramic image. For comparison, the Dresden project used ‘only’ 1600 images.

They shot the image from the top of Saint Sulpice tower using 300mm f4.0 lenses with tele converters and used manual focus. During the shoot one of the lenses started producing blurred images, so they finished the project with just one camera.

When you compare the two processes, the French one is much less complicated, and possibly less perfectly executed (there are some image quality issues here and there), but the result is stunning. You can zoom in on some of the French capital’s most popular buildings, track down pedestrians on the narrow Parisian streets or count the tourists on top of the Eiffel Tower.

Like with the Dresden project, you can also click on some thumbnails and let the screen zoom in on a particular detail. Clicking on any of the info points on the screen will bring up a short description of what you are looking at. And luckily you can mute the slightly annoying Amelie music.

As always, it’s best viewed on a relatively fast machine and definitely go full screen.

The accompanying blog gives more details about the project, there’s also a short behind-the-scenes video.

We’ll no doubt see more gigantic panoramic pictures soon. The question is – which city is up next?

New York? Tokyo? Or, hopefully, London.

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