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— Panoramas: Introduction —

What is a Panorama?

A panorama is typically a picture that shows more than a single photograph can do. Usually, a panorama is associated with a very wide picture that is very narrow in height. It shows a large part or all of what a beholder would see, if he or she would turn around his or her own axis. Such panoramas are called cylindrical panoramas and they cover a field of view of about 120° to full circle 360°.

Pictures that feature a wide field of view in the vertical direction can be considered as panoramas as well. These are very high but narrow pictures that show a high building — a tower, perhaps, or a hight tree. A vertical cylindrical panorama can cover a vertical field of view of up to 180°: from nadir to zenith.

Dome-like panoramas contain the environment around the viewer in the horizontal direction and additionally the skydome from the zenith down to the horizon: 90°.

Spherical panoramas show the scenery in full horizontal and vertical swing — 360° horizontal: all around; and 180° vertical from ground to sky. The observer is in the centre of a sphere. Photographing and assembling a spherical panorama is rather elaborate and time-consuming, and displaying the result difficult.


  • Horizontal cylindrical panorama: maximal 360° wide, about 30° to 45° high.
  • Vertikal cylindrical panorama: about 30° to 45° wide, maximal 180° high.
  • Dome or Skydome panorama: 360° wide; 90° high.
  • Spherical panorama: 360° wide; 180° high.

This is not an official classification, only a general overview.

  © 2004 - 2017 by Horo Wernli.