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A panoramic camera shot of an aspen grove in full fall color.

Extend your arms to your sides, palms facing out, and swing them at the shoulders until you can just see your hands out of the corners of your eyes while looking ahead.That's about a 140 degree scope of view, enough to make you turn your head. The Widelux camera takes a 140 degree picture.

You would have to put your nose on the screen to see this picture span 140 degrees, but your nose would get in the way.

When you view the panorama at a normal distance, the sweep of it becomes less apparent. It seems just a wide horizontal crop, not necessarily a wide angle of view. If this image were enlarged to wall mural size, detail preserved, then it would better convey a sense of actually being inside an aspen grove.

Computer imaging technologies like Quicktime VR and RealSpace attempt to vivify panoramas by synthesizing camera lens distortions as the view is steered right or left. Anyone time-transported from the 19th Century, who had never seen the world through a camera viewfinder, would be puzzled by the effect. It is a conceit based on modern technological artifact, not a recreation of reality.

The best way to get the full effect of a wide sweeping panorama is to make it very large and view it from a close distance. That advice applies to print, projected, and computer rendered versions. When everyone has a large screen monitor and Quicktime VR shows full screen high resolution images, then the gimmick will live up to its potential.