Really Right Stuff – www.reallyrightstuff.com – panorama equipment and tutorial on website.
Very expensive, high quality machined aluminum. This is what I use.
The Panosaurus – gregwired.com/pano/pano.htm – much less expensive.
Might be adequate for lighter SLR cameras. Manufacturer specifically excludes professional size/weight cameras. Should work fine for point and shoot cameras.
For a panorama long enough to be a good backdrop you need a program that can project a circular image onto a flat piece of paper, not just a simple stitcher. This might rule out some free stitchers included with cameras.
Adobe Photoshop CS4 – www.adobe.com – expensive
David Halpern says the
stitching works very well in CS4; I had problems with earlier
versions of Photoshop, but have not tried CS4 yet. Available for Mac
and PC (except XP x64).
Hugin – hugin.sourceforge.net – free front end for PanoTools
Not as polished as more
expensive programs. I used this on some older panoramas with no
problems. My father also used it on his Macintosh with no problems.
PTAssembler – www.tawbaware.com – inexpensive front end for PanoTools
A little more refined
than Hugin. This is my current panorama program. Available for PC
Autopano Pro – www.autopano.net – more expensive
Supposed to be very
simple to use; recommended by Thom Hogan. Available for Mac, PC, and
PTGui and PTGui Pro – www.ptgui.com – more expensive
Used to be a front-end
to PanoTools, just like Hugin and PTAssembler, but has evolved beyond
that. Available for Mac and PC.
Backdrop Warehouse – www.backdropwarehouse.com
$6/sq. ft. for custom printing on DmiBOP 10 (see sample). Base prices for completed scenes are a bit higher, but there are a number of specials and promotions. Website is hard to read.
Heavy Matte Paper (Premium Matte) – www.redrivercatalog.com
Plain cellulose paper
with inkjet receptive coating (11 mils thick). $0.22 / sq. ft.
Mural Pro – http://www.magicinkjet.com/product.php?id=104
Latex saturated wet strength paper (12 mils thick); similar to DMiBOP10 but without nylon reinforcement. $0.52 / sq. ft.
DMiBOP10 – http://www.magicinkjet.com/product.php?id=10
Latex saturated, nylon reinforced cellulose (11 mils thick). $0.60-$.70 / sq. ft. - sample handout
Phototex – http://www.lexjet.com/lexjet/product_disp.asp?dept%5Fid=13103&pf%5Fid=PTA
Lower resolution fabric with adhesive base; repositionable and removable. 10 mils thick going through printer, 6 mils thick after backing is removed. $0.96 / sq. ft.
Heavy Matte paper – material cost around $0.22; ink cost around $0.82 / sq. ft.
Total consumables cost
of $1.04 / sq. ft.
DMiBOP10 – material cost around $0.70 /sq. ft.; ink cost around $0.82 / sq. ft.
Total consumables cost
of $1.52 / sq. ft.
Phototex – material cost around $0.96; ink cost around $0.60 / sq. ft.
Total consumables cost of $1.56 / sq. ft.
$1500-$1800 per year amortized cost of 24” HP or Epson printer
$2000-$2500 per year amortized cost of 44” HP or Epson printer
I estimate you would have to charge $3-$4 / sq. ft. to make sure you don't lose money, and $6 / sq. ft. to be profitable. For the sake of comparison, I charge a watercolor artist friend of mine $10 / sq. ft. for fine art prints (the paper is much more expensive, more than $2 / sq. ft. and there is a lot of cutting of smaller prints) and she considers it a good price. The standard rates for fine art printing run from $15 - $30 / sq. ft.