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I don’t own, and can’t afford to buy, one of the latest versions of Photoshop that have good panorama stitching support; or a specialised stitching application for that matter. I must therefore resort to free applications and have had good results from Autostitch up to this point. This panorama is the first one that I was not able to stitch successfully with it; the result had many artifacts and stitch errors and it would not really have been practical to try and repair them to reach a usable image.
I tried the new Microsoft ICE and it did a reasonably good job, with just two stitch errors that were easily corrected. However it produced very marked colour banding with this image so I had to try something else.
I have heard of Panorama Tools but been put off by their non-graphical nature; they seem as though they would take some major effort to learn and use. The Panorama Tools page mentions hugin, a graphical frontend, or toolchain, that uses Panorama Tools behind the scenes. I hoped it would hide some of the complexity so I gave it a try with this image and was blown away. Performing just an automatic stitch, using the wizard, without needing to delve into all the options, produced this image with no stitch errors that I could see and no colour banding.
hugin will certainly be my choice of panorama stitcher from now on.