Well, my experience is quite the opposite of Alex Yorke's. Are you using images with EXIF data? If so, the lens info should get set automatically - it always has for me.
If you shoot a proper pano using a pano head, or some other means where your camera doesn't move around all crazy, it'll auto-detect the control points pretty well.
Personally, I usually just shoot a load of shots by hand and hope they turn into something later. This approach does require setting control points manually, but this is an easy task, aided by a loupe which appears when you start dragging around the point. After you've dropped a few points, it'll start being able to match your points automatically quite easily. It does help at least having a properly exposed image, and finding good points of contrast.
It's not terribly fast, and the UI kind of sucks. But it's powerful, relatively easy once you get the hang of it, and the images are generally great. An example.
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