Panorama Heads / Gear... Which One?

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Panorama Heads / Gear... Which One?

Postby Andyt on Mon Sep 15, 2008 1:41 am

Recently I spent some time with this guy, http://www.christianfletcher.com.au/splash.asp


'and got hooked on panorama / mosaic stiching. Having decided to commit and buy a suitable head & gears I am having trouble deciding which one.

Having done a lot of research, my choice has come down to;

RRS http://reallyrightstuff.com/rrs/Customkititems.asp?kc=Ult%2DPro%2DOPP&eq=

or Nodal Ninja 5;

http://nodalninja.com.au/products/

I use the RRS Ball head and L brackets, so fitting / release is not a problem, but at double the price of the NNJ5, well there are other things I could get as well.........

Not having used this sort of specialized gear before and only seen two examples in the flesh so to speak, thought I would ask if any forum member could advise,
particularly those who may have and use either of these two setups.

Cheers, Andy
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Re: Panorama Heads / Gear... Which One?

Postby big pix on Mon Sep 15, 2008 6:34 am

look here...... http://www.vrphotography.com/data/pages ... w1103.html

........ also doing same, but I have a kingpano head I purchased for my D70 a few years ago and will be looking to trying to set it up with a D300........ if no luck I will be looking at the Nodal Ninja 5, http://nodalninja.com.au/products/, as this unit handles longer lens.......
Cheers ....bp....
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Re: Panorama Heads / Gear... Which One?

Postby DaveB on Mon Sep 15, 2008 8:29 am

You're not really comparing apples with apples.

The Nodal Ninja stuff requires that the base be level. You can either spend 10 minutes adjusting the tripod legs to get a level base, or you can add the cost of a levelling base between the tripod and the head.

The RRS package you linked to mounts on top of your ballhead, which provides you with a built-in "levelling base". The package is really just a collection of components, so you can pick-n-choose. For example I already have a levelling base on my tripod (a Manfrotto 438 base) and can use the panning base of the ballhead for the horizontal rotation. So I wouldn't need two PCL-1 clamps. Taking one off reduces the cost of the package by ~US$235.

In fact you can build the RRS system up piecemeal. For example with a levelling base the only extra component I needed to do horizontal panos was an MPR plate. Without the levelling base I would have had to get a PCL-1. By adding a 2nd rail and PCL-1 I can move up from my current system to an omni-directional system. BTW, by (ab)using the Wimberley Sidekick (normally used for telephoto work) I can currently do vertical panos. Just not both directions at once.
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Re: Panorama Heads / Gear... Which One?

Postby Wocka on Mon Sep 15, 2008 10:13 am

Hi Andy,

I'm glad you have started this thread, as I am looking at teh NN3 MKII set-up for my 40D + Sigma 10-20mm.

The NN website responce to a question was overnight from the US website, but I'm still waiting for a responce from the local Aussie distributer. I have also noticed that Amazon won't ship this item to Australia, probably because there is a local guy here.

The Q I asked if the NN3 could do multi-row Pano's and it can. So I'd expect the NN5 can as well. THis wasn't to clear for me on their site.

On Friday I found this site on how to make your own set-up http://www.potd.com.au/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2991&highlight=. But I would think a professional set-up is potentially going to be lighter to carry around and less bulk.

Cheers.
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Re: Panorama Heads / Gear... Which One?

Postby radar on Mon Sep 15, 2008 10:48 am

Andy,

the RRS stuff certainly is the ultimate package. This will allow you to do vertical and horizontal panos quickly and fairly easily. As Dave says, you can build up your pano gear, if you want.

I couldn't really justify spending that kind of money on the RRS. Instead, I purchased the levelling base PCL-1 and the PCL-DVTL. This allows me to mount the levelling base on either of my tripods. I have a bigger one when working from the car and a lightweight one when bushwalking. I already had a focussing rail but you could get one of the MPR-xxx ones to suit.

This setup is great for doing any of the horizontal panos. For me, that is 95% of the panos that I want to do. In the future, if I want to, I can just add to my pano kit. I already had the gear when I attended Bruce Dale's pano tutorial last year in Sydney. He is a former Nat Geo photographer and he does a lot of pano work these days. The gear he uses would be very similar to what I use, so that confirmed my thoughts on the gear. Have a look at his tutorial at:
http://www.brucedale.com/tutorials/

Also that way you will have some spare cash to invest in a tilt/shift lens which I think would be a better investment in the long run. Mind you, you will also need some extra cash to get the lens but very much worth it. I know I'm saving for one.

Let us know what you get.

André
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Re: Panorama Heads / Gear... Which One?

Postby moz on Mon Sep 15, 2008 10:53 am

radar wrote:I couldn't really justify spending that kind of money on the RRS. Instead, I purchased the levelling base PCL-1 and the PCL-DVTL.


That's what I've got too. Plus an L plate. Being able to just chuck it on top of my tripod when i want it is a bit of a plus, and it's quite lendable if people want to have a play.

The downside is that when I change cameras I quickly decide that actually the L plate is essential (only $200!), and really the whole rig becomes yet another 500 grams of "essential" gear to carry about.
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Re: Panorama Heads / Gear... Which One?

Postby radar on Mon Sep 15, 2008 10:59 am

Ditto on the L-plate, critical element to have the camera vertical, forgot about that, just part of the camera now.
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Re: Panorama Heads / Gear... Which One?

Postby big pix on Mon Sep 15, 2008 11:36 am

......... pulled out the King pano head this morning and set it up with the D300, without the battery grip, and Sigma 30mm. Shot an 8 shot pano inside, where I have lots of large prints on the wall, and Photoshop 3 stiched it all together and the finished image looks fine......... I am off to do some location panos which I will post later today............
Cheers ....bp....
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Removing objects that do not belong...
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Re: Panorama Heads / Gear... Which One?

Postby Andyt on Mon Sep 15, 2008 9:58 pm

Many thanks for your thoughts & replies!!

Once again you guys have helped me a lot in this type of situation, nothing beats the "circle of knowledge"!! :P

DaveB, Thanks for that, but was aware of the differences between the two, my tripod is a Gitzo 1228LVL + RRS BH55 with inbuilt panning base, so am O'K there.

Andre, Gee, did you have to mention the tilt / shift lens? :D As I like to photograph large buildings etc (when travelling o/seas) e.g. Churches, Cathedrals bridges etc particularly at sunset / night a PC lens is definately on the "Lust List", but pano gear first.

Wocka, I did the same and had a reply <24hrs, I notice they have just changed thier Au website, Yuck! But I like the idea of buying locally and supporting a firm that has such a well developed website and support for thier customers, I can see it getting BIG. For reasons stated below, suspect I will go RRS.

Moz, Yep! "L" bracket is the way to go, I have one permanently on each body and nowadays its habit to switch between port' & l'scape without thinking, (LR plate)

The links are great, some seen, others not & stuff learned, but so far;

NN5 Pro's:

Least expensive
Lightest / compact size
Click stops (variable) or free wheeling
Au support + website users forum

Con's:

Strong enough for a D2x + 70-200VR? (Yes, have application for it)
More fiddly bits for sand to get in to 'vis RRS
Longer setup time
Not as solid as RRS

RRS Pro's:

Quality
Detach components not used - horizontal -v- multi row
Quick attaching together & tripod attachment
Less controls - tension screw only
Will stand more abuse/accidents

Con's

Price


At this stage I suspect that I will go with RRS and maintain continuity with existing gear, but so far for me speed of set up and ease of use / reliability is an issue.
Nothing worse than travelling 100's K's to create a pic and find that something is not working "quite right", and on occassions I climb hills and down gorges etc, (sometimes falling over :( )

I will let you now when I order, which will be soon.

Thanks!!! Andy

ps, I do not understand why you would put $8-9K of camera gear on top of a home made setup (for <$100) and expect equal security and performance as pro made gear? Go figure...
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Re: Panorama Heads / Gear... Which One?

Postby gstark on Mon Sep 15, 2008 10:18 pm

Andyt wrote:Andre, Gee, did you have to mention the tilt / shift lens? :D As I like to photograph large buildings etc (when travelling o/seas) e.g. Churches, Cathedrals bridges etc particularly at sunset / night a PC lens is definately on the "Lust List", but pano gear first.


Leigh brought home a D700 along with the 45mm 2.8 PC tonight.

Yummy. :)
g.
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Re: Panorama Heads / Gear... Which One?

Postby radar on Mon Sep 15, 2008 10:41 pm

Gary,

that's exactly what I had in mind, now stop teasing us :evil:

I'll look forward to Leigh's review of this combo :up:

Andy, you certainly won't go wrong with the RRS gear.
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