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Archive 2013 · Gigapan or tripod
  
 
ghdarnell
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Gigapan or tripod


I am considering renting a Gigapan for my cross country trip. I have never really done Panoramics before, and would be interested in 3-9 image stitches, nothing too extreme. My question is, is it worth spending the money to rent one, or would I be just as fine manually shooting with a regular tripod?




Feb 21, 2013 at 03:15 AM
dsjtecserv
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Gigapan or tripod


I wouldn't bother hassling with a Gigapan for simple 3 to 9-image, single row panos. That would really be overkill. On the other hand, a conventional tripod mounting might not be enough, depending on the nature of the subject matter. If you are confident that all of the important objects will all be relatively far from the camera (and not at substantially different distances), then normal mounting and rotation will generally work. For subjects where there would be a moderate difference in the distant of near and far objects from the camera, pano software can often successfully mask the unavoidable parallax error that will result. It is important to understand that this will involve compromises, as the objects simply can't be depicted in their true relationships, but this can be a reasonable compromise where the art is more important than the accuracy. Finally, for scenes with strong and important foreground elements against significantly more distant backgrounds, you would be best served to use a proper pano bracket and have some idea of the location of the "no parallax point" of your lenses (across their range of focal lengths, for zooms). You may be able to rent that as an alternative to the Gigapan. It would certainly be simpler and lighter than the motorized contraption.

Dave



Feb 21, 2013 at 03:27 AM
kdphotography
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Gigapan or tripod


Single row panoramic images don't require much by the way of equipment. Aside from a sturdy tripod and L-bracket, I'd suggest a nodal slide rail like the MPR CL II from RRS: http://reallyrightstuff.com/Items.aspx?code=NodalSlides&key=cat


Feb 21, 2013 at 03:04 PM
teuchter
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Gigapan or tripod


I own a gigapan unit and I wouldn't even take the trouble to set it up for a 3 - 9 frame single row pan, a nodal slide and an L-bracket with an appropriate tripod and head (which you would also need with the gigapan unit) will do the jobe more than adequately and with much less work.
C



Feb 21, 2013 at 09:20 PM
lukeb
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Gigapan or tripod


teuchter wrote:
I own a gigapan unit and I wouldn't even take the trouble to set it up for a 3 - 9 frame single row pan, a nodal slide and an L-bracket with an appropriate tripod and head (which you would also need with the gigapan unit) will do the jobe more than adequately and with much less work.
C


+1



Feb 21, 2013 at 09:34 PM
jbledsoe
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Gigapan or tripod


kdphotography wrote:
Single row panoramic images don't require much by the way of equipment. Aside from a sturdy tripod and L-bracket, I'd suggest a nodal slide rail like the MPR CL II from RRS: http://reallyrightstuff.com/Items.aspx?code=NodalSlides&key=cat



I use the panning clamp and nodal slide together. It's simple and makes panning in portrait or landscape mode trivial, especially if your body has an L-plate.

Jeff



Feb 22, 2013 at 07:48 AM
kdphotography
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Gigapan or tripod


The nodal slide from RRS, MPR CL II is all I use for panoramics. Most tripods heads can pan, so there is no absolute need for the RRS PCL-1 panning clamp.

That being said, the PCL-1 panning clamp makes for an awesome lightweight tripod head when paired with a leveling base. It's hard to beat this low profile, high capacity combination when you don't need the features and being lightweight is an issue----think hiking. Add a simple nodal rail and you've got a really nice small kit!

Now about that TVC-2 or 3 series.....



Feb 22, 2013 at 02:36 PM
Justin Grimm
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Gigapan or tripod


I dont have any answers, rather Im adding to the question list. Im just trying to figure out what the most cost effective and most useful approach would be for ghdarnell (and myself)

How much would it be to rent a Gigapan unit for a few weeks? I still cant believe how cheap the Epic Pro is concidering what it can do, so renting it may be even more resonable. You could even buy it an sell a single large print to make up the costs..Obviously if you are backpacking a lot, then it may be a pain to carry(which is its biggest drawback) However throwing it in the back of your vehicle and using it when needed might be well worth the precise and detailed images you will get.

How much would it be for an L-bracket, silder, and a leveling base? It almost seems like buying these 3 things would ad up to more then the cost of a nodal ninja, or similar panoramic head that can do multiple row panos. Plus the nodal ninja seems to be relatively compact and sturdy. Another problem I noticed when looking through the RRS site, it that you also need a Arca Swiss style tripod mount to use their sliders, which many people do not have.



Feb 22, 2013 at 03:31 PM
 

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dsjtecserv
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Gigapan or tripod


The primary thing that a Gigapan brings to the table is to ability to do the turning for you in a large, multiple-frame, high resolution pano. It doesn't do that any better than you could manually, it just saves you the trouble of having to do it. All the other things involved in taking a good panorama still need to be done by you: determining the no parallax point (NPP) of the lenses you will use, and calibrating the camera mounting accordingly, setting it up properly for the scene, stitching, blending and editing the results, etc. Unless you are contemplating a large and complex pano, the Gigapan is unnecessary and in my opinion not worth the trouble of hauling around (even in a car) and setting up. (But then people say the same about the pano bracket that I consider essential, so who am I to judge?!)

As noted in my first message, even a calibrated pano bracket isn't needed for all panos; for subject matter without major differences in distance, parallax may not be an issue and you can get away without one. But in order to be prepared for any panorama I might want to do, I always have a bracket (I use a hybridized Nodal Ninja) and a table/chart of the NPP for the lenses I might use at their full range of focal length. I might not always need it, but when I do, I've got it.

The limitation of single-rail "nodal slides" is that they really can only be use with precision when pointed straight ahead, with the horizon bisecting the frame. Because any tilting of the tripod head in order to pitch the camera up or down is not centered on the NPP of the lens, parallax errors can be introduced. Again, these may not be significant or fatal errors, and with some trouble one can readjust the distance of the camera on the slide to recenter the lens. But they can't be as precise as brackets that allow independent adjustment of the position of the lens in both X and Z axes.

There are a number of good pano brackets, including the several models of Nodal Ninja, but I don't want to get into comparing them. For what its worth I found I could use my Acratech GP-S ball head inverted to both level and provide for rotation. That allowed me to remove the (relatively heavy) rotator from my old NN3 rails, replace it with an Arca Swiss plate, and then affix an Ara Swiss clamp to the upper arm to hold the camera. This is lighter, more compact, and less expensive than fully modular A-S-based kits sold by Nodal Ninja, RRS, and others. It still has an impact on the weight of my full hiking kit, but for me it is reasonable and worth it.

If you aren't already using an Arca-Swiss system for your tripod, then this would obviously be a major change for you. But Nodal Ninja still has a couple of brackets (including the updated NN3) that are based on 1/4-20 threads, which should work with your current setup.

So I'd tend to concur that the most efficient way to start taking panoramas regularly is to invest in a relatively simple bracket system rather than the fancier options. As your needs and style evolve you'll discover whether you need or want to move to a different approach.

Dave



Feb 22, 2013 at 06:40 PM
Mr Joe
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Gigapan or tripod


If you end up wanting a panning clamp, the Benro PC-1 or PC-0 will give you the same functionality as the RRS PCL-1 at half the price. For nodal slides I find the RRS 192 FAS package to be more versatile than the MPRs because the 192 can be used with ultra wide lenses.


Feb 23, 2013 at 03:33 PM
rkgatteleport
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Gigapan or tripod


If you're only interested in single row panos, another option is an acratech GP ball head (which allows you the ball underneath the panning feature so simplify leveling) with a short rail/clamp (like a RRS MPR-CL II) for the nodal adjustment.

Best,

rkg
(Richard George)



Feb 23, 2013 at 05:44 PM
jaclarkaus
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Gigapan or tripod


I've done 4 up (2 high 2 wide) and 9 up (9 wide) hand held using Photoshop to stitch and haven't had a problem.

While using hardware is undoubtedly technically better, not sure if it translates into real life



Mar 02, 2013 at 09:30 AM
sorpa
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Gigapan or tripod


Hand held, 11 frames in portrait mode, stitched with PTGui.
Here is the linkie

http://www.flickr.com/photos/sorinpapuc/8490195259/in/photostream

Edited on Mar 04, 2013 at 01:30 AM · View previous versions



Mar 02, 2013 at 04:00 PM
RoySussex
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Gigapan or tripod


I'd suggest you take note of the posts by "dsjtecserv" which are spot-on.

The Nodal Ninja panoheads do the job well at moderate cost. Taking some time to establish the setup NPPs for whichever lenses you intend to use is time well spent - indeed I'd say essential. But as others have mentioned, provided there's not extreme foreground you can often shoot HH. However DOF issues come into play here; stitching with TS lenses is an additional complication. Wind is your enemy BTW, if there's foliage in shot...

One commonly repeated misconception about shooting for stitched panos is that you need very accurate levelling. Given that the stitching software remaps every pixel anyway and offers 3-axis adjustment of the final projection (of your choice) this is just another piece of gear to haul around. You will see this contention challenged, no doubt, however I am inclined to state that it's a fact.

PTGui is probably the best software for this job although Autopano is also said to be very good. A bit of practice before the trip would probably be a good idea.
Roy



Mar 03, 2013 at 02:06 PM
EB-1
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Gigapan or tripod


I have the full pano setup (and more) from RRS and also the large Gigapan. The latter is so bulky and a pain to use that I find it less useful than I thought. Use the Gigapan only for very large multirow pans and use a nodal setup for everything else. A single row vertical pan with a FF camera is much better than a single image. A 2-3 row pan is easy enough and provides a lot if nice pixels for large prints.

I suggest starting with single-row pans and then building up to larger pans or eventually the Gigapan if you must. If you start with a huge pan and limited experience, you may blow it and end up with nothing. Keep in mind that as the pan size and focal lengths increase, it may be necessary to bracket focus, further adding to the complexity.

EBH



Mar 03, 2013 at 08:40 PM
sorpa
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Gigapan or tripod


Here is another one taken with a Contax S-Planar 100/4 on Contax PC bellows, tripod, remote, f/32, 5 frames stitched with the same PTGui

http://www.flickr.com/photos/sorinpapuc/6048944837/in/photostream






Mar 05, 2013 at 02:28 AM





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