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Re: Is a Leveling Base Really Necessary?

CorwinGraves wrote:
Thanks all - that\'s what I figured, but was hoping for a different answer

I\'ve never done a pano before, but have been in many situations where I wished I had the right gear. I shoot landscapes exclusively and spend lots of time in the Sierra Nevada mountains and surrounding area.

IMO leveling isn\'t all that important. I guess I\'ve done about 100 panoramas that I actually liked so far and prolly another hundred or two that didn\'t expose and process the way I had hoped. So far they have been of all types: 40 or 50 shot single row, 50 to 300 shot multi-row, and smaller ones consisting of 10 or less shots. Some 5 or 6 years ago when pano software was young getting things level was much more important. Today, nope, almost not at all - even just eyeing it is totally good enough. Software now lets you rotate, stretch, and bend to your heart\'s content so even the tiny bubble-levels on cheaper pods and heads are overkill.

Additionally node-centering rails and sliders aren\'t all that useful either - depending. If the subject is close (like indoors or something) or there\'s foreground elements which are close then yeah, node positioning is (or can be) fairly critical. OTOH if you\'re doing a mountain range or something you could put the camera on a dang 2 meter swing-arm and it wouldn\'t matter a bit. Where all elements are at least ~20 meters away those centering rails become completely ineffectual over mounting the camera on just any old head.

In the Sierra Nevada\'s where I might also like to shoot some wildlife and at the same time not have to bring a ton of gadgets I think a gimbal head would be more practical. They allow node centering as well and also at the same time make panorama shooting fun and super easy. And of course every wildlife shooter can attest to the positive experiences they had with gimbals.

I dunno, I think even if I were going to do nothing else but panoramas all the time and make that my full-time career I wouldn\'t opt for either the centering rails nor the leveler - especially no need for the leveler. I feel kinda bad saying that as you\'ve mentioned that the rails were a Christmas present and I think it\'s really bad form to put down someone\'s gift. But you asked and others are involved now too so I guess why not tell it how it really is?

GH2_Canon_FD_85mm_f1.2L @ f/1.2
About 40 shots after cropping - standing about 15m to 20m away from the yellow tree.

GH2_Canon_FD_85mm_f1.2L @ f/1.2
240 shots after cropping - standing about 8m away from the little button shrub in the FG there.
And about 10 or 12m from the yellow tree which was looming almost directly over
my head - for the top row the camera was pointed up about 80˚ to 85˚.

Jan 01, 2013 at 06:38 PM

  Previous versions of Bifurcator's message #11233024 « Is a Leveling Base Really Necessary? »