Gigapan + Oly E-M5/OMD?

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by Mellow, Apr 18, 2013.

  1. Mellow

    Mellow Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 27, 2010
    Florida or Idaho
    Tom
    Anyone here using a Gigapan system with an Olympus OMD? I'm thinking of getting one, but I'm confused about the models.

    According to Gigapan, the model I'd need would be their EPIC-Pro--which is $800+.

    According to their specifications, however, it looks like the EPIC 100 would work just fine, and is about half the price.

    Obviously I'd prefer the smaller, lighter model . . . if it fits.

    Anyone?
     
  2. Mellow

    Mellow Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 27, 2010
    Florida or Idaho
    Tom
    Thanks, but it really doesn't answer my question about the OMD. Looks nice though! I think I'll email Gigapan directly and see what they say.
     
  3. marcsitkin

    marcsitkin Mu-43 Veteran

    307
    Jan 24, 2013
    Harwich, MA USA
    Marc Sitkin
    I'd go for something more robust than the model I'm using. Although it works ok, and I've even had a Canon 40 d on it, it's not built all that well. The pivot point for the arm that hold the camera is a really sloppy piece of work, and as a result, the camera arm sags a couple degrees off horizontal.

    I also find the battery consumption on the Giga pan to be high- usually just a couple hundred positions from a battery pack. If you get one, be sure to get some extra packs.

    Overall, it can produce good panos, and has it's place. My personal preference is the Nodal Ninja manual pano rig. It's machined very well, is easier to transport, and there are some advantages to be had in doing pans manually in situations where you need to exercise control over objects moving through the scene. I've used one for years with a Canon 5d mk II, and plan to test it with the Oly's soon.
     
  4. Mellow

    Mellow Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 27, 2010
    Florida or Idaho
    Tom
    Marc,
    Thanks for the reply; I'll look into the Nodal Ninja.
    Anyway, here's the reply I got back from Gigapan. I'm actually impressed they took time to write a thoughtful reply:

    "Our apologies for any confusion; we're in the middle of adding more content to our camera pages to explain why some camera models are recommended for a particular GigaPan imager.

    I will be verifying the compatibility for this camera model when our camera tester returns from his business trip next week. It might very well qualify for both models, but there could be a reason he recommended the Pro over the 100. Namely, some of these cameras may still fit the 100, but there could be difficulty in adjusting for parallax. Since the cradle is much larger on the Epic Pro and there is no mechanical button pusher, there are more fitting options. Since you already own this camera, you could physically measure to verify. I have attached the measurement guide if you'd like to check.

    Let me know how this goes. I'm sorry I can't be more helpful at the moment – again, we'll be fixing these web pages so things make more sense!"

    I'm in no hurry, so I'll wait for their reply and post it here if it comes.
     
  5. marcsitkin

    marcsitkin Mu-43 Veteran

    307
    Jan 24, 2013
    Harwich, MA USA
    Marc Sitkin
    Not sure where you are in sunny fl, but if you are nearby, your welcome to check my gigapan and Nodal ninja out.
     
  6. SRHEdD

    SRHEdD Mu-43 Top Veteran

    967
    Feb 24, 2011
    Viera, Florida USA
    Steve
    Old thread, but I just bought a used NN4 for $175, and then saw a Gigapan EPIC for the same price. I asked and searched, and asked and searched, and came to the same conclusion. I think I'd rather have manual control with the Nodal Ninja, and I found a NN$ used for the price of the NN3 new.

    Now, if I was still an active commercial photographer, and found myself doing homes for a real estate agency or something, I might be inclined to go for something more production-oriented, but I'll bet that after a few pano shoots, I'd be faster with a Nodal Ninja than the Gigapan. I hate that though... the Gigapan looks like it would be fun to play with! BTW, I'd almost settled for the Panosaurus Rex, but was advised it wasn't very sturdy, mostly a plastic version of a Nodal Ninja-style device. You could find a used NN3 for just a little more, and get a sturdier bracket.

    The trick here is that you don't rotate the camera around the tripod socket, but around the NODAL POINT of the lens, typically a few mm back from the front element (varies by lens). That's all the bracket really does versus a good pan head on a tripod and careful movements by the photographer. You feed the Gigapan the two diagonal corners of your desired pano, and its onboard computer takes your lens into consideration and plots the math to shoot enough shots to cover the area you designated. Pretty cool actually.
     
  7. inkista

    inkista Mu-43 Veteran

    332
    Jan 13, 2012
    San Diego, CA
    Except in the case of Oly cameras, you may also need an additional plate to offset the fact that the tripod hole isn't centered with the lens. This may have also been the issue with why one version of the Gigapan was preferred over the other.

    The other thing the NN lets you do is to rotate the camera in pitch as well as yaw in order to get your zenith/nadir shots for 360x180s. I think the gigapan can do this as well, but sometimes has issues with knowing how many images to take.
     
  8. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
  9. inkista

    inkista Mu-43 Veteran

    332
    Jan 13, 2012
    San Diego, CA
    And if you need to go lower-budget, there's always the Panosaurus.
     
  10. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I have the Gigapan Epic 100 purchased on sale a couple months ago mostly out of curiosity. Unfortunately, the weather hasn't been too great so my experience with it is limited. Initial experience:

    * Very easy to use. At first I thought, it was going to be a very complex unit but it walks you through the initialization of the process. Just a few steps using the arrows.
    * Its good to line up the nodal point of the lens (not the camera, tripod, or camera film plane). Not too difficult but requires a bit of fiddling.
    * Only for small form cameras. It was designed mainly for P&S but cameras have shrunk to size since then. My Leica M9 is about as large of a camera it can accommodate. Long telephoto lenses will require a bit of modification to provide enough recess to line up nodal point. Not only will the camera have to be reposition rearward, but you will need to figure out how to get the robot to trigger the shutter too. I haven't tried it yet. but MFT should be ok for most since our bodies and lenses are both small.
    * EATS batteries. 6 AA battery pack and I'm only getting 3 pans out of them. I'm not sure but the M9 + 50mm is quite a bit heavier than a P&S which could explain battery life.
    * Build is overall good. The platform could probably be a little more refined.
    * Stitching software is straight forward. Easy to use too. They have pretty good online website to show off gigapans with memberships for additional benefits. Basic membership is free.
    * You can adjust the time between shots depending on your camera. Get it just right and the pans can be made quickly.
    * Wired trigger (directly to the camera) is EXTREMELY limited with the Gigapan Epic 100. I think they just support a few models of Canon. Not sure why they don't support more cameras but it seems like there is no movement towards increasing support. So you will need to rely on either wiring up your self (some info online) or do like most which is rely on the robotic actuator. If you can the robots' shutter arm to line up, it works fairly reliably. Some people make longer arms to accommodate.
    * Not exactly easy to transport. I keep it in a small backpack and it doesn't leave much room for the camera.
    * Since its robotic, you can actually position yourself in the shot.

    I'm not sure I would have the patience for doing pan shots manually and the Epic 100 does have a neato factor. For those that do a lot of pans with various cameras, its probably much better with the Epic Pro. It has a more adjustable platform. Stronger mechanics. Can hold the largest of cameras and lenses. Much larger support for wired triggers. Better battery source.

    I only have two online which is a test shot the day I got it. I didn't line up the nodal point... just playing around with it. Taken with Leica M9 + 50mm f/1.4 wide open. The robot was set up fairly close to the center, in focus ornament (I have a small space). I wanted to see what it can do at full pan AND do something of a Brenizer method result.

    This is my result of the first. Converted to jpg for post.

    11018250836_22f4ce331b_b.

    Taken a little later after some adjustment and posted to gigapan as an actual pan. Feel free to zoom in to see the details.

    http://www.gigapan.com/gigapans/3d527f01ccdb92de070f5fca9bf1cc40
     
  11. SRHEdD

    SRHEdD Mu-43 Top Veteran

    967
    Feb 24, 2011
    Viera, Florida USA
    Steve
    I just got both the Gigapan EPIC and the Nodal Ninja 4. Found both for about $170 each. The EPIC is the smallest version, but fits my E-P2 barely, and works well. The NN4 is a real piece of work, nicely made, and once configured for your camera (easy), stores in a much smaller space, maybe even your camera bag. Trying now to see if the E-PL5 with fit the EPIC to jump up a sensor from the E-P2. Will probably start shooting today with them. The Gigapan couldn't be easier to operate, a really cool gadget!
     
  12. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    One note... The intent of the gigapan and nodal sliders/rotation pan heads are similar but different.

    Yes.. both can do pans.

    But as many have seen online, gigapans are intended to simulate high resolution detailed pans. They do this by using long focal lengths to capture detail but to use the robot to pan it accurately. This technique captures enough data to simulate an image with many more pixels on sensor than is possible by todays' consumer technology. Hence the name "giga" pan as oppose to "mega" in mega pixels. You cannot appreciate this looking at JPG output. You have to actually view the pan itself and zoom in to see the details.

    Here's one popular pan:

    http://www.gigapan.com/gigapans/66626

    272 GIGApixel equivalent stitched from 12,000 frames. Not really practical to do manually.
     
  13. SRHEdD

    SRHEdD Mu-43 Top Veteran

    967
    Feb 24, 2011
    Viera, Florida USA
    Steve
    Exactly. For example, this morning, I'm testing out the set up by shooting my pool area. It is currently taking 350 calculated photos to be stitched together, whereas with the NN4, I'd visually overlap maybe 6-10 shots in two rows and let the stitching software interpolate them for the best result.

    Also, I'm shooting these for web use. This lens and converter will most likely be fine. Were I making prints, probably not so good...

    [​IMG]