pano head

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by walter_j, Feb 11, 2016.

  1. walter_j

    walter_j Mu-43 Veteran

    364
    Sep 10, 2013
    Hagwilget, B.C., Canada
    Walter
    I'm interested in a pano head. Does anyone recommend any particular one? I see a lot of chinese pano heads on ebay, but after my experiences with adapters I'm reluctant to try them due to great variability in quality. Are any of them any good (1/2 the price of well known brands). Any suggestions/thoughts
     
  2. yoshi234

    yoshi234 Mu-43 Regular

    52
    Nov 20, 2010
    West Hollywood
    I've been looking into these lately and was about to pull the trigger on one from Neewer but will probably go with RRS's lightweight version, the PG-01. Very reasonably priced, especially considering it's from RRS.

    RRS - PG-01 Compact Pano-Gimbal Head

     
    • Like Like x 1
  3. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 All-Pro

    Oct 1, 2010
    USA
    Are you sure you need one? IMO they are kind of over-hyped.

    For my common pano shots, outdoor landscapes, images shot hand-held and pivoting my body, will stitch just fine. These are images with nothing in the close foreground that is near a stitching point. I regularly shoot single-row, but two- or three-row should be fine as well.

    The purpose of a pano head is to eliminate parallax by pivoting the lens on its no-parallax point, often erroneously called the nodal point. This level of accuracy is required for indoor shooting like store interiors for Google Maps, house interiors for real estate salespeople, etc.

    Here is an example pano shot without a fancy pano head. (Alhambra Palace, Grenada, Spain) I did have the camera on a tripod, though, and used its pano/pivot function to swing the lens simply because of the low light. In daylight, I could have hand-held it and gotten the same shot.

    full.

    And, of course, the in-camera pano capabilities that are becoming common do not require pano heads for most shots. In fact, I just tried my new (three days ago) GX-8 in my living room with foreground objects and the Mississippi river in the background and the foreground objects were not a problem for the in-camera software.

    To your specific question, I bought a used Chinese Sunway DMP-140 "nodal slide" on eBay a few months ago because it was cheap and I always like new toys. It was made to a high manufacturing standard and very elegantly packaged, nestled in die-cut foam and in a nice box. I played with it a little bit shooting panos of my basement workshop and calibrating the no-parallax points of a couple of lenses. I have not touched the thing since, though I have carried it on trips to Ethiopia and Norway. I just have not had a need/had a complex enough photographic subject that forced me into that amount of screwing around. (In fact, if you'd like to buy it just PM me.)

    Obviously, YMMV.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2016
    • Like Like x 3
    • Agree Agree x 1
  4. yoshi234

    yoshi234 Mu-43 Regular

    52
    Nov 20, 2010
    West Hollywood
    oldracer's is right, no need for it for typical landscapes.
    this was with my GX7 last yr @ tokyo disney. Hand held of about 1/2 dozen or so shots:
    17258702822_1c073ec289_h. P1140896-Pano-2 by Yoshi, on Flickr


    yoshi - who needs them for interior work where parallax comes into play
     
    • Like Like x 1
  5. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 All-Pro

    Oct 1, 2010
    USA
    Very nice shot, Yoshi. I'm guessing that the color has been zipped up a bit but it still has a nice look to it -- done but not overdone (like so many).

    I'm surprised, though, to not see stitching artifacts due to people moving during the time you were shooting the sequence. Did you hand-select the stitch boundaries to minimize this, shoot the sequence very fast, or ??
     
  6. Holoholo55

    Holoholo55 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 13, 2014
    Honolulu, HI
    Walter
    Wow, how did you find it so empty? When we went, it was packed with what seemed like a thousand people. Of course, it was storming outside and everybody came inside to shelter from the rain and get some food. It was packed to the gills. Good thing my EM5/12-50 was weather sealed! :)
     
  7. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 21, 2014
    Personally, if I were particularly concerned about parallax effects, I would just get a geared macro rail and use that to offset the point of rotation. An inexpensive macro rail is really inexpensive. Like $13. And then I'd also have a macro rail, for doing macro. Yay!

    That said, Micro Four Thirds lenses are so short. If you're using something like a 12/2 I would completely put any concerns of parallax effects out of my head. Maybe, maybe I'd think about it if I were using a 12-40, or my 11-22 which was designed for 4/3s DSLRs with a long flange distance, so it's no doubt got some crazy optical workarounds to get to an 11mm focal length...
     
    • Like Like x 1
  8. yoshi234

    yoshi234 Mu-43 Regular

    52
    Nov 20, 2010
    West Hollywood
    oldracer,
    Thanks :) For stitching I just let LRCC do it's thing and got lucky with the people I guess.

    Walter,
    The day started out beautiful so everyone was outside. By 4PM it was pouring rain at which point I'm sure this section was packed. I think it also helped that we went in the middle of the week after all the students there started the new school year.
     
  9. walter_j

    walter_j Mu-43 Veteran

    364
    Sep 10, 2013
    Hagwilget, B.C., Canada
    Walter
    I've also had good luck with 12/2 - even w/o a tripod. I'm thinking of when I want to use the camera in a vertical orientation - esp with longer lenses such as the 75/1.8. Parallax doesn't come into play much for my mountainscapes, but keeping the camera on a plane with correct overlap isn't easy for me when the camera is in a vertical orientation. A leveling base might work for a lot of situations, with a vertical attachment for my RRS arca base plate. Would this work when the camera is tilted up?
     
  10. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 All-Pro

    Oct 1, 2010
    USA
    (To the OP) Re hand held as I was recommending I neglected to mention this small issue. If you "wobble" vertically (pitch axis) as you swing horizontally you end up with the top and bottom edges of the stitched shot looking like the individual photo "tiles" didn't match up at their edges. The fix for this is easy, you just crop a little off. But it does make the pano a little shorter top to bottom. To avoid it, just use a leveled tripod head; still no need for a pano head.

    (FWIW, I have an Acratech GP that converts to a leveling base. See this video beginning at 3:29. There is also an Acratech video () that covers the full monte of nodal rail setup and use. In it at about 0:56, they illustrate the "tiling" that occurs when there is vertical wobble.)
     
    • Like Like x 1
  11. Hypilein

    Hypilein Mu-43 Veteran

    295
    Mar 18, 2015
    Intrigued by your post I spent the last few days looking at various options for pano heads. As other mentioned, you only need a pano head if you have a prominent foreground element. However, I find, that this often leads to better landscape shots, so I wouldn't say rotating around the optical center is not necessary.

    There seem to be multiple ways to achieves this: A fully fledged pano head can tilt around the optical center in on two axis. This is necessary if you want multiple rows. The advantage is, that you don't need to have the horizon line as centered as if you tilt the camera down. A pano head seems to be pretty expensive with most heads starting at 300€ or whatever currency you use. The recommended RSS Pano head, which is supposedly good value should give you a good indication of what a good pano setup costs.

    Tilting the camera down or up is not possible with the second but much cheaper solution. This just uses a leveling plate, so that you rotate on a level plane (or you just level your tripod but that seems very tedious) and a nodal slide. This can be had for as much as 50€ and seems to be a good way to start. But it only allows single row, and if you are on top of a mountain, shooting down will not be possible.

    The last solution seems to be to create your own pano head from a variety of slides, angles and rotating bases. The cheapest solution I found came round to about 150€ on german amazon and consisted of about 7 or 8 different items (some duplicates).

    Please bear in mind, that up unto the summer, where I will probably take the cheapest version to Iceland to try this out, all of my Panos have been handheld. I've not run into serious stitching errors, but I have also not yet had any good efforts with foreground elements and I often had to do serious cropping. My efforts though often satisfactory where quite luck based. I just shot a row of pano shots from the hip and hoped that it would process well. This time in Iceland I'll put in a bit more effort and hopefully will get something that's worth printing laaarge.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  12. walter_j

    walter_j Mu-43 Veteran

    364
    Sep 10, 2013
    Hagwilget, B.C., Canada
    Walter
    I've taken a few where cropping degraded a landscape too much, and I'm unlikely to get another chance at that particular view. I also take a lot of mountain panos, where I'd be pointing the camera up (with astro shots too). So although it's cheapest to only need a leveling head - that won't work in many cases for me. The lightweight RRS pano head seems to be best fit. although maybe oldracer has a good deal for me.

    Iceland - that seems like a dream trip for me. Get shots of the black church and black sand