Panoramic heads

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by Ralser, Dec 6, 2012.

  1. Ralser

    Ralser Mu-43 Regular

    May 28, 2011
    Any suggestions for a panoramic head for use with a Gh2, and lenses ranging from the 7.5mm and up. There are lot available at different price points. What's a good one that isn't too expensive.


  2. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Real Name:
    Photo Clam heads are often recommended as a budget head on Nikonians. But, if you are just doing panorama, you might be able to find a very affordable 3-way pan/tilt head. I know that Manfrotto used to offer this head with what is now its 190 series tripods. I used a Vanguard head before upgrading to a Markins and it was OK, but I am not certain how well it would have held up in the long run.

    Good luck,

  3. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 All-Pro

    Oct 1, 2010
    How important is a head anyway? I don't shoot many panos but when I do I just hand-hold the camera and pick a horizon or some other reference line so my camera vertical angle is consistent.

    Elements and other software seem to have no trouble stitching these.

    Are the pano heads mostly needed for interiors or other situations where the subject matter is closer to the camera? Or ??
  4. dwig

    dwig Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 26, 2010
    Key West FL
    Yes, a properly calibrated pano-head arrangement is critical when subject matter is close to the lens. When shooting distant landscapes it's only important that you keep the pan very level, something you can do well with a standard pan head (if you do all of the leveling with the legs) and sometimes do adequately hand-held. Pivoting at the lens' nodal point eliminated the parallax error that would otherwise occur causing flaws in the alignment of close objects.

    Personally, I use an odd ball head I acquired long ago that can work inverted with its pan function above the ball-tilt function. That way I can use the ball for leveling and the pan's axis is vertical. I created by own L-plate to hold my Pany G-1/14-45 kit vertical with the tripod socket on the bottom of the bracket aligned with the node of the lens.

    There are a number of ways to find the nodal point. Here's a link to one method: Panomundo : Assembling a Pano Rig & Setting the Nodal Point

    Here's my bracket (Manfrotto clamp : inverted ball head : custom L-bracket) and two recent Panos that I shot of a portion of the Alan S. Maltz Gallery here in Key West. Both panos would pose significant problems without a decently calibrated bracket.

    Attached Files:

    • Like Like x 1
  5. fiLigor

    fiLigor Mu-43 Rookie

    Oct 3, 2012
    Have a look on Nodal Ninja - they have everything you might need, from single row/multi-row panoramas to 360/180 all rounds. Portable, affordable and expandable.
  6. inkista

    inkista Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 13, 2012
    San Diego, CA
    +1 on the Nodal Ninja. It's served me well both with Canon and Panasonic MFT gear in shooting sphericals. Having full freedom to rotate in pitch as well as yaw around the NPP was the big deal for me. And it breaks down and packs small, and is very sturdy. For longer lenses, it may not be ideal, but it's a good relatively low-cost panohead, with enough precision to get the job done.

    Also, for how-tos with sphericals, I'd point to Eric Rougier's fromparis site. That panomundo link was great in its day and was how I learned 360x180 stitching, but it's a bit out of date now. E.g., PTMac no longer exists. And the board to hit is panoguide's.
  7. Mogul

    Mogul Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 9, 2012
    Take a look at the Manfrotto Micro Ball Head 492LCD, a light ball head that incorporates a panoramic base.
  8. dwig

    dwig Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 26, 2010
    Key West FL
    This type of head does NOT work well for panos. It is way too difficult to adjust the ball to keep the camera axis parallel to the panning axis. Also, you must have another head below this one to do the primary leveling of the panning axis.

    The ball head in my rig, show above, has the ball below the panning component. This is an odd arrangement for a ball head, but is necessary for pano work.