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This post is really a personal response to Nick Walton's request for more information on my panorama setup following a couple of PM's about the subject earlier today.
If the following proves to be beneficial to other members then that's excellent
A couple of caveats before getting into this -
The images were grabbed this evening between some awful rain so the tripod/ball-head/plate setup is only for representational purposes i.e. the alignment of everything is NOT as it would be when shooting. You need to accept that the tripod/ball-head and camera spirit levels will have been set accurately for a live shoot. Additionally, the type of ball head used here is important - it has a 360° swivel at the base which can be controlled separately (you'll see this in the relevant image ) i.e. this setup will NOT work with any standard ball-head
So... here we go.
I use my Olympus E-P1 a hell of a lot now and out-of-the-box, there is a problem with the location of the tripod mount on this camera as evidenced here:
One of my other loves in photography is 3D images and to make life easy in that area, I purchased a Manfrotto 454 Micro Slide Plate as this allows me total control over the separations required for 3D. So - with the 454 plate giving me the ability to accurately position the lens fore-and-aft over the 'Panoramic Pivot Point' I just needed something to provide me with some lateral movement across the the all-important Pivot Point.
Manfrotto Support couldn't help - they could only suggest I buy another (!!) 454 Micro Plate!! So - after a lot of number-crunching through their Catalogue, I found the 357 Sliding Plate which was perfect - and significantly less than another 454 unit!!
This shows the E-P1 attached to the sliding plate of the 357 unit -
So - here's the first image showing the two plates together - (and the relevance of the two plates allowing the Pivot Point to be arrived at simply and quickly) -
..whilst the 488RC2 ball-head with it's 'Important Bit' - the 360° swivel - completes the mounting to the tripod.
These last two images show the complete setup and the versatility of the 357 plate in allowing that all-important lateral alignment of the lens centre axis on the Pivot Point.
Naturally, this setup will work with any camera but is particularly useful where the tripod mount of the chosen camera is off-centre.
Hope this helps Nick!! (and anyone else who might be interested )
Kind Regards - Mike
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I'm fortunate in that my tripod mount screw is in line with the lens axis. I use an old off-camera flash bracket if I'm shooting a close panorama. For more distant panoramas, I don't bother.
Thats brilliant Mike, thanks for the explanation and posting.
Is there a way of using it in portrait orientation (I guess not). Just helps sometimes in capturing more depth to the scene. (reminds me I have a couple of pano's that need processing that I've been putting off)
A pleasure Nick. Mission accomplished!!
Mike the 454 plate - can a third party quick release plate be attached (I've got a Giotto 360 head).
How stable would it be with a heavy dSLR (D700) - or do you think I would be better with a Manfrotto 303 head (gets expensive then).
I take it you've marked on the plates where the nodal point is?
I'm impressed looks far more stable than traditional Pano heads.
This, does indeed look quite interesting for those into the technique, but likely to get lost forever as a Forum posting.
Have you considered submitting this to epz as a Technique type feature for inclusion into the relevant section ?
Both plates come with standard 'bolts' Nick (as evidenced in the weblink to the 357 unit) so I would imagine so. As for weight, that 488RC2 is good for 6Kg's so more than enough for the D700 setup Nick. Yes - the plate are marked up
I have JJ - but just wanted to get this posted for Nick tonight as I said I would...
Will look at that later (Appreciate the interest)
If you have money to burn there`s always this
Um, I've always take my panoramas handheld Much simpler!
I've perfected my technique of twisting my body from the waist and getting decent overlaps between frames and stiching using Photoshop. It works perfectly. Any slight misalignement giving blank areas can be auto-filled by CS5 as seen in these:
I use this technique even when a wide angle would 'get it all in' as stiching shots taken at a longer focal length to cover the same area gives better perspective I find. The example above is an exception! I also use the camera in portrait mode for the same reason.
Looks pretty good. Tho try doing it with 30second exposures seriously even in the examples above you can see parallels errors. The only time I would hand hold is if there is no foreground elements within say 5 metres of the lens, and certainly not with extreme wideangles.
If you have 0 money then this is always a option:
metal modular curtain rail + few bolts. = required freedom on 3 axis'.
The most important part is the marker pen to make sure its 90 degrees.
REV2 now has screw threads inside the columns allowing for precise/motorised motion.
thatmanbrian awesome technique!
Quote: thatmanbrian awesome technique!
(One thing I didn't add at the start Nick was I put this together for 360° VR Panos... )
Nik_W - errors? Moi?
Love the gadget Swwils!
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