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  • Posted on: Perfect Your Coastal Panoramas With These 5 Simple Tips

    Here is my supplement to the laudable clear & easy-to-read guidance for beginners in the above article:

    If you already know how to shoot satisfying panoramas without a panoramic head and you want to make a next step, I recommend to learn the benefits of this accessory. No fears, you don't need to commit a bank robbery and rent a truck for your new equipment if you wish to try a panoramic head. All you need is
    - to undestand, what is the 'nodal point' of your lens (see below), and
    - these two small parts:
    ► Multi-Purpose 200mm Rail Nodal Slide Quick Release Plate (the right one comes with a built-in AS-clamp for the L-bracket)
    ► Panning Clip Clamp with a ArcaSwiss-dovetail on the base (aka Rotating Camera Quick Release Clamp)
    You can get them on eBay (new), from Amazon or from other sources, both together cost approx. 35. Nearly or completely identical parts are sold under different names, e.g. Neever, Mengs, Haoge, or BestCompu. Your new panoramic head adds approx. 12 oz to your bag weight. It helps if you already have a sturdy tripod with a ball head (preferably with a ArcaSwiss-type clamp) and a L-bracket for your camera.

    This simple panoramic head works perfect for one-row-panoramas.

    Nodal point:
    Before you start using the head, you have to find out the so called 'nodal point' of your lens (aka no-parallax point). More precisely, you have to know its distance from the camera sensor plane. Again, no fears, it's a simple procedure, you have to make it once only and that is. A lot of good instructions explaining how to determine this distance can be find in the web. When you read this instructions and/or see the videos you'll also learn what is the nodal point, why it is so important, and how to use the head.
    Note: Take into account that the position of the nodal point depends on the focal distance set in a zoom lens. Therefore, you have to repeat the procedure for 4 to 6 focal lengths of each zoom lens.

    The head assembling is incredibly simple:
    1. Clamp the Panning Clip Clamp into the AS-clamp of your ball head
    2. Disable the rotation of the ball head
    3. Level the assembly, preferably by adjusting the ball head, you don't need to adjust the length of the tripod legs overly precisely
    4. Attach the Quick Release Plate to the Panning Clip Clamp in the way that the rotation axis matches the position of the nodal point (when camera and lens are mounted on the plate). [To note the nodal point distances for all your lenses on the scaled plate is a really good idea.]
    5. Attach your camera to the plate and start your shoot.

    Depending on the lenses you intend to use, the plate may be even shorter (170mm or 140mm), i.e. lighter and cheaper, too. Prime lenses typically used for panorama shooting (~24 85mm) usually don't need the long plate, Nikon's wide angle zoom 16-35mm does.

    When you shoot your panoramas with the panoramic head, your benefit will be a trouble free stitching and if you wish it a flawless including of the near foreground in your images. It gives your images 'more depth'.

    Last of all, I recommend to stick with the portrait orientation of your camera when shooting panoramas; for this a L-bracket is a must.
    • 10 Jul 2018 3:47PM

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