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Thread: Panoramic equipment - leveling base vs. panning clamp

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    Panoramic equipment - leveling base vs. panning clamp

    Im looking to add panoramic ability to my tripod setup (Gitzo Systematic GT3541LS / RRS BH-55 ballhead.) And Im wondering what would be the most practical way to go. I like a leveling base because its the more stable of the two options IMO. The only time I would need the leveling capability is when Im doing panos though. And I typically wouldnt want the extra height/weight. But removing it all the time would be, well, dumb. With a panning clamp I could just throw it on when I want to shoot a landscape and swap it right back out again. But given the choice I would rather use the panning base of my ballhead. Its much larger so adjustments would be much more precise. Its kind of a toss up for me right now. Prices are fairly close for either so that wouldnt be a deciding factor.

    I havent had experience with either so any input, for or against, would be greatly appreciated.



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    I'm not sure why you need either; the BH55 has a panning base built into it, and if you're going to level anything, level the tripod using the legs.

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    Do it free style man. Shoot it with PORTRAIT orientation, snap, snap, snap......... snap. Stitch it on photoshop. Make sure you overlap between snap like 30%.
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    Quote Originally Posted by tirediron View Post
    I'm not sure why you need either; the BH55 has a panning base built into it, and if you're going to level anything, level the tripod using the legs.
    On uneven terrain it can be difficult to get the level close enough for large scale panos. I care about things like nodal points and parallax.

    Quote Originally Posted by Schwettylens View Post
    Do it free style man. Shoot it with PORTRAIT orientation, snap, snap, snap......... snap. Stitch it on photoshop. Make sure you overlap between snap like 30%.
    See above. Thats great for a recreational shooter. But thats not going to give me results I can live with.

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    When you use this setup you are talking about, do you shoot it with vertical or horizontal orientation?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arkanjel Imaging View Post
    On uneven terrain it can be difficult to get the level close enough for large scale panos. I care about things like nodal points and parallax.
    You may care about nodal points, but unless you use a proper panorama mount your caring isn't going to have any effect. I've shot some fairly large panoramas from places like the lip of Diamond Head crater and never found that it takes more than a minute at most to get the tripod precisely level.

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    That comes across as really arrogant. My caring wont matter? I already have L brackets, a rail, etc. too dude. If I know about np's (and PARALLAX) one would assume I know how to correct for it. The only thing Im trying to solve is how Im going to do my panning. Lets save the other gear for another discussion.

    Edit: schwetty: will be shooting in both. I can get by with less images/overlapping/post work if I can be more precise in my captures.
    Last edited by Arkanjel Imaging; 07-21-2011 at 11:17 AM.

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    I've always done it without tripod and seldom have any real issue with the horizon. Even with tripod, it doesn't always work out to be the way I want it.

    I'd say do without tripod first and judge it for yourself.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arkanjel Imaging View Post
    That comes across as really arrogant.
    As does your inference that because you know the terms nodal point and parallax, you're somehow more knowledgable!

    Quote Originally Posted by Arkanjel Imaging View Post
    If I know about np's one would assume I know how to correct for it.
    I suppose, one would, IF nodal points were something that you corrected for. In point of fact, there's only one nodal point, and it's not an error of any type, ergo, you don't actually correct for it. In practice, having experimented at length, I've found that even with fairly large panoramas (say 135 deg, using four rows of eight images) unless you are using a very long lens, the nodal point has virtually no perceivable impact on the final image.

    Quote Originally Posted by Arkanjel Imaging View Post
    The only thing Im trying to solve is how Im going to do my panning...
    With the panning base that is already built into your ball-head. I'm genuinely puzzled as to why you are trying to decide between two pieces of equipment with very differnt functions, when you already have all of that built into your current gear. I've looked at different leveling heads and always found them to be finicky and annoying, in addition to adding height and weight to your tripod.

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    Quote Originally Posted by molested_cow View Post
    I've always done it without tripod and seldom have any real issue with the horizon. Even with tripod, it doesn't always work out to be the way I want it.

    I'd say do without tripod first and judge it for yourself.
    Ive done them with mediocre results with my previous setup and also without any support at all. But Im looking to improve upon the results those processes got me.
    Quote Originally Posted by tirediron View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Arkanjel Imaging View Post
    That comes across as really arrogant.
    As does your inference that because you know the terms nodal point and parallax, you're somehow more knowledgable!
    Hardly. I was expressing my concerns. I didnt indicate that I knew anything more than anyone else. I said I care about them.
    Quote Originally Posted by tirediron View Post
    I suppose, one would, IF nodal points were something that you corrected for. In point of fact, there's only one nodal point, and it's not an error of any type, ergo, you don't actually correct for it. In practice, having experimented at length, I've found that even with fairly large panoramas (say 135 deg, using four rows of eight images) unless you are using a very long lens, the nodal point has virtually no perceivable impact on the final image.
    .
    Sigh... agian, parallax is being corrected, not the nodal point. Excuuuuuuuse me for not wording myself better. But thanks for pointing it out. Again,I find your tone condescending. Im glad youve done research and gotten results. But maybe Im looking for different or even (OMG!) better results? Maybe Ill be shooting them with a telephoto?

    Id like to hear what anyone else has to say in relation to the two pieces of gear listed. This has already gotten way ot.
    Last edited by Arkanjel Imaging; 07-21-2011 at 11:23 AM.

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    Tell me again why you need to perfectly level tripod to take a panorama? This is something completely news to me. The only important requirement to making a panorama is rotating around the nodal point to avoid parallax (doesn't sound relevant here), and even then it's only a problem if there's a significant mix between foreground and background.

    It sounds very much like you need to look for a different software solution. Given I've come up with perfect panoramas shot hand held with moving subjects in them I don't quite understand why you need a level tripod... I even shot a panorama one afternoon pissed on the way home from the pub, there wasn't a level shot to be seen and all 30 pictures came together without a single stitch mark.
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    I have dabbled with a few 360 panoramas & I find that levelling is not generally a problem as in most cases it is simple to level during processing. Having the right gear helps too for consistent results i.e. a correctly set up pano head is perfect, but panos can be made handheld, though some practise would help there too. For all pano gear my first port of call would be Nodal Ninja, heads, levels, poles. Also; consider a stitching program, I find photoshop is a bit of let down. PTGui is good, as is Autopano I hear.

    Nodal NInja: Panoramic Tripod Heads, Photography Poles and Levelers for Professional & Amateur Photographers

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    Quote Originally Posted by Schwettylens View Post
    Do it free style man. Shoot it with PORTRAIT orientation, snap, snap, snap......... snap. Stitch it on photoshop. Make sure you overlap between snap like 30%.
    Free style is the way i do it. I've took a few panos and no problems without a tripod.

    Not sure why you would do it in portait mode though. You can take photos vertically and diagonally to make a pano. They don't all have to be just diagonal...
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    Because portrait orientation will give you the most pixel vertically and give you more room for cropping it rectangular (room for error)?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schwettylens View Post
    Because portrait orientation will give you the most pixel vertically and give you more room for cropping it rectangular (room for error)?
    Dot. And the more perfectly level I can make the setup the less pixels I will have to crop from the final image.

    One of my main concerns is being able to make my process repeatable. The more variables I can remove from the equation the more consistent my results will be.

 

 
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