Shooting Panoramas with Panorama Heads: My special equipment for DSLR and µ43

July 03, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

Motivation

Shooting Panoramas and stitching them seems o be very easy. Every smartphone has this feature build in. So fare so good. But shooting special panoramas in low light situations or in situations which needs HDR Smartphone will loose, for shure. My example for this is evident and I have shown thin in my blog entry about HDR-Panoramas. During the Years I made my own experiences and some of them had been pretty painful. When I was shooting the Stuttgart Library under phantastic light conditions it was amazing - and the stitching just a pain in the ass... really. hours.

The software was not able to stitch. properly: look at the left crane or at the road name sign... I discussed that with ptgui and i was discussing using a tilt shift lens and they replied: you have to use a panorama head... And after some more hours in try end error and error and error I was buying one. But buying this on was not just buying: I started on a different level of experience, having shot quite a lot of HDR Panoramas form my office side: http://delightphoto.zenfolio.com/p941493700

Setup for DSLR´s an larger cameras

One issue was always the leveling of the tripod. My solution was: buying a really sturdy Ball head as the basis:

 

This is my Novoflex Classic Ball 5. Able to carry a load of 12 kg... A lot of load but inbelivable stiff... The right basis for carrying a Panorama Head

Amazing: The 2 ways leveling: The fist step is to level this adapter plate. Very easy. The next step will be to mount the Panoramahead on it and to mount the camera:

In this case: a Canon 7D MkII and an EF 16-35mm f4.0 L IS Lens... Which works fin by the way....

Here the same combo but from another perspective: What you see: the camera is mounted on a slide. This is necessary to bring the nodal point of the lens ( the reference point for the focal length: for Canon L-Lenses this should be the red ring....) to the tilting point. You can tilt the camera on this point f.i. for  spherical Panoramas - which you cannot view on this side, unfortunately...

What is important: to mount the camera correctly: The lens axis must cut the turning point of the panorama head otherwise you will have parallaxes error and win some hours in photoshop to correct this... painfully....

But as you maybe know, I do not travel with the big luggage all the time. Sometimes I prefer to use just my little µ43 stuff - Especially with the GM5. And this camera looks a little bit ridiculous on the bit tripod:

I thought: this does not make sense: to carry a very little camera and a big and spacious tripod.

The setup for µ43 Cameras

I decided for a new tripod (much earlier) which was a Gitzo Traveller: Very light weight but sturdy as well... The ball head was ok - but gave me some trouble once in Paris... ok: I decided to buy another solution: And having everything from Novoflex It was Novoflex again:

The Basis was a Panorama Plate Q48 and on this mounted the very Small Ball NQ. But this should be used just for holding the camera.. - and will be removed for shooting Panoramas.

The Panorama Plate shows me each and every time i Use how much easier it is to level the Pano Head on my big tripod.... And there is another disadvantage of this Panorama plate: the minimum is 18 stops or 20º. Which is sometimes a bit much, especially if I shoot wide angle lenses like 24mm or even 14mm FF-equivalent.

 

This looks like much better proportions....  And it is really light an small. The good thing: I am able to tilt the camera as well - but I need tooling to do this...

the good thing is that I am able to readjust the leveling with the mounted Panorama head.

Here a comparison between the 2 different System: the Lumix GM5 on the Gitzo Traveler and the Canon EOS 7D MkII on the Manfrotto tripod..

To give you an impression of the size comparison to the 2 setups: this is amazing: The Gitzo fits an a cabin trolley while the Manfrotto fits only in my larges 73cm Hardcase and only it the Ballhead is unmounted....

One little goodie: the adapted Q-Mount slim for the Lumix GM5.... It allows me to unload the SD-card without tooling and to change battery with a light opening of the screw. Maybe that I will elongate the hole for another 0,5mm and then it will work

Summary

This is the Novoflex Equipment for the larger Cameras:

  • Classic Ball II
  • VR System Pro II

For the small System

  • Panorama Plate Q=48 (Today I would prefer the Q 6/8 II Model)
  • 2 Q-Mount Quick Releases
  • Plate with cross bubble level
  • Compact sized L-Bracket

For me both systems are working fine. It is great to have a small system for the little cameras - and the results I can achieve with the the small one are remarkable: 2 excamples as motivation at the end:

This is a 360ºPanorama of the Mito Art Museum in Japan shot with the Lumix GM5 and the Panasonic f 4.0 7-14mm

Agriturismo La Borraccia, Baiso, ItalyAgriturismo La Borraccia, Baiso, Italy..whatch the glow worms in the foreground...

This photo was taken in Baiso, Italy. There are 2 remarkable things on this photo. 

  1. the glow worms on the lower left corner
  2. A very nice farm http://www.laborgaccia.it where i stayed over night on the lower right side -were you see the light.

If you have any remarks or necessary updates: please let me know.


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