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Author Topic: Panning clamp - making tilted panos  (Read 2453 times)
Caviar
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« on: April 20, 2014, 02:40:11 AM »
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I have read a lot about panning clamps vs leveling bases. And i understand the advantage of panning clamps as it is easier and more precise to set up for a horizontal pano. However, what equipment is required to make a pano with a tilt downward (or upward)? Lets say i'm on top of mount fuji and want to shoot a pano 30 degrees downward to the foot of the mountain all the way round.

If I browse the RRS site it seems you need the PG-02 Pro Omni pivot package. But that is quite some equipment. Wouldn't a monopod head of RRS be an easier solution on top of a panning clamp? I believe manfrotto also makes a tilt head. Perhaps together with a nodal slide if there are near objects. However, i never see it advertised as a solution for panos

Or to put it otherwise: what equipment qould you advise for a tilted pano with panning clamp? And why did or didn't you just go with a leveling base in this case, which is relatively cheap.
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2014, 04:04:29 AM »
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Hi,

I have used something like this:


Best regards
Erik


I have read a lot about panning clamps vs leveling bases. And i understand the advantage of panning clamps as it is easier and more precise to set up for a horizontal pano. However, what equipment is required to make a pano with a tilt downward (or upward)? Lets say i'm on top of mount fuji and want to shoot a pano 30 degrees downward to the foot of the mountain all the way round.

If I browse the RRS site it seems you need the PG-02 Pro Omni pivot package. But that is quite some equipment. Wouldn't a monopod head of RRS be an easier solution on top of a panning clamp? I believe manfrotto also makes a tilt head. Perhaps together with a nodal slide if there are near objects. However, i never see it advertised as a solution for panos

Or to put it otherwise: what equipment qould you advise for a tilted pano with panning clamp? And why did or didn't you just go with a leveling base in this case, which is relatively cheap.
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BartvanderWolf
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« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2014, 07:05:00 AM »
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I have read a lot about panning clamps vs leveling bases. And i understand the advantage of panning clamps as it is easier and more precise to set up for a horizontal pano. However, what equipment is required to make a pano with a tilt downward (or upward)?

Hi,

Depends on whether you want to make a single row pano, or a multi-row pano.

A single row Pano doesn't require much gear, just a Ballhead or similar with a panning clamp on the top, and a No-Parallax-Point bar to shift the camera back far enough to align the entry pupil of the lens above the center of the panning clamp. One must make sure that the optical axis is also aligned with the pivot point, which is accommodated by a well designed camera plate. An L-plate allows to quickly switch between landscape or portrait orientation while keeping things aligned and the center of gravity centered above the tripod. From the Really Right Stuff accessories that means a PCL-1 clamp +  MPR-CL II rail (search for "Pano-Elem-Pro").

A multi-row pano requires much more additional equipment, and maybe you can get away without it. As long as you get your foreground stitched accurately, you may be able to blend the background elements without too much problems. But for a worry free setup, you'll need to invest a fair amount of money.

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Lets say i'm on top of mount fuji and want to shoot a pano 30 degrees downward to the foot of the mountain all the way round.

It's not clear if you want a wide pano or a virtual 360 degree pano. The latter requires a lot more preparation, a multirow pano setup, and you need to shoot a separate Nadir shot to hide the tripod legs, and good software that allows to apply the corrections and masks.

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If I browse the RRS site it seems you need the PG-02 Pro Omni pivot package. But that is quite some equipment.

If you want to shoot a difficult scenario, you'll need a lot of gear to pull it off without problems.

Quote
Wouldn't a monopod head of RRS be an easier solution on top of a panning clamp?

Easier, yes, but it will not work in all cases.

Quote
Or to put it otherwise: what equipment would you advise for a tilted pano with panning clamp? And why did or didn't you just go with a leveling base in this case, which is relatively cheap.

A leveling base is not going to solve the problem, and is not necessary because you can level more accurately in the stitching software. You do need a setup that allows to rotate the entrance pupil of the lens through a single point in 3D space, which is simple with a single row pano, and complex with multi-row panos.

Cheers,
Bart
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Caviar
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« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2014, 04:56:00 PM »
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Hi,

Depends on whether you want to make a single row pano, or a multi-row pano.

A single row Pano doesn't require much gear, just a Ballhead or similar with a panning clamp on the top, and a No-Parallax-Point bar to shift the camera back far enough to align the entry pupil of the lens above the center of the panning clamp. One must make sure that the optical axis is also aligned with the pivot point, which is accommodated by a well designed camera plate. An L-plate allows to quickly switch between landscape or portrait orientation while keeping things aligned and the center of gravity centered above the tripod. From the Really Right Stuff accessories that means a PCL-1 clamp +  MPR-CL II rail (search for "Pano-Elem-Pro").

Cheers,
Bart

Hi Bart,

Thanks for the explanation.

Let's forget about the multi row stuff for the moment. With the instruction above it works for a horizontal pan. But for a tlted pan you need at least a tilt head on top of the panning clamp, right? Something like the picture above. I was just wondering why this is not often advertised (except now :-) ) as a solution.

And wouldn't a leveling base be just as efficient and even cheaper (although harder to set up, because you have to turn the ballhead straight forward and not pivot it a bit to the left or right when you position it for tilt)?
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Caviar
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« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2014, 04:56:44 PM »
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Hi,

I have used something like this:


Best regards
Erik



What tilt head is it? And is it Arca Swiss compatible?
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Colorado David
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« Reply #5 on: April 20, 2014, 05:38:46 PM »
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That looks like an older model of the Manfrotto monopod tilt head.  With the right clamp it is Arca Swiss compatible.
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Ellis Vener
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« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2014, 09:14:59 PM »
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I have read a lot about panning clamps vs leveling bases. And i understand the advantage of panning clamps as it is easier and more precise to set up for a horizontal pano. However, what equipment is required to make a pano with a tilt downward (or upward)? Lets say i'm on top of mount fuji and want to shoot a pano 30 degrees downward to the foot of the mountain all the way round.

The advantage of a panning clamp that goes on top of a tripod head is that it puts a rotator joint directly under the camera, This way the head becomes the leveling device ( if level is what you want) but really "level" is just another angle. Whatever angle you set the head to, the rotation plane remains constant for the degree of pitch (fore/aft) and roll (left/right) you set the head to. So in your example you tilt the head and then rotate the clamp. if you just rotated the head at it's base, unless the head is perfectly level,  the camera will move in an arc.


Quote
If I browse the RRS site it seems you need the PG-02 Pro Omni pivot package. But that is quite some equipment. Wouldn't a monopod head of RRS be an easier solution on top of a panning clamp? I believe manfrotto also makes a tilt head. Perhaps together with a nodal slide if there are near objects. However, i never see it advertised as a solution for panos

I believe that this is not generally mentioned as a standard way of working because of the potential of parallax errors when there are significant near/far spatial relationships in the subject. It is a matter of geometry: in multi-row panoramic work such an set up drastically moves the nodal point or lens entrance pupil when setting a different tilt angle rather than pivoting and rotating  around the n.p or entrance pupil. If there are no significant near/far relationships it is likely not an issue that the software cannot automatically handle and   sometimes those parallax errors can be resolved through editing layers of the composite image, and sometimes they just can't be resolved after the fact. I suspect that most manufacturers of multi-row panoramic gear think that for most multi-row panoramic composites most folk prefer to resolve the issue when shooting.

Quote
Or to put it otherwise: what equipment qould you advise for a tilted pano with panning clamp? And why did or didn't you just go with a leveling base in this case, which is relatively cheap.


I have both panning clamps and a leveling base. This is the leveling base I use: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=&sku=554092&gclid=CL6slqi_8L0CFSsQ7Aod0G8AkA&Q=&is=REG&A=details , a  Manfrotto 338 QTVR Leveling Base. Mostly I use it between the tripod head and the panning clamp, especially for architectural photography.  Even though I own and use very good tripod heads, having the leveling base between the tripod head and panning clamp is terrific when you need to make very precise adjustments.

You also mentioned the PG-02 Pro Omni pivot package. that is the one I currently use. I also have the older RRS multi-row kit and also worked with the Nodal Ninja for awhile as well.  The great thing about RRS panoramic gear is that it is kind of like an erector set and not only do you only have to use the pieces a particular panorama requires it can also be used for other types of photography. The next link  describes how  RRS camera bars and PG-02 gear were used for a macro shot of a garden spider in her web late last summer: http://blog.reallyrightstuff.com/bts-ellisvener/


« Last Edit: April 20, 2014, 09:16:50 PM by Ellis Vener » Logged

Ellis Vener
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« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2014, 09:19:32 PM »
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I suspect Colorado David is correct about it being a manfrotto tilt-only head. Add an Arca-Swiss based dovetail foot to it and it should fit in almost any clamp based on the Arca-Swiss standard.
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Ellis Vener
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Colorado David
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« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2014, 10:46:11 PM »
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I use this leveling base between a heavy video fluid head and a home-built jib.  It is very stout.  http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/554093-REG/Manfrotto_438_438_Compact_Levelling_Head.html/prm/alsVwDtl
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Alistair
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« Reply #9 on: April 20, 2014, 11:06:21 PM »
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Hi Bart,

Thanks for the explanation.

Let's forget about the multi row stuff for the moment. With the instruction above it works for a horizontal pan. But for a tlted pan you need at least a tilt head on top of the panning clamp, right? Something like the picture above. I was just wondering why this is not often advertised (except now :-) ) as a solution.

And wouldn't a leveling base be just as efficient and even cheaper (although harder to set up, because you have to turn the ballhead straight forward and not pivot it a bit to the left or right when you position it for tilt)?

The setup in the picture above would work fine for most cases. It uses the ball head as a levelling base and adds a rotating clamp and for multi-rows a tilt head on top.  Its problem is that it does not allow the lens to pivot around its nodal point and is therefore prone to producing parallax. In reality this is not a problem unless there are strong  vertical elements (and horizontal in the case of multi-row) in the fore or mid ground of an image and/or if you are using a longer lens. And yes, if you can tilt a ball head on one axis only and so you can dispense with the tilt head for multi-row stitches. Of course you would still be without parallax correction. If you have a levelling bubble on  your tripod (or can level your tripod legs some other way) then you do not need the additional rotating clamp shown above. You can level your tripod and then use the base of the ball head for rotation.

The complexity of a proper panoramic setup is in the levelling and in aligning the camera on both axis around the nodal point of the lens. Some set-ups also include an indexing component to give consistency of degrees of movement between shots but this is a little excessive in my view. Sunwayfoto make very high quality arca swiss compatible components (rails, clamps, rotating bases, levelling bases etc.) which allows one to put a good system together for not TOO exorbitant a sum. The various components can be re-purposed in a number of different projects such as macro rail etc. so they can be useful general additions to your kit.

A single DMP-200 used with a ball head is all you need for parallax-corrected single row stitches. http://www.sunwayfoto.com/e_goodsmulu.aspx?cid=39

If you find you like doing panoramas  you can over time add the components that allow parallax-corrected multi-row.
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BartvanderWolf
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« Reply #10 on: April 21, 2014, 04:07:30 AM »
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Hi Bart,

Thanks for the explanation.

Let's forget about the multi row stuff for the moment. With the instruction above it works for a horizontal pan. But for a tlted pan you need at least a tilt head on top of the panning clamp, right? Something like the picture above. I was just wondering why this is not often advertised (except now :-) ) as a solution.

Hi,

Because it doesn't keep the entrance pupil stationary when you rotate, it is not the solution that gives the required result.

A better solution is a ballhead with a rotating clamp on top. The head will allow to point anywhere you want, also level if needed, and the rotation will never cause parallax issues (assuming the use of a NPP bar). Always rotate at the top through the NPP if you want to avoid parallax issues. Using the correct setup allows to work very fast, which can also help avoid other issues.

Cheers,
Bart
« Last Edit: April 21, 2014, 04:15:29 AM by BartvanderWolf » Logged
Caviar
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« Reply #11 on: April 21, 2014, 06:59:37 AM »
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Hi,

Because it doesn't keep the entrance pupil stationary when you rotate, it is not the solution that gives the required result.

A better solution is a ballhead with a rotating clamp on top. The head will allow to point anywhere you want, also level if needed, and the rotation will never cause parallax issues (assuming the use of a NPP bar). Always rotate at the top through the NPP if you want to avoid parallax issues. Using the correct setup allows to work very fast, which can also help avoid other issues.

Cheers,
Bart

Hi Bart,

Could you elaborate? From the picture with the manfrotto tilt head, the camera L-plate is just inserted right into the tilt head without correction for the no-parallax (or nodal) point. I see that and with a NPP bar that could have been solved I guess. But is DOES already use the panning clamp on top of the head as you suggested, right?

And there is one thing I don't get about your method: suppose I mount the camera straight on the panning clamp. Suppose I use a NPP bar to find the right NPP point. If I now tilt the ballhead downward and start panning the clamp, I would not get the desired result. My camera will initially point downward, but after 180 degrees of panning it will point upward into the sky.

Regards

Menno
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Caviar
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« Reply #12 on: April 21, 2014, 07:23:33 AM »
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The advantage of a panning clamp that goes on top of a tripod head is that it puts a rotator joint directly under the camera, This way the head becomes the leveling device ( if level is what you want) but really "level" is just another angle. Whatever angle you set the head to, the rotation plane remains constant for the degree of pitch (fore/aft) and roll (left/right) you set the head to. So in your example you tilt the head and then rotate the clamp. if you just rotated the head at it's base, unless the head is perfectly level,  the camera will move in an arc.


I believe that this is not generally mentioned as a standard way of working because of the potential of parallax errors when there are significant near/far spatial relationships in the subject. It is a matter of geometry: in multi-row panoramic work such an set up drastically moves the nodal point or lens entrance pupil when setting a different tilt angle rather than pivoting and rotating  around the n.p or entrance pupil. If there are no significant near/far relationships it is likely not an issue that the software cannot automatically handle and   sometimes those parallax errors can be resolved through editing layers of the composite image, and sometimes they just can't be resolved after the fact. I suspect that most manufacturers of multi-row panoramic gear think that for most multi-row panoramic composites most folk prefer to resolve the issue when shooting.
 


Thanks Ellis,

I think I get it. If you would have figured out the nodal point for horizontal position with the "manfrotto tilt head"  option, the nodal point will shift if you tilt the head, because the rotation point is a little below the lens. It's probably not too bad if you only tilt within 20 degrees.

So the PG-02 omni pivot is the only correct way to make sure the nodal point stays at the same location when tilting.
.
But that is a bit of an "all the way" solution and I could imagine using a cheap tilt head if you want to shoot a single row pano with a fixed tilt. Am I right?

I agree with the manufacturers by the way of rather having it fixed when shooting instead of afterwards. I already have a backlog of photos to be edited. So everything that can be done in the field is far more enjoyable than in the evening behind the PC screen.  Smiley

Regards

Menno

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bjanes
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« Reply #13 on: April 21, 2014, 08:48:29 AM »
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That looks like an older model of the Manfrotto monopod tilt head.  With the right clamp it is Arca Swiss compatible.

Yes, I think that is correct. I have the RSS single row pano setup and have attached a Manfrotto monopod tilt head to enable a single row pano with tilt up or down. Erik was using a similar setup, but without the nodal slider component. If the subject distance is large, as is often the case with landscapes, parallax is not a significant problem. I would be interested in Bart's comments if he is still following this thread.

Shown below are shots of the single row pano setup with and without the tilt head.

Regards,

Bill

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Ellis Vener
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« Reply #14 on: April 21, 2014, 08:54:28 AM »
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So the PG-02 omni pivot is the only correct way to make sure the nodal point stays at the same location when tilting.

It isn't the only way but it is the most robust way that I have found offered by any manufacturer.

Quote
But that is a bit of an "all the way" solution and I could imagine using a cheap tilt head if you want to shoot a single row pano with a fixed tilt. Am I right?

If you are shooting a single row panoramic  with the camera/lens axis axis tilted up or down  I don't think you need to add a tilt head on top of a tripod head with a panning clamp, just tilt the head and then use the panning clamp to pan. I am willing to be persuaded that adding a tilt head to my usual set up will make for a better way of working however.

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...everything that can be done in the field is far more enjoyable than in the evening behind the PC screen.
Could not have said it better myself.

Most of panoramic work is not landscape oriented, I primarily shoot industrial and other architectural interiors, like this: https://plus.google.com/u/0/109729682469414639106/posts
« Last Edit: April 21, 2014, 08:56:42 AM by Ellis Vener » Logged

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« Reply #15 on: April 21, 2014, 08:58:58 AM »
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Yes, I think that is correct. I have the RSS single row pano setup and have attached a Manfrotto monopod tilt head to enable a single row pano with tilt up or down. Erik was using a similar setup, but without the nodal slider component.

That is interesting Bill. have you tried with the nodal rail on top of the tilt head instead of below it?
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Ellis Vener
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BartvanderWolf
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« Reply #16 on: April 21, 2014, 10:04:56 AM »
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If the subject distance is large, as is often the case with landscapes, parallax is not a significant problem. I would be interested in Bart's comments if he is still following this thread.

Hi Bill,

That's exactly correct, one can only correct for parallax after the fact at 1 plane in the distance (either foreground, or background, not both at the same time). Since at a distance the parallax in pixels is smaller, due to magnification factor, we are often able to blend the distant features in a smart fashion, hard to immediately spot the errors by eye. Only by rotation through the NPP there will be no parallax, and thus no errors, at any distance. Therefore, adding the rotating clamp on top is mandatory.

What is entirely possible though, is to tilt the camera's optical axis to a non-level angle (e.g. down the mountain), and do a single row stitch (with NPP rotation) at that angle. In the Pano Stitcher software, one then uses the same Pitch angle for the entire row, and get a perfect parallax free stitch, where only the excess space need to be cropped.

Attached is an example of that, where I shot 3 images at an angle of some 30 degrees down, but rotated the camera through the NPP (rotating clamp on top of the ballhead, with MPR-CL II in that clamp to align the NPP), so no parallax issues in neither foreground nor background. The first attachment is just the rough stitch centered in view.

The second attachment is the same stitch but after moving the horizon up by adding a Pitch angle to all three images to remove keystoning in the background (a leveling plate would not have been able to achieve such an angle), which 'levels the image' although it will introduce perspective distortion in the floor as if the shot was taken level with a huge image circle and wide angle shift.

And the third attachment is the result after cropping, tonemapping, and a bit of cloning to fill in some details.

Cheers,
Bart
« Last Edit: April 21, 2014, 10:28:39 AM by BartvanderWolf » Logged
bjanes
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« Reply #17 on: April 21, 2014, 10:26:07 AM »
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That is interesting Bill. have you tried with the nodal rail on top of the tilt head instead of below it?

Ellis,

No, I haven't tried that combination. Shown below is a crude edit of my original setup to what I imagine you are recommending. What is the advantage of your recommended setup.

Thanks for the help,

Bill

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bjanes
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« Reply #18 on: April 21, 2014, 10:30:59 AM »
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Hi Bill,

That's exactly correct, one can only correct for parallax after the fact at 1 plane in the distance (either foreground, or background, not both at the same time). Since at a distance the parallax in pixels is smaller, due to magnification factor, we are often able to blend the distant features in a smart fashion, hard to immediately spot the errors by eye. Only by rotation through the NPP there will be no parallax, and thus no errors, at any distance. Therefore, adding the rotating clamp on top is mandatory.

Bart,

Thanks for taking the time to reply. With regard to your statement in bold, I ask on top of what? Is that what Ellis is recommending?

Bill
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« Reply #19 on: April 21, 2014, 10:42:31 AM »
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Shown below is a crude edit of my original setup to what I imagine you are recommending. What is the advantage of your recommended setup.

Hi Bill,

That's exactly what I do, with a ballhead instead of a swivel monopod head, and a rail with an integrated clamp instead of the bar with dual clamps, if I set out to do single row panos. It makes for a low profile, low center of gravity setup that's very compact.

Cheers,
Bart

P.S. I've attached a quick grabshot of the Ballhead with PCL-1 on top, tilted down, with the MPR-CL II ready to accept the camera L-plate that's permanently on my camera. I usually shoot with the camera in portrait orientation for some added vertical angle of view, and stitch for the wider angle of view
« Last Edit: April 21, 2014, 11:04:13 AM by BartvanderWolf » Logged
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