View Full Version : Panoramic tripod

04-23-2008, 09:15 AM
can anyone recommend a tripod head that enables you to take panoramic images which doesnt cost the earth?

04-23-2008, 09:43 AM
I presume you mean that you want to be able to capture a series of images by rotating the camera.

The requirements that must be met include:

1. The tripod head must be able to rotate. This is usually not a problem - most heads can do that.
2. It is necessary to level the head so that the camera will be level as the head rotates. I have a Slik U212 tripod that has a bubble level built into the head for that purpose, but it is also possible to accomplish the same thing with a small "torpedo" level that you simply sit on top of the head before attaching the camera.
3. The axis of rotation really should pass through the nodal point of the lens. This is not a head issue, but rather addresses where and how the camera attaches to the head. In most cases of 35mm cameras, the tripod mounting hole is offset from the lens nodal point - usually both behind the nodal point, and often also to one side. The options are to either use the default position and compensate for the offset when you frame (and subsequently print) the image, or else find (or more likely, make) an adaptor plate that fits between the head and the camera such that the axis of rotation of the head is directly beneath the lens nodal point.

So, my point is that you don't necessarily need a special head, but rather need to think carefully about how you can use whatever head you already own.

04-24-2008, 06:59 PM
It depends on the type of panoramas you decide to shoot. A good place to get information is: http://www.panoguide.com/howto/;jsessionid=1FCF12679D29EFEC920CDEE410BC0833 But it's mostly digital.

For landscape panoramas with not a thing in the foreground a standard tripod is just fine. But if you have items in the foreground you need to have the camera rotating at the nodal point of the lens, you can make or purchase a bracket for that.

For spherical panoramas you need the costly head. I've seen these heads cost from about 75 to 1000+. Plain non-spherical panorama heads start at $30 and go up from there. Link for a plastic spherical head: http://gregwired.com/pano/Pano.htm

B&H, Adorama Camera, http://www.panoguide.com/store/us/home, and Amazon.com All carry some but not all panorama heads

04-24-2008, 07:22 PM
For spherical and 'mosaic' (multi-row) panos I heartily recommend any of the Nodal Ninjas. I use the '3' and '5L'. Which model is suitable for you will depend on the type of camera you intend to mount on it.