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Tools & Set-up




Nikon DSLR with Nikkor 10.5 mm Fisheye

Nodal Ninja 3 VR head

Softwares; PTGUI, Nikon Capture 4, Photoshop CS2 and Pano2QTVR.


Set up



With a DSLR, shoot in manual mode and set the image quality to RAW. 


Adjust the shutter speed, white balance and the desired aperture. 


Set up the VR head and camera on the tripod.  With this specific tripod, notice the footprint has been decreased to avoid being in the nadir shot.  Less editing of the bottom image later on.


For long night exposures use a remote shutter release or set the camera on timer release mode as shown above with the D70s.  If you are really worried about camera shake then you might also want to set your camera on mirror lock-up.


The VR head should have been previously adjusted to the camera's entrance pupil. 


Set the focusing ring to infinity.



Why choose infinity?


Most shoot at a height between 3 1/2' (42") to 4' (48") or greater.  The image below shows the position of the focusing ring of the Nikkor 10.5mm at various distances of an object.  (Game controller)


You can clearly see that between 42" to 48" the focusing ring is at the infinity position.  You can already guess where the focusing ring will be at when automatically focused at a greater distance.





Level the tripod and/or VR head.  There are many leveling devices out there.  Personally I use two.  A Manfrotto 338 and 337.


MManfrotto's 338 Leveling Plate on the tripod.


Manfrotto's 337 Double Bubble Level for the hot shoe.


If you wanted to take a leveled shot, even if your VR head is leveled and with most VR heads (probably all),  there is no visual guide to verify that your camera is leveled after mounting.


NOTE ON BUBBLE LEVELS: You do not need multiple bubble levels.  This is personal preference.  I use the 338 Leveling Plate as my main leveling guide. 


I use the 337 double bubble mainly for the zenith, nadir and hand held shots.



Rotational Degree Increment.


This depends on the lens that you are using.  For a full frame fisheye lens, a pan shot at every 60 is enough image overlap for a panorama. 


Depending on the VR head, some have a rotation base that have adjustable click stops for accurate divided rotations.


For hand held shots, I use the 337 to level, lock the "camera" arm against my body, and visually turn my body at every 45 (Eight pan shots).



Manfrotto's 303PLUS and 303SPH's panoramic head, the 300N, have adjustable click-stops that ranges from 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 15, 18, 24, 36, and 72 click stops.  The 300N can also be used for  object panoramas due to its turntable like qualities.




Below is 300N's graduated scale and adjustable click-stops in detail. 

Pros: Easier to adjust.  Cons: Expensive.

Scroll the image below




Kaidan's, Nodal Ninja's and various other VR heads have interchangeable detent plates/discs/rings.  Pros: Cheap.  Cons: If you needed to, changing plates is a bit time consuming, but you would have prepared this before hand....   right?



Nodal Ninja's detent plates.  These are double sided plates.