Panosaurus 2.0

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Panosaurus 2.0

Postby Victor03 on Sun Mar 24, 2013 9:51 am

Any views on this piece of equipment?

I do not have a pano head on my Manfrotto tripod, just a ball head (486RC2) and wanted to dip my toe in the water of panoramic photography after reading all about parallax error and pupil entry points. I looked at RRS and Kirk equipment, then Nodal Ninja before stumbling on Panosaurus 2.0 for $99.95 plus postage (from Springfield Mo, USA) which the supplier has said he can do for $33.

The Panosaurus 2.0 comes with a simple rotator which can attach to my Ball head using the LR plate. I may consider an L bracket later (Canon 60D with 17-55 f2.8).

Appreciate your comments.

:)
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Re: Panosaurus 2.0

Postby zafra52 on Sun Mar 24, 2013 10:33 am

Last edited by zafra52 on Sun Mar 24, 2013 11:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Panosaurus 2.0

Postby Mr Darcy on Sun Mar 24, 2013 11:04 am

Don't be put off by all the talk about parallax. While it does have an effect, most modern pano software seems to manage quite well with choosing the right bits to make an image that looks right.
Also if you have nothing in the foreground (or just in one frame) it is a non issue.

What is important is to get the base of your tripod head level. You can achieve that in a number of ways:
1. Choose a level piece of ground and just plonk your tripod down on it
2. Spend a bit of time playing with your tripod legs until you get the base level
3. use a levelling base to level the head.
4. Use the specialist kit to get the level
5. Ignore the tripod and just take a series of frames hand held. You will miss some, but you will get a surprising number of keepers.

Note that what you are trying to achieve is to have the pan part of your tripod head turn on a horizontal axis. Once you have achieved that, you can use the tilt part to point your camera up or down to get the horizon off centre, or to take a pano of mountains above you.

I have the specialist kit, but most often use option 3 or 5 above. #5 can work really well if you put your camera into rapid fire mode, press and hold the shutter, and just look around. Depending on your frame rate and speed of turning you may choose to use only every second or third frame taken

One thing to consider with panos are your display options. On screen simply doesn't cut it. Framing prints longer than about a metre is just about impossible. That means no more than two or three image panos (I do have one that is printed about half a metre long and only 20mm high) I tend to print mine at about 2 metres long and 300mm high. I simply glue them to a backing board as I cannot get mat boards big enough to make a single piece mat. And glass that size is virtually impossible to deal with. There is the option of archival quality polycarbonate, but it ain't cheap, and it still scratches. :roll: You also need a printer that will print these sizes (or access to one) I use the Epson 4900.
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Re: Panosaurus 2.0

Postby Murray Foote on Sun Mar 24, 2013 3:12 pm

You only need to worry about the nodal point with a formal setup if you have elements of your composition that are close to the camera as well as distant elements. Consider this image of the Iguazu Falls, the third image in this post. It looks like a normal image but it's a multi-row panorama. It comprises 153 exposures including bracketing for focus and dynamic range. Click on it to see the full image. You can see many birds in distant trees, people on distant platforms and a butterfly fairly close above the water. I shot this with a 105mm lens on a monopod because I didn't have enough time to go back and get a wider lens or a rail (I don't have a full multi-row kit anyway).

I have had trouble joining panos made with ultra-wides (say 14mm to 18mm fullframe not DX) but haven't tested to work out the boundaries. In most cases you don't encounter these problems. I would suggest going out and taking many shots for panorama sets to find out how much you feel limited without the full kit first.
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Re: Panosaurus 2.0

Postby zafra52 on Sun Mar 24, 2013 7:47 pm

Murray, that picture of yours is fantastic! In fact, I like
the photos in your website. I could spend hours and hours
looking at them.
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Re: Panosaurus 2.0

Postby Murray Foote on Sun Mar 24, 2013 11:12 pm

Thanks very much Zafra. Greg and I had wandered through all the trails on the Argentinian side of Iguazu Falls (we didn't have Brazillian passports) except one section. With half an hour to an hour to spare before we had to depart for our plane, I took off for there, intending to take macro photographs of butterflies, of which there are many. I didn't get any of those because there were too many people but I did discover the best view I had seen of the waterfall. Having only the one moderate telephoto lens, I decided to try to cover the view, thinking "Well at least I should be able to put some of them together and get something". As it turned out, I was able to assemble them all.

Yes, it would take a while to go through them all. There are currently nearly 2,000 images and over 100,000 words.
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Re: Panosaurus 2.0

Postby robert on Mon Mar 25, 2013 12:08 am

I'm with Greg on this one. I actually have a panosaurus and only used it a few times after getting it. Even though I pretty much do stitched photos every time I go out- which is not that often.

I think with careful use and trying not to get too close to foreground, tripod or handheld is fine. If you do have something you are not sure will translate well in a pano I just have more overlap- maybe even more than 50%.

However wrt to your question I found the panosaurus did work in rotating the camera (more specifically the lens) around its nodal point and thus eliminating the shift that can occur- esp at wider focal lengths. I found it a bit bulky and not too sophisticated and therefore don't carry it anymore.

For the price it is the cheapest functional pano head so if you want to do it right it might be worth a shot. From what I remember setting it up for each focal length wasn't easy but mark up few with tape and off you go.
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Re: Panosaurus 2.0

Postby Murray Foote on Mon Mar 25, 2013 1:51 am

I went a different way but it depends what other equipment you have.I got a Sunwayfoto panning clamp (about half the price of the RRS equivalent) and a rail from Hejnar with a clamp. I use arca-swiss-type clamps and plates and have an Arca-Swiss-brand Universal L-bracket for my camera. Thus after testing for the nodal point differences I levelled with the panning clamp, mounted the camera on the rail with the required nodal adjustment and used the L-bracket for portrait orientation. It all works but when I went to Japan I didn't bother to take the panning clamp and rail.

There are various arca-swiss clamp standards. Loosely speaking we can call the two main types original arca-swiss and American. I now use SunwayFoto dual screw/ lever clamps which are quick to use and easy to adjust and I do not have to worry about different standards.
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Re: Panosaurus 2.0

Postby gstark on Mon Mar 25, 2013 10:16 am

I'd be more than a little concerned for a couple of reasons.

First of all, when people come up with flashy, gimmicky names, it's usually because the product fails to actually perform.

Second, it's probably too cheap. It's a bit like buying a cheap tripod or lens, and that's when the question of "how many times do you want to make this purchase?" arise. You can start buying the cheapest, then you move up a notch or two price and quality wise, and then you go up another level or two, until finally, you buy what you should have bought the first time round, except that now you've probably spent two or three times the cost of your final purchase, because you decided to save money by buying the cheapest. I'll leave it to you to work out the math of that. :)

Having said all that, if the $130-odd is, for you, what you might call "throw-away" money, where the spend won't be missed or hurt you, then buying this might not be an issue.
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Re: Panosaurus 2.0

Postby aim54x on Mon Mar 25, 2013 12:17 pm

gstark wrote:I'd be more than a little concerned for a couple of reasons.

First of all, when people come up with flashy, gimmicky names, it's usually because the product fails to actually perform.

Second, it's probably too cheap. It's a bit like buying a cheap tripod or lens, and that's when the question of "how many times do you want to make this purchase?" arise. You can start buying the cheapest, then you move up a notch or two price and quality wise, and then you go up another level or two, until finally, you buy what you should have bought the first time round, except that now you've probably spent two or three times the cost of your final purchase, because you decided to save money by buying the cheapest. I'll leave it to you to work out the math of that. :)

Having said all that, if the $130-odd is, for you, what you might call "throw-away" money, where the spend won't be missed or hurt you, then buying this might not be an issue.



Very good points raised here....same points to consider when buying a tripod
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Re: Panosaurus 2.0

Postby Victor03 on Mon Mar 25, 2013 12:42 pm

Thanks for comments everyone, especially Murray and Greg and I take the points that Gary made as well.

And Murray, your shot of the Iguazu falls is stunning- 153 shots done on a monopod! :up:

Also note Robert's comments as a Panosaurus owner. And Zaf, I had seen some of those reviews plus others. The impression I get is that the need for such equipment relates to an earlier generation of panaorama stitching software.

I have made the decision to reverse my priority as a result of your advice, and instead get an L bracket now so I can at least use portrait mode for panos on the tripod. BTW, an interesting sidelight to Gary's points is that when I purchased my ball head I did so without considering whether it should include rotator capability - a decision I now regret. :oops:

Many thanks again. I hope this may also help some other aspirants for panos.

:)
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Re: Panosaurus 2.0

Postby Murray Foote on Mon Mar 25, 2013 4:36 pm

aim54x wrote:
gstark wrote:I'd be more than a little concerned for a couple of reasons.

First of all, when people come up with flashy, gimmicky names, it's usually because the product fails to actually perform.

Second, it's probably too cheap. It's a bit like buying a cheap tripod or lens, and that's when the question of "how many times do you want to make this purchase?" arise. You can start buying the cheapest, then you move up a notch or two price and quality wise, and then you go up another level or two, until finally, you buy what you should have bought the first time round, except that now you've probably spent two or three times the cost of your final purchase, because you decided to save money by buying the cheapest. I'll leave it to you to work out the math of that. :)

Having said all that, if the $130-odd is, for you, what you might call "throw-away" money, where the spend won't be missed or hurt you, then buying this might not be an issue.


Very good points raised here....same points to consider when buying a tripod


No, it's not like buying a cheap tripod or lens. It's like buying a Gaoersi 6x17 panorama camera at a fraction of the price of European or US alternatives. Sure the Linhof Technorama will have more finesse at ten time the price but the Gaoersi is in no way inferior as a functional item and is certainly not more fragile. Of course, they don't make lenses which is where they would not be able to compete.

The SunwayFoto panning clamp is a simple finely produced engineering product that works as it should. The Chinese are good at that sort of engineering, as demonstrated by Gaoersi. RRS is the acknowledged leader in its field. I have an RRS tripod and the RRS ballhead is likely superior to my Arca-Swiss one. However, over time I have acquired many clamps and rails. To have all RRS clamps would be much more expensive. The RRS lever clamp has no adjustments and will only take RRS clamps. Other lever clamps (including some very expensive ones) generally have a small adjustment screw which can become looser over time and the clamp can become insecure. The SunwayFoto screw/lever clamp overcomes that problem and allows you to use any clamp or rail while being much cheaper than RRS clamps.

I fail to see that SunwayFoto panning clamp is a flashy, gimmicky name. SunwayFoto is an oriental brand-name. It is a clamp. It is used for panning.
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Re: Panosaurus 2.0

Postby Murray Foote on Mon Mar 25, 2013 4:39 pm

Victor03 wrote:And Murray, your shot of the Iguazu falls is stunning- 153 shots done on a monopod! :up:

Thank you.
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Re: Panosaurus 2.0

Postby Mr Darcy on Tue Mar 26, 2013 7:10 am

Murray Foote wrote:I fail to see that SunwayFoto panning clamp is a flashy, gimmicky name. SunwayFoto is an oriental brand-name. It is a clamp. It is used for panning.

Umm Murray I think Gary is talking about the PanoSaurus - the original item in question - not your choice of a miscellany of heads and rails. Methinks you protest too much :wink:

But I have been in the field with you and seen your adjustable clamps fall apart under stress while my RRS ones just worked. :evil:
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Re: Panosaurus 2.0

Postby gstark on Tue Mar 26, 2013 9:21 am

Mr Darcy wrote:
Murray Foote wrote:I fail to see that SunwayFoto panning clamp is a flashy, gimmicky name. SunwayFoto is an oriental brand-name. It is a clamp. It is used for panning.


Correct.
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Re: Panosaurus 2.0

Postby Murray Foote on Tue Mar 26, 2013 1:45 pm

Mr Darcy wrote:
Murray Foote wrote:I fail to see that SunwayFoto panning clamp is a flashy, gimmicky name. SunwayFoto is an oriental brand-name. It is a clamp. It is used for panning.

Umm Murray I think Gary is talking about the PanoSaurus - the original item in question - not your choice of a miscellany of heads and rails. Methinks you protest too much :wink:

But I have been in the field with you and seen your adjustable clamps fall apart under stress while my RRS ones just worked. :evil:

OK. Whoops. Sorry, Gary. I was mislead by your comment coming directly after mine and that the panning clamp also costs around $130.

That's true, Greg. I did have a disintegrating clamp. That was an adjustable lever one (with a small adjustment screw embedded in the clamp) and the problem may be as much with the design as the manufacturer. I have seen in feedback on B&H or Amazon people reporting that can happen even with the genuine Arca-Swiss one. It can never happen with the RRS one because that is not adjustable. Likewise for the SunwayFoto dual screw/lever model which is not adjustable in that way.
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