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Create better panoramic photos with this gadget


Professional photographer Frank Fischer from Seevetal near Hamburg owns his own photography school and has a lot of experience in panoramic photography. We wanted to know from him what goes into the assembly of apanoramic head is important and what photographers can expect without a nodal point adapter.

Most important when mounting on thetripod is that the regulartripod head, for example the ball head, is removed. Because where the ball head was, the nodal point adapter should be attached horizontally. It is particularly easy to level it if you have a tripod with a leveling unit. At Rollei, for example, she has thatRock Solid Alpha XL, at theRock Solid Alpha you can buy them optionally.

If you don't have the unit, you have totripod base by adjusting the length of the legs and this is difficult because there are three legs. If you move one leg, it standstripod usually still not level and you are forced to gradually adjust the other legs and try to level them out. It is important to work in Libra, otherwise the horizon will not be straight. This may then run in waves and it looks a bit unprofessional on the finished photo.

Panoramabild Fluss

How to use the nodal point adapter

Once the tripod is aligned and thepanoramic head mounted, the camera must be aligned with the center of the tripod mount. To do this, bring the camera into a vertical position using the arm of the Panorama 200 Mark II nodal point adapter and position the lens vertically over the center of the tripod. Then you have to determine the nodal point once for the lens and focal length combination.

Panoramabild Landschaft

As for the nodal point, most photographers think that you just have to pan the camera in the sensor plane and then everything will be fine. However, that is not true. For example, if you hold your arm and thumb out in front and then look past one thumb with one eye and then look past the other with your other eye, you'll see that the background isn't in the same place behind the thumb either. And that also happens when rotating the camera. We also turn our head at the neck level. So you also have to rotate the panorama head on a different plane. Because the nodal point is always in front of the sensor plane, i.e. somewhere in the optical path of the lens. How to do this can be seen in the video. Once you have determined the nodal point for the lens used, it is best to note the millimeter values on the scales on the panorama rails of the panorama head 200 Mark II. You do this so that you don't have to determine the nodal point again for the next shoot, but can bring your head to the same settings and save a lot of time.

Determining the nodal point is important for the following reason: If you pan the camera without an adapter, so-called parallax errors would occur, which then make it impossible for the software to superimpose these individual images without ghost images. Thus, a cleanly produced panorama from these individual images would not be possible. In the case of a panorama image, the wide panoramas are calculated from the individual images using software. Using the so-called stitching process, the software combines the individual images into a finished panorama.n.

This happens without the adapter

You can take the skyline in New York for example. If you are standing there on the bank and the first area of the photo is 50 meters away, then it is not a problem to take the individual pictures without keeping the nodal point, because the parallax error occurs decisively in the picture areas in the direct foreground.

Especially with very wide and therefore wide-angle panoramas, you want to have the foreground in the picture. Because photos are two-dimensional and only become really three-dimensional with the foreground. So as soon as really good panoramas are to be created and the foreground comes into the picture, you need itPanorama 200 MK II.

Weit winkliges Panoramabild

In general, it is advisable to take individual shots of a panorama upright. This has the advantage that the longer sensor edge with the higher resolution forms the height of the panorama resolution. In addition, this extends the angle of the vertical panorama axis in the image. The individual images should overlap by at least 30 percent so that the software can later stitch the finished panorama without any problems. This 30 percent can be set using the detent on the panorama head or alternatively read off the scale on the rotator.

Lightroom Einstellung

Software: Lightroom, Photoshop, PTGui

On the camera, it is recommended to use the manual mode. Basically, you should shoot in RAW format. However, if you photograph in JPG, the white balance should also be set manually. Before the first single photo you should focus manually, otherwise there may be different levels of sharpness in the finished panorama. Because if the foreground is in the picture and the sharpness is on the foreground and on the background, then this has the effect of a visible error in the finished picture.

If you shoot a panorama in single frames and plan to stitch the panorama together in Lightroom, you may not need to use manual mode. In the current versions, Lightroom adjusts the color and exposure of the individual images so that you cannot see the transitions. Most photographers will use Lightroom or Photoshop to stitch the panoramas. Special software such as PTGui is recommended for panorama professionals.

Expert tip: You can take a photo of your own hand before the first and after the last frame. Then you know which is the start photo and which is the last photo of the panorama to be created. Otherwise, the clarity suffers a lot with many individual photos taken in one day in the photo library. - Frank Fischer

Frank Fischer erklärt den Panoramakopf

What makes working with the 200 MK II so relaxing

Of thePanorama 200 MK II is very robust and already largely assembled when delivered, which is very positive. With many competing products, you first have to assemble the individual rails. Of thePanorama 200 MK II can be folded out and the detent of the degree setting on the rotator can also be clearly felt. The supplied case is ideal for storing and transporting thePanorama 200 MK II and the head is very easy to use.

Panoramakopf im Einsatz

It looks a bit big for smaller cameras, but it's for 35mm cameras with big oneslenses absolutely sufficient, stable and valuable. For example, the carries a 70-200mm zoomPanorama 200 MK II without problems! Overall it is very comfortable to work with the head.

These are the most common mistakes when working with a panoramic head

The tripod base is not properly aligned. Main problem: Mistakes are sometimes made during preparation. Of course, that's not so bad if you're a panorama specialist and have the necessary software. However, not every photographer combines these two requirements, so preparation is very important!

Panoramakopf im Einsatz

It can also be problematic if you want to take a wide panorama of the sea and are standing in a rocky bay. Then it happens that one of the individual photos consists exclusively of sea and horizon. This is where automatic calculation software like Lightroom has a very difficult time stitching. The panorama creation in Lightroom then often fails. In this case, the 30-degree overlap may have to be avoided. It helps Lightroom and any other software a lot in this case, if on each frameobjects which can be clearly identified on the next frame in the overlapping area. And that is often difficult with the sea or meadows, pastures and flat horizons and should already be taken into account when taking the picture.

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