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PostPosted: Tue Dec 20, 2011 11:54 pm 
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Destiny wrote:
The nadir footprint for this as is would be very small...

Well - one row panos don´t have a Nadir . . . :cool:

Destiny wrote:
will you be putting both the x and y motors on it.... You know.. If you can get it to program using the Merlin Touch Controller, then you will be onto something very usable..

You can´t program the Touch Controller for a different head. You´d have to develope an own one. The TC comes in two versions: for the Merlin and for Josefs head (Josef is the maker of the touch controller). It has a dedicated firmware for the corresponding head.

best, Klaus

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2011 12:08 am 
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dex2009 wrote:
klausesser wrote:
dex2009 wrote:
I seem to be stuck to not lower than 1/1600th to get sharp images that can be used for stitching....

Right - and that´s rarely practicable if you don´t want to use wide open apertures and/or very high ISOs.

best, Klaus

Mmm, so I guess I have to do some more tests. I think the scenarios where a really fast rotation is needed are not so common: shooting fast actions, crowds at not so good lighting, so maybe in such cases a higher iso setting or wider aperture can be a good compromise (I prefer the first to the latter, I think its better to deal with noisy images than blurred ones from using f2.8 - unless stitching a long burst of images can trim out the blurred corners?)
For the rest of the scenarios, I can just try to lower the rotation speed and see if I can shoot at lower shutter speeds.

I really have to look at the arduino code to do stop-shoot-move sessions, and see how fast I can do a complete 360 with that ;)

A one-row head makes sense with a fisheye providing 180° diagonal/140° vertical in portrtait-mode. But here you don´t have that much images to be shot that a motorized head would be a big advantage even in fullspeed mode.
Maybe it would be interesting to use a slanted mount fullframe camera with fisheye on a fast spinning motorized one-row head! Lesser images to be shot, Nadir and Zenith included. But tripod-legs also :cool: - so it´s optimal for a monopod.

best, Klaus

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2011 1:07 am 
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klausesser wrote:
Destiny wrote:
The nadir footprint for this as is would be very small...

Well - one row panos don´t have a Nadir . . . :cool:

Destiny wrote:
will you be putting both the x and y motors on it.... You know.. If you can get it to program using the Merlin Touch Controller, then you will be onto something very usable..

You can´t program the Touch Controller for a different head. You´d have to develope an own one. The TC comes in two versions: for the Merlin and for Josefs head (Josef is the maker of the touch controller). It has a dedicated firmware for the corresponding head.

best, Klaus

Hi Klaus,
I'm not sure what this Touch Controller is (is it the hand GoTo cabled controller attached to the Merlin head maybe?) but there is already arduino code to control the motion of a Merlin head by plugging into the Rj-14 port, in fact replacing the hand controller itself.

I was looking at telescope heads at the beginning, but I have put that aside for now as they are too slow for what I want to do and they are rather bulky to move around/set up. I'd like to come up with something light and simple if possible. The servo weights 60 grams, arduino maybe 20g, mount and battery maybe 200-250 grams total so 250-300 grams plus camera is looking good.

As for the row-pano, I don't plan to have only row panos, at this stage I wanted to test the servo on the pan axis. Next will be to put another servo on tilt axis and see if I can shoot two sets of shots, one with the camera tilted up by some degrees - in order to cover and overlap zenith and the other one tilted down to cover nadir and see what sort of footprint I get.

Once this is done, I will look into arduino code to program some giga moves and stop-shoot-move mode. The good thing about using an arduino for this kind of stuff is that there is already a good community of astrophiles and timelapse folks who have been using and developing scripts for these type of things.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2011 1:47 am 
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Here's another idea: what if, in a similar setup as my posted video, I will put the 360 rotation on the camera axis (in this case, rotation on horizontal axis) - with the camera mounted in portrait mode - in other words, the lens is rotating facing nadir, then horizontal, then zenith, then horiz. the other side, back to nadir etc (I don't know how to better describe technically this rotation with just words ;).
THEN I move the pan axis 90 degrees, and take another 360?

I can place the camera offset to the tripod so the nadir will not include (too much) of the tripod/monopod.

This way I should be able to cover the spherical panorama as well...?

Silly idea?


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2011 10:16 am 
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Destiny wrote:
The Drive does not override the cameras bracketed capabilities, rather it takes advantage of it... The HDR output is entirely dependent to how many bracketed shots the camera can do

That's not the case. See
http://www.roundshot.ch/xml_1/internet/de/application/d979/f1060.cfm

leifs

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2011 11:30 am 
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Destiny wrote:
Now I am confused.. It says... here is a list of compatible HDR cameras.....

I con't get it then.... The D90 is not on the list of HDR cameras..

Your D90 is compatible with the VR Drive, and on the "VR Drive compatible camera"-list
Then there are a subset of cameras that are also compatible with the pay-addon HDR-option.
Unfortunately neither your D90 or my E-P3 works with the HDR-option :-|

leifs

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Last edited by leifs on Thu Dec 22, 2011 11:33 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2011 5:36 pm 
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Destiny wrote:
. . really just the same thing, except it has a motor and computer thing fitted

"Just" doesn´t hit it completely . . :rolleyes::cool: It´s VERY complicate in real to build such a device, believe me. And the VR-drive is worth every cent of it´s absolutely fair price.
It´s a fine piece of engineering skills indeed!
You can´t "just" stick two motors onto a manual head and get a motorized one . . . :D

best, Klaus

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2011 5:45 pm 
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leifs wrote:
Destiny wrote:
The Drive does not override the cameras bracketed capabilities, rather it takes advantage of it... The HDR output is entirely dependent to how many bracketed shots the camera can do

That's not the case. See
http://www.roundshot.ch/xml_1/internet/de/application/d979/f1060.cfm

leifs

I would like to understand it in detail: does the VR use the camera´s bracketing features or does it add extended ones? Like the PromoteControl does?
My 5D2 basically makes 3 bracketed steps. Using the PromoteControl i can do more than 20 steps - because the Promote overrides the internal functions.
It takes totally control over the camera´s exposuring process including mirror-up and so on.
There´s a mode in which the mirror keeps locked up during the complete series of brackted shots. So there´s no mirror-shaking in a set.

Would like to know whether the VR does the same - informations about that i didn´t find on the Seitz-site.

best, Klaus

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2011 11:33 pm 
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Reading what I read at VR they go beyond the camera's capacities. The reason some cameras are not on the list is problably because they cannot be controlled from outside the camera. I bet the camera;s that are missing in the compatiblity list of the VR are not compable with the promoteControl either.

I guess to be honest to myself I must compare the MK Panomachine including a promotecontrol to a VR machine.

Interesting to hear you think the MK Panomachine is not that well built. Do you have strong indications or is it just a feeling?

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 23, 2011 1:07 am 
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Just change the shuttertime a few clicks between each 3 shots. that was you can create a stack of 6 or 9 shots easily

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 23, 2011 10:59 am 
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It wasn't even a yoke, just a lot of work to do

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 23, 2011 5:48 pm 
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So here it is, the XML made by the VR Drive.
I inserted a memory stick into the USB contact, chose XML transfer on the head and the XML was copied to the stick.
Straight forward, no nonsense.

leifs

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<papywizard version="c">
<header>
<general>
<title>P1 mode</title>
<comment>Generated by VRDrive</comment>
</general>
<shooting mode="mosaic">
<headOrientation>up</headOrientation>
<cameraOrientation>portrait</cameraOrientation>
</shooting>
<camera>
<bracketing nbPicts="1" intent="exposure"></bracketing>
</camera>
<lens type="rectilinear">
<focal>25</focal>
</lens>
</header>
<shoot>
<pict id="1" bracket="1">
<time></time>
<position yaw="0.0" roll="90.0" pitch="90.0"></position>
</pict>
<pict id="2" bracket="1">
<time></time>
<position yaw="0.0" roll="90.0" pitch="69.0"></position>
</pict>

and so on

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 23, 2011 6:08 pm 
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You got there just a few minutes before me Leifs. Couldn't find any documentation, but just worked out how to do it and transferring now :)

/edit -

How long did it take to do the transfer? Mine appears to be hanging with the progress bar at 50%...

//edit -

Got bored and turned it off and took the USB stick out. Looks like everything was saved just fine.

Testing now :)

///edit -

Woah. This looks like it could be a bit of a game changer for me. Testing on 471 shot 5GP and 1046 shot 11GP sphericals looks like it does the business perfectly. Rendering now, and I'll try to get them both up overnight for people to check out.


Last edited by gddxb on Fri Dec 23, 2011 6:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 23, 2011 8:21 pm 
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I made the XML's myself some time ago, http://www.kolor.com/forum/p91865-2011-12-12-20-55-45#p91865
So I have been shooting highres spheres for 5-6 weeks now. And I agree: making highres spheres this easy is a gamechanger !
Now that all VR Drive 2 owners will be shooting large spheres :) it will set focus on APG again. And yes, there have been some small issues.

leifs

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Last edited by leifs on Fri Dec 23, 2011 8:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 24, 2011 7:34 am 
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Destiny wrote:
Oh I sooo want my VR Drive 2... !!! But my Santa is poor this Christmas so it will be up to me...... After checking out the Quality mode.. oh man.. wonderful... and the speeeeed mode.. oh wow... not time to have a coffee... and then the HDR.. I am sure I understand this feature now... Mostly anyway... and if it does does what I am assuming it does.. then oh double wow.... Expensive but I think well worth the money... :)

The code above looks simple enough to understand... So says I until I have issues...:).... Now, am I right in saying I can extend this to take more bracketed shots... depending on my camera...

so it will read...

... <shoot>
<pict id="2" bracket="1">
<time></time>
<position yaw="0.0" roll="90.0" pitch="?"></position>
</pict>
<pict id="3" bracket="1">
<time></time>
<position yaw="0.0" roll="90.0" pitch="?"></position>
</pict>

Destiny..

This is the documentation for the Papywizard XML data file format that is also implemented by the T&C/Panogear Touch controller and now the Seitz VR Drive 2:
http://www.autopano.net/wiki-en/action/view/Panohead_XML_data_file

The Papywizard software can be run in simulation mode - without a Merlin/Panogear mount - so you can experiment with generating XML data files if you wish.

Download Papywizard from here - take the latest development version for your desired OS:
http://www.papywizard.org/wiki/Download#Developementversions

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Nikon P5100, CP5000, CP995, FC-E8, WC-E63,WC-E68, TC-E2, Kaidan Kiwi 995, Bophoto pano bracket, Agno's MrotatorA.
Merlin/Orion robotic pano head + Papywizard on Nokia 770/N800/N810 and Windows 8/XP/2K.


Last edited by mediavets on Sat Dec 24, 2011 7:35 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 2:23 am 
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The LEGO approach has many advantages. In one box (around £100- £120 on ebay if you are patient) you get a computer with integral battery box, 3 stepper motors with rotation sensors and gearing built in, connection cables and a compatible programming language. More sophisticated languages are available, and some of the best are free. If the 2800 mAH of NiMH cells won't last long enough it is possible to fit an external battery or a mains power adapter, see (http://www.philohome.com/nxt.htm).

All you really need is some way to operate the camera focus and shutter. I have done that with an old manual cable release then a simple circuit of 2 diodes and 2 relays but now use a Mindsensors relay driver. Camera can be mounted on steel flats and tees from a hardware store, a modified aluminium flash bar or (ideally) a macro focus rail (£10 from ebay).

You can program it to do just about anything you want and the motors are strong enough for most cameras. I had my Fuji S9500 mounted about 30mm in front of the pivot with the lens fully extended and it could be lifted without difficulty.

It is possible to build a strong enough frame just by bolting some 25mm square wooden strips together, although my last two heads have been routed from 25mm mdf (£10 each including p&p). Ply would have been better but my suppliers didn't stock it in that width. All fixed on a laser level tribrach which only needed minor fettling to get out all the free play.

If you avoid extending the centre post, you can use the tripod which comes with the laser level (complete laser level kits cost around £25 on ebay) but I prefer the rigidity of an old surveying tripod (£20 - £40 on ebay).

If you are prepared to spend a little time acquiring all the bits and learning to program (and you can get a lot of help through https://sourceforge.net/apps/phpbb/mindboards/) then you end up with a complete rig for around £250 which will do what you want it to do. And you can reprogram it if you change your mind.

And, if you give up shooting panos, you can resell most of the components individually (or build some robots for your kids).

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Last edited by a a gruntpuddock on Mon Feb 27, 2012 2:27 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 9:18 am 
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You will also want it to produce XML-files like this:

<pict id="1" bracket="1">
<time></time>
<position yaw="0.0" roll="90.0" pitch="90.0"></position>
</pict>
<pict id="1" bracket="2">
<time></time>
<position yaw="0.0" roll="90.0" pitch="90.0"></position>
</pict>
<pict id="1" bracket="3">
<time></time>
<position yaw="0.0" roll="90.0" pitch="90.0"></position>
</pict>
<pict id="2" bracket="1">
<time></time>
<position yaw="0.0" roll="90.0" pitch="66.6"></position>
</pict>

and so on

When you shoot sky, water and highres spheres you will not be able to place the images correctly without this info.

leifs

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 11:16 am 
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My LEGO NXT pano head is programmed in NXC (I did it in NXT-G to begin with but NXC is easier to modify). It can shoot a limited pano for which I define the bottom right and top left of the pano or a 360 for which I define the lowest and highest levels and the starting point. The 360 method is easiest because it is simpler to set up and you just stop it when you have passed the last feature you wish to include.

The horizontal and vertical fields of view are measured each time you run the program so the same program can be used in pano heads using portrait and landscape orientations. This feature automatically caters for any camera sensor shape and zoom level. Of course, if you only ever use one camera and one prime lens in one orientation then you can write the parameters into the program and avoid the need to set them up each time.

The program calculates the number of rows and columns from the size of the pano and the measured parameters. I use a fixed overlap but that can be input as a parameter for each pano if you want. Separate overlaps could be set for each axis if you want to be really picky.

The point ofall this rambling is that the head operates the way I want it to, and if I change my mind then I can simply change the program. The NXT can store multiple programs (NXC programs are smaller than NXT-G programs so you can get more in) so you could have different versions ready for different cameras or pano types if that is how you prefer to work. Or one pano program, a time-lapse program and a moving time-lapse program.

The NXC can also communicate with a pc, laptop or pda by usb or Bluetooth so you can put your program on one of these and run the head by remote control either interactively or using a program (some Lego-based programming languages only work this way).

This is the NXC code I use to shoot panos by going down one column, across one, up the next column, across one, down the next column and so on. This can be changed to any pattern you want by just changing the order around.

Note that it allows for bracketing & mirror lock (before the Gigapan did).

Preceeding sections set up the basic parameters, whether mirror lock & bracketing are used, etc. My EOS will shoot 3 bracketed shots with just one impulse through the remote so I only have to allow some extra time for the procedure to complete. If the camera requires 3 separate impulses then that can be accommodated. If you use 2 different cameras then just include a different bit for each camera.


OffEx (OUT_A, RESET_ALL); // Reset the motor counters
Wait (100); // Give sensor time to update
OffEx (OUT_B, RESET_ALL); // Reset the motor counters
Wait (100); // Give sensor time to update

n_cols = (1 + (p_width / h_move)); // Number of shots per row
n_rows = (1 + (p_height / v_move)); // Number of rows

Repeat_pano: // Jump to here if re-shooting the same panorama

write_file (); // Output details to file

RotateMotor (OUT_A, h_dir, h_slack); // Take up slack in pan mechanism

col_count = 0; // Zero the column counter

relay_volts = relay_volts * 1000 + 700; // Convert to millivolts

while (col_count < n_cols) // Loop until all columns complete
{

shot_count = 0; // Zero photo counter

RotateMotor (OUT_B, v_dir, v_slack); // Take up slack in tilt mechanism

while (shot_count < n_rows) // Loop for all shots in column
{

relay_power = 100*relay_volts/BatteryLevel(); // Factor down voltage
if (relay_power > 100)
{
relay_power = 100; // Must be <= 100
}

if (MM_Bool [2] == true) // Skip if auto focus not used
{
Wait (500); // Wait for vibrations to cease
OnRev (OUT_C, relay_power); // Focus relay on Port C
Wait (focus_time); // Keep relay energised
Float(OUT_C); // Switch relay off
}

if (MM_Bool [2] == true) // Skip if mirror lock not used
{
OnFwd (OUT_C, relay_power); // Mirror up - shoot relay Port C
Wait (shoot_time); // Keep relay energised
Float(OUT_C); // Switch relay off
}

Wait (500); // Wait for vibrations to cease
OnFwd (OUT_C, relay_power); // Shoot & drop mirror - relay Port C
Wait (shoot_time); // Keep relay energised
Float(OUT_C); // Switch relay off
Wait (1000); // Wait for camera to finish
if (MM_Bool [4] == true) // Add a bit for exposure bracketing
{Wait (1000);}

shot_count += 1; // Increment the shot counter

if (shot_count < n_rows) // Skip move if last shot
{
RotateMotor (OUT_B, v_dir, v_move); // Move up/down for next shot
}
} // End of row (while shot_count)

col_count += 1; // Increment the column counter

if (col_count < n_cols) // Don't move if last column
{
RotateMotor (OUT_A, h_dir, h_move); // Pan head to next column
v_dir *= -1; // Change sign of v_dir
}

} // End of pano (while col_count)

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 1:58 pm 
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Destiny wrote:
Hey leifs.. will this xml code work on a VR Drive II....??? I ask this since .... ..... ..... Tomorrow mine arrives!!!.. Yippeee...

Big BIG decision.. We are also getting the turn table .. for our 3D feature in a pano.. Our web site is almost there .. just needs a lot more content.. but structure is all there.... I would have liked to have gotten the HDR feature but our D90 will not do it. The guys at Seitz Roundshot told me that they are developing a nadir adapter for it too... ..

Destiny...

It is produced by the VR drive:
you enter a shooting pattern ("program") on the VRdrive, you shoot, and you export the XML-file to your USB-stick
then you use the XML for papywizard import to APG

leifs

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 2:05 pm 
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Destiny wrote:
Hiiii.. Well our VR Drive arrived today.. :D:D Very very excited.;):D

Hi Destiny!

Now your dreams came true - congratulations!! :)

best, KLaus

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2012 5:57 pm 
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Destiny wrote:
Hi... Today we took the Arca Quick Release Clamp off our NN4 and put it on the VR Drive II rail. It works really well, my D90 comes off and on with no problems at all.... We will order a new QR to put back on our NN4, we still need to use it.. Couldn't do without our NN4 :D;)..

Now we have had a chance to really look at the VR Drive II.. It's just amazing.. Extremely well made of the highest quality... The interface of the touch screen is really nice. Easy to learn and program.. You can put in your own settings for any or your lenses quickly and you are set and go... Ready to use in seconds.

When the day come when we can afford to buy a camera capable of using the HDR feature, it will only be a matter of uploading the software....

The VR Drive II is a truly a fun and exciting tool to use....

Destiny...

Hi Destiny,
how is the screen behaing outdoors in sunlight?
Georg

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2012 7:43 am 
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Location: Dane in Western Australia
Hi Destiny,

Congrats on your new investment, I am very excited for you, it sounds absolutely fab!

Can I ask what was your final outlay for the unit incl the AUS Tax? thanks

Its a close call between this and Josefs - wondering what makes each stand out - maybe Klaus can come up with the Pro's and Con's here

Henrik


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2012 1:28 pm 
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Destiny wrote:
Hi, when considering to buy the VR Drive II, are main concern was the nadir footprint... We did ask for example but there are none... We were pleasantly surprised to find that the footprint is no bigger than created using our NN4. There is no nadir adaptor at the moment but they are working on it...

The weather here has been really yuck.. rain rain rain.. dark and cloudy.. The day I took this pano was very cloudy but ok'ish... The thing I have found with capturing a pano using my gear, it doesn't coup very well in bad light.. You get a lot of noise / blackness... So this pano could be better if the light was better but even so, we are happy with it...

http://www.destinyvirtualtours.com/VRDriveTest/NadirTest.html

Its one of our first test panos using our VR Drive II.. The stitching is perfect.. Really quick to stitch... and no post-editing at all expect to sharpen the image in LR and fix up the nadir patch...

Destiny...

Good to hear you are so happy.

How did you do the nadir? Handheld shot?

Kind regards,

Hans

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Regards, Hans Keesom
I stitch and render for other photographers. If you want to concentrate on your business and shooting you might want me do the stitching for you.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2012 2:14 pm 
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tived wrote:
maybe Klaus can come up with the Pro's and Con's here

Hi Henrik!

The VR-Drive 2 is a very fine device. But - of course ;) - i´m rather on the side of Josef´s head.
I don´t know what 2000.-€ +VAT for a work-ready system are in Australia.

What you get is a device of high sturdiness and reliability - and of simple and straight handling.

In my eyes Josef´s head has an advantage in the fact the controller is off-board. Imagine you have the device mounted on a high stand - you just change the 5cm piece of cable
to 10 or 20 meter (Josef´s creating a wireless module also). Visibility is very good also outside in all situations because the touchscreen shows very simple and straight symbols in monochrome.

I wouldn´t like to touch the head during the shooting process. I can shoot several spheres or mosaics after each other for making HDR-spheres/Mosaics and get them 100% congruent for
processing HDR - because of the head´s precision.
In that process you wouldn´t like to touch around on a screen integrated in the moving head . . . . :cool:

On the last Photokina i got grip on the Seitz VR2, on the Dr. Clauss Rodeon (which definitely is more impressing), on the Spheron (which i like very much but which has it´s boundaries) and on the
LizardQ . . which is very much elaborated and clever made - and fast like hell (if the brightness of the light allows it :cool:)).

They all are very good devices.

I´d definitely prefer the Rodeon VR ST because of it´s sturdiness and reliability with tele-lenses and it´s speed. It´s faster than the Seitz and remote-controllable. But it´s about 5000.-€ incl. VAT

We tested Josef´s head with 300mm and it´s perfect and speedy. Intensive tests with 600mm and (i hope) 800mm will follow when it´s warmer outside :cool: I´ll run a test with a Nikon 500mm miror-lens these days.

Josef´s head in my eyes is an optimal combination of sturdiness, precision, speed, reliability and the effective costs. A lower price definitely isn´t possible guaranteeing the same quality.

Klaus

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Simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance. Coco Chanel


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2012 2:17 pm 
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Around newyear I was close to buyinng the MK machine. It would allow me to use my nodal ninja 5 which would also allow for the use of my nodal ninja nadir adapter. For I while I considered this a nice combination which would allow me to to a round of shots automaticly plus allowing me to do the nadir. But then I realised that an investments of over a 1000 euro was not gonna bring me that much benifit compared to shooting manually.

What I wonder is how you justified for yourself investing 4000 ad for this device, i mean you could have bought a very nice camera plus lenses. Does this machine save you so much time, energy? Are you planning to make gigapans?

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Regards, Hans Keesom
I stitch and render for other photographers. If you want to concentrate on your business and shooting you might want me do the stitching for you.


Last edited by HansKeesom on Tue Mar 06, 2012 2:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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