Planning to buy a Motorized Panohead, need help.  

In the panorama field, hardware is also part of the success. You can discuss here about it: camera, computer, pano head, anything
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klausesser
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by klausesser » Tue Mar 06, 2012 2:51 pm

HansKeesom wrote: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?

Hey Hank!

That´s one of the major differences between professionals and amateurs: a professional has to calculate professionally instead of dreaming . . ;):cool:
When i buy a device for my job it has to be excellent AND efficient under professional aspects. It doesn´t need to look cute . .

The first devices i bought when i started my professional career were three highend cameras of different formats and a set of excellent lenses. Guess that´s what all pros do first.

best, Klaus
Last edited by klausesser on Tue Mar 06, 2012 2:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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by HansKeesom » Tue Mar 06, 2012 2:59 pm

Hi Klaus,

I have no problem investing lots of euro's but of each investment it has to be clear what it is gonna bring. Spending thousands of euros to automate something that isnt much work manually (indoor panorama).... I don't get it , but feel free to explain. And with explain i mean something else then calling people amateur or professional :-)
Regards, Hans Keesom
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by klausesser » Tue Mar 06, 2012 3:53 pm

HansKeesom wrote:Hi Klaus,

I have no problem investing lots of euro's but of each investment it has to be clear what it is gonna bring. Spending thousands of euros to automate something that isnt much work manually (indoor panorama).... I don't get it , but feel free to explain. And with explain i mean something else then calling people amateur or professional :-)

When you start a business you have to decide what you need first. Right? Before making higher investments it would be wise to have perspectives: jobs to come.
When you see some jobs coming you´d need special devices for: buy them to do the job. But first you need to have the job. I saw lots of photographers going down because first of all they bought tons of equipment - without having jobs which would justify it. They believed to impress potential clients showing them the beautiful equipment . . . sad experience.

So the very first point: you need to be GOOD.

When you reached a point which states you ARE good: get yourself some clients ;) Then explore what you need to do the jobs for them.

If a part of your jobs are panos: explore which kind of panos you do most. Spheres on locations for showing a restaurant, coffeshop or so you can easily make using a manual head.
But you need a really good camera and lenses.
When there are people involved it´s anyway better to shoot manualy.

When it comes to hires spheres for deep zooms/big prints a programmable head definitely is better. Especially when it writes xml files.

BUT: first you have to be used to do hires! It´s not trivial at all - you need much knowledge first, if you want to do it good.

For mosaics a programmable head saves you very much time and gives you reliability and reproducable results. For professionals time is money. A programmable head of high precision can save it.

So in the end you can be more efficient and do things you can´t do manually . . But of course you CAN do it manualy - if you have much time and don´t make your money with it.

So: shooting spheres on locations using a fisheye i usually take a manual head. No need to automate it - it´s just 6 shots. It produces spheres of 70MPx. I guess that commonly spheres are the main theme for panoristas.

Shooting hires i definitely suggest a programmable head writing xml. Especially for outdoor shootings with uniform blue skies and so.

best, Klaus
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by klausesser » Tue Mar 06, 2012 3:55 pm

HansKeesom wrote:And with explain i mean something else then calling people amateur or professional :-)

I usually don´t call people amateurs or professionals - i just sometimes respond to what they write . . . :cool:

best, Klaus
Last edited by klausesser on Tue Mar 06, 2012 3:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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by leifs » Tue Mar 06, 2012 11:09 pm

klausesser wrote:I usually don´t call people amateurs or professionals
best, Klaus

there may be other categories as well:
I don't do photography for a living. That makes me an amateur I suppose.
But I want to do highres spheres of the beautiful landscapes of the western coast of Norway and present it on the web for anyone to enjoy.
To do that I need at motorized head that produce XML-files.
That sets me back 2-4000 euros, and I can afford it, even as an amateur.

leifs

btw
I got my first SLR in 1969, a Nikkormat FTn.
Last edited by leifs on Tue Mar 06, 2012 11:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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by klausesser » Wed Mar 07, 2012 1:37 am

leifs wrote:That sets me back 2-4000 euros, and I can afford it, even as an amateur.

Great.

And i guess you - and your wife and daddy - don´t feel a need to laugh publicly about other people´s products without knowing it in detail . . right? :D:cool:

best, Klaus
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by leifs » Wed Mar 07, 2012 10:42 am

klausesser wrote:
leifs wrote:That sets me back 2-4000 euros, and I can afford it, even as an amateur.

Great.

And i guess you - and your wife and daddy - don´t feel a need to laugh publicly about other people´s products without knowing it in detail . . right? :D:cool:

best, Klaus

people have different needs which results in different choices. if someone ends up with a Lego-head that's ok with me, I won't laugh.

leifs :)
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by klausesser » Wed Mar 07, 2012 11:28 am

leifs wrote:. . if someone ends up with a Lego-head that's ok with me, I won't laugh.

Right. So won´t i.

best, Klaus
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by kalain » Wed Mar 07, 2012 12:13 pm

leifs wrote:people have different needs which results in different choices. if someone ends up with a Lego-head that's ok with me, I won't laugh.
leifs :)

Hi,

One of the oldest project :
http://www.philohome.com/panobot/panobot.htm

One with recent Lego brick :
http://dativ.at/gigabot/index.html

These project are "good" as long as they meet user's requirements. ;)

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by klausesser » Wed Mar 07, 2012 12:41 pm

Destiny wrote:Oh and BTW.. WIth the VR Drive II.. having the control 'built in' is not an issue and you do not need 20m + cable since it has a 'remote' ;).. I forgot to tell you were bought that option too.. Just in case we put it in a position where we need it... It works well.. from one end of the house to the other...

You can controll ALL functions of the head remotely?

Let´s say you have the device 4m high on a stand and want to shoot a 120x75° angle as mosaic after you have done a sphere from the identical position already: can you change the settings from the ground?
Let´s say you have a field-monitor connected to your camera to show you the live-view on the ground which lets you aim different views from the high position: can you remote-conrol all the moves of the head? Set a start- and end-point for the mosaic? Set mirror-lock, amount of exposures on each positions, cange the overlap, set the wait-time before next move and so on? Set a HDR-sequence?

I didn´t use a 20m cable really yet ;). But i use about 6-10m cable for the head in 4-6m height quite often (10m cable cost just about 7.-€ btw.)

To me this is an important feature - because you can´t put up a ladder and climb around on it in 4m height everywhere you´re shooting. Provides me interesting and uncommon points of view (just as a clue).

So you and your husband might laugh about the look of the head as you will - but it works fantastic! The look is pure functional. If i want elegance i put on my Armani dress and have tea in the ballroom . . . . :lol: :cool:

best, Klaus
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by leifs » Wed Mar 07, 2012 12:57 pm

kalain wrote:Hi,

One of the oldest project :
http://www.philohome.com/panobot/panobot.htm

One with recent Lego brick :
http://dativ.at/gigabot/index.html

These project are "good" as long as they meet user's requirements. ;)

I agree very much !
my need is a robust all-weather head I can carry for 5 hours to the summit and shoot a sphere in 10 degrees below zero.
the Lego-head don't meet my needs, so I ended up with another choice.

leifs
Last edited by leifs on Wed Mar 07, 2012 12:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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by a a gruntpuddock » Wed Mar 07, 2012 1:39 pm

I don't think anyone would suggest thet the LEGO heads are as powerful or rugged as the models you are using.

But for those of us who are only doing panos as a hobby they are much more viable. I could buy a VRII tomorrow if I really wanted but why pay so much extra for so little additional benefit?

And more repairable; can you swap a controller or motor on your rig in about 2 minutes if it fails at the top of a mountain?

I did try an all-LEGO head but could not make one sufficiently rigid to take my Fuji S9500 with the lens at full zoom so explored other options for the main frame.

I gave up when the last one was still oscillating after 2 minutes.

Once you have a viable structure, the rest is down to programming.

Selectable pattern - yes
Limited pano or full 360 - yes
Mains power - yes (See Philohome's blog mentioned above)
Mirror lock - yes (I had this before the Gigapan)
Bracketing - yes
Interruptable - working on that
Repeat last pano - yes (for limited panos only at the moment)
Writing a log file - yes
Integrated GPS - working on that
Remote control - yes, from laptop, pc, pda etc. using Bluetooth

The only downside is that, when it goes wrong, you have only yourself to blame!

BTW - great website, Leifs!
Last edited by a a gruntpuddock on Wed Mar 07, 2012 1:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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by klausesser » Wed Mar 07, 2012 2:39 pm

Destiny - i´m afraid you didn´t understand a word of what i said . . .

ok - i´ll be patient ;):cool:

A field-monitor (7") is connected to the video/HDMI output on my camera. When the camera is in live-view mode the monitor shows what the camera-display shows.
I fix it to a tripod-leg with a flexible mini-arm so that i can watch it standing beneath.

So you see: on the top of the tripod sits the head with the camera and lens 4 meters up. That´s what high tripods are invented for . . :cool:
The controller is plugged into the head and i use it seeing exactly what the camera sees and i move the head/camera while i watch the monitor.

That´s what cameramen do every day when they attach and connect their field-monitors to their cameras: http://lilliputsz.en.ec21.com/7_HD_Field_Monitor_with--4647499_4647566.html
and photographers too: http://www.flickr.com/photos/epiem/6794247823/

Don´t know what´s so extremely amusing about it . . :rolleyes: ??

I attached an example from a portrait-shooting last year to show you what a field-monitor is like.

best, Klaus


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by klausesser » Wed Mar 07, 2012 2:43 pm

Destiny wrote:. . . what a wast of an Armani dress.. oh man....!!.. :rolleyes:

Thank you - you really have style . . . .
But: you didn´t see me wearing it.

Klaus
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by tived » Wed Mar 14, 2012 8:49 am

So trying to get back to the topic here, i am in the same boat as the OP, trying to decide which head to buy. Money is hard to come by these days so I obviously don't want to hand them over without having a real good reason, and not to mention that it has to be giving me a good advantage over paying less for something else.

I am not so interested in sphears myself, but more high resolution images/mozaics from which i can derive large prints from with excellent detail and colors in.

It must be stable, fast, be able to be remote controlled, ability to do HDR/multi-bracketing. I like the idea of having it up high and still be able to control it.
Ideally I would like to be able to attach my imaginary 800mm f/4 lens which I don't have yet obviously and a Pro-SLR or Medium format camera connected to it. It would even be cool to be able to have two cameras on it - but lets keep that one out.

So,

stable and strong
fast
remote controlable
multi-bracketing/HDR
obviously be able to communicate with the stitcher software and make this task as easy as possible
good support
what did I miss ?

Now with this list in mind, in which direction do I look for such a device? and is there alternatives to this?

thanks

Henrik

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by AlexandreJ » Wed Mar 14, 2012 9:47 am

Please people. I don't want to spent too much time on moderation. So as say tived : keep it civilized and control your excitement. ( 4 posts deleted )

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by leifs » Wed Mar 14, 2012 10:46 am

tived wrote:what did I miss ?
Henrik

I like the remote control to be wireless

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by mediavets » Wed Mar 14, 2012 11:11 am

tived wrote:remote controlable

How much control do you wish to have remotely?

Just the ability to initiate a shooting sequence, or more?

From what distance would you wish to be able to control the head remotely?
Last edited by mediavets on Wed Mar 14, 2012 11:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
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by a a gruntpuddock » Wed Mar 14, 2012 11:46 am

Well, I was reading on another thread about how a Panogear user could not get the center of the lens over the pivot point because the rig was too narrow (apparently limited to 60mm dia lenses) so I think your 800mm lens might not fit that model. You would have to try it out to see before you bought one.

If you are planning to stick an 800mm up high then I would suggest that you are going to spend serious money on buying (or hiring) a very sturdy mast to put it on. The airspeed just a few metres off the ground can be quite a bit faster than at ground level, and can be very gusty in the lee of buildings, trees, etc.

If you want a ready-built model then read no further!

There are a number of home-made motorised pano heads built using steel or aluminium frames (such as http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nWpOI2bGaBU) which should be able to hold an 800mm lens.

Ideally, both the main frame and tilting frame should be closed shapes but, if you want the camera to point at high angles, a U-shaped lower frame would be necessary. If you use large-section aluminium tubing you can use thin walls to keep the weight down. Even a U-shape is much more rigid than a conventional single-arm head and would be a better option, even if you are going to be shooting in portrait mode (imffho).

It would probably be adviseable to use metal gears for both strength and rigidity. Worm drives are best because they are far simpler and do not 'run back' so you do not need to use motor power to hold the camera steady. They do have to be close-fitting to minimise wind-induced vibrations.

If you have a bit of programming experience then a Picaxe or Arduino controller would be best. They can control very powerful electric motors, preferably steppers for accurate control. If you want to use conventional motors, rotation counters (from an old printer perhaps) can be added. Tetrix rotation counters are pricy but read to 1/4 of a degree (this accuracy is multiplied by the gearing).

I have no facilities for metalworking so used a LEGO controller and motors on wooden and MDF frames, but for a large lens would prefer a metal frame and more substantial motors.

The LEGO NXT has three motor ports to drive the motors which come with the kit. Using devices such as the Mindsensors motor/ relay drivers allow you to control very powerful conventional motors. A port-splitter would let you control one such motor from each port while using the rotation counters in the LEGO motors to keep track of the rig.

Alternatively, the sensor ports can be used to control stepper motors through cheap I2C chips (or Arduinos if you prefer).

Very complex mechanisms have been created with the NXT-G language which comes with the kit but there are quite a few alternative languages available, many of them free. I prefer NXC, which is not only free but continually upgraded. Have a look at the Mindboards site if you are interested.

Although most programs run on the NXT, some are designed to use the inbuilt Bluetooth connection for remote control from a pc, laptop, pda or even a mobile phone. You can have it both ways, keep a program stored on the NXT for normal use and another on your laptop for when remote operation is required.

Because you are writing the program, the rig can be set up to work just how you like it. You can have one program with many options or a set of smaller, specialised programs.

My own program has options for bracketing, mirror lock, logfile, etc. and is continually being modified; I am about to add a GPS module to record the date, time and location of each pano to the log file. If I fitted the GPS to the rig I could record the direction of each shot if I wanted. A Mindsensors motor/ relay driver controls both focus and camera shutter on my 400D, but a couple of cheap 9v relays and diodes will do the job just as well. Or I could control both from an I2C chip.

Building your own kit takes a bit longer, but you have complete control and can change things if they do not work the way you want. You can also repair it yourself, unlike a factory-built unit.

And it is MUCH cheaper. EOR (end of rant).

Update, forgot to say the if you are looking for a 2-camera setup then it would probably look something like this - Image
Last edited by a a gruntpuddock on Wed Mar 14, 2012 4:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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by klausesser » Wed Mar 14, 2012 4:07 pm

tived wrote:stable and strong
fast
remote controlable
multi-bracketing/HDR
obviously be able to communicate with the stitcher software and make this task as easy as possible
good support
what did I miss ?

Now with this list in mind, in which direction do I look for such a device? and is there alternatives to this?

Hi!

1) Dr. Clauss Rodeon XT, Seitz VR2, Josef´s Panoneed.
2) Dr. Clauss Rodeon XT, Seitz VR2, Josef´s Panoneed.
3) Dr. Clauss Rodeon XT, Seitz VR2, Josef´s Panoneed.
4) Dr. Clauss Rodeon XT, Seitz VR2, Josef´s Panoneed.
5) Dr. Clauss Rodeon XT, Seitz VR2, Josef´s Panoneed.

The Rodeon ST surely is the best choice. But the most expensive one: about 4193.-€ + VAT
Seitz VR2 is a very good choice and less expensive than the Rodeon: about 2733.-€ + VAT
Panoneed is a very good choice and less expensive than the Seitz VR2: about 2000.- + VAT including accu-set (4 accus) w. charger, rail and controller. Additional L-bracket is 190.-€ + Tax.

The Merlin definitely is the most affordable - but has some shortcomings in speed and stability. But it´s a real bargain.

Rodeon and Panoneed can be fully controlled remotely. Rodeon wirelessly and panoneed using a cable from the controller to the head. Josef is developing a radio-remote for it providing full control.
Seitz can start and stop radio controlled - which is an extra of over 200.-€. So putting it on a high stand it can´t be fully conrolled from the ground (if i´m wrong, sorry - i saw it two years ago at the Photokina).

I don´t know about the VR2´s cabability of handling long and heavy lenses - Rodeon and Panoneed definitely can handle it ( i tested it with a 4/600mmED VR) . But i guess the VR2 can handle it too.
Panoneed takes a torque of 4Nm - switchable between 1 and 4Nm. Rodeon also is 4Nm. Didn´t find a number for Nm in the specs of the VR2.

Rodeon´s weight is about 5Kg, Panoneed´s is about 4Kg, Vr2´s is about 2,7Kg.

Again: you really take advantages from a programmable head only for doing hires. For doing spheres using a fisheye i´d take a manual head.

best, Klaus
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by gkaefer » Wed Mar 14, 2012 5:39 pm

Again: you really take advantages from a programmable head only for doing hires. For doing spheres using a fisheye i´d take a manual head.

any maybe its also preferable to use motorized head with fisheyes if using focus stacking, bracketing, timelapse projects etc.
Georg
Last edited by gkaefer on Wed Mar 14, 2012 5:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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by klausesser » Wed Mar 14, 2012 11:00 pm

gkaefer wrote:any maybe its also preferable to use motorized head with fisheyes if using focus stacking, bracketing, timelapse projects etc.

Hi Georg!

Youre right of course! :cool:

best, Klaus
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by klausesser » Wed Mar 14, 2012 11:09 pm

a a gruntpuddock wrote:Building your own kit takes a bit longer, but you have complete control and can change things if they do not work the way you want. You can also repair it yourself, unlike a factory-built unit.

And it is MUCH cheaper. EOR (end of rant).

Update, forgot to say the if you are looking for a 2-camera setup then it would probably look something like this - http://i1158.photobucket.com/albums/p616/AAGruntpuddock/WoodyStereom.jpg

2-camera rig from Dr. Clauss: http://www.dr-clauss.de/VRstation_DE.htm Rather expensive but perfectly working. They also have a "cage"/frame like you drew.
The problem is: building it yourself bears issues you can´t even by far know yet . . :cool:
I learned a lot from Josef´s developing the Panoneed head. Took him nearly 2 years getting it to the point it works perfectly - as i does now.
So it sometimes looks you can do it for little money - but you can´t do it really cheap aiming for high quality.

http://www.dr-clauss.de/res/Downloads/productcatalog.pdf look at 1.12

best, Klaus
Last edited by klausesser on Wed Mar 14, 2012 11:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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by leifs » Wed Mar 14, 2012 11:47 pm

tived wrote:what did I miss ?
Henrik

Since we are making up Santa's wishlist there is another wish:
I would like it to be weather-sealed for allweather outdoor use.

There is none by now that I know of.

leifs
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by tived » Thu Mar 15, 2012 1:16 am

Thanks Klauss, George and Leif, and a a..... :-)

I am unable to build or i am not wanting to build one, it's not where I want to use my energy ATM.
But I can see advantages in building yourself, you can make all of items on my wish list.

I am concluding for myself, that though a dual rig could be fun and have potential, it will also
be very expensive to fit out, so I am going to shelf that one. I do however prefer the U-shape craddle/bracket to hold the camera.

I definately think, that a good moterised head can open up new opportunities.

Thanks very much for all the informative replies

Henrik

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