Need advice on crown modification.  

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Fletch
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Need advice on crown modification.

by Fletch » Wed Sep 07, 2011 6:12 am

I've had a Merlin head for the last couple of years but so far I haven't done anything with it (got it just as I moved house and only came across it again over the weekend.)

I need some advice as to how to modify it.

1) I want to use it with a Nikon SLR, I have a D40 and a D70 available

2) I have zero access to any kind of serious workshop, so anything beyond pretty basic nuts and bolts is out.

I am considering the following two options

a) the teleskop-austria replacement crown with the Manfroto 357 rail system

b) the Pulsar rail with the standard crown http://www.pulsar-optical.co.uk/prod/ScopeTeknix-accessories/halfdovetail-bar/dovetailm.html

What do people consider to be the better option for the cameras listed? I am aware of the wiki detailing people's modifications but the information is often incomplete or are solutions I'm not equipt to try. I'm considering only "turnkey" solutions and these two seem the most likely canidates.

Fletch
Last edited by Fletch on Wed Sep 07, 2011 6:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

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mediavets
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by mediavets » Wed Sep 07, 2011 7:06 am

There is no need to modify the crown if you use the D40.

However if you use the D40 you will need an IR trigger device to trigger the shutter because the D40 does not support a wired remote.

I use a D40 and this IR trigger device connected using the standard 2.5-2.5mm cable supplied with the Merlin mount:

http://www.gentles.ltd.uk/gentled/trigger.htm

Which lens/lenses do you wish to use with your Merlin mount?

There may be no need to modify the crown for the D70 if you plan to shoot partial pano mosaics (less than 360x180 pano FOV) with longer focal length lenses with nothing in the scene close to the camera. In that instance parallax is not an issue and you don't need to mount the camera/lens at the NPP.
Andrew Stephens
Many different Nodal Ninja and Agnos pano heads. Merlin/Panogear mount with Papywizard on Nokia Internet tablets.
Nikon D5100 and D40, Sigma 8mm f3.5 FE, Nikon 10.5mm FE, 35mm, 50mm, 18-55mm, 70-210mm. Promote control.

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by Fletch » Wed Sep 07, 2011 8:10 am

The longest lens I have is a 70-300mm full frame (so over 400mm on a DX body.) It makes a good lens to travel with because the low end is reasonable for people shots and the full zoom for panos.

If ease of triggering is not an issue would you say the D40 is as good in this application as the D70? I got my D40 to use with a gigapan beta head I have but it's hard to balance the camera well enough that the head isnt overloaded.


I built my own ir trigger that I used with the gigapan so making an IR trigger isnt a problem. I assume that if I used the D40 then the simple rail I linked will be enough?

Right now my primary interest is city scapes and large buildings but I may want to try interiors in the future.
Last edited by Fletch on Wed Sep 07, 2011 8:11 am, edited 1 time in total.

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by mediavets » Wed Sep 07, 2011 8:58 am

Fletch wrote:The longest lens I have is a 70-300mm full frame (so over 400mm on a DX body.) It makes a good lens to travel with because the low end is reasonable for people shots and the full zoom for panos.

Watch out for zoom (and focus) creep at higher +/- pitch values - I found i suffered that even with the 18-50mm kit zoom.

The longest non-zoom lens I've used with my Merlin and D40 is a Nikkor 50mm prime - it's small, light, sharp, fast and has virtually no distortion and it works very well, being so small you can achieve a full +90 pitch too so it can be used to shoot high(ish) res. 360x180 if you so wish.

If ease of triggering is not an issue would you say the D40 is as good in this application as the D70? I got my D40 to use with a gigapan beta head I have but it's hard to balance the camera well enough that the head isnt overloaded.

As you are aware the D40 lacks AEB but that's probably not an issue for what you plan to photograph and anyway the AEB capability of most DSLRs that do have it is inadeqauate for serious HDR/exposure fusion bracketing when shooting panos. Other than that I'd say the D40 is fine - smaller and lighter, what's not to like?

I assume that if I used the D40 then the simple rail I linked will be enough?

Yes I think so.

One challenge may be preventing the camera/lens twisting/drooping on the rail when using longer lenses with the camera mounted in portrait orientation. When shooting partial panos scenes with long lenses where parallax is not an issue you might consider mounting the camera lens in landscape orientation using the standard L-bracket plus a rail; that may also enable you to mount the camera/lens closer to the centre of mass which becomes more important with longer, heavier lenses as it appears you have discovered with the Giagapan head.

Right now my primary interest is city scapes and large buildings but I may want to try interiors in the future.

As you will be aware interiors add more challenges and this is where you may wish to use extended range exposure bracketing, such as can be achieved using the Promote cointrol device, and then neither the D40 nor the D70 may be the 'best' choice of DSLR body.
Andrew Stephens
Many different Nodal Ninja and Agnos pano heads. Merlin/Panogear mount with Papywizard on Nokia Internet tablets.
Nikon D5100 and D40, Sigma 8mm f3.5 FE, Nikon 10.5mm FE, 35mm, 50mm, 18-55mm, 70-210mm. Promote control.


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