Merlin head adaption  

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Terrygrant
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Merlin head adaption

by Terrygrant » Mon Sep 17, 2012 4:50 pm

I managed to make up a Li Ion battery modification for the Merlin head that works but I gave up trying to get the Bluetooth module I built to work, i had lights on and the laptop said it could see the Bluetooth device but nothing I did allowed pappywizard to talk to it so after several frustrating hours I gave up and have purchased the touchscreen controller (Unfortunatley I came acress this forum with all the info I should have had at the beginning too late and had allready purchased bluetooth modules and serial adapters etc). So I am getting closer...I am now trying to figure the easiest way to mount one of my camera/lens combinations to allow me to take some pictures.
I will be using it mostly for interior 360 panoramas. I would like some guidance on the easiest way to modify the head to take one or both of my cameras. Any advice much appreciated.

Thanks

Terry
Canon Eos 5D Mk III with 24-105 and 8-15 fisheye
and Eos 400d with 11-22 Merlin with touch controler and Gigapan Pro

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klausesser
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by klausesser » Mon Sep 17, 2012 5:30 pm

Terrygrant wrote:I am now trying to figure the easiest way to mount one of my camera/lens combinations to allow me to take some pictures.

Hi Terry!

Purchasing the TC definitely was a very good choice! It makes things easier and more reliable - and faster.

Waht do you mean "the easiest way to mount one of my camera/lens combinations to allow me to take some pictures."?

Do you mean how to find the NPP for your lens(es)?

The easiest way is to detach a battery-grip - if you have one attached - and to use the short part of the rail to fix the camera in portrait-mode. That is what you should try first.
Depending on the lens you use this rail might be a bit short - there are longer ones.

So i suggest to figure our which lens you will use as your main-lens and which lens(es) you will use additionally.

When i got my Merlin 5 years ago i detached the L-bracket first and used only the short rail with the screw to take my Canon 20D with a Nikon 20mm lens.
That worked from the very start. When i switched to a 5D2 i had the rail nagged away 2mm in thickness to meet the NPP (the 5D2 is built a bit higher than the 20D) - no big deal.

Now the flattened part is in the mount and the camera is fixed on the thicker end. Matches perfectly.

Hope this might help a bit.

best, Klaus
Last edited by klausesser on Mon Sep 17, 2012 5:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance. Coco Chanel

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mediavets
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by mediavets » Mon Sep 17, 2012 6:38 pm

Terrygrant wrote:I am now trying to figure the easiest way to mount one of my camera/lens combinations to allow me to take some pictures.
I will be using it mostly for interior 360 panoramas. I would like some guidance on the easiest way to modify the head to take one or both of my cameras. Any advice much appreciated.

Thanks

Terry

Which camera(s) and lens(es) do you wish to use with your Merlin robotic mount?
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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Terrygrant
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by Terrygrant » Mon Sep 17, 2012 7:01 pm

Thanks for your responses.

Yes I am referring to being able to mount the camera correctly for the NPP.

I Presume that for interior shots I would get the best results from my 5D Mk III with the 8-15mm lens but obviously I am happy to use any combination from my arsenal to deliver the best results and will be guided by your suggestions.

I have a Canon Eos 5D Mk III with 24-105 and 8-15 fisheye
and also an Eos 400d with an 11-22.
I am not a very experienced photographer by any means but decided I rather liked the idea of taking these 360 pictures myself so I have spent the money I maybe should have paid to someone to take the pictures for me on buying the kit. I wouldn't say I am regretting it but I am realising there's more to it than I thought.

Thanks again.

Terry
Canon Eos 5D Mk III with 24-105 and 8-15 fisheye
and Eos 400d with 11-22 Merlin with touch controler and Gigapan Pro

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Terrygrant
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by Terrygrant » Mon Sep 17, 2012 7:16 pm

Klauss, when I mount my 5d in portrait mode as you suggest I don't appear to be able to adjust the position of the lens for the nodal point or am I missing something?
Thanks

Terry
Canon Eos 5D Mk III with 24-105 and 8-15 fisheye
and Eos 400d with 11-22 Merlin with touch controler and Gigapan Pro

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klausesser
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by klausesser » Mon Sep 17, 2012 8:16 pm

Terrygrant wrote:Klauss, when I mount my 5d in portrait mode as you suggest I don't appear to be able to adjust the position of the lens for the nodal point or am I missing something?
Thanks

Terry

Well - for me it worked out fine. I guess it also should work for you. Take the part of the rail with the screw and put the camera on (better unmount the big screw and take a smaller one) then slip the rail into the mount.

There are pictures here and on the web which shows it - i´m not at home and don´t have the pictures on my MacBook.

found one:

http://hillelsteinberg.com/RoboticCapture/RoboticCapture2.htm
http://hillelsteinberg.com/RoboticCapture/index.htm

as example for the basic principle:

http://hillelsteinberg.com/Panorama/Panorama360_Rig.htm

best, Klaus
Simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance. Coco Chanel

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mediavets
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by mediavets » Mon Sep 17, 2012 8:50 pm

Terrygrant wrote:Thanks for your responses.

Yes I am referring to being able to mount the camera correctly for the NPP.

I Presume that for interior shots I would get the best results from my 5D Mk III with the 8-15mm lens but obviously I am happy to use any combination from my arsenal to deliver the best results and will be guided by your suggestions.

I have a Canon Eos 5D Mk III with 24-105 and 8-15 fisheye
and also an Eos 400d with an 11-22.
I am not a very experienced photographer by any means but decided I rather liked the idea of taking these 360 pictures myself so I have spent the money I maybe should have paid to someone to take the pictures for me on buying the kit. I wouldn't say I am regretting it but I am realising there's more to it than I thought.

Thanks again.

Terry

You might have have been better advised to get a manual pano head (say a Nodal Ninja 4) for shooting interior panos with your cameras and the 8-15mm fisheye lens. It would have been quicker and easier to use and given a smaller nadir 'footprint'.

That said the 400D body should fit using a standard straight dovetailrail as long as the diameter of the lens barrel of the 8-15 FE is no more than 80mm.

As you will have spotted there is no scope for varying the distance between the centre of rotation on the yaw axis and the vertical 'arm' of the Merlin - unlike a manual pano head. So you have to 'play' with different rails, or the dovetail mount itself, to gain anymore distance than 40mm.

In the first instance consider making - or getting made - some simple wooden dovetail rails. Use a 1/4 bolt, a washer, and a reversed wingnut as a camera screw.

.............

Do you really also have a Gigapan Pro robotic head?

There must be good money to be made in tiling!
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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klausesser
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by klausesser » Mon Sep 17, 2012 9:20 pm

mediavets wrote:You might have have been better advised to get a manual pano head (say a Nodal Ninja 4) for shooting interior panos with your cameras and the 8-15mm fisheye lens. It would have been quicker and easier to use and given a smaller nadir 'footprint'.

I fully agree.

mediavets wrote:That said the 400D body should fit using a standard straight dovetailrail as long as the diameter of the lens barrel of the 8-15 FE is no more than 80mm.

AS yiu will have spotted there is no scope for varying the distance between the centre of rotation on the yaw axis and the vertical 'arm' of the Merlin - unlike a manula pano head. So you have to 'play' with different rails, or the dovetail mount itself, to gain anymore distance than 40mm.

In the first instance consider making - or getting made - some simple wooden dovetail rails. Use a 1/4 bolt, a washer, and a reversed wingnut as a camera screw.

I don´t know the 400D - but i think the 5DIII has the same height as the 5D2 - at last almost the same. So by nagging away 2-3mm from the rail-thickness where the rail is in the mount makes the camera´s optical axis meet the vertical axis perfectly. I had it done on my own Merlin-rig two years ago and it fits very exactly.

But the Merlin isn´t a good choice for indoors - you mentioned it. It doesn´t work good with fisheyes because of it´s indeed rather large base.

On the other hand: having automated moves with bracketing and XML for example isn´t too bad at all for indoors also. A way might be to let the Nadir out, retouch it or set a plate there . . or shoot an extra Nadir-picture (but that has it´s edges for a beginner . . .)

I would think about forgetting the Nadir-image - first look how big the footprint is in fact with your rig.

best, Klaus
Simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance. Coco Chanel

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Terrygrant
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by Terrygrant » Mon Sep 17, 2012 11:38 pm

Thanks for all your input.

Yes I do also have a Gigapan head: I purchased it "cheapishly" on ebay but have since read/found that its is also not ideal for indoor 360s (I think from earlier posts by Klaus as I recall)

I did start with a Panasourus manual head which I used to make a few initial 360s which you can see at
http://onthetiles.biz/gallery/poole-bathroom-pano.html
and http://onthetiles.biz/gallery/ruislip-shower-room-pano.html

however I can only lay claim to building the room at this one

http://onthetiles.biz/vr-mid.html

as that was the first 360 we used I paid to have it done professionally at which point I decided I liked the idea of doing them myself (BTW ....Its kiln fired glass backlit with colour changing fibre-optics and it does look that cool in real life.)

However with my two pano's there was some photoshopping (very time consuming at my level of competence) and I often don't have much time on site to take the pictures and really wanted to have a system that allowed me to have a camera set up where I placed it in the room and basically pressed the go button while I had a cup of tea (I am also quite scatterbrained and will often take a bunch of photos only to realize I have missed out a row or forgot to press the shutter for one picture so automation appeals and I can handle either patching in a nadir or dropping a logo in the bottom, the in camera HDR on the 5d also appeals as it allows me to get a half decent image of a bathroom without getting to carried away with lighting etc. :-)

And yes Andrew...I am much better at running a tiling company that I am at Photography...fortunately as the owner I can justify the expenditure on kit as I really am using it all for the business and once the learning curve has been passed through I will hopefully have a website full of awesome 360 panos of work we have done and the photography can only improve..:-) I have already learned so much that I cringe at the photos (the ones I took that is) in the links above.

I will have another look at things tomorrow.

Thanks again.

Terry
Canon Eos 5D Mk III with 24-105 and 8-15 fisheye
and Eos 400d with 11-22 Merlin with touch controler and Gigapan Pro

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Terrygrant
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by Terrygrant » Tue Sep 18, 2012 5:41 pm

Hi,
I managed to mount the 400d in portrait on the Merlin head with its 10-22 lens by pinching some bits from the Panosaurus which allowed me to move it back far enough to set up the nodal point correctly.
I set up the T&C at 10mm focal length and ran off a quick test. I presume I use the papywizard import plugin on Autopano. Setting lens at its widest angle and turning off autofocus the t&c setup was for 10mm lens with the correct entry for sensor size it took a 15 picture pano.
When I came to import I was advised that the exif data and the xml data show different focal lengths so I tell it to go by the exif data and it has a go at putting it all together but something is not right as there are gaps. I will have to try again tomorrow but ended up rather frustrated today.
I tried several times at but got nowhere and then all three batteries for the camera ran out and I cant find the charger! Grrrrr.
I had a better experience when I used the Gigapan head a few weeks ago... I just entered the camera details and set it off and the resulting pictures stitched perfectly in Autopano.
Unfortunatley I deleted most of the pictures and xml files in a moment of frustration so I guess I will just have to start again.
I presume that if my lens 10-22 lens is opened up as wide as it can then the focal length will be 10 and at the other end it will be 22....or does that change because of the size of the sensor?
Thanks

Terry
Canon Eos 5D Mk III with 24-105 and 8-15 fisheye
and Eos 400d with 11-22 Merlin with touch controler and Gigapan Pro

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klausesser
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by klausesser » Tue Sep 18, 2012 10:33 pm

Terrygrant wrote:I set up the T&C at 10mm focal length and ran off a quick test.

With zooms it´s a bit tricky to meet the correct NPP - it changes positions. You must find the right position for 10mm - with 20mm it´s a different one.
I also guess you set the correct sensor-size on the T&C . . ?

I think you set the right camera/lens settings in AutoPano also!?

The T&C writes correct xml data. Use "xml" lens values when importing.

best, Klaus
Simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance. Coco Chanel

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klausesser
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by klausesser » Tue Sep 18, 2012 10:38 pm

Terrygrant wrote:I presume that if my lens 10-22 lens is opened up as wide as it can then the focal length will be 10 and at the other end it will be 22....or does that change because of the size of the sensor?

No. But what changes by the sensor-size is how much you get from the lens: the FOV = Field Of View = the effective vertical and horizontal angle.
Your 10-22 is a lens for DX="crop" cameras. So that should fit - if you set the sensor correctly in the TC.

Could you please make some screenshots from all of your settings?

best, Klaus
Simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance. Coco Chanel


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