I have to try the newer software, ( I have 1.2.1)
Try 1.3.3 it's a development release for Nokia Tablets but seems pretty reliable - it has the 'go-back' and 'skip-forward' functions:http://trac.gbiloba.org/papywizard/#Developpementversion
but found the older version to be great for mosaics with my 18-70 and presets with my 10.5mm FE. (Both Nikon).
Do I understand that you are shooting partial panos - i.e less than 360x180 - with the Nikkor 10.5 FE using the Merlin? Are these just a single row cylindricals? If you are currently shooting 6-around then with one more shot you could have a spherical. Here's my custom spherical preset for the Nikkor 10.5mm FE which will work for you with the D80: 6-around at -10 and one-up at +65, it leaves just a small 'hole' at the 'nadir' smaller that the footprint of the Merlin - just make sure your camera body/mounting rail doesn't hit the Merlin base at a pitch of +65 degrees before using this preset! My D40 plus Nikkor 10.5mm FE allows full vertical rotation on the Merlin, but the D80 body is a bit bigger than the D40. I put the 'zenith' at +65 rather than +90 because it means you are more likely to get a good link between the 'zenith' and the main row in most cases. My D40 body measures about 40mm from the base of the camera body to the centre of the lens which give an almost perfect NPP on the Merlin without mods. to the dovetail-clamp with the camera mounted on 'half' the standard dovetail rail. I think your D80 measures about 45mm from base of camera body to centre of the lens so your NPP will be a bit 'off' laterally without mods. to the head?:
<preset name="Nikon DX+10.5mm FE">
<tooltip>Nikon DX+10.5mm FE
6-around at -10 degrees
1-up at +65 degrees</tooltip>
<pict yaw="0.0" pitch="65.0" />
<pict yaw="0.0" pitch="-10.0" />
<pict yaw="60.0" pitch="-10.0" />
<pict yaw="120.0" pitch="-10.0" />
<pict yaw="180.0" pitch="-10.0" />
<pict yaw="240.0" pitch="-10.0" />
<pict yaw="300.0" pitch="-10.0" />
I am using a Nikon D80 at the moment, but will likely try it out with some larger bodies in the future. (I am on the lookout for a FujiPro S3, or a Nikon D200 or 300). I have some ideas for setting up the NPP with these larger bodies, but I need a sample to play with first.
What advantages/benefits (for pano shooting) do you feel the D200 would have over the D80? the D300 is a larger body still and I think that could be difficult to mount at NPP on the Merlin without major mods to the head. The Fujifilm S3 Pro is also a large body, and I think it is an 'evolutionary dead-end' so personally I'd steer clear of it and stick to Nikon bodies. For pano shooting I'm not sure you would see much advantage/benefit from the D200, D300 or Fujifilm S3 Pro over your D80. For panos I think I would opt for a D90 (same body sixe as a D80 they say) over a D300. My nephew visited recently from Australia with his new D300, I was amazed at how big and how heavy it is compared to my handy and diminuitive D40. I am sure the D300 is an awesome camera but I don't lust after one any more.
I really liked the slow quiet speed in taking the panos. I was at a local park and several people walked right by without noticing that it was snapping away. (Yes the back up and retake will come in handy.) I was able to easily carry it from position to position and set and take shots very quickly. It is difficult to stay out of the cameras view if you get easily distracted.
Or looking at it another easy the Merlin/papywizard system enables the photographer more easily to appear in his/her panos. Many film directors amuse themselves by playing small roles in their own movies, now we can do that to in our panos.
My rechargeable AA batteries are poor, I guess, as I must charge them the day I want to shoot. Otherwise the head moves very slowly. I also feel that the connections for the battery holders on the merlin/orion are weak, and might break. I am going to work on alternative power sources soon.
Lead/acid gel battery packs are probably best for external battery power - there are some already 'packaged up' for use with telescope mounts and the like - this one is not too cumbersome, I plan to get one of these soon:http://www.pulsar-optical.co.uk/prod/Skywatcher/generalaccessories/7ahpowersupply.html
And there's a (much) bigger one:http://www.pulsar-optical.co.uk/prod/Skywatcher/generalaccessories/17ahpowersupply.html
These seem to be very widely available from telescope retailers under a number of brand names.
I rarely take spherical panos,
You have a fine lens for sphericals in the Nikkor 10.5mm FE. The only issue is mounting the camera at the NPP on the Merlin. My small Nikon D40 body fits just fine but larger Nikon bodies may need some mods to the standard dovetail mount to achieve NPP. Mounting at correct NPP is not an issue if using longer focal length leneses to shoot mosaic panos of distant scenes with nothing much closer to the camera than 100m, but for sphericals with FE lenses it is important, if you are to get a good stitch.
Though very hi-res panos are interesting, internet access in my part of New Zealand means 1MB /minute upload speeds if I'm lucky, and daily caps (with throttling penalties) if I exceed perhaps 1GB of transfer in a 24 hour period. I am frankly scared to try to upload anything big. ( I have considered shipping a disk to a friend in the States so he could upload it for me.) WHen APP 1.9 A4 appears, I will definitely try some larger shoots, just to test things.
Most consumer Net connection services have caps here in UK now - this is the result of increasing popularity of data-heavy Net activities such as video on demand and music downloading. Typical consumer/domestic ADSL connections in the UK deliver about 3Mbps download and around 480Kbps (at best) upload. While pano player technologies now allow the downloading/playing of very his-res panos for anyone with a broadband connection, the uploading (and in some cases the playing) of these files is still a problem/issue for many with data caps on their Net connection. The other issue for me would be having enough computer power (and/or patience) to stitch those hi-res gigapixel panos with tolerable processing times.