Thanks for reply ... just trying to understand what's needed for setting up with motorized head ... would be great to see how it comes together ..
I'm using a Nodal Ninja 5 with a 5D which is really good but automation seems like the way to go ..
I think this should explain the basics:http://www.autopano.net/wiki-en/action/view/Orion_TeleTrack_altazimuth_tracking_mount
In essence you need:
1. A Merlin head.
2. An interface device to allow connection between the 'host' (Nokia Internet Tablet, Windows PC, Linux PC) or Mac) running the Papywizard control software and the Merlin head. A wireless connection is probably the most attractive option for most users. The simplest wireless (bluetooth) interface - plug-n-play out of the box - is the Bluetooth device from Teleskop-Austria. This plugs into the socket on the head provided for the standard handset controller:http://www.teleskop-austria.at/prod.php?tid=15&lng=de#montz-blt-hu
3. A 'host' platform to run the Papywizard software - the Nokia N800 Internet Tablet makes for a small, 'pocketable' host and works very well. You can usually pick up a secondhand one on eBay for Â£70-100. Papywizard also runs on Windows 2000, XP and Vista; Linux; and Apple Mac OSX 10.5 or later.
4. The Papywizard software for your 'host' platform - created by Frederic Mantegazza, this is free and Open Source. It will run in simulation mode without being connected to a Merlin head so you download, install and run it to see how it looks to the user.
Papywizard is written in Python and is cross-platform. It runs on the Nokia Internet Tablet OS2008; Windows 2000, XP and Vista; Linux; and Apple Mac OSX 10.5 or later.
Download Papywizard from here:http://trac.gbiloba.org/papywizard/wiki/WikiStart#Download
5. 8xAA NiMH batteries, or an external 9-12VDC 500mA (min) power supply.
6. A shutter release cable that connects between the shutter control port on the Merlin head and the wired remote control socket on the camera. The Merlin head comes with a cable suitable for the low end Canon DSLRs, you would need to make up a cable for the Canon 5D - cheapest and easiest way if to 'hack' a cheap Chinese wired remote control available for 'peanuts' on eBay. Ask again for specfic advice if you decide to go ahead.
That's it for the basic system - no modification to the internal electronics of the Merlin head is required.
Such a set up will be fine for shooting high res., many shots, 'mosaic' partial panos (less than 360x180 FOV) with a Canon 5D if using a longer focal length lens and the scene is a relatively distant landscape because parallax errors are not an issue in such cases.
But if you wanted to shoot closer up scenes, or use a short focal length lens, or use a FE lens, for example, then using a Canon 5D I think you would need to modify the rail mount on the Merlin head to allow you to set the camera/lens at the correct No Parallax Point (NPP).
In standard form the Merlin head can accommodate at the NPP camera bodies measuring up to 40mm from the base of the camera to the centre of the lens mount. Modifying the rail mount to accommodate larger camera bodies at the NPP requires a bit more sophisticated DIY (or third-party machining) but it's not rocket science and several people have have done it (in different ways).
However since you already have a NN5 you'd probably chose to use that for panos which required relatively few shots to cover the scene - as I do.
Robotic heads come into their own when you need to shoot many tens or hundreds of images. The Merlin-Papywizard system will shoot scenes of up to 5,000 images - 50 rows x 100 columns - fully automatically, and you can use Automatic Exposure Bracketing (AEB) if your camera supports it.
Autopano Pro V2 and Autopano Giga have a special import filter for image sets shot using Merlin/Papywizard which uses the XML data file optionally recorded when shooting a pano to place 'featureless' images (when shooting with longer focal lengths you will often have a lot of 'featureless' sky shots) which other stitching programs would fail to include in the stitch - this works very well indeed.
Here are simple 72 and 120 shot image sets you can try to stitch with APP V2 or APG that were shot with Merlin/Papywizard, using my lowly Nikon D40 set at smallest image size and basic image quality, with kit zoom set at equiv. of 52mm, that show how well the import filter works. BTW focus is poor especially in the 120 shot set because that lens suffers from zoom/focus creep when tilted (ugh!) Each ZIP file includes a full set of images and the Papywizard XML data file required to use the Papywizard Import filter in APPV2/APG.:http://www.three60views.org.uk/image_sets/mosaic-garden-72.zip
Together Merlin+Papywizard+APPv2/APG comprise the very best low cost two-axis robotic pano photography system for DSLRs available anywhere.
Here's a list of just some of the people using Merlin/Papywizard. At least three of whom are professional photographers - so it's not just a 'toy' for hobbyists:http://www.autopano.net/wiki-en/action/view/Merlin-Orion-Papywizard_users_feedback
Any more questions - just ask.