I just found this: http://www.panoguide.com/forums/qna/9946/?page=1#msg73001
I understand that Merlin and Panogear are basically the same device..? The footprint doesn't seem that big. I think I could manage with that.
hmm Hans Nybergs comment
You bought the Kolor Pano gear and want to do Spherical panoramas?
You will be very disappointed. Its not made for this. Its for gigapixel panos.
I think this statement is wrong.
I use a canon eos 400D (so 1.6crop) and a Samyang 8mm whenever possible with the merlin head, for outdoor and indoors too.
no problem, you only need to place the lens in perfect NPP, which is so easy with the samyang because its marked in form of golden ring.)
I also have the Samyang 85mm lens and I also can perfectly place the Canon & Lens in perfect NPP without modifying the crown or so.
if you wanna go bigger than 1.5 Gigapixel you will find your limits depending of used cam & lenses etc. on different points.
doing full sphericals with 120mm can be achieved (I did it not) if you wanna do partly sphericals with 400mm than its will work
even if no NPP can be found at all (thanks to autopano) but you have to think about counter weights etc. to avoid slipping of the head because of missplaced center of gravity.
SO I think its rather the other way round: 8-85mm perfect with merlin... and only smallest gigapixel panos.
in general an automatic head for gigapixel is preferable against the manual panohead... the T&C handcontroller part of the merlin package (addon?) does
calculate all the imagepositions and rows for you, so for nodal and zenith rows less images and more images for equatorial area, it can take into account bracketed images etc.
so even fo 8mm panos - where normally automatic heads look like luxury overhead - I prefer using this merlin in combination with the T&C handcontroller and the promotesystem device so I can handle bracketing, HDR, focus stacking etc. ... my biggest 50x50cm scene I did with the merlin was using a 85mm + 2x macrorings and finally had more than 1100 images with stacking, bracketing etc. ;-))
PS: nadir and 8mm Samyang:
mark your nadir inside your tripod with a stone or whatever...
place your 8mm samyang lens to look at equator.
Than lift your merlin x cm (where x = merline height) than turn your merlin 90" so the Samyang is looking to bottom now
now move your tripod so the center of viewfinder is over the stone...
normally 1 image for nadir is enough.
sometimes (and to avoid some mistakes) I do 2 images with 180" different orientation taking the nadir (focusing the stone...)
just prepare your 1 or 2 nadir images in photoshop, gimp etc. and erase all feet, all tripod legs and use repair tool for the stone...
and finally just load these 1 or 2 images just with all the other pano images and autopano will 100% solve the nadir area for you...