Bluetooth Interface for Merlin ready  

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teleskop-austria
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Bluetooth Interface for Merlin ready

by teleskop-austria » Wed Dec 24, 2008 1:20 pm

dear Friends,

our new BT Interface for Merlin (and Autotrack) is now available:

Image

http://www.teleskop-austria.at/prod.php?tid=15&lng=de#montz-blt-hu
(sorry for german text only, no new info for you)

It works exactly like the handbox, or like any cable connected to RS232 port.
BT Password is 0000.

The first three will be shipped for €75.- (Transport in EU inclusive!), if you post
a little review in a forum and we are allowed to put a link on our website.
To order just email me.

Picture with Autotrack, but on the Merlin it will hang the same way...
Image

happy Xmas to all!

greetz Tommy

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by bigwade » Wed Dec 24, 2008 6:39 pm

That's a nice small device ! :-)

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by mediavets » Wed Dec 24, 2008 6:42 pm

bigwade wrote:That's a nice small device ! :-)

Yes, very nice, but it isn't cheap.
Last edited by mediavets on Wed Dec 24, 2008 6:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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 bigwade » Wed Dec 24, 2008 8:12 pm

Andrew, Andrew,
look at it the positive way :-)
No re-programming, no cable soldering, no box problems, just plug and play.......(that's what you asked for..)

I have paid 51,36 Euro's for the Tronisoft module, without cable and box........

This one is much smaller and I don't think anyone, who has no skills, bother the extra money.
Just my 2cts :-)

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by mediavets » Wed Dec 24, 2008 9:23 pm

bigwade wrote:Andrew, Andrew,
look at it the positive way :-)
No re-programming, no cable soldering, no box problems, just plug and play.......(that's what you asked for..)

I have paid 51,36 Euro's for the Tronisoft module, without cable and box........

This one is much smaller and I don't think anyone, who has no skills, bother the extra money.
Just my 2cts :-)

Good point - I'm sure you are correct.

I'm just a cheapskate who wanted to geta Merlin system running at least cost - and succeeded after some trial and error.

It's pretty simple now with the modofied Tronisoft + BTLink and Claude's cable and the documentation that now exists.

But yes that lttle blue box is simpler still (so long as it does indeed work with Papywizard).

Happy Christmas.
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 bigwade » Wed Dec 24, 2008 10:24 pm

mediavets wrote:But yes that lttle blue box is simpler still (so long as it does indeed work with Papywizard).

Correct :-)
I will ask them :-)
Happy Christmas !!!!!!!!!
Last edited by bigwade on Wed Dec 24, 2008 10:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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by claudevh » Thu Dec 25, 2008 12:57 am

The BT module Teleskop Austria looks OK ! :)
But twice the cost of the Tronisoft Kit ... :(
Teleskop Austria should lower his price !? ;)

For your information, with the second serie of production for the Tronisoft Kit (next week shipping), the cable/connectors will be included in the shipment ... (price unchanged)

:cool:
:cool: Claude :cool:
Merlin + Papywizard on Windows 7 & Nokia 770 § N810 & Acer (Netbook) + PanoramaApp Androïd + Deltawave PapyMerlin BT + Autopano
Spherical Pano (180 x 360) with Canon 40D + Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 Zoom & Pôle Pano with Canon 5D MK2 and shaved Tokina 10-17 3.5-4.5 AF DX Fisheye
Gigapixel photography with Nikon D200 + Sigma 70-200 F 2.8 EX DG APO HSM

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by mediavets » Thu Dec 25, 2008 2:19 am

claudevh wrote:For your information, with the second serie of production for the Tronisoft Kit (next week shipping), the cable/connectors will be included in the shipment ... (price unchanged)

:cool:

That sounds great. Thanks for your quietly effective efforts on this aspect of the project.
Last edited by mediavets on Thu Dec 25, 2008 2:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
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 bigwade » Thu Dec 25, 2008 9:23 pm

claudevh wrote:The BT module Teleskop Austria looks OK ! :)
But twice the cost of the Tronisoft Kit ... :(

The first three are 75 euro incl. shipment.
Introduction price is 89 euro.
For a plug and play version I think this is a fair price.
At least we have a choice between a "cheap" rather big, not ready to use, and a small "expensive" ready to use version :)

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by teleskop-austria » Fri Dec 26, 2008 4:19 pm

dear friends,

our calculation is as tight as i could be. The product is developed and build in EU, not in China,
and we have to grant two years warranty, and 20% Tax. Put in the calculation the time, skill and maybe equipment
it needs to get the Tronisoft Kit working, so here you go. And we don't stop at this point, we are
investing in new products, they need to be thougt of, and developed.

Anyway, to put it balanced, it`s always good to have an alternative!

wish you a happy new year!

Tommy
Last edited by teleskop-austria on Fri Dec 26, 2008 4:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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by klausesser » Fri Dec 26, 2008 4:55 pm

claudevh wrote:The BT module Teleskop Austria looks OK ! :)
But twice the cost of the Tronisoft Kit ... :(
Teleskop Austria should lower his price !? ;)

For your information, with the second serie of production for the Tronisoft Kit (next week shipping), the cable/connectors will be included in the shipment ... (price unchanged)

:cool:

Well - to be honest: to have a "turnkey"-ready gadged providing support and grants two years warranty isn´t too bad at all.
Comparing to existing devices like Seitz, Panomachine or Rodeon the Teleskop Austria price of the Merlin/Orion in combination with the new module really is very comfortable . . . at some manufactors you have to pay more for the camera-adaption to their device . .

If you´re going to produce and sell such a ready-to-use device commercially you suddenly find yourself on the risky side of the medal . . :cool:

My - speaking only for myself - only interest is to have things working in a simple way . . . for making me use them for my work without working ON them . . . :cool:

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

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by mediavets » Fri Dec 26, 2008 5:15 pm

Klaus,

I think you have a good point. Some people will be happy pay more to have a plug-n-play solution.

But their offer is not yet complete.

When they can offer complete with replacement crown already fitted to the Merlin plus a range of camera mounting systems for various DSLRs THEN they will have a plug-n-play alternative to the Seitz VR, Panomachine and Rodeon.
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 klausesser » Fri Dec 26, 2008 6:28 pm

mediavets wrote:But their offer is not yet complete.
When they can offer complete with replacement crown already fitted to the Merlin plus a range of camera mounting systems for various DSLRs THEN they will have a plug-n-play alternative to the Seitz VR, Panomachine and Rodeon.

Hello, my friend!

Yeah - but for most people it surely is easier to DIY a mounting for their camera to the Merlin than to DIY their own interface, even using kits.
To me - as an example - it would have been impossible without Josef´s help to make the serial interface and adapt the Airstick and you and Fred´s great help in all other terms.

Don´t forget: the Rodeon´s, Seitz, Panomachine´s costs for a working solutions is up to about TEN times (Rodeon 2-axis programmable is about 3500.-€) of a combined Merlin/N800/interface - thanks to Fred´s generously provided open source application. And his - and your´s - great assistance to get it run.

Collegues using Rodeons, Seitz or even Spheron (which is about 50000.-€ complete) came to think about the cost-relations of their stuff and the Merlin/Papy-solution . . . . :cool:

There are obviously pros and cons of the systems - and as a full-time panographer earning good money you´ll find a Rodeon or Spheron more effective (which they definitely are) . . but at least ONE car-photographer i know will be trying the Merlin for shooting HDR-spheres for GL in Maya/Cinema and highrez back-plates - times are getting harder in the car-visualization business . .

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

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by mediavets » Fri Dec 26, 2008 6:52 pm

klausesser wrote:
mediavets wrote:But their offer is not yet complete.
When they can offer complete with replacement crown already fitted to the Merlin plus a range of camera mounting systems for various DSLRs THEN they will have a plug-n-play alternative to the Seitz VR, Panomachine and Rodeon.

Hello, my friend!

Yeah - but for most people it surely is easier to DIY a mounting for their camera to the Merlin than to DIY their own interface, even using kits.

best, Klaus

Hi Klaus,

Well I think this is highly debatable now that Claude has 'engineered' a complete kit - comprising the special version of the Tronisoft 4201 TTL-RS232 module+BTLink RS232-Bluetooth device+solderless-cable - which will be available from one source verey soon. Putting the assembled kit - and assembly must take all of 15-20 minutes including programming the baud rate in the BTLink - then putting the assembly in an enclousre of one's choice is easier than making a replacement crown and camera mount IMO.

Installation of the Papywizard software on a Nokia N800 or N810 Internet tablet, or on a Windows PC, is simple.

I feel that the creation and installation of an alternative crown and camera mount is the most challenging part.

Not that I need to do it because my lowly Nikon D40 sits at NPP without any crown modification required; likewise for those who concentrate on gigapixel panos of distant landscapes with longer focal length lenses parallax is not an issue anyway so they don't need a replacement crown either.

Yes, if you are a pro photographer with a lot of very expensive gear then the cost of a Rodeon VR head, or a Seitz Roundshot or an MK Panomachine is in keeping with your other investments but it's out of sight for a hobbyist and most panographers are hobbyists. I can only dream of owning a Rodeon VR head.

I think all robotic pano heads are interesting - but I feel, and I think you agreee, that Merlin/Orion+Papywizard offers the most 'bang for your buck'.
Last edited by mediavets on Fri Dec 26, 2008 6:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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 klausesser » Fri Dec 26, 2008 7:40 pm

mediavets wrote:but I feel, and I think you agreee, that Merlin/Orion+Papywizard offers the most 'bang for your buck'.

That´s what i wanted to say :cool:

I think i´ll do the crown modification in February - seems to be preferable to use landscape-mode
with fast moving clouds for example.

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

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by bigwade » Fri Dec 26, 2008 8:10 pm

mediavets wrote:Well I think this is highly debatable now that Claude has 'engineered' a complete kit - comprising the special version of the Tronisoft 4201 TTL-RS232 module+BTLink RS232-Bluetooth device+solderless-cable - which will be available from one source verey soon. Putting the assembled kit - and assembly must take all of 15-20 minutes including programming the baud rate in the BTLink - then putting the assembly in an enclousre of one's choice is easier than making a replacement crown and camera mount IMO.

Installation of the Papywizard software on a Nokia N800 or N810 Internet tablet, or on a Windows PC, is simple.

I feel that the creation and installation of an alternative crown and camera mount is the most challenging part.

Hi Andrew,
It depends on peoples background.
You are a computer guy and don't care about reprogramming modules, hacking tablets, install files on a Nokia device etc.
For me that is (was) the scary part, not the crownmodification.
Total costs untill now are about 313, euro incl vat.
(Merlin, BT, Nokia 770)
Even if the BT was 40 euro more from TA and a crown for 39 euro, total costs is about 400 euro.
That's 1/3 Seitz Drive (just the drive, one-way rotator).....

I played with the new toy today and I must say The Merlin project Rocks :)
esp. with Hi-Res Mosaics and that's very, very usefull for my work.
I even consider a second Merlin WITH crownmodification for my 5D2.

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by fma38 » Fri Dec 26, 2008 8:26 pm

bigwade wrote:I even consider a second Merlin WITH crownmodification for my 5D2.

Depending of the usage for that second head, I suggest you wait a little bit; there should be a surprise for the begining of 2009 ;)
Frédéric

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by bigwade » Fri Dec 26, 2008 8:30 pm

Hint?

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by fma38 » Fri Dec 26, 2008 9:04 pm

Wait and see ;)
Frédéric

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by mediavets » Fri Dec 26, 2008 9:17 pm

bigwade wrote:Hi Andrew,
It depends on peoples background.
You are a computer guy and don't care about reprogramming modules, hacking tablets, install files on a Nokia device etc.

The installation of Papywizard on the N800 or N810 is MUCH simpler than on a 770:

http://www.autopano.net/wiki/action/view/Install_Papywizard_on_Nokia_770_N800_N810#N800

I have both the 770 and the N800 now, and the N800 is a much superior system other than lacking that lovely reversible slide-on metal cover that the 770 has, but you can get very nice fitted leather cases for the N800 and N810 from PDair.

http://www.pdair.com/catalog/index.php?cPath=10100000_1900000_11000089
http://www.pdair.com/catalog/index.php?cPath=10100000_1900000_11000208

And if you flash a recent version of OS2008 on the N800 and N810 tablets thereafter all OS updates are automatically offered and installed over the Web (from Nokia) with no need to re-install other software after an OS update - I've done it and it works.

Programming the baud rate on the BTLink RS232-Bluetooth adapter is very very simple on a Windows PC using the Windows configuration program (sorry Mac lovers, but you must have friends with Windows PCs). Perhaps we can eventually get the supplier to do this before shipping the kit.
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 claudevh » Fri Dec 26, 2008 11:15 pm

Mediavets wrote:Programming the baud rate on the BTLink RS232-Bluetooth adapter is very very simple on a Windows PC using the Windows configuration program (sorry Mac lovers, but you must have friends with Windows PCs). Perhaps we can eventually get the supplier to do this before shipping the kit.

Yes Andrew, this has been asked to Tronisoft ... but it can also hapen that the BT sould be resetted and then .... :/

Anyway, I will find a "similar" configuration program for Linux and Mac ! ;)

In the actual situation, we can summarize ....

The Tronisoft kit has some "shortcomings" :

- Difficult to configure... ongoing solution ! :P
- No enclosure ... but idea's are activelly suggested .... :)
- Quite "BIG" .... will be solved with the next generation ... (date not fixed) :cool:

The Tronisoft kit has some "qualities" :

- Very Cheap .... :)
- Robust .... :)
- Big range .... (up to 100 meters) :)

This is realy interresting that Teleskop Austria has pushed a "concurent solution" but I think exactly as Andrew, this is not "cheap" and actually "not in line really" with the spirit of the PAPYWIZARD/MERLIN project. :(

Definitelly, I will not come back to this discussion ! :D
:cool: Claude :cool:
Merlin + Papywizard on Windows 7 & Nokia 770 § N810 & Acer (Netbook) + PanoramaApp Androïd + Deltawave PapyMerlin BT + Autopano
Spherical Pano (180 x 360) with Canon 40D + Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 Zoom & Pôle Pano with Canon 5D MK2 and shaved Tokina 10-17 3.5-4.5 AF DX Fisheye
Gigapixel photography with Nikon D200 + Sigma 70-200 F 2.8 EX DG APO HSM

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by bigwade » Sat Dec 27, 2008 12:42 am

klausesser wrote:My - speaking only for myself - only interest is to have things working in a simple way . . . for making me use them for my work without working ON them . . . :cool:

My idea....

If the TA adapter was available 3 weeks ago my choice was easy, no matter the extra euro's
Same for the N770.
If I knew the N800 was better and easier to install things on I would choosen this device.
No problems for now, it's working great but indeed I needed help to get things working :) and thank you ALL for that !


claudevh wrote:This is realy interresting that Teleskop Austria has pushed a "concurent solution" but I think exactly as Andrew, this is not "cheap" and actually "not in line really" with the spirit of the PAPYWIZARD/MERLIN project. :(

I wouldn't speak of a concurent solution but more about an extra, easy, solution.
We have a choice and that's good.

If the approach of the PAPYWIZARD/MERLIN project is CHEAP
I have a working solution here (serious, I made pano's with it.....)
10 euro for the Manfrotto part and 1,43 Euro for the hook.
Have Fun ! :)



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by mediavets » Sat Dec 27, 2008 1:11 am

Frank,

I understand your point of view and have no issues about the emergence of easier to assemble/configure but more costly alternative gadgets/components to put together a working Merlin/Orion+Papywizard robotic pano head system.

The initial project goal was to develop a low cost two-axis robotic pano head solution. And that had been achieved, quite brilliiantly IMO.

There has been a lot of development in recent weeks, with the Papywizard software but also with TTL-Bluetooth interfaces. It is getting easier to assemble and configure a Merlin/Orion+Papywizard system all the time; and the system is also offering ever greater functionality and ease of use.

I too wish Claude's Tronisoft kit and the Teleskop-Austria TTL-Bluetooth options had been available when I was getting into this too. But they are now and that's great.

Of course minimal cost will not be as important to some potential users as ease of assembly and configuration so I think it's good to have alternative offers.

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

WRT the Nokia Tablets. The 770 is the lowest cost Nokia Internet Tablet option, and (at the time) the most readily available used on eBay, and good enough to run Papywizard (thanks to Frederic's careful programming efforts) and hence became a primary target platform for Papywzard in line with the low cost goal of the project. But it is a bit more effort to install all the software required to run Papywizard on the 770 than it is to get Papywizard up and running on the N800 or N810. And the standard metal slide-on cover of the 770 makes it a rather more robust unit for field use out of the box. I dropped my 770 onto a concrete path and it survived but I don't think an unprotected N800 or N810, which have a more 'delicate' build and no metal cover as standard, would have done.

For more general use (other than running Papywizard) the N800 or N810 are much superior devices, and if you don't need the slide-out keyboard of the N810 then the N800 offers the most 'bang for the buck' if bought used. In the UK at least N800s seem to be emerging on eBay more frequently now. The next generation of Nokia Internet Tablet hardware and the Maemo OS is expected in 2009.
Last edited by mediavets on Sat Dec 27, 2008 1:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
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 klausesser » Sun Dec 28, 2008 3:44 am

"One more thing" . . (no, i´m not Steve Jobs . . :P:cool:):
I´m quite shure most of you know already:
1) using good batteries instead of rechargable accus in the Merlin makes it move faster. I´m gonna try a small motorcycle battery.
2) let´s talk about the vertical friction - which changes by moving it manually . .
is there anything to do about? I heard there´s a rough-surfaced disk which gets worn by moving it manually too often. I mean the vertical movement - some days ago i had a 300mm moving by itself a bit.
Which i never realized before (ok - a 300mm Nikon isn´t really a lightweight . . ;))
3) i´ll have a guy try to nag some millimeters away from one side of the base. Not using the battery-holders the base might be smaller for having less footprint.
This maybe a bit tricky (close to the motor/gear in the base) - but better for spheres shot from poles.
Has to be on just one side anyway when shooting 6 Nadirs (using a 20 or a 35mm as i do on the 20D).
The motor-sensor has to be covered with some black-wrap or gaffer-tape or so when the battery-cover is off!
best and good nite, Klaus

"then the N800 offers the most 'bang for the buck' if bought used."

Damn right! That´s a great device - i got it for 180.-€ from ebay back in summer with freshly updated OS and it´s worth every cent! This metal slide cover of the 770 would be great to have - i´m sure we can find a rigid plastic-cover or even a small and flat case.
Last edited by klausesser on Sun Dec 28, 2008 3:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
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by mediavets » Sun Dec 28, 2008 4:35 am

Klaus,

I am using a 12v 7Ah sealed lead acid battery pack - there are smaller one's of similar design/concept without the light etc and a larger one in same family that even has a built-in radio - it's not that expensive and works fine and sits beneath the tripod within the nadir footprint of the Merlin. Has other voltage outlets that I think could be used as external power source for many cameras too.

http://www.pulsar-optical.co.uk/prod/Skywatcher/generalaccessories/7ahpowersupply.html

Most astroscope retailers offer this or something similar.

WRT friction disc and heavy lenses - you could probably benefit from using a counter balance weight with that long heavy lens to get the centre of mass near to the pivot point.

I recently bought two used N800s on eBay at approx. GBP 85 each; they seem to be turning up on eBay (in the UK anyway) more frequently recently. People still seem willing to offer GBP55-60 for a good 770 on eBay - so 770 owners it may be the time to trade up to an N800.

You can get various fitted cases from PDair for N800:
http://www.pdair.com/catalog/index.php?cPath=10100000_1900000_11000089

This is US site but they are sold by retailers in Europe too.
Last edited by mediavets on Sun Dec 28, 2008 4:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
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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