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nick fan
05-01-2008, 02:54 AM
Long time ago, we planned to release some advanced rotators for the most demanding customers. We fail to do that until we invest heavily in computer aided design (CAD) and computer aided manufacturing (CAM) facilities. We count every second to sort out factors affecting the precision and quality of the final design. After many versions of prototyping and tweaking and discussion with advanced panographers, we come to 3 most advanced rotators that represent the top of line of Fanotec products. We believe they are what panographers having been awaiting for a long timea rotator that combines precision, ease of use, compact, light weight and durability.



Here are the features common to these 3 models. Features for specific model will be listed alongside with each model.
* made from imported premium quality aluminum alloy.
* precision CNC machined components
* lubricated bearings for smooth rotation
* laser engraved marking
* detent interval option can be changed on the fly.
* more than 10 kg loading supported.



Rotator D8
* 8 detent interval options
Complete set of 8 detent interval options (3, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 15, 18 stops / 120, 90, 60, 45, 36, 30, 24, 20 degrees) suitable for lens ranging from ultra wide angle to 50mm (35mm eq.). No more need for skipping detent interval. Ideal for pressurized situations in which shooting must be completed quickly, such as in changing lighting. No more missing photos due to mistake in skipping.
http://nodalninja.com/1_RD8_1.jpg
* detent interval can be changed in seconds
* knob for locking rotation
Ideal for making HDR panos or in windy locations.
* small nadir footprint
Diameter of 62mm provides sufficient precision and stability while keeping the nadir footprint small. The unique placement of knobs means that they will never appear in the spherical panos.
* fine 2.5 degree interval for making high resolution mosaics.
* compact and light weight
Probably this is the most compact and light weight rotator with 8 detent interval options built-in-- a mere 350g, a diameter of 62mm and a height of 40mm.
Target price is US$149.95



Rotator D12
* 12 detent interval options
Complete set of 12 detent interval options (3, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 15, 18, 24, 30, 36, 48 stops / 120, 90, 60, 45, 36, 30, 24, 20, 15, 12, 10, 7.5 degrees) suitable for lens ranging from ultra wide angle to 135mm (35mm eq.). No more need for skipping detent interval. Ideal for pressurized situations in which shooting must be completed quickly, such as in changing lighting. No more missing photos due to mistake in skipping.
http://nodalninja.com/2_RD12.jpg
* detent interval can be changed in seconds
* knob for locking rotation
Ideal for making HDR panos or in windy locations.
* small nadir footprint
Diameter of 62mm provides sufficient precision and stability while keeping the nadir footprint small. The unique placement of knobs means that they will never appear in the spherical panos.
* fine 2.5 degree interval for making high resolution mosaics.
* compact and light weight
Probably this is the most compact and light weight rotator with 12 detent interval options built-in-- a mere 400g, a diameter of 62mm and a height of 49mm.
Target price is US$179.95



Rotator D3L
This is most fancy product we ever developed!
* new EZ-Leveler MKII built in.
Users can now adjust very fine leveling WITH LOADING of heavy gear on top. Unlike leveling using ball head or tripod legs, leveling remains stationary after each adjustment. No more need to compensate for the effect of loading. Maximum angle of adjustment is 5 degrees.
http://nodalninja.com/3_RD3L_1.jpg
* 3 selectable detent interval options.
There will be 2 versions. Customers can select either a combination of 6, 8, 10 stops or 6, 8, 30 stops. By skipping, one can get 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10 stops or 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 15, 30 stops respectively. Popular combinations like 3, 4, 6 can also be made upper request.
http://nodalninja.com/4_RD3L_2.jpg
* detent interval can be changed in less than 3 seconds
By a simple flip of detent switches, detent interval setting can be changed from one to another on the fly.
http://nodalninja.com/5_RD3L_3.jpg
* compact and light weight.
Probably this is the most compact and light weight rotator with leveling base built-in-- a mere 330g and a minimum height of 48mm.
Target price is US$189.95



Rotator D4
The default rotator for our new product, Nodal Ninja 180.
* 4 detent interval options
Complete set of 4 detent interval options (2, 3, 4, 6 stops / 180, 120, 90, 60 degrees), suitable for most ultra wide angle lens for making spherical panos.
http://nodalninja.com/6_RD4.jpg
* detent interval can be changed in seconds
* knob for locking rotation
Ideal for making HDR panos or in windy locations.
* small nadir footprint
Diameter of 54mm provides sufficient precision and stability while keeping the nadir footprint small. The unique placement of knobs means that they will never appear in the spherical panos.
* compact and light weight
A mere 220g, a diameter of 54mm and a height of 40mm.
5kg loading supported
Target price is US$129.95.

Note: price updated to reflect the acutal manufacturing cost. Detent interval changed for optimal use for fisheye lens.


More photos
http://nodalninja.com/7_NN5.jpg
http://nodalninja.com/8_NN5-RD3L.jpg
http://nodalninja.com/9_RD3L-10D.jpg
http://nodalninja.com/10_RD8-10D.jpg


Note that specifications may change slightly in production models.

Andrew H
05-01-2008, 03:52 AM
Wow! Really like the spec of the D12. Any ideas yet on availability and pricing?

Regards
Andrew

Terrywoodenpic
05-01-2008, 07:34 AM
What an amazing range of heads.
People will find it hard to chose......
But there is something for about everyone there...

Well done indeed.

Macro
05-01-2008, 08:09 AM
Nice work Nick!
Great additions to an already excellent NN line!
Will the Rotator D3L be an upgrade for current NN's?

David

gibie
05-01-2008, 08:19 AM
Amazing !! :001_smile:
Just a question : can these new rotators be used on NN3 mark I ?

nick fan
05-01-2008, 09:35 AM
Wow! Really like the spec of the D12. Any ideas yet on availability and pricing?

Regards
Andrew

Pricing added to each model in the announcement now. Target price for Rotator D12 (RD12) is US$179.95. Available in Aug/ Sept.


nick

nick fan
05-01-2008, 09:37 AM
Nice work Nick!
Great additions to an already excellent NN line!
Will the Rotator D3L be an upgrade for current NN's?

David



all of the rotators work with old and existing and future NNs.

nick

nick fan
05-01-2008, 09:38 AM
Amazing !! :001_smile:
Just a question : can these new rotators be used on NN3 mark I ?


sure. even work with NN1/2.


nick

mskp
05-01-2008, 11:51 AM
Congratulations. Nice work. So, we have still to wait until August. Right?
Thanks, Martin :wink:

Andrew H
05-01-2008, 12:20 PM
Hello Nick

Thanks for the pricing and availability info on the Rotator D12.

I don't know whether you have considered this, or if it is feasible with your design, but if, on the 12 degree detent level, you were to add a second detent pin almost diametrically opposite the first 12 degree pin, but actually offset by 6 degrees (i.e. at +/- 174 degrees from the first pin) you would achieve a click at every 6 degrees with both pins in use.

Similarly with a second 10 degree pin displaced from the first by +/- 175 degrees you could achieve a click every 5 degrees, and with a second 7.5 degree pin displaced by +/- 176.25 degrees, you could add clicks at 3.75 degrees.

I guess with CNC machining it should be possible to get sufficient accuracy to do this. What do you think?

I do some high res pano work with a 210 mm equivalent lens and the thought of having click stops usable with this lens really gets me excited!

Kind regards

Andrew

nick fan
05-01-2008, 06:50 PM
I don't know whether you have considered this, or if it is feasible with your design, but if, on the 12 degree detent level, you were to add a second detent pin almost diametrically opposite the first 12 degree pin, but actually offset by 6 degrees (i.e. at +/- 174 degrees from the first pin) you would achieve a click at every 6 degrees with both pins in use.

Similarly with a second 10 degree pin displaced from the first by +/- 175 degrees you could achieve a click every 5 degrees, and with a second 7.5 degree pin displaced by +/- 176.25 degrees, you could add clicks at 3.75 degrees.
Andrew


we tried the idea actually. For the 7.5 degree detent, the "detent wells" are almost touching each other. Dual detent plungers do not work well. One of them is going to interfere the other to some extent. The idea works for coarser detents. But too many holes make the rotator ugly and work against our aim of ease of use. Actually I did lots of research of the need of people in making high resolution mosaics, if 7.5 degree detent does not fit them, neither will a 5 degree one, neither will a 3.75 degree one. So I gave up. :biggrin: You can rotate it freely without the detent plunger. and we have 2.5 degree interval index. you should be able to read half the interval easily.
Well, some day, we may have motorized rotators. They should solve the problem.


nick

asiavr
05-01-2008, 07:19 PM
sorry i m not 100% sure abt the use of a rotators?
can someone tell me why do we still need a rotator if the nn already has click stops detent?
thank you

nick fan
05-01-2008, 08:09 PM
sorry i m not 100% sure abt the use of a rotators?
can someone tell me why do we still need a rotator if the nn already has click stops detent?
thank you


These are ADVANCED OPTIONAL rotators that REPLACE the default rotator. They are for the most demanding customers who need more bells and whistles.


nick

psj
05-02-2008, 03:43 AM
Hi Nick,

Will the D4 rotator be precise enough for batch stitching? With an NN3, you (and I) would have the lightest batchable pano head on the market.

Regards

nick fan
05-02-2008, 08:43 AM
Hi Nick,

Will the D4 rotator be precise enough for batch stitching? With an NN3, you (and I) would have the lightest batchable pano head on the market.

Regards



I don't think all these rotators are good enough for batch stitching. Much larger diameter is needed.


nick

Harvey Cooper
05-02-2008, 08:53 AM
So can I use the rotator with the NN3 MK II? I assume you would not use the rotator in the NN. How do you lock it down?

nick fan
05-02-2008, 10:48 AM
So can I use the rotator with the NN3 MK II? I assume you would not use the rotator in the NN. How do you lock it down?


The rotators have a M6 socket. So the lower rail is mounted onto the rotator by a M6 screw. NN3 rubber camera mounting plate can be placed under the rail as anti-twist padding. This should be sufficient considering the small loading you are to put on NN3(II). If not, we can make an anti-twist adapter as the interface. NN5 or futures NNs have right sockets for anti-twist pins as pictured.
http://nodalninja.com/8_NN5-RD3L.jpg

nick

Harvey Cooper
05-02-2008, 12:31 PM
When will the NN3 be redesigned for that. I am about to purchase it, but would prefer to wait a reasonable amount of time.

Terrywoodenpic
05-02-2008, 01:22 PM
Are the pins in a different position to the plastic detent retaining pins.? Iff so why? are they interchangeable?
Looks like a simple drill and tap situation. You could always provide a thin plastic drilling guide to put over the NN3 ii centre screw.

Frate
05-02-2008, 02:55 PM
Nick, you did it again! For the last week, I've been agonizing about the MKII rotator upgrade to my NN3-MKI and now you have to muddy my thinking with new options.

I can't help but be drawn to the D3L. If you do create an anti-twist adapter for the NN3 that fits your pin sockets, I think you've got another winner!

Maybe I'll hold off on Drilling and Tapping my MKI for a bit.

Thanks again :biggrin:

- Dean

nick fan
05-02-2008, 05:59 PM
Are the pins in a different position to the plastic detent retaining pins.? If so why? are they interchangeable?
Looks like a simple drill and tap situation. You could always provide a thin plastic drilling guide to put over the NN3 ii centre screw.


The pins in NN3 are quite close together. This is because the detent ring is small. When designing NN5, we decide to put them farther away. The farther away, the better anti-twisting and reproducibility in positioning. Any way, anti-twist adapter for NN3 can be made easily.

nick

jldt706
05-20-2008, 02:59 PM
When can we get our hands one these awesome items?

Are there any realease dates that we can count on?

nick fan
05-20-2008, 09:42 PM
When can we get our hands one these awesome items?

Are there any realease dates that we can count on?


late July to early September.

nick

mskp
06-22-2008, 03:08 PM
Hi! I asked my brother in law to buy the upgrade rotator for the NN3 in my name. Visiting the Nodal Ninja store, I noticed that the Rotator R-D12 is already been offered. Now is it ready to be shipped or will it be still as promissed "due mid to late 2008"?
If it is not this one then I will go with the MKII upgrade .
Thanks, regards, Martin

wheller
06-22-2008, 03:09 PM
I have to say, when I'm not out actually using my NN I'll be sitting here with my credit card out waiting to order the Rotator D12.

I had been resigned to living with the 10 degree dentent installed and counting clicks when I'm using a wider lens.

Also, I have to agree it would be great to have even smaller stops, even 5 degrees would be amazing but I'll be happy for the 7.5. I take a lot of shots in low light conditions and the marks are sometimes a little hard to read. At any rate I appreciate your craftsmanship and I would never want you to compromise quality to try to make the tighter stops work. Your products have the rare feel of something that is made by someone who actually uses their own creations.

"Well, some day, we may have motorized rotators..." :ohmy: Ok, I just have to go out shoot something now...

Thanks for the great tools!

Macro
06-23-2008, 12:05 AM
"Well, some day, we may have motorized rotators..." :ohmy:


Search around, there are several out there already.

For example
http://marc-kairies.de/english/index.html

David

tailwinds
06-27-2008, 09:29 PM
Nick,

Will it be possible to order the NNs with one of these advanced rotators instead of the standard? Will you extend your NN buyback offer to just rotators, for those looking to upgrade. I have the NN3 Mk 1 and would love to put that D3L on it. You mention custom detent positions, is that an extra cost? Thank you for making wonderful toys!

nick fan
06-28-2008, 12:35 AM
Nick,

Will it be possible to order the NNs with one of these advanced rotators instead of the standard? Will you extend your NN buyback offer to just rotators, for those looking to upgrade. I have the NN3 Mk 1 and would love to put that D3L on it. You mention custom detent positions, is that an extra cost? Thank you for making wonderful toys!




In the future we will have packages with the advanced rotator replacing the default rotator.
we will not buy back NN3I rotator as it is discontinued. Deducting the return shipping cost, I don't think it will save you much money.
If feadback shows that particular sets of detent combination for D3L is popular, we may offer it without extra cost. We may charge extra if the total number of stops exceed certain number because the maching cost is proportional to the number of stops. what detent settings do you like?

Nick

Lilien
06-30-2008, 04:57 AM
Hello,

with the D8 and D12 rotators you have very interesting products!

The only problem I see is to make these fit in an Arca Swiss environment.

It must be possible to mount an Arca clamp on top of the rotators, and
the most common screw to do this is 3/8". Your M6 socket seems to be
a problem at this point.

To mount a rotator on top of an Arca Swiss compatible ballhead, you need
a plate under the rotator. The most elegant way to do this seems something
like the RRS Dovetail mount for the PCL-1 clamp (PCL-DVTL). Is it possible
to you make your rotator compatible (2 sockets) with the (pricey) PCL-DVTL,
or invent your own solution?

Kind regards,

Juergen

tailwinds
06-30-2008, 10:08 AM
what detent settings do you like?


Good question. The 20 detent ring is in their now, but with the chance to have three rings all active at once.... I only have one ultra-wide, the Tokina 10-17mm, and it needs a minimum of 5 shots round. So 2,3,4 detents are pointless to me, while 5 is more useful. Just playing with numbers I think 5, 24, 30 detents would be a fun combo, yielding 5, 8, 10, 12, 15, 24, 30 stops, with no skips at either the wide or narrow end and no more than two skips in the middle. It would also have 2, 4, and 6 but with too many skips.

I don't think I'll need it, but is it possible to have two 30 detent rings offset to create 60 detents when both are selected?

Most importantly, can I get one by the Oshkosh Airshow (Jul 28-Aug3)?

nick fan
06-30-2008, 10:13 AM
Hello,

with the D8 and D12 rotators you have very interesting products!

The only problem I see is to make these fit in an Arca Swiss environment.

It must be possible to mount an Arca clamp on top of the rotators, and
the most common screw to do this is 3/8". Your M6 socket seems to be
a problem at this point.

To mount a rotator on top of an Arca Swiss compatible ballhead, you need
a plate under the rotator. The most elegant way to do this seems something
like the RRS Dovetail mount for the PCL-1 clamp (PCL-DVTL). Is it possible
to you make your rotator compatible (2 sockets) with the (pricey) PCL-DVTL,
or invent your own solution?

Kind regards,

Juergen



The advanced rotators are members of our new product lines, Nodal Ninja Ultimate (NN UL). The NN UL is our dream product and features highest quality standard from Fanotec--all precision CNC machined from premium quality material. It is based on Arca Swiss compatible system to give the best versatility and functionality. More components will be released later this year including AS QR clamp made for the rotators. Do give us some time as ours hands are full at the moment.


nick

nick fan
06-30-2008, 10:28 AM
I only have one ultra-wide, the Tokina 10-17mm, and it needs a minimum of 5 shots round. So 2,3,4 detents are pointless to me, while 5 is more useful. Just playing with numbers I think 5, 24, 30 detents would be a fun combo, yielding 5, 8, 10, 12, 15, 24, 30 stops, with no skips at either the wide or narrow end and no more than two skips in the middle. It would also have 2, 4, and 6 but with too many skips.

I don't think I'll need it, but is it possible to have two 30 detent rings offset to create 60 detents when both are selected?

Most importantly, can I get one by the Oshkosh Airshow (Jul 28-Aug3)?


5, 24, 30 detents is a good set and can be potentially popular. would 10, 24, 30 be better?
I am not sure if two 30 detents will be popular. It seems complicated for average users. It is possible though.
Customization is costly and we need to make sure at least 20 customers are interested in a particular set.

nick

tailwinds
06-30-2008, 10:43 AM
would 10, 24, 30 be better?


a) Do you prefer no skips at 5 more than no skips at 10 stops.
b) Do you find one skip at 5 more than objectionable than two skips for 10 stops
c) If you answered no to (b), is one skip for 12 stops a suitable alternative?

Answer 2 yes: 5, 24, 30 is better
Answer 2 no: 10, 24, 30 is better

Personally I like 5, 24, 30, but if only the 10, 24, 30 option were available I would still buy it.

tailwinds
06-30-2008, 06:50 PM
Nick,

I tested all my lenses today to see which detent settings would be most useful to me, and the results point to a 5,24,30 or 10,24,30 setup for the D3L. I could make use of stops at 5, 8, 10, 12, 15, 18, 24, and 30 detents. 18-20 stops is useful at 45mm (1.6x), which I don't use often so I could drop that without heartbreak.

While we're talking of advanced rotors.... there's a subset of panographers who use very long focal lengths and have shot to shot rotation needs of < 3 degrees. Since detents that fine are impractical, might you someday build a geared rotor? Gears could be used to get 1/10th degree rotational accuracy. Perhaps one full rotation of a knob could rotate the device one degree. If you restrict the range of motion to substantially less than 360 degrees (maybe 30-40) you could increase the accuracy of the angle readout without making it too huge.

- Eric

nick fan
06-30-2008, 07:06 PM
While we're talking of advanced rotors.... there's a subset of panographers who use very long focal lengths and have shot to shot rotation needs of < 3 degrees. Since detents that fine are impractical, might you someday build a geared rotor? Gears could be used to get 1/10th degree rotational accuracy. Perhaps one full rotation of a knob could rotate the device one degree. If you restrict the range of motion to substantially less than 360 degrees (maybe 30-40) you could increase the accuracy of the angle readout without making it too huge.


Hi Eric,

thanks for your suggestion. Actually, I got this suggestion more than one year ago. I hope we can develop something similar in the future.


Nick

psj
07-11-2008, 03:56 PM
The advanced rotators are members of our new product lines, Nodal Ninja Ultimate (NN UL). The NN UL is our dream product and features highest quality standard from Fanotec--all precision CNC machined from premium quality material. It is based on Arca Swiss compatible system to give the best versatility and functionality. More components will be released later this year including AS QR clamp made for the rotators. Do give us some time as ours hands are full at the moment.


nick


Hi Nick,

Another? You are keeping your customer awake waiting curiously while you sleep!

psJIM

waters
08-29-2008, 06:29 AM
Nick:

From the looks of it the D8 rotator Has the detents on the sides rather than on the bottom. This eliminates the necessary play inherent in a bottom spring loaded plunger setup and allows smooth rotation without any play. As much as I like my NN3 and NN3MKII, the rotator base is still the weak link, as the tension always needs to be played with and there is the play needed to allow rotation. Do I surmise correctly about the D8? Can it replace my MKII base, which after using it extensively for the first time proved no better than its predecessor?
I still love the rest of the setup, and hope the D8 will fix the weak link.

Thanks,
Tim Eastman

nick fan
08-29-2008, 07:29 AM
I still love the rest of the setup, and hope the D8 will fix the weak link.


yes, the rotators are very robust. no play.

nick

waters
09-03-2008, 09:28 AM
Nick:
Any news on new rotators? D8?

waters
09-07-2008, 06:25 AM
Nick:
Any updated time frame on availability for the D8?
Tim

nick fan
09-07-2008, 09:11 AM
we will start shipping within 2 weeks. :001_smile:

ncik

Lilien
09-11-2008, 01:48 AM
[D8]


we will start shipping within 2 weeks. :001_smile:


Hi Nick,
great!

Is this also true for the D12?
And is there also an Arca Swiss type clamp coming, that fits onto the rotator(s)?

Thanks and kind regards,

Juergen

nick fan
09-11-2008, 06:58 AM
[D8]
Hi Nick,
great!

Is this also true for the D12?
And is there also an Arca Swiss type clamp coming, that fits onto the rotator(s)?

Thanks and kind regards,

Juergen



all rotator D4/8/12 and NN180 will be available in 2 weeks.
the AS clamp will take some more time. I am struggling on what other features to add. The clamp is part of the very big system. I need to nail down the system first. Otherwise there will be too many versions.

nick

Terrywoodenpic
09-11-2008, 07:58 AM
all rotator D4/8/12 and NN180 will be available in 2 weeks.
the AS clamp will take some more time. I am struggling on what other features to add. The clamp is part of the very big system. I need to nail down the system first. Otherwise there will be too many versions.

nick


I take it then you are launching them at the Photikina...
They should certainly stir some interest amongst those interested in Pans.

waters
09-21-2008, 07:38 PM
Nick:
Does the D8 rotator attach to the NN3 rail? I assume it does and the Allan screw holds the rail down? Also, have you eliminated the play inherent in the rotators with the bottom mounted detent mechanism; i.e. the new rotator rotates on a bearing? Very interested.
Tim

Bill Bailey
10-28-2008, 10:19 AM
I wanted to make a quick post here as well for a recent update on the availability on the new advanced rotators.
Unfortunately we have had some manufacturing delays. Rest assured however we will not comprise quality of build for speed of production, Nick is very precision orientated. So a bit more time is needed to build up the next batch rotators.
While there is a very good chance we may see some inventory trickle in within the the 2-3 weeks we are posting an estimated ship date of Dec 1st. Not sure yet if we will be able to fill existing back orders - if not we will notify those that may be effected.

Once we are back into full swing with the rotators and Nodal Ninja configurations using these rotators we'll send out newsletters announcing the availability.
If you have not yet signed up for our newsletter please click here https://store.nodalninja.com/MailingList_subscribe.asp
Thank you for your patience.
Bill

J Holmes
12-01-2008, 06:28 PM
Dear Nick,

At Bill Bailey's suggestion, I am posing my question for you about the R-D12 here.

I have been hoping to see a fast and compact click-stop device with fine enough angle settings for stitching for some time, which does not require changing disks. Thank you. Yours is the first.

My use for a rotator is to allow the base of a tripod head to rotate around the vertical axis, regardless of whether the camera is pointed up or down, so as to make repeatable camera positioning fast and easy. Largely this is so I can do focus blending of two or more exposures for each camera direction, without having to refocus for each frame (e.g. near/far, move camera, far/near, move camera, etc.), rather by doing it this way: shoot near, move camera, shoot near, move camera, shoot near, move camera, refocus to far, reverse direction, shoot far, move camera, shoot far, etc. This pattern has major ramifications for lens design. For example, Auto Focus lenses sometimes have very poor repeatability for manual focussing due to very short throws.

Only your R-D12 has a fine enough choice of rotation angles to work properly for the full line of lenses involved.

But unlike the Manfrotto 300N rotator, yours does not have a bolt at the top to attach the tripod head, rather you've designed it for attaching your nodal slides, etc., with the intent that people using pano techniques will always be shooting toward the horizon.

I would submit that pano techniques are good for a lot more than just panos, such as more traditional image making, but with variable aspect ratio not by cropping, and for increasing pixel count a lot, not to mention having the option of cylindrical renderings with wide scenes. And in any case when the horizon will be shown in the picture, rotating around the vertical axis is desirable. Therefore I need to use an R-D12 below the tripod head and thought you would like to either make a version with a 3/8" bolt on top, similar to that of the Manfrotto, or make an adapter plate for the existing R-D12 design.

I would prefer to not need to modify the R-D12 myself, as it would be very time consuming for me -- and then I'd have the only one :-) I'd rather your other customers could have one too.

Regards,

Joseph Holmes

nick fan
12-01-2008, 07:11 PM
My use for a rotator is to allow the base of a tripod head to rotate around the vertical axis, regardless of whether the camera is pointed up or down, so as to make repeatable camera positioning fast and easy. Largely this is so I can do focus blending of two or more exposures for each camera direction, without having to refocus for each frame (e.g. near/far, move camera, far/near, move camera, etc.), rather by doing it this way: shoot near, move camera, shoot near, move camera, shoot near, move camera, refocus to far, reverse direction, shoot far, move camera, shoot far, etc. This pattern has major ramifications for lens design. For example, Auto Focus lenses sometimes have very poor repeatability for manual focussing due to very short throws.
You will still need stitching before focus/exposure blending. There is no way we can achieve per pixel precision for long focal length.




But unlike the Manfrotto 300N rotator, yours does not have a bolt at the top to attach the tripod head, rather you've designed it for attaching your nodal slides, etc., with the intent that people using pano techniques will always be shooting toward the horizon.

I can make an M6-3/8" adapter for your purpose.



I would submit that pano techniques are good for a lot more than just panos, such as more traditional image making, but with variable aspect ratio not by cropping, and for increasing pixel count a lot, not to mention having the option of cylindrical renderings with wide scenes. And in any case when the horizon will be shown in the picture, rotating around the vertical axis is desirable.



what you described is just a process of making panos or mosaics in a case the scene is far away that no-parallax-point is not impoatant. NN5/5L is designed for making mosaics as well.


BTW, what do you like about my R-D12? You can use a Manfrotto 300N out of box.


Nick

J Holmes
12-02-2008, 10:43 AM
Thank you Nick,

There is a way to make pixel-for-pixel alignment after the fact, automatically, for focus blending, which will work out very well when the alignment is close but not perfect -- the Align Selected Layers command in Photoshop CS 3 or CS 4. The aligned layers could then be focus blended in Helicon Focus or in Photoshop CS 4, if Adobe improves the operation of their new focus blending function, which currently works very poorly in my initial experience, and in that of a friend who tried it earlier. The result is masks where many regions are mis-selected, having chosen blurry information over sharp, in a spotty pattern.

But I appreciate your suggestion of stitching the near frames first, then stitching the far, then focus blending the two. I have not explored this very much, but I am sure that it can work. Indeed Helicon Focus does require that the image layers be aligned well to begin with, and that they be the exact same pixel dimensions. So I could stitch the two, adjust their pixel dimensions if necessary by quickly adding blank margins, align them in Photoshop with Align Selected Layers, crop to taste, then blend them in Helicon Focus. So the rotator would still help by greatly minimizing the differences between the near set and the far set, even if it's not pixel-for-pixel accurate.

There is another other good thing about using a rotator, which is that one could, camera permitting, leave the mirror locked up between shots, thus shortening the time between exposures since we don't have to wait as long for the camera to stop vibrating (without having to rotate blind, using the degree scale on the rotating base). The Mamiya AFD II/III won't do this, but some cameras have and more may in the future.

I assume that an adapter will require a spacer plate, similar in form to the one atop the Manfrotto (about 1/4" thick). Thanks very much for offering to make one. Hopefully you could make it one of your standard parts.

The thing I especially like about the R-D12 is that you have 7.5?, 10?, 12?, 15?, 18?, 20?, etc. These finer steps means that there is a setting which allows me to get the amount of overlap that I want with essentially every focal length I will use. Most rotators are intended for combining relatively short focal length lens images into an extremely wide angle of view captured. Imagine taking a picture that is anywhere between 25 and 90 degrees wide in total, but subdividing that into five to seven overlapping frames, and you can see that Manfrotto's options of 5?, 10?, 15?, 20?, 24?... are too coarse to give optimal overlap with the full range of longer lenses. Rather some focal lengths would work right, and some not. Ideally I would want your head to also have a 6? setting, but it's eminently workable the way it is now. The Manfrotto steps are too coarse at the long lens end of the scale. 5? to 10? being a 100% change in angle is not good... 10 to 15 being a 50% change isn't good either. Too coarse! 20% changes are great!

I will normally work with lenses that (in 35 mm equivalent) range from 106 mm down to 32 mm. I might also go up at high as 148 mm. That would be where I'd want the 6? setting, or perhaps 5?. Or maybe 6, 8, 10, 12, etc. I assume you don't have room for more detents with the current layout of the R-D12. I generally prefer a generous 50% overlap. When using Adobe's Photomerge, this gives the software more options as to where to draw the boundary between frames, which can help a lot to solve problems arising from swaying trees or moving waves. Often I would be happy enough with 30% overlap, but it's easy to make more frames in a single row, so I'd rather be sure, if there is time (the light is not failing fast).

When I'm using this general technique to use stitching to make images of traditionally narrow angles of view, I am not necessarily working without a foreground, so parallax is still an important issue in most cases and I use a nodal slide carefully. My optics are more like those of a 4x5 than those of a 35mm camera. Longer lenses with very little depth of field and more need for tilt or focus blending. But very high detail in the end.

Relatively quickly, more and more photographers are learning about the benefits of using stitching, and more will want to use it for improving quality, as opposed to making traditional panoramas and QTVR images, etc.

Thanks again!


Joseph Holmes

nick fan
12-02-2008, 06:12 PM
Hi Joseph,




There is a way to make pixel-for-pixel alignment after the fact, automatically, for focus blending, which will work out very well when the alignment is close but not perfect -- the Align Selected Layers command in Photoshop CS 3 or CS 4. The aligned layers could then be focus blended in Helicon Focus or in Photoshop CS 4, if Adobe improves the operation of their new focus blending function, which currently works very poorly in my initial experience, and in that of a friend who tried it earlier. The result is masks where many regions are mis-selected, having chosen blurry information over sharp, in a spotty pattern.

But I appreciate your suggestion of stitching the near frames first, then stitching the far, then focus blending the two. I have not explored this very much, but I am sure that it can work. Indeed Helicon Focus does require that the image layers be aligned well to begin with, and that they be the exact same pixel dimensions. So I could stitch the two, adjust their pixel dimensions if necessary by quickly adding blank margins, align them in Photoshop with Align Selected Layers, crop to taste, then blend them in Helicon Focus. So the rotator would still help by greatly minimizing the differences between the near set and the far set, even if it's not pixel-for-pixel accurate.

Have you heard of Max Lyons, a pioneer and expert in high resolution mosaics. He has the PTAssembler which will stitch the panos.
http://www.tawbaware.com/ptasmblr.htm
Lately, he has release a focus and/or exposure blender (Tufuse) much better than programs you mentioned. Tufuse is a command line program which can be invoked by PTAssembler.
http://www.tawbaware.com/tufuse.htm
Or you can have a Tufuse with GUI, the TufusePro
http://www.tawbaware.com/tufusepro.htm
There is also a forum for the programs and mosaic making in general.
http://www.tawbaware.com/forum2/index.php





I assume that an adapter will require a spacer plate, similar in form to the one atop the Manfrotto (about 1/4" thick). Thanks very much for offering to make one. Hopefully you could make it one of your standard parts.


if you mount a ball head on top of the rotator, you don't need the top rotating plane in 300N for initial angle adjustment. I will try to make a small screw with M6 at one end and 3/8" at the other. I will let you know if it works.



The thing I especially like about the R-D12 is that you have 7.5?, 10?, 12?, 15?, 18?, 20?, etc. These finer steps means that there is a setting which allows me to get the amount of overlap that I want with essentially every focal length I will use. Most rotators are intended for combining relatively short focal length lens images into an extremely wide angle of view captured. Imagine taking a picture that is anywhere between 25 and 90 degrees wide in total, but subdividing that into five to seven overlapping frames, and you can see that Manfrotto's options of 5?, 10?, 15?, 20?, 24?... are too coarse to give optimal overlap with the full range of longer lenses. Rather some focal lengths would work right, and some not. Ideally I would want your head to also have a 6? setting, but it's eminently workable the way it is now. The Manfrotto steps are too coarse at the long lens end of the scale. 5? to 10? being a 100% change in angle is not good... 10 to 15 being a 50% change isn't good either. Too coarse! 20% changes are great!


Oh, that's what I was thinking.



When I'm using this general technique to use stitching to make images of traditionally narrow angles of view, I am not necessarily working without a foreground, so parallax is still an important issue in most cases and I use a nodal slide carefully. My optics are more like those of a 4x5 than those of a 35mm camera. Longer lenses with very little depth of field and more need for tilt or focus blending. But very high detail in the end.


To completely avoid parallax, you need to rotate about NPP in horizontal and vertical axis of rotation. You will need a pano head stronger than NN5 for your gear. We will have products suited for your application in the future.


Nick

J Holmes
12-03-2008, 07:45 PM
Hi Nick,

Thanks again. I have indeed just two days ago been looking over Max Lyons pages and Tufuse, and it looks promising, but I'm using a Mac and not yet a Mac that can boot into Windows. I'm glad to hear that you find it to work better than Helicon Focus, which often works quite well now. At least the Mac version of Helicon Focus is about to catch up with the Windows version, making retouching composite images much easier. It will allow direct cloning from any of the source images into the combined image with an easy interface. TuFuse Pro sounds really good.

I do have a multi-row pano setup already, which I've used quite a bit with my Canon 5D, but I've yet to use the multi-row capability with my Mamiya. I'm hoping that if I run into the need to stitch a vertical column from three or more horizontal P45+ frames, that using the single row setup will work out OK despite up to an inch or so of parallax error, on account of Photomerge's almost magical ability to find the safe seams between poorly aligned images (CS3 and later only). Previous testing suggests this might even work when as close as five feet or so.

The plate atop the Manfrotto isn't a rotator, I believe, rather just a spacer disk to accommodate the hex nut in the middle of the bolt. See the zoomed-in picture here:

http://www.manfrotto.com/webdav/site/main/shared/products/300N/D0010_c8b18eb7dd52dcac7c16370f5695d5cd_L.jpg

An adapter bolt absent the hex nut in its middle would naturally tend to come off in the bottom of the tripod head when unscrewing the tripod head from the top of the rotator. So the way Manfrotto did it seems to be the natural solution, though I can't see the details, like how they connected the 1/4" thick disc to their rotator.

So should I go ahead and order the R-D12 now, or might you decide that it would be best to make an alternate version which is intended for use between a tripod and tripod head? (as opposed to an adapter)

Thanks for your help.


Joe

nick fan
12-03-2008, 08:03 PM
So should I go ahead and order the R-D12 now, or might you decide that it would be best to make an alternate version which is intended for use between a tripod and tripod head? (as opposed to an adapter)


Wait until I test the adapter.


Nick

Castillonis
12-09-2008, 12:11 AM
DOF / Focus blending on Mac
You can probably run tfuse.exe on a OS X Leopard using Apple's Boot camp to run windows XP or Vista.
http://www.apple.com/macosx/features/bootcamp.html
You can run it using vmware if you do or do not have the Leopard release.
http://www.vmware.com/products/fusion/

Gui Wrappers for tufuse.exe
There are two gui wrappers for tufuse.exe. Max originally wanted someone else to write a gui and someone ended up writing tufusion.exe at about the same time. You should go grab it on Max Lyons forum while it still is available. Hint you need to grab another library as well as tufuse.exe for it to work. Dont' forget to download the library that it mentions.
http://www.tawbaware.com/forum2/viewtopic.php?t=4966

waters
12-19-2008, 07:14 PM
Nick:
I received my D8 rotator a couple of days ago and wanted to congratulate you on a quantum leap! Though of course heavier than the MkII, there is no comparison. No tensioning knobs to loosen, just a beautifully functional piece of equipment.

Thanks,
Tim Eastman

han
01-14-2009, 07:00 AM
Hello Nick,

I bought the "Nodal Ninja 5 Panorama kop + RD12 Rotator" last month,
and now I read that there is a RD16 Rotator.

I want to shoot highres mosaics with a long lens, so I really could use the extra clicks.

2 questions

-Will the RD16 Rotator be sold seperately?
-Will there be a "simple" rotator only for highres mosaics in the future?
I only need the 20 degrees and smaller clicks.


thanks,

Han
Amsterdam

nick fan
01-14-2009, 09:35 AM
Hello Nick,

I bought the "Nodal Ninja 5 Panorama kop + RD12 Rotator" last month,
and now I read that there is a RD16 Rotator.

I want to shoot highres mosaics with a long lens, so I really could use the extra clicks.

2 questions

-Will the RD16 Rotator be sold seperately?
-Will there be a "simple" rotator only for highres mosaics in the future?
I only need the 20 degrees and smaller clicks.


thanks,

Han
Amsterdam


Hi Han,

You can contact your reseller to see if you can upgrade the rotator. No many people need the finer intervals, R-D12 is still fine for many people. We will accept its return. If resellers refuse to do so, Bill and I will be happy to help you out.
yes, we sell rotators separately. Otherwise our old customers will be very angry. :-)
I have no plan to release another rotator similar to R-D8 and R-D16. R-D16 will satisfy all your need. There is not much cost/weight saving to abandon the coarser interval options. That said I may design a new rotator when I discover functions not satisfied by the R-D8/16. :-) I hope you are not asking me to stop developing products better satisfying needs of customers. :wink:
BTW, what specific needs do you have for the rotator? What interval options you plan to use?


Nick

DemonDuck
01-14-2009, 10:12 AM
Another wacky idea from DemonDuck -- in addition to the cross hairs on the top of the rotator so one can more easily do the preliminary alignment to find the nodal point. I would also like click stops on the tilt rotator. This is why -- if you are shooting more than one row it is better to shoot all the images for one vertical slice together. If you shoot the bottom row all the way around then the top (or middle) row and you don't have camera that stores images fast, then by the time you shoot the next row, the light can change enough to make your pano difficult to stitch and/or just not good.

If you can shoot the vertical strip all together, the light is more constant for that strip. Does that make sense?

The light can change very rapidly during sunset and sunrise. Or if there are clouds on a windy day. Or if people are in more than one row. I think having click stops on the tilt rotator would make things easier. Without click stops on the tilt rotator, trying to shoot vertical strips is not practical since you really can't expect good alignment horizontally.

DD

nick fan
01-14-2009, 07:56 PM
Another wacky idea from DemonDuck -- in addition to the cross hairs on the top of the rotator so one can more easily do the preliminary alignment to find the nodal point. I would also like click stops on the tilt rotator. This is why -- if you are shooting more than one row it is better to shoot all the images for one vertical slice together. If you shoot the bottom row all the way around then the top (or middle) row and you don't have camera that stores images fast, then by the time you shoot the next row, the light can change enough to make your pano difficult to stitch and/or just not good.

If you can shoot the vertical strip all together, the light is more constant for that strip. Does that make sense?

The light can change very rapidly during sunset and sunrise. Or if there are clouds on a windy day. Or if people are in more than one row. I think having click stops on the tilt rotator would make things easier. Without click stops on the tilt rotator, trying to shoot vertical strips is not practical since you really can't expect good alignment horizontally.

DD



Hi DD,

Thanks for sharing. Actually, with some practice you can get the right feeling of clicks in the tilt rotator in NN5. Probably I can make some tweaks in the tension knob to better achieve this function.


Nick

han
01-16-2009, 02:33 AM
Hi Han,

You can contact your reseller to see if you can upgrade the rotator. No many people need the finer intervals, R-D12 is still fine for many people. We will accept its return. If resellers refuse to do so, Bill and I will be happy to help you out.
yes, we sell rotators separately. Otherwise our old customers will be very angry. :-)
I have no plan to release another rotator similar to R-D8 and R-D16. R-D16 will satisfy all your need. There is not much cost/weight saving to abandon the coarser interval options. That said I may design a new rotator when I discover functions not satisfied by the R-D8/16. :-) I hope you are not asking me to stop developing products better satisfying needs of customers. :wink:
BTW, what specific needs do you have for the rotator? What interval options you plan to use?


Nick





Hello Nick,

I read the RD16 is suitable for lenses ranging to 140mm (Full frame)

I want to make mosaics with a 100 mm lens on a canon 40D so I need 3 deg intervals(aprox). So as you
are not planning to produce a rotator with such small intervals the only option I have is buying a fullframe camera. :-(

One further question I have is this:

Now I own the NN5 + RD12 Rotator. and I am thinking of buying a NN3 + RD 16
rotator. Is it possible to mount the RD-16 under the NN5 and mount the
RD12 under the NN3 ??


greetings,

Han
Amsterdam

nick fan
01-18-2009, 06:07 AM
One further question I have is this:

Now I own the NN5 + RD12 Rotator. and I am thinking of buying a NN3 + RD 16
rotator. Is it possible to mount the RD-16 under the NN5 and mount the
RD12 under the NN3 ??


yes, you can swap the R-D12 and R-D16 rotators.


Nick

nick fan
01-18-2009, 06:11 AM
sorry guys, I made a serious mistake in the calculations in focal length and detent interval. I deleted a few posts that contain incorrect data to avoid confusion.
here are corrected spreadsheets showing relationship between focal length, detent interval and % overlap.
for full frame sensor
http://www.pbase.com/digital_initiatives/image/108260734/original
for 1.5x cropped sensor
http://www.pbase.com/digital_initiatives/image/108260730/original
for 1.6x cropped sensor
http://www.pbase.com/digital_initiatives/image/108260732/original
look for your focal length in the spreadsheet. read horizontally to find the right detent interval with desired overlap. If no suitable detent available, look for other focal length.
Alternatively, find the detent of your choice, choose a range of % overlap, then get the range of suitable focal length.
from the spreadsheet, you can see the max focal length supported by R-D16 is about 300mm (35mm eq) with 18% overlap. the max focal length supported by R-D12 is about 150mm (35mm eq) with 18% overlap.

Please correct me if you spot out any errors.


nick

Note: The coloured bars bracket focal lengths that can be used with a particular detent setting. 60?40% means the 60 degree detent interval (6 around), giving 40% overlap for that focal length.
Thanks John for making it clear.

Terrywoodenpic
01-18-2009, 12:23 PM
hi Nick
there does not seem to be any detent intervals marked on your chart.
Also what is the meaning of the colour codes?

Regards Terry

John Houghton
01-18-2009, 12:44 PM
Terry, The coloured bars bracket focal lengths that can be used with a particular detent setting. 60?40% means the 60 degree detent interval (6 around), giving 40% overlap for that focal length.

John