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DennisS
09-23-2009, 08:19 PM
Posted this on Panoguide already. Someone suggested I post it here. Here it is.

The Nodal Ninja Ultimate line of tripod heads has changed the way I do panorama pictures. I used the R1 with a Sigma 8mm f/3.5 lens and a monopod while on the road. I must have taken that lens on and off the head at least 20 times a day. The panorama head performed flawlessly. The rail stop and the spring plunger work great. I do not have any excuses for not taking my panorama gear with me anywhere.

After I got back home I started using my NN3. It occurred to me that mounting the camera body to the upper rail was not as efficient as mounting the lens clamp directly to the upper rotator and totally eliminating the upper rail (well, almost totally). After adapting my NN3 to use the ring clamp I took a look at my Nadar bracket. Previously I had to have the pano head on a quick release plate so I could remove it from the tripod and snap in my Nadar bracket. It suddenly became obvious that using the lens ring clamp for the Nadar bracket made sense. I then saw that I could mount a Nadar bracket directly onto what was left of my good old NN3 and eliminate the quick release plates from under the pano head.

http://www.dlsphoto.net/Panoguide/NN3UR1A.jpg
http://www.dlsphoto.net/Panoguide/NN3UR1B.jpg
http://www.dlsphoto.net/Panoguide/NN3UR1C.jpg

It is lightening quick to move the camera from the pano head to the bracket and back. You only need to move the tripod 11" for an absolute clear Nadar shot. Combining the two images in Photoshop prior to stitching your pano is brain dead easy. You could also mask out the tripod parts in both pictures and bring them into PTGui, stitch as usual.

Bill Bailey
09-24-2009, 10:49 AM
now that's a mod!
Looks like bits and pieces from other NN's. Glad it works for you and appreciate you sharing this.

Bill

ps - careful with extreme mods - it may void product warranty

bigwade
09-24-2009, 12:20 PM
Nice Dennis, but I think this should be on another place...... ?
NN3 or "everything else"
grtz
Frank

Bill Bailey
09-24-2009, 01:17 PM
the thread now resides in it's proper section
thx
Bill

psj
09-24-2009, 09:26 PM
What is the piece that sits between NN3 and the rotator? I don't see it anywhere on NN estore and it looks like an OEM.

Now this is something I will follow. Thanks

Bill Bailey
09-25-2009, 08:37 AM
Looks like the R10 base mount
http://store.nodalninja.com/product_p/u-r10-b.htm

nick fan
09-25-2009, 09:55 AM
What is the piece that sits between NN3 and the rotator? I don't see it anywhere on NN estore and it looks like an OEM.

Now this is something I will follow. Thanks


that is the pole adapter
http://store.nodalninja.com/product_p/u-r1-pole-kit.htm

Nick

Bill Bailey
09-25-2009, 10:25 AM
that was my next guess :001_smile:

bigwade
09-25-2009, 03:54 PM
Hi All,
The good news is that the original NN3 and all + CAN be modified
to peoples wishes without so much trouble.

Got my first NN3 in 2006 (?)
I was not so happy with the original rotator but found a post on panoguide from Nick there was a hidden 3/8 female in the underrail.
Hey, that fitted my old Manfrotto MA300 rotator.
This rotator did a nice (but not so perfect) job until the D8 arrived.

The nice thing is most NN stuff can be combined and I really like to now how Dennis got this QM on the top rotator :-)

BTW modding = losing warranty !!! (but who cares, what can go wrong..)

grtz
Frank

DennisS
09-26-2009, 11:09 AM
ps - careful with extreme mods - it may void product warranty


"May void the warranty"? How is that for customer service? I would expect a company to void any and all warranties at the very first sign of tinkering! I do these mods to help make it easier to use products the way I want to. Since I have access to machinery and can do the mods, I do. I would never dream of asking for warranty service in case something goes wrong. When you play on the dark side, you assume all responsibility if something should break.

I also have never liked the original NN3 rotator. When I got my Ultimate R1 rig, I fell in love with the D4 rotator. I ultimately ended up removing the rotator and using the R1 head on a monopod. This left me with an extra D4 rotator. There are two tapped holes in the top of the rotator. Putting a bolt in the center would not allow me to orient the rotator in such a way as to hide the lock knob and the detente selector knob when I take the Nadar shot. I drilled and countersunk two holes in the NN3 lower arm. This allowed me to orient the rotator the way I wanted. If you are not as anal as I am, you can simply use the 3/8-24 threaded hole in the center of the lower rail. You will need to remove the brass adapter first.

I have always hated the friction pad style upper arm rotator. It never held my D300 camera securely without a lot of messing around. The vertical arm of the NN3 has a recessed area that is just a little bigger than the detente ring. Since Fanotec included two extra small brass pins (used to locate the detente ring on the lower arm) in the spare parts bag, it was very easy to drill and ream two small holes for these two pins. The detente ring drops right in. I also tapped the center hole to allow the brass adapter to thread in. The aluminum block between the upper arm and the arca clamp has 4 spring loaded ball plungers. Now the upper rotator has absolute positive indexing at 90 degrees (or whatever detente ring I want to put in there). I barely have to tighten the knob in order to hold the camera in position. I don't use a level on the camera hot shoe any more.

The object between the lower arm and the rotator is a pole adapter. I had to countersink the two holes in the adapter in order to use it. It helps orient the lower arm so the two knobs are hidden during the Nadar shot.

The more you look at Fanotec's stuff, the more you realize that across the entire line there is a lot of thought put into their products. When I got the pole adapter, I did not understand why there two sets of threaded holes and a set of reamed dowel pin holes. Now I see that these holes fit other products. It appears that they use standard dimensions in their designs. This allows the end user to mix and match stuff to some degree. Very nice.

Bill Bailey
09-27-2009, 10:59 AM
"May void the warranty"? How is that for customer service? I would expect a company to void any and all warranties at the very first sign of tinkering!

The key word here is "may" like you noted. We have seen some very simply mods (like tiny shims for tilting) to extreme mods that stress and bend rails or even using underwater in the salty ocean. If it works for a customer great! I believe most folks realize warranty limits and to date really hasn't been a issue but we do need to remind folks occasionally.
Mods are good in the perspective that it shows how creative some can get like with this example. It also shows consumer needs and helps Nick with R&D.
many thx for sharing
Bill

DemonDuck
09-27-2009, 06:50 PM
It occurred to me that mounting the camera body to the upper rail was not as efficient as mounting the lens clamp directly to the upper rotator and totally eliminating the upper rail (well, almost totally). After adapting my NN3 to use the ring clamp I took a look at my Nadar bracket. Previously I had to have the pano head on a quick release plate so I could remove it from the tripod and snap in my Nadar bracket. It suddenly became obvious that using the lens ring clamp for the Nadar bracket made sense. I then saw that I could mount a Nadar bracket directly onto what was left of my good old NN3 and eliminate the quick release plates from under the pano head.

http://www.dlsphoto.net/Panoguide/NN3UR1A.jpg
http://www.dlsphoto.net/Panoguide/NN3UR1B.jpg
http://www.dlsphoto.net/Panoguide/NN3UR1C.jpg



Back in June 2008 I wrote:

http://nodalninja.com/forum/index.php?topic=181.0


I was wondering if an IPIX style -- grab'em by the throat -- tripod head mounting thingy was being considered? Those lenses seem to remain really popular and useful especially as compact cameras commonly exceed 10/12 megapixels and the prospect for a 20 megapixel compact gets stronger every day.

Anything like that in the works?

You could just about use half an NN3 and put a throat grabber on the tilt axis and get a flexible and useful head.

DennisS just did what I had in mind! Make an adapter for your lens rings that does what DennisS did. The way he did it is better than a single row rotator / lens ring because you can tilt and do multi-rows; nadir and zenith and it's better than the regular NN3/5 because the camera is correctly and accurately positioned easily without having to fool around with it.

DennisS did what I couldn't do and that is actually making something that works.

DennisS
09-27-2009, 09:28 PM
DemonDuck,

If you take this to the next logical step, you will have a pano head that can be used for all lenses and most all cameras without having to re calibrate the pano head.

Figure out the tallest lens ring clamp. Make all other lens mounts that same height. This puts the center line of all the lenes at the exact same distance away from the bottom of the ring clamp. The left/right setting will never change. The difference between a Nikon 10.5 and a Sigma 8mm is about 1/4 inch, give or take so you would have to add a 1/4 inch to the bottom of the Nikon 10.5 ring clamp in order to make the two lenses sit at the exact same height.

The fore/aft point will be set using a rail stop built into the ring clamp. The rail stop on my Sigma lens is a pleasure to use. I am waiting for the Nikon rail stop.

For your first purchase, get 1 pano head and the correct ring clamp for your lens . Get a second lens for Christmas? Call up Fanotec and order the correct ring clamp. All differences in dimensions will be taken care of in the ring clamp. not the pano head. If you shoot Canon and your buddy shoots Nikon, you can remove your Sigma 8mm Canon mount lens from the ring clamp, hand him the clamp, he puts it on his Sigma 8mm Nikon mount and shoots away. NO CALIBRATION NEEDED.

There are pano heads out there that are manufactured to work perfectly with a given camera/lens. Unfortunately, get a camera body with a different dimension and you will need to replace parts on the pano head. You cannot mix and match camera bodies on the same pano head.

In a perfect world this would work great. In actual use, that may be a different story.

I would love to see Fanotec produce this sytem before someone else does.

Dennis

DemonDuck
09-28-2009, 12:20 AM
DemonDuck,

If you take this to the next logical step, [stuff deleted]
Dennis


I had not thought about it like that. But that is an entirely feasible method for making a universal pano head.

Nice concept! Sure would be simpler than fussing around adjusting the head for each lens/camera combo. Make the ring as the interface between lens/camera and head. That makes perfect sense.

nick fan
09-28-2009, 03:34 AM
DemonDuck,

If you take this to the next logical step, you will have a pano head that can be used for all lenses and most all cameras without having to re calibrate the pano head.

Figure out the tallest lens ring clamp. Make all other lens mounts that same height. This puts the center line of all the lenes at the exact same distance away from the bottom of the ring clamp. The left/right setting will never change. The difference between a Nikon 10.5 and a Sigma 8mm is about 1/4 inch, give or take so you would have to add a 1/4 inch to the bottom of the Nikon 10.5 ring clamp in order to make the two lenses sit at the exact same height.

The fore/aft point will be set using a rail stop built into the ring clamp. The rail stop on my Sigma lens is a pleasure to use. I am waiting for the Nikon rail stop.

For your first purchase, get 1 pano head and the correct ring clamp for your lens . Get a second lens for Christmas? Call up Fanotec and order the correct ring clamp. All differences in dimensions will be taken care of in the ring clamp. not the pano head. If you shoot Canon and your buddy shoots Nikon, you can remove your Sigma 8mm Canon mount lens from the ring clamp, hand him the clamp, he puts it on his Sigma 8mm Nikon mount and shoots away. NO CALIBRATION NEEDED.

There are pano heads out there that are manufactured to work perfectly with a given camera/lens. Unfortunately, get a camera body with a different dimension and you will need to replace parts on the pano head. You cannot mix and match camera bodies on the same pano head.

In a perfect world this would work great. In actual use, that may be a different story.

I would love to see Fanotec produce this sytem before someone else does.

Dennis


most lenses don't have suitable area for clamping. The clamping area must be very rigid and must not be a floating part from the lens flange. The clamping area must be close to the NPP. Since NPP is far away from the camera body for most zoom lens, the camera introduces a large torque on lens body. This can cause damage to the lens.
Moreover, cost of making each custom insert is high. I have to buy a lens first. Think about the number of lenses to support!

Nick

DennisS
09-28-2009, 07:32 AM
Moreover, cost of making each custom insert is high. I have to buy a lens first. Think about the number of lenses to support!


You would only need to support the lenses you currently support. You already know the center to edge dimension of each ring clamp. A small square spacer with 4 holes would go between the base and the ring clamp. It is obvious that you already have a very cost effective manufacturing process already in place. How you are able to put the level of craftsmenship into your products and keep the costs down still amazes me. Since you are in a much better position to determine the cost effectiveness and usability of such a system, I will defer to your judgment.

nick fan
09-28-2009, 09:58 AM
You would only need to support the lenses you currently support. You already know the center to edge dimension of each ring clamp. A small square spacer with 4 holes would go between the base and the ring clamp. It is obvious that you already have a very cost effective manufacturing process already in place. How you are able to put the level of craftsmenship into your products and keep the costs down still amazes me. Since you are in a much better position to determine the cost effectiveness and usability of such a system, I will defer to your judgment.


Hi Dennis,

Yes, our future spherical Ultimate pano heads will support current lens rings. I may add a few more wide angle lenses to the supported lens list too. :-) It depends on our resources and cost effectiveness. We aim to keep the prices low so that more people can afford our products.


Nick

DennisS
09-28-2009, 10:34 AM
We aim to keep the prices low so that more people can afford our products.


Nick,

You do one heck of a job controlling costs. You are able to sell an arca style clamp for less than $50 complete. When I look at the engineering that goes into the clamp, I am amazed it can retail for such a low price. Your pole adapter has 5 tapped and 2 reamed holes. It sells for $10. I would ASSUME that a small block with 4 thru holes would not be that much. I think the convenience to the panographer would out weigh the cost. If not that many people swap out lenses/cameras, then this is a moot point.

Dennis

DemonDuck
09-28-2009, 11:50 AM
most lenses don't have suitable area for clamping. The clamping area must be very rigid and must not be a floating part from the lens flange. The clamping area must be close to the NPP. Since NPP is far away from the camera body for most zoom lens, the camera introduces a large torque on lens body. This can cause damage to the lens.
Moreover, cost of making each custom insert is high. I have to buy a lens first. Think about the number of lenses to support!

Nick


I don't think you would have to support *EVERY* lens. There not very many obvious fisheye lenses to support. You've already got most of them. And you could put an optional adjustable support near the camera/lens join to support the camera. I think you are clever enough to figure this out...

nick fan
09-28-2009, 08:46 PM
Nick,

You do one heck of a job controlling costs. You are able to sell an arca style clamp for less than $50 complete. When I look at the engineering that goes into the clamp, I am amazed it can retail for such a low price. Your pole adapter has 5 tapped and 2 reamed holes. It sells for $10.


We have very thin profit for dedicated accessories. I hope to encourage customers to buy the accessories to get the most out of their NN.


Nick

psj
09-28-2009, 11:16 PM
Moreover, cost of making each custom insert is high. I have to buy a lens first. Think about the number of lenses to support!

Nick


If you book this as R&D expenses and sell it off later (to your loyal customers) at reduced prices, I am sure it will absorb the cost without raising a tax issue.

nick fan
09-29-2009, 06:32 AM
If you book this as R&D expenses and sell it off later (to your loyal customers) at reduced prices, I am sure it will absorb the cost without raising a tax issue.




Thanks for the tip. I will keep an eye for suitable lenses.

Nick

DemonDuck
09-29-2009, 11:47 AM
Thanks for the tip. I will keep an eye for suitable lenses.

Nick


And maybe you could borrow lenses from your customers in exchange for a lens ring or some other compensation.

One big happy family right?

nick fan
09-30-2009, 07:59 AM
And maybe you could borrow lenses from your customers in exchange for a lens ring or some other compensation.

One big happy family right?


Unfortunately I am located in Asia. Most of my forum friends and customers are in USA and Europe. International shipping is expensive. There is chance of damage in transit. It is better to buy one and resell it later.

Nick

DemonDuck
09-30-2009, 12:17 PM
Unfortunately I am located in Asia. Most of my forum friends and customers are in USA and Europe. International shipping is expensive. There is chance of damage in transit. It is better to buy one and resell it later.

Nick


I understand. Didn't think about the problem of shipping...