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View Full Version : New to Nodal Ninja and Panoramic Photography - What Nodal Ninja setup??



BorgidaPhotography
12-31-2009, 06:26 PM
Hello

I am a professional and fine art photographer based in Salinas Valley on the Central Coast of California. I have recently starting doing some commercial work for the local vineyards and wineries in the area.

I would like to offer panoramas that can print up to 30-40 inches long on Photo Rag and Canvas. By 30-40 inches long, this means that 30-40 inches would be the long side and the width would be shorter.

In terms of my camera gear, I use the Canon 5D Mark II with the BGE-6 Battery Grip, Canon 24-105L, and Canon 70-200 f/2.8L IS lenses.

I plan on using the PTGUI application for photo-stitching and doing my color corrections, hue/saturation, selections. sharpening, and everything else in Photoshop.

Based on these print requirements and my equipment, what Nodal Ninja setup do you recommend? My goal is to be as efficient as possible as I will be charging clients for my time both in the field and during post-production work.

Thanks in advance and I look forward to your feedback.

Happy New Year,

Ross Borgida
www.borgidaphotography.com :001_smile:

nick fan
12-31-2009, 08:52 PM
NN5/5L with RD16 is the best choice. NN5/5L default package is also good if you want more affordable one.


Nick

TheOldFart
12-31-2009, 09:49 PM
Ross,

I'm trying to do similar things. I live about 20 minutes from a wine producing area in South Australia called McLaren Vale. I've started doing some work with 1 or 2 of the vineyards/wineries (web design, product photos, etc.) and would also like to produce panoramas for sale through a number of the local galleries.

I'm currently working through a proof of concept using inkjet paper sized at 840mm x 297mm or pretty close to your suggested 30-40" on the longest axis before moving to canvas.

I've taken some initial photos using a Tamron 11-18 with a Nikon D300 on top of a NN5/R-D16 combination. So, far I've shot a single row and by the time it is trimmed down its covering approx. a HFOV of 130 and a VFOV of 90. (These are ball park figures at the moment). I would like to up the resolution by shooting with a smaller field of view and I'm likely to go with either a Tamron 90mm f/2.8 and/or a Sigma 70-200.

If I use this http://www.nodalninja.com/pano_calculations.html and plug in the values for a 90mm lens on a D300 (in portrait mode) I pretty much come up with 3 rows of 18 images to cover a recommended overlap of 25-35%. So... I'm heading out to try this all again with 3 rows(+7.5, 0, -7.5) of 18 images at 7.5deg rotation on the R-D16. I'll then work it through for the Sigma70-200 at 200mm.

And I'll shoot this all as a bracketed exposure which I'll process through either Photomatix/HDRStudio followed by PTGui followed by Photoshop CS4.

Just my 2cents worth. Please shoot holes in this as I'm only learning.

Cheers
Tony

P.S. Maybe it would be simpler to go out and buy a robotic pano head like the Epic 100. :biggrin:

BorgidaPhotography
12-31-2009, 10:06 PM
Thanks for your responses Nick and Tony.

Would you recommend the NN5 over the NN180? Also, what would be the difference between the NN5 by itself and the NN5-RD16? What focal length(s) can I use with the NN5 and NN5-RD16 combination?

Best,
Ross

:001_smile:

hindenhaag
12-31-2009, 10:27 PM
Hi Ross,

Go for the NN5/RD16 combination with the equipment you like to use.

Your camera lens combinations compares to My D3 70-200mm or 14-24 by weight. It works perfect with NN5 RD16.

Replacing equipment later on cause go go for "the taste of it" is much more expensive.

Heinz

TheOldFart
12-31-2009, 10:45 PM
Ross,

I'd have to agree with Heinz's comments, but I'm biased and as a distributor cost really doesn't come into it for me.

1st up the NN180 was really only designed for those ppl using lenses capable of capturing 180deg per shot so you need to head down the NN5 direction. Since you are likely to be shooting multiple rows of multiple columns the NN5 over the NN5L is going to give you more precise control over your elevation with it being able to lock in every 15deg. [Nick - can we have a NN5 that locks in every 7.5deg - :biggrin:] Even though I did state I was likely to shoot 3 rows at +7.5, 0, -7.5 I'm likely to change this to +15, 0, -15 just to make my life easy.

The standard NN5 package will give you 10/12, 15/18, 45/60, 51.4/72 degree rotations whereas the NN5/NN5L with R-D16 will give you 3.75, 5, 6, 7.5, 10, 12, 15, 18, 20, 24, 30, 36, 45, 60, 90, 120 degree rotation. Greater flexibility and better accuracy at a bigger price.


Cheers
Tony

hindenhaag
12-31-2009, 10:51 PM
P.S.

50mm and 70-200mm at zoom 200 with nikkor lenses ask the use of 2 detent plungers of the RD16.

NN180 is no choise, you end up with 60? in the rotator and i suppose the rail might be too short for 135mm rail set for 200mm.

Heinz

nick fan
12-31-2009, 11:37 PM
Thanks for your responses Nick and Tony.

Would you recommend the NN5 over the NN180? Also, what would be the difference between the NN5 by itself and the NN5-RD16? What focal length(s) can I use with the NN5 and NN5-RD16 combination?

Best,
Ross

:001_smile:


forget about the NN180. It has very limited use.
NN5 use the default rotator that requires you to change detent ring in order to change the shooting interval. Not easy in the field. It is limited to a finest interval of 10 deg. You can use smaller interval (up to 2.5 deg) without detent by reading the scale on the rotator. RD16 is more precise and robust. It allows you to choose from 16 detent interval options on-the-fly by simply swapping the detent plunger. It also supports finest interval of 3.75 deg.

Nick

BorgidaPhotography
12-31-2009, 11:42 PM
Nick, Heinz and Tony, thank you very much for your responses.

For landscape work (meaning shooting vineyards and farmland), I really only plan on using the Canon 24-105L lens. The Canon 70-200L lens is only used when covering team sports, weddings, and some portrait jobs.

My last question :biggrin:...If I just use the 24-105L lens, which NN5 setup would I need? The NN5, NN5-RD8, or the NN5-RD16.

At this point, I do not really understand the degree intervals..I probably will understand it more when I start doing panoramas with the NN5.

Thank you very much...
Ross

nick fan
12-31-2009, 11:53 PM
Nick, Heinz and Tony, thank you very much for your responses.

For landscape work (meaning shooting vineyards and farmland), I really only plan on using the Canon 24-105L lens. The Canon 70-200L lens is only used when covering team sports, weddings, and some portrait jobs.

My last question :biggrin:...If I just use the 24-105L lens, which NN5 setup would I need? The NN5, NN5-RD8, or the NN5-RD16.

At this point, I do not really understand the degree intervals..I probably will understand it more when I start doing panoramas with the NN5.

Thank you very much...
Ross




if you use focal length below 50mm, RD8 will be fine. Otherwise go for RD16. it works up to ~250mm.

Nick

hindenhaag
01-01-2010, 08:22 AM
Now to your last question: set up for portrait mode....

you find Frank van der Pol's panorama calculator on support, camera settings, in blue below the first photo.

1. Enter lens mm, camera model. Then go to 2. and calculate and then to 3 and calculate. Now you got the number of stops or images you should take to get the desired overlap for your camera-lens combination to be able to stitch.

Now you have to step over to the information of your rotator, look up the number of stops you need and then you will know the set for the detent plunger. 10 shots, will show you 36 degree.

Your settings: zoom at... 24 10 stops/ 36degree, 35 15 stops/ 24 degree, 50 20 stops/ 18degree ( asks RD16 with dual detent plungers) alternate 18stops/ 20degree but the overlap might be critical below 25%, 70 30 stops/ 12 degree

BorgidaPhotography
01-01-2010, 10:36 AM
Hi Heinz

Thank you very much for your description of the pano calculator. I have the 5D Mark II so I understand that the settings would be the following under 1:

36x24 CCD Sensor and that the focal length is manually set

For the 2nd part, the field of view is automatically calculated.

For the 3rd part, you enter in your desired field of view (i.e., 180 or 360) to get the total number of images needed in landscape or portrait mode.

Lastly, in the 4th part, I am lost. How do you get the overlap of images? Also, when you are in the field, how can you use the pano calculator? Do you just bring a notebook with listing of all the different focal length settings so you can determine how many images and degree interval combinations necessary for your panorama?

Thanks,
Ross
:001_smile:

hindenhaag
01-01-2010, 12:47 PM
Ross,

after point 3 you know about the amount of shots you should take for the desired result. You have to transfer the number of shots to the possibilities of your rotator.When the result tells you 16.8 shots, ask the list of NN about what is possible with your rotator.

RD 16 with 16.8: no chance, you have to decide: 15 shots 24?, or 18 shots 20?. Now you enter no of images in point 4: 15 = x% of overlap and 18 + x% of overlap. Lets say it is 22% to 35% of overlap. Now you have to decide: less than 25% of overlap may really get you in trouble while stitching, which means you have to add a lot of manual control point ( time investing) or even loose your panosite. Or take more shots: 18, what takes a little more time at the sight but might bring you in secure waters. But time on sight to take your shots is another story. Feel free to ask later when you made your experiences.

Cause of the filled up server i send you the rest via email and try to set up a short video for you to know what we are talking about. Make take a moment cause i am cooking in between.... :wink:

Heinz

BorgidaPhotography
01-01-2010, 11:01 PM
Heinz, thank you very much for your video of how the pano calculator works. I really appreciate everyones honest advice. I put a message up on panoguide.com..most people recommend a robotic panoramic photo head. That is a little too futuristic for me :biggrin:.

I really want to keep this as simple and efficient as possible. I know there is a learning curve and I am excited to start working hard on panoramic photography.

My question is what is the most efficient setup for getting started in panoramic photographs? I am looking for a setup that will require the least amount of headaches when I am crunched on a deadline.

It seems like the consensus is the NN5-RD16 is the best option for my camera and different lens combinations.

But, if I used a fixed focal length (maybe even a fish-eye per say), what would be the easiest focal length to use and what manual pano head would be the quickest and simplest to shoot with? Lastly, what software will be the most efficient for batch stitching the photographs?

Thank you very much,
Ross
:biggrin:

BorgidaPhotography
01-02-2010, 09:48 AM
Hi Guys

Based upon feedback from this forum, I have decided to go with the Nodal Ninja 5 and the PTGUI software.

With that being said, I understand I would need the RD16 if I wanted to shoot above 50mm and the RD8 if I should below 50mm.

If I go with the NN5 standalone version, what is the minimum and maximum focal length I can use? Nick, you had stated the NN5 is a good solution if I want a more affordable Nodal Ninja head. Will that
give me the option to upgrade to the RD8 or RD16 down the road?

Best,
Ross

nick fan
01-02-2010, 10:34 AM
Hi Guys

Based upon feedback from this forum, I have decided to go with the Nodal Ninja 5 and the PTGUI software.

With that being said, I understand I would need the RD16 if I wanted to shoot above 50mm and the RD8 if I should below 50mm.

If I go with the NN5 standalone version, what is the minimum and maximum focal length I can use? Nick, you had stated the NN5 is a good solution if I want a more affordable Nodal Ninja head. Will that
give me the option to upgrade to the RD8 or RD16 down the road?

Best,
Ross



The default rotator supports finest interval of 10 deg. It is good for focal length below 100mm equivalent. You can upgrade to RD8/16 at any time.
if you want to get most value for your money, go for NN5L.

Nick

BorgidaPhotography
01-02-2010, 01:00 PM
Hi Nick

I was informed that Nodal Ninja is discontinuing the NN5L..do you know the reason for this?

I think the NN5 would be the better option as it is staying in production. And, lastly, just to confirm, the NN5 standalone will work with my 24-105 lens in between the 24-100 focal lengths on my Canon 5d Mark II..is that correct?

Thanks to all!
Ross

nick fan
01-02-2010, 07:47 PM
Hi Nick

I was informed that Nodal Ninja is discontinuing the NN5L..do you know the reason for this?


Too many options to manage. NN5 has all the function of NN5L. So NN5L can be discontinued.
However, if you usually shoot at focal length above 100mm, the 15 deg positive stop in the upper rail of NN5 is not useful. Then functionally, it is same as NN5L.

Nick

BorgidaPhotography
01-02-2010, 11:25 PM
Hi Nick

Thanks for the response.

So besides the 15 degree stops above 100mm, what are the other differences between the NN5L and the NN5?

Thanks,
Ross

nick fan
01-03-2010, 06:13 AM
Hi Nick

Thanks for the response.

So besides the 15 degree stops above 100mm, what are the other differences between the NN5L and the NN5?

Thanks,
Ross



no other difference except it is $70 cheaper. :-)

Nick

BorgidaPhotography
01-03-2010, 05:30 PM
Hi Nick

Through your response and the video on 'What is the Difference between the NN5 & NN5L,' I see that the 15 degrees locking mechanism on the upper arm is the difference.

However, what I need clarification on is... What does this difference mean in terms of making panoramas? Specifically, what does the NN5 allow me to do that the NN5L will not allow me to do? I apologize if it seems like I am repeating the same question. Once I understand the difference from a photographic standpoint, I will make my final decision and place my order with Nodal Ninja.

Thanks
Ross

BorgidaPhotography
01-03-2010, 07:49 PM
One more thing, I use the Acratech Ultimate Ballhead..besides the NN5 or NN5L, what will I need to mount the Nodal Ninja 5 or 5L, one the Acratech Ultimate Ballhead?

Thanks
Ross

nick fan
01-03-2010, 08:15 PM
Hi Nick

Through your response and the video on 'What is the Difference between the NN5 & NN5L,' I see that the 15 degrees locking mechanism on the upper arm is the difference.

However, what I need clarification on is... What does this difference mean in terms of making panoramas? Specifically, what does the NN5 allow me to do that the NN5L will not allow me to do? I apologize if it seems like I am repeating the same question. Once I understand the difference from a photographic standpoint, I will make my final decision and place my order with Nodal Ninja.

Thanks
Ross



The most important difference is precise pitch angle provided by the positive locking mechanism. With the lock on, you can get quite repeated pitch angle every time. This is handy when you have little feature (for control point generation) at the seams of your images. You can apply a template from your previous successful stitch and simply optimize the stitch. Handy but at a cost of $70.
if you are tight on budget, NN5L standalone is the best deal.
We released NN5L before the NN5. And we offered upgrade to NN5 for early NN5L users for just $50. Many NN5L users just decided to keep their NN5L.



Nick

nick fan
01-03-2010, 08:18 PM
One more thing, I use the Acratech Ultimate Ballhead..besides the NN5 or NN5L, what will I need to mount the Nodal Ninja 5 or 5L, one the Acratech Ultimate Ballhead?

Thanks
Ross



Not sure about Acratech. all NNs and rotators has 3/8" threaded socket at the base. We also include a 3/8"-1/4" adapter in each unit.

nick

BorgidaPhotography
01-03-2010, 09:04 PM
Hi Nick

Thanks...so the threaded base does not require me to use the Ultimate Ballhead...got it.

Ok..So I am going with the NN5L I have decided :biggrin:. Lastly, being that the NN5L Standalone does not come with the RD8 or the RD16, what advantages (photographically-speaking) do these rotators have that the standalone version does not have?

Thanks for being patient Nick. I appreciate your responses as I am on a limited budget.

Best,
Ross

BorgidaPhotography
01-03-2010, 09:11 PM
One more thing, can I use the EZ Leveler with the NN5L? I need to be able to level the NN5L base so I would think (and have been told the EZ Leveler) is not necessary but makes like a lot easier.

Thanks,
Ross

nick fan
01-03-2010, 09:28 PM
Hi Nick

Thanks...so the threaded base does not require me to use the Ultimate Ballhead...got it.

Ok..So I am going with the NN5L I have decided :biggrin:. Lastly, being that the NN5L Standalone does not come with the RD8 or the RD16, what advantages (photographically-speaking) do these rotators have that the standalone version does not have?

Thanks for being patient Nick. I appreciate your responses as I am on a limited budget.

Best,
Ross




NN5/5L default rotator requires you to change detent ring in order to change the shooting interval. Not easy in the field. It is limited to a finest interval of 10 deg. You can use smaller interval (up to 2.5 deg) without detent by reading the scale on the rotator. RD16 is more precise and robust. It allows you to choose from 16 detent interval options on-the-fly by simply swapping the detent plunger. It also supports finest interval of 3.75 deg. RD8 has 8 detent options. The finest interval is 20 deg.


Nick

nick fan
01-03-2010, 09:29 PM
One more thing, can I use the EZ Leveler with the NN5L? I need to be able to level the NN5L base so I would think (and have been told the EZ Leveler) is not necessary but makes like a lot easier.

Thanks,
Ross



sure. EZ-L works for all NNs and rotators. but you can live without it.

nick

BorgidaPhotography
01-03-2010, 09:53 PM
Thanks Nick..OK, so to make a final decision, what will it require to make panos efficiently in the field, photographing in vineyards? From what you stated in the previous post, photographing with the NN5L becomes difficult in the field because you have to change the detent ring.

At this point, I think I just need to purchase one and start using it..Just please let me know what will be the most efficient option photographing in the field so I can make 13x30 to 13x40 panoramas.

Thanks
Ross

nick fan
01-04-2010, 12:11 AM
Thanks Nick..OK, so to make a final decision, what will it require to make panos efficiently in the field, photographing in vineyards? From what you stated in the previous post, photographing with the NN5L becomes difficult in the field because you have to change the detent ring.

At this point, I think I just need to purchase one and start using it..Just please let me know what will be the most efficient option photographing in the field so I can make 13x30 to 13x40 panoramas.

Thanks
Ross



if you don't change focal length frequently, the default rotator is fine. RD16 is always better.
One more thing to consider is the upgradability of the rotator. RD8/16 is compatible with old and future NNs. The default rotator is not.

nick

hindenhaag
01-04-2010, 03:14 AM
Hi Tony,

i am a bit lost about your 90mm Tamron lens and 18 Stops with 7.5degree. Following my check you have to do 48 stops instead of 18? right?

Cheers

Heinz