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elliot_n
11-08-2010, 05:53 PM
Hi

Whilst awaiting delivery of my NN5/RD16, I've been doing lots of stitching tests with a friend's Manfrotto 303. Only today I discovered that the rotator on the Manfrotto 303 has a clutch mechanism.

This allows the user to align the detents so that a detent can be placed right at the centre of a stitch.

This is a useful feature for me (and something I had been missing, until I figured it out.)

Looking at the NN demo video of the RD16, there doesn't seem to be a clutch facility.

So, assuming there's no clutch on the RD16, what can I add to my set-up that will allow me to position the detents according to the frame I plan to shoot?

I'm already thinking of getting some sort of leveling system, so I'm wondering whether the type of leveling base that uses a ball, will allow for rotation of the head (as well as tilting for leveling)?

Something like this FLM LB30:

http://www.speedgraphic.co.uk/tripod_accessories/flm_lb30_levelling_base/20540_p.html

Thanks in advance.

Elliot

p.s. I'm often working in cramped environments, so the simple solution - to rotate the whole tripod - is not always so simple.

nick fan
11-08-2010, 09:45 PM
No, RD16 does not have this clutch. For making 360 deg pano, the starting point is not important. You can specify it in the stitcher.


nick

hindenhaag
11-08-2010, 10:53 PM
Elliot,

to get a good starting point for the Nadir shots, especially using the nadir adapter, you have to set the rig in a special way. The lower rail has to be set exactly 90 to two legs of the tripod. And then you place your tripod to the direction you want to start with.

So turning the rotator to the desired direction without turning the complete set, will let you end with a bad Nadir shot.

As Nick mentioned, no problem to set up the desired center of your pano in stitching software, you can change that in PTGui Preview quite easily.

Regards,
Heinz

hansnyberg
11-09-2010, 04:16 AM
Nick
"We listen." you say. Well you did not. I pointed out the importance of the 300N "free gear" for several reasons already during your first presentation of your rotator but you did not listen.
I really miss it but fortunately I have old tripods with round centre column which I can use to do at least the important choice of start point.

The correct start point is not just important for the first image but also for the zenith when you shoot fullframe -zenith at +60 degrees. If you want your template to perform optimally it should be placed the same place as in the template.
It is much easier if you have what elliot call a clutch.

Hans

elliot_n
11-09-2010, 04:51 AM
Thanks Hans.

I'm not making 360 panoramas. I'm making multirow rectilinear stitches for prints - sometimes with the tripod in a tight corner. My tripod is a Manfrotto 055, so I can't rotate the central column. The clutch on the Manfrotto 303 allows me to orientate the detents to my desired stitch. For example, if I'm shooting a simple 3 frame, single row stitch (with a 24m lens, and 35 degree detents), I need my central frame placed on a detent. If I'm backed into a corner with my tripod, turning the tripod may not be a possibility.

Here's a quote from a review of the Manfrotto 303SPH ( http://www.vrphotography.com/data/pages/casestudies/vrheadreview1103-orig.html ):

The 303SPH also features a unique clutch ring, which allows you to align your detents relative to the scene you are shooting (such as squaring your initial shot with a wall or door) without having to move or realign the tripod. When I first received this head, I felt this latter feature was unnecessary and that it should have been eliminated to save on size and weight. However, I now find it very useful after having used the head for a while.

So to return to my original question. How can I modify my set-up to get the necessary rotation to realign the detents? Would a ball-type levelling base do the trick? Or are they designed not to rotate? Otherwise, I guess the answer is to put the NN5 on a sturdy ballhead. Or to get a Manfrotto 300N instead of the RD16. That would be a trade-off, as the RD16 has 3.75, 6, and 7.5 degree detents not found on the 300N - potentially useful if I want to use focal lengths between 80mm and 200mm on my Nikkor 80-200/2,8.

hansnyberg
11-09-2010, 06:06 AM
A panoramic plate below the rotator solves the problem .

http://www.amazon.com/Novoflex-PANORAMA-Calibrated-Panoramic-4-Inch/dp/B0002SWJVS
http://www.speedgraphic.co.uk/panoramic_adaptors/flm_p48_panoramic_base/20541_p.html
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/388422-REG/Manfrotto_627_627_Basic_Panoramic_Head.html

The Manfrotto looks fine but I can not figure out if it has a locking device.


Hans

elliot_n
11-09-2010, 07:15 AM
Hmm, those are expensive.

Can anyone let me know if ball type leveling bases can rotate? I fancy a leveling base anyway, so this would kill two birds with one stone.

hindenhaag
11-09-2010, 08:16 AM
Elliot,

When you have a look to manfrotto' spare parts list you can see it has no locking device.

If you have a manfrotto tripod, you could change your center column to kill two birds with one stone. You can level the red ball with built in leveler plus you can turn the top. Plus with the manfrotto like 055 pro you can turn the whole center column as well.

http://www.manfrotto.com/product/8374.56.76814.0.0/555B/_/Levelling_Centre_Column_for_055Pro

Regards
Heinz

elliot_n
11-09-2010, 08:21 AM
Yes, that's one of the leveling systems I was considering. I just need to check it's compatible with my old Manfrotto 055CLB tripod. So you reckon that red top can rotate as well as tilt?

hindenhaag
11-09-2010, 09:34 AM
Yes, it can. A ball is moving on a fitted ring. Screw system is inside. I use it on my video tripod and have an extra one added to my old 055ProB.

http://www.manfrotto.com/Service/Request+a+Catalog/ Have a look to the catalog or to manfrotto website. Under Repair you can open and download spare parts lists. I have downloaded these lists for all my manfrotto equipment.

http://www.amazon.com/Manfrotto-555B-Leveling-Center-Column/dp/B00024HO5S

http://mediacdn.shopatron.com/media/mfg/2747/media_document/live_2/555B_20020917.pdf?1272346470

The center column 555B fits to all tripods of the 055 series as the catalogue is concerned. I will check the design of this center column to my old metal one of 055 tomorrow morning.

Heinz

nick fan
11-09-2010, 06:47 PM
Nick
"We listen." you say. Well you did not. I pointed out the importance of the 300N "free gear" for several reasons already during your first presentation of your rotator but you did not listen.
I really miss it but fortunately I have old tripods with round centre column which I can use to do at least the important choice of start point.

The correct start point is not just important for the first image but also for the zenith when you shoot fullframe -zenith at +60 degrees. If you want your template to perform optimally it should be placed the same place as in the template.
It is much easier if you have what elliot call a clutch.

Hans

Well, I do listen. It does not mean I must do what my customers ask me to do, or do it immediately upon request. For many people this free rotation adjustment is not a must. Many tripods/ levelers allow you to rotate the top part freely too. It is best included in other accessories. FYI, the EZ-Leveler II has the adjustment for positioning the nadir shot. I guess I need to shoot a video to explain how to use it. I also plan to make a quick mount adapter which will allow you to rotate stuff on top freely. Sorry, I have been full occupied by recent production issues and new stuff I think more important. You need a pole which allows you to use a click stop rotator and a rigid tripod safely, right? I listen and am working on them right now. :wink:


nick

nick fan
11-09-2010, 07:04 PM
Hmm, those are expensive.

Can anyone let me know if ball type leveling bases can rotate? I fancy a leveling base anyway, so this would kill two birds with one stone.

Not sure of the FLM leveler. You'd better ask them. Their design looks unusual and may need to sacrifice free rotation for the extra tilt angle.

2 leveler that rotate freely.
http://www.acratech.net/product.php?productid=3&cat=2&page=1
http://www.manfrotto.com/product/0/438/_/Ball_Camera_Leveller

Our EZ-Leveler II has some limited adjustment for the initial angle. But it is not as easy to adjust as the above ball type levelers

BTW, it does not take much more time to take and stitch 2-4 shots if you are just making 1-2 row panos. You can have more freedom of cropping to get different composition of your panos.

Nick

Terrywoodenpic
11-10-2010, 02:44 AM
I too do two row Panos using a manfrotto 055pro B tripod.
The whole column rotates with its clamp, so setting the start position is very easy.
Although I have one, I do not use my EZ leveler either.
First I level using the legs then rotate the column for my start position. ( then re check the level, as a Manfrotto column lock is not precise) it only takes seconds, all very easy.

elliot_n
11-10-2010, 07:23 AM
Hi Terry, not sure if I understand you. The column on my Manfrotto 055CLB (about 15 years old) doesn't rotate. It has a triangular cross-section to stop it rotating. I think I'm going to try the Manfrotto 555B leveling column suggested by Heinz. I'll keep the NN5 on that, and my regular 3-way head on the standard column. Thanks for the alternative suggestions, Nick. I'm shooting multi row mosaics of between 10 and 30 shots. Although I don't need a centre frame, and can just cover the scene widely and then pick my centre in PTGui, I prefer (so far!) to previsualize the final stitch and work around a central point.

hindenhaag
11-10-2010, 09:09 AM
Just checked the design of the columns, old one to 555B. The design of the center columns re the same.

Heinz

Terrywoodenpic
11-11-2010, 02:46 AM
Hi Terry, not sure if I understand you. The column on my Manfrotto 055CLB (about 15 years old) doesn't rotate. It has a triangular cross-section to stop it rotating. I think I'm going to try the Manfrotto 555B leveling column suggested by Heinz. I'll keep the NN5 on that, and my regular 3-way head on the standard column. Thanks for the alternative suggestions, Nick. I'm shooting multi row mosaics of between 10 and 30 shots. Although I don't need a centre frame, and can just cover the scene widely and then pick my centre in PTGui, I prefer (so far!) to previsualize the final stitch and work around a central point.

Yes the CLB is the only one in the range with out a rotating collar. The Collar was introduced so that the column could be use in the horizontal position. this made it necessary for it to also be able to rotate. I would buy a second hand 055Pro B as it would save messing about changing columns. ( The 555b has to be taken apart to fit.)

elliot_n
11-11-2010, 07:23 AM
Thanks for the explanation Terry. So is fitting the 555b a fiddly operation?

Today I was using my loaner Manfrotto 303 SPH pano head without a tripod. I was shooting a cityscape from a balcony, and I mounted the pano head to a Manfrotto Superclamp attatched to the balcony rail. A separate leveling base would have been handy.

The Manfrotto head vibrates quite a lot as I switch from one detent to the next. I need to let it settle down for at least 5 seconds before taking the next shot (with mirror lockup). I'm guessing that the NN5, being a similar design, will behave in the same way (mine arrives tomorrow, hopefully). Any tips on minimizing this vibration?

Terrywoodenpic
11-11-2010, 07:52 AM
Thanks for the explanation Terry. So is fitting the 555b a fiddly operation?

Today I was using my loaner Manfrotto 303 SPH pano head without a tripod. I was shooting a cityscape from a balcony, and I mounted the pano head to a Manfrotto Superclamp attatched to the balcony rail. A separate leveling base would have been handy.

The Manfrotto head vibrates quite a lot as I switch from one detent to the next. I need to let it settle down for at least 5 seconds before taking the next shot (with mirror lockup). I'm guessing that the NN5, being a similar design, will behave in the same way (mine arrives tomorrow, hopefully). Any tips on minimizing this vibration?

I would not say fitting a 555B is difficult, Just fiddly as you must remove the tightener at the base of the column to insert it.
I have set up my canon 40D to use mirror lock and then fire using a radio trigger. Like you I wait five seconds between shots.
I always set the Tripod column to its base level.

The vibration from a mirror flipping, can be seen running down the legs of a tripod like an 055B
And returning about 2 seconds later to the camera.

The more rigid and heavier every thing is, the better.
But your NN5 is about as good as things get.
Vibration is and will always be some sort of problem. Partly involving all heads and attachments , including tripods and attachments.

hindenhaag
11-11-2010, 10:22 AM
Elliot,

Just keep cool man. :cool2: I never had problems with vibration moving from one detend to the next. Neither with NN5 nor with NN3. Neither with D90 nor With D3. As Terry mentioned, I used my center column of Manfrotto 055ProB at its base level. I recognized vibration with manfrotto shooting in CL mode during bracketing raising the center column. With higher ISO and shorter shutter speeds no problem at all. But I think you do not need bracketing for your special purpose.

Just wait to try your new hardware. Years ago I changed from Manfrotto pano head to Nodal Ninja. A change from a TATRA lorry to Mercedes Benz. Just use your new equipment, play around, and if new questions arise, feel free to ask.

My basic feeling is to be as precise as possible. This is good for basics. But elliot, software covers a lot. No need to be precise for 1 mm or 2 in set up leveling here and there. I did not have stitching problems.

So just try your equipment. When I have to undergo an operation and try to check what might go wrong without basic experience or knowledge, I think I will get crazy.....

When I change my 555B center column from one tripod to the other, I just take off the lower part, insert into the tripod and just re-fix the handle screw. If you like to check it on your own, send a mail to manfrotto or call them.

Kind regards,
Heinz

elliot_n
11-12-2010, 06:47 AM
Heinz, you're right.

My NN5/RD16 arrived this morning (thanks Andrew). I haven't fine-tuned the setup yet, but my first impressions are excellent. Compared to the Manfrotto 303 SPH, the Nodal Ninja seems lighter, more compact, better machined and more stable. The detents click into place with more precision, and the vibration as I move from one detent to the next is much much less (the Manfrotto 303 was really bouncy).

I will definitely be looking for some sort of leveling head - adjusting the legs on my beaten-up Manfrotto 055CLB is not much fun (it's easy to get pinched by the leg latches).

I think it's a shame the RD16 doesn't have a clutch - a nice feature of the Manfrotto - but no big deal.

Cheers, Elliot.

nick fan
11-12-2010, 06:27 PM
Compared to the Manfrotto 303 SPH, the Nodal Ninja seems lighter, more compact, better machined and more stable. The detents click into place with more precision, and the vibration as I move from one detent to the next is much much less (the Manfrotto 303 was really bouncy).

one of the reasons: larger the weight, greater the momentum and hence vibration.

Nick

hindenhaag
11-12-2010, 11:48 PM
Elliot,

Congrats...:thumbup1: you will be happy with it. You are happy to have a dealer like Andrew in UK with best knowledge and experience. And personal service. I do not know if Andrew is a "real scotsman". But he fits very well in my experience with them during two tours around Scotland for 6 weeks each in 1970 and 1971: friendly, helpful, based in their country, great knowledge, and you can trust them! Against any fairytales. But I enjoyed Uk and the people as well."Sorry for being off thread"

Still dealing with your tear drops cause of missing clutch. Brainstorming this morning "to get you happy", I think I found an option for you independent from tripods: To level use an EZ-Leveller II below RD16. To clutch, use the Feisol panning base. I think this is the cheapest and most optimal solution and gives you options for the future apart from being stuck to a tripod branch. http://www.feisoluk.com/Bases/c45/p85/PB-70---Panning-Base/product_info.html

I use EZ-Leveller II with NN3 and NN5, great accessory with Nadir Adapter to re-level.

Concerning tripods: first Manfrotto 055BPro. Manfrotto carbon version for Video. Carbon Gitzo for R1. Using the Nadir Adapter with heavy weight gear, manfrotto is moving in center column connection. Ok, no problem with software which covers a lot. But then I heard from a dutch colleague about Feisol. I really do not promote things. Let's just talk about experience.

Right now I use Feisol 3372 LV with plate for normal panos, rock solid, light. And change it to center column to use it with rotator on top of it, and add the new Fanotec pole on top. With R1 and new mini Adapter System on top.

For very tricky corners you could use a Gitzo or Benro Baby tripod, rotator and pole on top, and on you go.

To cut it short: They listen, they adapt new features to the system, of course not every personal request which might only be needed by a few customers is adapted to the system. Because I have to pay for it though I do not need the function, I have to carry more weight, I fell happy with this solution. So better offer a product which serves for most clients for a good price and less weight, less vibration, smooth instead of sharp outside design, easy to use, and a good service and a good forum backstage.

Fell free to ask.

Kind regards,
Heinz

elliot_n
11-13-2010, 06:54 AM
Thanks, Heinz, for your thoughts. The Feisol panning base looks interesting, and I should also check out their range of tripods (my Manfrotto tripod has seen better days). For the time being I'm busy calculating NPP settings for the lenses I intend to use, and I'm going to leave questions of leveling / rotating / quick release systems until I've done some proper field testing.

elliot_n
11-17-2010, 06:21 AM
Hi



I'm already thinking of getting some sort of leveling system, so I'm wondering whether the type of leveling base that uses a ball, will allow for rotation of the head (as well as tilting for leveling)?

Something like this FLM LB30:

http://www.speedgraphic.co.uk/tripod_accessories/flm_lb30_levelling_base/20540_p.html



I just took delivery of this leveling base, FLM LB60:

http://www.speedgraphic.co.uk/tripod_accessories/flm_lb60_levelling_base/17025_p.html

Unfortunately it won't work for my purposes. The base is held captive and won't rotate - it is tilt only.

I could add the Fesiol panning base that Heinz mentioned in his previous post, but I'm wary of building a tower of gizmos.

I think I'll return the FLM LB60, and try the Manfrotto 555b. (It does allow rotation, right?)

Elliot

elliot_n
03-23-2011, 08:28 AM
Update...

I discounted the Manfrotto levelling column (555B), as I realised that I sometimes need to shoot mosaics from a low level and therefore require the Manfrotto short column.

I returned the FLM levelling base and replaced it with an Acratech levelling base. This one does rotate. However I discovered that rotating (to line up the central frame of a mosiac), and levelling is a tricky task to perform simultaneously. (The Acratech base seems well made, but it's too expensive here in the UK (135), and it does creep a little when tightened.)

So Heinz's suggestion to use a Feisol panning base in combination with a levelling base is a good one.

Then it occurred to me that the functionality I'm after is equivalent to the 3-way head I already own (Manfrottto 141). So I tried putting the NN5/RD16 on that. I like it - not super stable, but very functional.

My Manfrotto 141 is knackered from years of use, so I am now considering the Manfrotto junior geared head (410) as a base for my NN5/RD16. I think it will be more stable, and more finely adjustable. (And I want one anyway for single frame shots.)

hindenhaag
03-23-2011, 08:44 AM
Hi elliot,

thx for sharing your info.

Regards,
Heinz

elliot_n
03-23-2011, 08:50 AM
The other major advantage (for me) of having the NN5/RD16 on a 3 way head, is that the whole rig can be tilted up or down.

Why would I want to do that?

I'm shooting 3x3 rectilinear mosaics, to match a single frame reference image. (e.g 3x3 mosaic with a 65mm lens, to match a single frame shot with a 24mm lens.)

If the reference image is levelled, then shooting the 3x3 mosaic is straightforward. But if the reference image is pointing up or down (e.g a view of a staircase, looking up from the bottom) then things get more complicated - specifically, each row of 3 images, needs a different amount of rotation. In theory the RD16's stops could be adjusted for each row, but I regard this as impractical. Alternatively each row could be judged by looking through the viewfinder. This is something I want to avoid - I like the sense of automation that I get from the RD16. The RD16 with fixed rotation (18 degrees in this example), can be used, but it requires shooting extra frames (3 rows and 5 columns). This is inefficient, leading to a huge stitch in PTGui.

The answer, it seems to me, is to put the whole NN5/RD16 rig on a 3 way head. The 3 way head can then be tilted (looking up the staircase, in my example). With the NN5/RD16 tilted, it is now easy to create a 3x3 grid with pre-established degrees of rotation, and there's very little wastage when the stitch is performed in PTGui.

The downside of course is a potential lack of stability. But I'm finding the NN5/RD16 performs remarkably well when tilted on my Manfrotto 055 tripod. The lock knob on the RD16 can be tightened if it feels like the rig will spin away from an indentation. You wouldn't want to photograph a ceiling like this, but angles up or down at 45 degrees seem to work fine.

Does any of this make sense?!

Elliot