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  • nick fan
    started a topic Advanced Rotators for Nodal Ninjas

    Advanced Rotators for Nodal Ninjas

    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.

    * 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.

    * 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.

    * 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.

    * 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.

    * 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.

    * 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






    Note that specifications may change slightly in production models.

  • John Houghton
    replied
    Re: Coming soon: Advanced Rotators for Nodal Ninjas

    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

    Leave a comment:


  • Terrywoodenpic
    replied
    Re: Coming soon: Advanced Rotators for Nodal Ninjas

    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

    Leave a comment:


  • nick fan
    replied
    Re: Coming soon: Advanced Rotators for Nodal Ninjas

    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_initiat...60734/original
    for 1.5x cropped sensor
    http://www.pbase.com/digital_initiat...60730/original
    for 1.6x cropped sensor
    http://www.pbase.com/digital_initiat...60732/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.

    Leave a comment:


  • nick fan
    replied
    Re: Coming soon: Advanced Rotators for Nodal Ninjas

    Originally posted by han View Post

    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

    Leave a comment:


  • han
    replied
    Re: Coming soon: Advanced Rotators for Nodal Ninjas

    Originally posted by nick fan View Post
    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.
    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

    Leave a comment:


  • nick fan
    replied
    Re: Coming soon: Advanced Rotators for Nodal Ninjas

    Originally posted by DemonDuck View Post
    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

    Leave a comment:


  • DemonDuck
    replied
    Re: Coming soon: Advanced Rotators for Nodal Ninjas

    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

    Leave a comment:


  • nick fan
    replied
    Re: Coming soon: Advanced Rotators for Nodal Ninjas

    Originally posted by han View Post
    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.
    BTW, what specific needs do you have for the rotator? What interval options you plan to use?


    Nick

    Leave a comment:


  • han
    replied
    Re: Coming soon: Advanced Rotators for Nodal Ninjas

    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

    Leave a comment:


  • waters
    replied
    Re: Coming soon: Advanced Rotators for Nodal Ninjas

    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

    Leave a comment:


  • Castillonis
    replied
    Re: Coming soon: Advanced Rotators for Nodal Ninjas

    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

    Leave a comment:


  • nick fan
    replied
    Re: Coming soon: Advanced Rotators for Nodal Ninjas

    Originally posted by J Holmes View Post
    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

    Leave a comment:


  • J Holmes
    replied
    Re: Coming soon: Advanced Rotators for Nodal Ninjas

    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...5695d5cd_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

    Leave a comment:


  • nick fan
    replied
    Re: Coming soon: Advanced Rotators for Nodal Ninjas

    Hi Joseph,


    Originally posted by J Holmes View Post
    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

    Leave a comment:

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