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Nikon 10.5? 10-24? Tokina fisheye zoom?

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  • Nikon 10.5? 10-24? Tokina fisheye zoom?

    I am just getting into this and need to buy a NN and lens for my D300S.

    The lens most often referenced is the Nikon 10.5 fisheye. It seesm to me that the Nikon 10-24 or Tokina 10-17 would give me the super wide field needed for VR 360s and offer the versatility for longer zooms for longer pans as well.

    Is there a reason the Nikon 10-24 won't work for VR 360s?

  • #2
    The Nikon 10-24 will work for 360x180 panoramas, but as it's a rectilinear lens, you'll need to take many more shots than with a 10mm fisheye (17 instead of 8). See lens data at for shooting recommendations. (The Sigma 10-20mm will serve, as the Nikor lens is not explicitly listed). The Tokina 10-17mm fisheye is a good lens and is probably the most useful. The quality at 10mm is marginally less good than the Nikon 10.5mm fisheye, and the Nikon lens has a wider maximum aperture. Choices are never simple.


    • #3
      Thanks John.

      I was told that If I cut off the shade on the 10.5 that I wont have to do a zenith shot. Is that correct? if so, is the top of the image just as sharp as if I did a zenith shot?


      • #4
        David, Cutting the shade off the 10.5mm will make no difference at all, since it's a fullframe fisheye on a D300S, already using all of the frame. It only makes a difference on a full frame camera such as the D3S or D7000.



        • #5
          ok, thats makes more sense.

          It might have been the same person that told me that the 10.5 shaved will do a full 180 view with no need for a zenith or nadir shot (take tripod out in ps) Is that true with the 10.5 on an D300 or only on a full frame camera?
          Last edited by Davidk; 12-18-2011, 11:11 AM.


          • #6
            The fov of the 10.5mm fisheye on D300 (1.5 crop factor) is only 139° x 87°


            • #7
              ok, I guess I need to do Zenith and Nadir shots! Thaks so much John. I tried reading up on things, but many article are confusing since I know so little. your answers help alot


              • #8

                you can download a set of pics for D300s with Nikkor 10.5 and play around stitching.


                Workflow: 0°, +5° and +7.5° to check the Zenith Nadir holes with R1/R10, 2x +60° 180° visa versa to test horizontal connection in case of impossible Zenith at +90°, +90°, 2x -90°Nadir with Nadir Adapter.

                Orange dots are laser placed in vertical and horizontal to set up a template in PTGuiPro by spreading CP to the outer circle of the lens in vertical and horizontal direction. You could make a template with this set of pics, adapt it to your project and "fine tune" it with a project shot with your equipment. © 2011

                For me personally Nikkor 10.5 is the best lens for D300s for taking a "normal pano". I have tested Sigma 8mm/f3.5 and Samyang 8mm/f3.5 - a manual lens - as well. Needs 6 shots around and depending on the Pitch Setting +/- Nadir and Zenith shot.

                Basic lens knowledge has to be considered for the decision of taking an extra Zenith Shot or using a different pitch angle than +90° to close the Zenith. A fisheye lens has "minimal problems" - distortion etc.- in the middle of the lens. So in case you want to shoot a "high quality panorama", you should take the 2 more minutes or less to take an extra shot for Zenith at +90°. In case you need lower quality, shoot at a pitch of +5° or +7.5° pitch - move the upper rail on upper rotator to these settings - to get a good result. For an outside shot with a sky zenith for example. Trying to shoot a fresco in a church, I would take an extra zenith shot. Playing around with my pics by stitching in PTGuiPro for example, you can find out about the zenith quality or "overlap" and the corresponding nadir hole. The more you tilt up, the bigger is the result of the nadir hole.

                The difference between shooting a panorama with a fisheye or a wide angle lens is a question between lower resolution, fewer number of pics per row plus a single row instead of several rows, which means less "ghosts in busy places" for example. What does this mean: shooting 6 shots around in a busy place you might catch the people or cars moving around on every single shot. But if your wide angle lens asks you to shoot two rows at +/- 30° pitch for example, you might get a problem in a busy place: in the first row you will get half of my body in front of the stop light on one side of the street, while in the second row I will have crossed the street to opposite side and you might catch the lower part of my body. When you stitch, you will get a "ghost". My body will be divided into upper and lower pieces in different places of the road. You have to mask this. May be a lot of work.

                David, there are a lot of consequences in panography to decide for different types of lenses. It all depends on what you like to shoot: Real Estate, in calm places like empty churches, or busy places as the central place in city center. So to give you a good advice we'd like to get to know about your goals.

                John already mentioned the link to VRWave to get to know how many rows at different pitches you have to take for different types of lenses.

                This is the link to get to know about the number of pics you have to shoot for a special Camera-lens combination per row:


                In case you get the Nikkor 10.5 and upgrade from D300/s DX format to FX full frame format like D3..., D700 - this is what John mentioned by mistake adding a 0 too much: D7000 - or D800 or D4, you can just shave off the lens hood of the Nikkor 10.5 to shoot 4 shots around on these FX bodies. Quicker than the normal used nikkor 16mm lens on FX bodies who ask 6 shots around in busy places. Though shaved you can still use it on DX bodies.

                About NN Advice for your camera: to be open for changes in lenses you might use in the future get the NN4, add Nadir Adapter and for easy re-level Ez-Leveller II. In case you like to use Nikkor 70-200mm, 14-24mm , 24-70mm, you might think about M1 Series.
                In case you only like to use a fisheye lens and look for low weight equipment, you could choose for the R1/R10, may be with R1/R10 Zenith Nadir Adapter.

                Sorry for a long answer, but pano shooting and hardware is not a "Plug and Play Advice" .

                Feel free to ask, I know it is a lot of information. I have tested and own lot of Nikon and NN Equipment. So I dare to give some advice to try to get you on the road.

                Last edited by hindenhaag; 12-18-2011, 02:03 PM.


                • #9
                  Much of what you stated is over my head at this point, but I am sure it will start to make sense once I get started. I have decided to buy a NN4 with R16, a 10.5mm and PTGui. I am interested in doing 360 VRs in both interiors and exterior as well as standard 270 and 180 pans that will probably be great with my 18-200.

                  I don't understand what the Nadir adapter does. What good is a shot straight down above the tripod with the tripod in the pic?

                  If you are shooting a 360VR why would you angle your camera (pitch) any direction other than straight ahead?

                  If PTgui can fix the horizon line is Ez-Leveller II that helpful? I guessed that I could get the level close with the tripod legs and fix it with PTGui.

                  You mentioned the M1. I assume that that is just a heavier version of the NN4 for use with heavy lenses? I doubt that I will want to buy the lenses that you mentioned as they are quite expensive. I was thinking of using an old AI 80-200, for distant pans, but I think the focus and zoom may be too loose--although a thick rubber band may solve that. Would my old AI 80-200 work with the NN4 or do I need the N1?

                  How useful is my 18-200 for longer pans?

                  While I don't yet understand everything you stated, I am sure that I will soon and greatly appreciate the time you took to answer!


                  • #10

                    Lenses. I am not sure what you mean by "distant pans". A scene is a scene. If you want to allow a great deal of zooming while viewing your panorama, you are referring to a different techology called "gigapixel". A Nodal Ninja product is not the best solution for this type of panorama. You would want some sort of robotic head. You would use your 80-200 lens zoomed into 200. You would also take literally 100's if not thousands of pictures. I don't think that is what you are referring to.

                    If you are not going to allow zooming, the Nikon 10.5 lens will work great for you. It works for interior panoramas as well as outdoor landscape panoramas. If you go to my web site, you will find examples of interior and exterior panoramas. All were shot with either the Nikon 10.5 or the Sigma 8mm.

                    EZ-Leveler. This device helps you make sure your pano head is level before you start shooting your panorama. With a spherical panorama and PTGui, you do not need to be absolutely level as you can level the panorama while stitching. It may be easier to adjust the length of your tripod legs in order to get the pano head level. People use the ez leveler all the time and others never use one. I stopped using one so very long ago. Start out not purchasing one and see how it goes adjusting the tripod legs. If you have issues, you can always come back and purchase one.

                    Nadir adapter. In order to create the illusion that the camera is floating in space, you need to take a picture with the camera pointing straight down without the tripod in the shot. There are so very many techniques people use to capture the "Nadir patch" shot.

                    The idea is that you take all your pictures, including one with the camera pointing straight down. This last shot is called the Nadir shot. The Nadir adapter allows you to swing the camera out away from the tripod. You then slide the tripod over putting the camera back over the spot it was in when you took the Nadir shot. When you snap the patch shot, you have a picture of the ground below the camera without any tripod in the picture. During stitching you combine all the pictures and *PRESTO* you have a spherical panorama that looks like the camera is floating in space.

                    The Nadir adapter comes in real handy when you have long exposure times. Some people use a leaning tripod method. That method involves making several adjustments in order to put the camera back into position. The Nadir adapter requires only 1. All methods have their strengths and weaknesses. The Nadir adapter does not work to well on a rocky creek bed or a well sloped hill. Try all techniques until you find one that works for you.

                    As to tilting the camera up or down, depending on the lens you use you may not be able to get enough vertical field of view in order to capture the scene in 1 row. Sometimes 2 or 3 rows are needed.

                    Tilting down also helps eliminate the need for a separate Nadir patch shot. You would instead rely on your Photoshop skills in order to remove the tripod. If you use a Sigma 8mm lens, tilting up 5 degrees provides enough overlap that a Zeniths shot is not required.

                    Lots to learn. Just go ahead and get your equipment and start shooting. You will have so many questions. All will be answered here. I look forward to seeing your first attempt.

                    Last edited by DennisS; 12-18-2011, 03:42 PM.


                    • #11

                      What I mean by distant pans is subjects not immediate infront or surrounding me such as a cityscape or mountain range off in the near distance. In that case I would use a long lens and stitch multiple images to form a 180 degree pan.

                      I am definately going to get the 10.5 for VR shots.

                      I used to shoot pans with film about 20 years ago. I owned a Hulcher, Alpa and Roundshot. Todays digital world makes it so much easier and more complicated.

                      Thanks for your reply,


                      From the picture of the Nadir adapter on the NN website, I can not figure out how it works. Looks like it is taking a picture of the tripod. I will buy one and figure out how to use it


                      • #12

                        have a look to these pics for nadir adapter use:


                        Last edited by hindenhaag; 12-19-2011, 12:08 AM.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by DennisS View Post
                          When you snap the patch shot, you have a picture of the ground below the camera without any tripod in the picture.
                          Slightly misleading: you have a picture which does have the tripod in it, but it's shifted away from the position it previously occupied. Masking is necessary to hide it so that it doesn't appear when merged into the panorama. Heinz's nice zip file of images of course confirms this. BTW, the size of the zip file is not so nice: 547MB! Reducing the size of the images to a more than adequate 50% and converting from tif to high quality jpeg results in a rather more user friendly 2MB zip file.
                          Last edited by John Houghton; 12-18-2011, 11:24 PM.


                          • #14
                            Thx John,

                            I will change the zip files to a more user friendly size.



                            • #15
                              Originally posted by John Houghton View Post
                              Slightly misleading: you have a picture which does have the tripod in it, but it's shifted away from the position it previously occupied.

                              You are absolutely correct. We have spell check but to not have logic check. The tripod is still in the picture, but offset to one side. The process of combining and masking the Nadir and Nadir patch shot will remove the tripod from the pano.