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Advice choosing between M1 and M2 (or NN4?) please

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  • Advice choosing between M1 and M2 (or NN4?) please

    Greetings all,

    Although I am very new to pano's, I'm going to take the plunge and pick up either an M1 or M2 this week. I'm having trouble deciding between the two (largely due to my lack of knowledge and experience), but, because I don't want to buy something inadequate and then have to reinvest in a few months, I'm trying to get it right on the first go-round. I would also like to say how much it has impressed me to find the head of the company posting here - this was a big factor in my choice to go with Nodal Ninja.

    My intended goal is to shoot HDR and, (primarily) two types of pano:

    -conventional, high detail panoramas of landscapes, cityscapes, etc. [edit: When I say "high detail", I'm not talking about dozens of images, or anything resembling the 1,500+ exposure image on the aircraft carrier that is used as an example here. - I'm talking, say, 20 exposures max.]

    -high detail vertical panoramas of the milky way which also incorporate some sort of terrain feature at the bottom. If any of you are familiar with an award winning pano called "Celestine Prophecy" by Aaron Feinberg (winner of an Epson pano award), then you have a good idea of the sort of thing I'm interested in attempting. (Those of you who might be able to look at that photo and make an educated guess as to the lens and type of tripod head (and other tools?) used, as well as total number of exposures, I would be grateful for your analysis. To me, much of Feinberg's work looks to be HDR, and I find myself going back and forth wondering what sort of technique he could have used to achieve "Celestine Prophecy".)

    Link to the above image:

    I'm using a Canon 5D2, and have a Canon 135mm f2.0 prime, as well as the Canon 70-200mm f2.8 IS. I also have a Rokinon 35mm f1.4 (lauded for its detail and lack of coma in astrophotography). I'm considering picking up another Canon wide angle, but that will likely come in a couple of months from now. My tripod is a Manfrotto 475B (big and heavy, but steady)

    I was initially interested in the NN4, but the 100mm limit concerned me, as I'd like to use the 135mm prime I have to do some pan-stitch landscapes with high detail.

    I'm open to input/suggestions from any of you more experienced "panographers". Is using the 135mm a bad idea for pan stitching? Would something like an 85mm be better? Would I be better served to save money by going with the NN4 and getting an 85mm a bit later? If I should go with one of the Ultimates, would the M1 or M2 be better, considering I want to do vertical (astro) panos as well as horizontal? How valuable is the gimbal functionality of the M2? Again, any and all input/advice is appreciated.

    Many thanks!
    Last edited by Bromley; 08-14-2014, 09:41 PM.

  • #2
    I would suggest M2. 3 advantages over M1:
    * Freedom to compose the pano for min number of shots. M1 is fixed in 7.5 deg intervals from the horizon. M1 is designed for spherical panos, not problem there. eg your region of interest starts from 5 deg to 20 deg from the horizon. You shoot 2 rows at 7.5deg using M2. But you need to shoot 3 row using M1 (0-22.5 deg coverage).
    * Freedom to use best focal length for most efficient shooting. M1 is limited multiples of 7.5 deg, 7.5/15/22.5/30 etc. There are "steps" of focal length supported. For the fixed % overlap, you jump from 200mm to 100mm and no in-between when the interval is changed from 7.5 to 15 deg. Using a eg 135mm will require 7.5 deg interval and just give you more overlap compared to using 200mm, NOT faster.
    * Support >200mm focal length.
    Last edited by nick fan; 08-14-2014, 11:28 PM.
    We listen. We try harder.


    • #3
      Thanks for getting back to me - I just ordered the M2. It should arrive early next week. The RD8 is the rotator I want? Any other pieces I should obtain for use with a Canon 5D2 and Manfrotto 475B?

      Can't wait to get started with it!

      Thanks again!


      • #4
        Rotator D16II, (RD16II) will have better selection of intervals for 250mm and below. It is smaller too.
        You need an Arca Swiss compatible camera plate if you don't already have.
        We listen. We try harder.


        • #5
          Hi Mr. Fan,

          One more question: Is there a certain plate you would recommend for the Canon 5D Mark ii? Browsing online, there are a lot of options, and I'm not really sure which would be best.

          Thanks once again!


          • #6
            our plate supports auto alignment of camera axis.
            We listen. We try harder.