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Pano head usually have click stop rotator for horizontal rotation but not for vertical rotation. So it is easier to take more columns than rows. Changing vertical angle is more difficult due to gravity.
for fisheye lenses having angle of view close to 180 deg along the width of sensor, a complete spherical view can be captured with single row of images only. This is a big timer saver.
Objects on earth is mostly in portrait orientation, eg human body, buildings, with sensor in portrait mode, they are less likely to be truncated, which can cause stitching error.