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  • aviator
    started a topic Nodal Ninja 2.9 MkII

    Nodal Ninja 2.9 MkII

    I love Nodal Ninja products and own the NN3MkII and NN5. I also like my new camera, the Canon Powershot S95. It is superb for high-dynamic-range panoramas - it has high pixel count, manual mode and brackets exposures. Ten rotation stops are required in portrait mode at 28mm equivalent focal length. The camera is tiny and far smaller than the NN3MkII.

    In my home workshop I conducted major surgery on the pano head. I fabricated a new vertical rail, a custom camera plate, and shortened the upper and lower rails. The weight of the NN2.9MkII dropped to 370 from 535 grams and it fits in the palm of my hand. For a lightweight travel pano rig, this is going to serve well. As high quality cameras continue to shrink in size there may be a market for such a device. Nick...

    I just have one concern. Do you suppose I have voided the warranty on my Nodal Ninja product?
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  • aviator
    replied
    Better Results

    John, as you pointed out, my initial results at HDR with this little camera were poor. In aviation I had what is known as a 'finger problem'... I couldn't put my fingers in the proper place on the camera. The initial image was bracketed with three shots covering four stops. This is far too taxing for the software as there is not enough information in shadows and highlights for smooth merging. Subsequently I've found that it is pretty easy to get nine shots bracketed one stop apart using the camera's EV offset function. Set up three shots with one stop bracketing, then twist the EV adjust to -3, 0, and +3 for each panoramic view. Sample attached.
    Attached Files

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  • aviator
    replied
    "Success has many fathers, but failure is an orphan."

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  • nick fan
    replied
    chances are you will see smaller models in 2014.
    :-)

    Nick

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  • DennisS
    replied
    I can say that Nick does listen when a garage machinst creates something that the Pano community would be interested in.
    .
    I show Nick my ideas all the time (at least when I have spare time to create something new and/or interesting).
    .
    It took about a year of pestering to get him to finally make the Nadir adapter.
    .
    This pano head helped inspire the latest pano heads for small cameras. I used it for monopod panos when I wanted to swivel the camera up in order to handle lens flare.
    .

    .
    It is possible to go smaller and lighter, but I have started using a different rig.
    .
    We emailed back and forth with ideas. He finalized his design and released the final product to the public.
    .
    Keep making stuff and sharing it with Nick. Fanotec does in fact listen.

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  • aviator
    replied
    Pano Example for 'NN2.9'

    Although not intended to compete with a heavy DSLR and full HDR, attached is today's panoramic example. The modified NN3, Canon S120 and Gitzo GT1550T combination weighs only 1615 grams complete and fits in a small nylon bag. The stitched photo comprises 24 images each bracketed plus/minus two stops. Dynamic range in this case was 9 stops and the closest object was 300 mm away. Of course results would improve with a lower contrast scene, such as indoors.
    Attached Files

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  • aviator
    replied
    John, Thanks for your comment. I should have qualified saying...excellent results for a palm-size solution. Note that I am still tinkering with settings on the just-released Canon S120, and would now turn off the Vivid color setting used in the example. 'My other car' is a Nikon D3/14-24/NN4RD16 setup and it does a better job with HDR using true bracketing.

    Leave a comment:


  • John Houghton
    replied
    Originally posted by aviator View Post
    The program will warn you not to expect the same good results as bracketing at identical exposures but the results are excellent.
    Judging by the sample image you provided in the earlier post, the program is right. The image has a very unnatural look as a result of subverting the standard HDR process, so I would not agree that the results are excellent. But this is a subjective matter and not everybody is aiming for a naturalistic rendering. The results please you and that's the important thing; there's no arguing with that.

    John

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  • aviator
    replied
    Yes, auto exposure with subtle differences. First set the camera to Av (Aperture variable) mode and adjust aperture to f8. This fixes the aperture, ensures good sharpness and excellent depth of field. Next set bracketing to three shots, one properly exposed, one two stops under and one two stops over. Also set shooting such that all three shots are made when the shutter button is depressed. Bracketing will be accomplished now by automatically changing shutter speed only. Allow me to digress with the rationale on ISO setting. With shutter speeds as the only variable, the camera has a dynamic range of 12 stops - from 1 to 1/2500 second. We want to place the 'normal' exposure in the middle of this, at 1/50 second, to make maximum use of the dynamic range to fill in shadows and attenuate highlights. Set ISO as required to get about 1/50 second exposure on a representative scene, typically 100 to 200 on a sunny day, then set white balance for conditions. Next set manual focus for 10 feet, about the hyperfocal distance for a 24 mm equivalent lens, ensuring very good depth of field. Fixing focus also ensures the NPP will not move, and the scenes will all look the same to the stitcher. Finally set the self timer for a couple second delay to allow camera shake from the button push to damp out. So to recap, each of the individual shots will be optimized for that scene and will vary widely from sky to deep shadow. But each is captured optimally, plus the brackets high and low. On a typical outdoor panorama PTGui will show 20 to 25 different exposures ranging from 1/4 to 1/2000 second. The program will warn you not to expect the same good results as bracketing at identical exposures but the results are excellent. For low light situations you could use a wider aperture or run up the ISO...maximum for the Canon S120 is 6400. I haven't tried fully automated exposure where the camera varies both aperture and shutter speed but suspect this would work okay. It would provide a much wider dynamic range which I have not needed yet. Again the point of this is capturing very nice panoramas with a camera/pano head combination that will fit in your coat pocket.
    Last edited by aviator; 10-30-2013, 08:49 PM.

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  • nick fan
    replied
    Originally posted by aviator View Post
    Heinz,

    I've made some minor changes but pictures taken three years ago are in the first message, top of the thread. By the way, ideal tripods for this setup are the Velbon Ultra Voxi L or Gitzo GT1550T, both very light weight but sturdy with this small load. Note the advantage of the Canon Powershot S120... each shot is bracketed around the exposure of that scene, eliminating the wide range of bracketing using manual mode with a DSLR.
    Did you say you were using auto exposure with bracketing?

    Nick

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  • aviator
    replied
    Sample Pano

    A quick example made using this simple arrangement.
    Attached Files

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  • aviator
    replied
    Heinz,

    I've made some minor changes but pictures taken three years ago are in the first message, top of the thread. By the way, ideal tripods for this setup are the Velbon Ultra Voxi L or Gitzo GT1550T, both very light weight but sturdy with this small load. Note the advantage of the Canon Powershot S120... each shot is bracketed around the exposure of that scene, eliminating the wide range of bracketing using manual mode with a DSLR.

    Leave a comment:


  • hindenhaag
    replied
    Hi, would like to see the pics of your model.

    Cheers,
    Heinz

    Leave a comment:


  • aviator
    replied
    Nick,

    I agree and believe you would find a market for what I have improvised. The performance of the compact point-and-shoot cameras has improved such that panoramas made with them are comparable to a DSLR at a fraction of the size and weight. The setup described above produces 18,000 by 9,000 pixel panoramas that are nearly identical to those from my Nikon D3. The only difference is the Canon S120 is limited to plus or minus two stops in bracketing, so very high contrast scenes might wish for more. I have not found this to be a problem. It opens a new world of panoramas because people frequently have a compact camera with them rather than hauling around a heavy DSLR.

    You would need only three new pieces - shortened horizontal and vertical arms, and a simplified camera plate. For the latter I used a piece of aluminum channel, anti-skid tape and a captive 1/4-20 screw.

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  • nick fan
    replied
    Originally posted by aviator View Post
    It has been nearly three years since I submitted photos of my heavily modified NN3 MkII. Pictures above show that the completed panoramic head fits in the palm of my hand. I've upgraded to the latest Canon Powershot S120 which has lowered the minimum focal length from 28 to 24 mm. This combined with a 4:3 aspect ratio allows a spherical panorama to be captured with 16 shots plus nadir. Also the camera will bracket three exposures, plus and minus two stops. Fixing aperture, manual focus and short self timer yields superb results. PTGui handles the bracketing effortlessly.

    The point of the exercise was to reduce the size and weight of a pano rig dramatically. The whole thing including tripod fit in a small bag that is easy on the shoulder... far more convenient than the Nikon DSLR setup I also have.
    Probably we should introduce a new mini model. :-)

    Leave a comment:

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