Rotator Mini vs. RD5
Any feedback on the Rotator Mini? I have a RD5, which is wonderful, but if the Rotator Mini works just as well at a fraction of the weight it might be a nice replacement. The design of the RD series is a vast improvement over the NN3 rotators, with the clicks coming from the side rather than the bottom. This eliminated any play. The NN3 rotators needed some play for the clicks. Does the Rotator Mini borrow from the RD series or is it an update of the NN3, as far as where the clicks are located?
with the RD5 you can on the flight change the number of shots around and have a lock screw. All this for more weight and a bigger size.
The Mini has a preset of shots around depending on the ring you use. You can not change it on the flight as easy as on the RD5. To change the number of shots you have to order another ring and change the rings. It is easy moving from click to click, the stop screw sits at the bottom of the rotator, so you can not use it in the field. This means in case you are moving around, you have fix the panohead with one of your hands. Otherwise the panohead will move around unexpected and this might be a problem for your camera.
So in case you know how many shots you need around, fix the ring to your mini and off you go with a tiny lightweight rotator. Would be nice to use it with NN3 or RS-1 which has a shorter lower rail than NN3. I have both, a Mini with 60° and an extra ring with 90° as well as the RD5. In case I want to use different lenses I use the RD5, otherwise the Mini. But keep in mind to fix the panohead with your hand while moving around.
I is a new design , nothing borrowed of the RD5. On the way to reduce weight and size in panography.
Your observation about the Rotator Mini's ease of rotation answers one of my questions. With my R10 mounted atop the RD5 I can do this for my nadir shots:
I suspect the Mini would be difficult in this orientation.
Without a pan lock, RM is difficult to use in this orientation.
Originally Posted by waters 60
Besides, RD5 is much more robust and durable. The click stop detent cylinder is stainless steel which we are testing the life time. Preliminary test results shows a life time more than 200k clicks. I guess the Rotator mini, using aluminum click stop detent will have a much shorter life time. Well, its detent ring is user replaceable. So if you only need a light rotator, RM is a good choice.
You can use the Nadir Adapter on NN3 so you can use it like shown in the pics.
Rotator Mini versus RD4
I just received a RS-1 with both six-click rotator mini and 'factory irregular' RD4 for use with a Nikon D800/16mm. As Nick mentioned in this thread, the rotator mini is designed for lighter duty and does not have the pan lock. For my tastes, I intend to use the RD4. Note that it apparently has been discontinued by Nodal Ninja and is being sold at a discount compared to the RD5. In my case, with short focal-length lenses, I don't need more than six pan positions so the RD4 is perfect. 'Factory irregular' seems good as new to me.
Two thoughts in closing. I've made a slight modification to Gitzo tripods that makes rotator use easier and more secure. I temporarily removed the plastic footing disk on the top of the tripod and (not wanting to deal with a metric thumb screw) drilled and tapped one of the holes in the base for 1/4-20. An off-the-shelf slotted thumb screw fits nicely and means to you don't have to carry an Allen wrench to firmly fix the rotator to the tripod. A thin coin or the back of a knife edge will allow you to mount and dismount it. I find this rig far more robust in that you don't have to worry over whether to rotator is indexing as designed, or spinning on the tripod screw.
Finally, a short piece of black electrical tape will cover the unused rotator index holes without the risk of loosing the little silicone plugs.