NN, long exposures, vibration

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  1. NN, long exposures, vibration

    #1

    I have just finished my second shoot using the NN5. I want to discuss a limitation of the NN5. I think it is better to consider this a limitation rather than a criticism. I assume that this would apply equally to the NN3. The limitation I am speaking of is that the NN may not be a good choice for long exposures. It does not help minimize vibration and may in fact amplify it.
    The shoot was made from the summit of a small mountain on an island in San Francisco bay. Wind was light but steady. I shot from late afternoon around 6:30 until early night 9:30. I wanted to get daylight, sunset and blue-hour panoramas. The daylight and Sunset shots were fine. The daylight and sunset exposures were all 125th or shorter.
    However the blue-hour shots were 3 second exposures and the results were disappointing. The shots not only showed some general é─˙non-directionalé─¨ fuzziness which I attributed to the wind and atmospheric distortion of the light but also some definite linear vibration. I believe that the linear vibration is attributable to the vibration of the shutter traveling as a wave back and forth through the two arms of the NN. Looking at the NN design it seems obvious that vibration might be amplified by its structure. This same distortion appeared consistently in all of the 30+ exposures I made using a 3 second exposure. Of course I used all of the normal tricks to reduce vibration such as mirror lock up and 10 second shutter delay. Since no similar distortion appeared in the shorter exposures I believe that the exposures were shorter than the wave frequency of the NN.
    In retrospect I wish I had used my conventional ball head. Almost all of the important features in the image were 2-7 miles away and so parallax would not be an issue.

    I would like to say otherwise that the NN seems to do a good job with shorter exposures. I had no difficulty in setting it up and determining the right settings for my camera and lens.

    I would recommend it to other photographers with the caveat that it may not be the best choice for long exposures.
  2. Re: NN, long exposures, vibration

    #2

    May I ask you which tripod, camera and lens you were using along with the NN5?



    Mauro Contrafatto
    Customer Service Manager
    cs@nodalninja.com
  3. Re: NN, long exposures, vibration

    #3
    Users Country Flag
    Join Date: Apr 2008
    Location: Hong Kong
    Posts: 2,422

    any pano head is going to amplify vibration. It is like extending the center column of tripod. Due to the structure of a pano head, the effect is much worse than extending center column. I can add another kg to NN5 arms to make it more rigid but your back will complain then. ;-)


    nick



    Fanotec
    We listen. We try harder.
  4. Re: NN, long exposures, vibration

    #4
    Users Country Flag
    Join Date: Apr 2008
    Location: Saddleworth UK
    Posts: 242

    Wind and other vibration actually travels up and down the legs of your tripod and back into the NN head.
    If you use live view and a reasonably long lens you can see this quite clearly if you lightly tap eiither the camera, the NN or a tripod leg.
    You will notice that it actually goes in a wave up and down the legs and has peaks and troughs.
    It is somewhat deminished if you attach the NN directly to the legs, but as the main problem is the peaks in vibration returning from the legs, the only real help is to dampen the legs some how. I have found wooden legs to give the least effect.

    Doing the same experiment but with out the NN and using a ball head , still shows the same effect, but to a lesser extent.

    Unless all parts of the NN, mount, and tripod was made of something that naturally dampens vibration, like lead or cast iron I am afraid we are stuck with the problem.

    Perhaps the only real alternative would be to use a heavy surveyors Tripod and a Custom made Head cast in iron using a saddle rather than a single vertical arm. even then the chances of no vibration at all, is remote.

    I have found that wind on the camera neck strap can be one of the main triggers for vibration.
  5. Re: NN, long exposures, vibration

    #5

    Quote Originally Posted by Mauro Contrafatto View Post
    May I ask you which tripod, camera and lens you were using along with the NN5?
    I used a Gitzo G1325 tripod with a Gitzo 1321 leveling head.
  6. Re: NN, long exposures, vibration

    #6

    Quote Originally Posted by Terrywoodenpic View Post

    ~Snip~
    It is somewhat deminished if you attach the NN directly to the legs, but as the main problem is the peaks in vibration returning from the legs, the only real help is to dampen the legs some how. I have found wooden legs to give the least effect.

    Doing the same experiment but with out the NN and using a ball head , still shows the same effect, but to a lesser extent.

    ~Snip~

    I have found that wind on the camera neck strap can be one of the main triggers for vibration.

    Based on what I have read Carbon fiber legs are the 2nd best for dampening vibration. Only wood is better.

    The Camera was a Canon 40D and the Lens was the Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens used at 17 mm. I believe you said in another topic that you use a similar combination.

    I have done many long exposures some as long as 8 seconds and many on tripods that were not as good as the Gitzo 1325 for vibration. But those result was much better.

    This is a one second exposure <http://www.pbase.com/marc4ucb/image/12246678> You can count the cables on the Golden Gate Bridge more than 15 miles away. Note that the lights on the bridge do not have the linear distortion that is charachtersitic of a shutter or a tap on the equipment.

    This is a four second exposure <http://www.pbase.com/marc4ucb/image/6872360> Again there is no sign of shutter vibration. These pictures were taken with another smaller non-SLR camera and it is possible that the Shutter makes less vibration



  7. Re: NN, long exposures, vibration

    #7
    Users Country Flag
    Join Date: Apr 2008
    Location: Saddleworth UK
    Posts: 242

    Quote Originally Posted by Marc4UCB View Post

    Based on what I have read Carbon fiber legs are the 2nd best for dampening vibration. Only wood is better.

    The Camera was a Canon 40D and the Lens was the Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens used at 17 mm. I believe you said in another topic that you use a similar combination.

    I have done many long exposures some as long as 8 seconds and many on tripods that were not as good as the Gitzo 1325 for vibration. But those result was much better.

    This is a one second exposure <http://www.pbase.com/marc4ucb/image/12246678> You can count the cables on the Golden Gate Bridge more than 15 miles away. Note that the lights on the bridge do not have the linear distortion that is charachtersitic of a shutter or a tap on the equipment.

    This is a four second exposure <http://www.pbase.com/marc4ucb/image/6872360> Again there is no sign of shutter vibration. These pictures were taken with another smaller non-SLR camera and it is possible that the Shutter makes less vibration
    Yes I use the canon 40D and 17-55 lens on a manfrotto 055proB Tripod with out any other head than a NN3 ll.
    You will find in perfect conditions virtually any set up produces excellent results.
    I too find vibration irritating, and it is often visible at 100% if you pixel peep... However on prints or at 50% or below, it rarely shows.

    In less than Ideal conditions all we can do is minimise the problem, by dampening the legs, making sure there is nothing unnecessary to catch the wind, and using as few add ons as possible. And using a remote release with mirror lock. (I wait at least 5 seconds after mirror up before taking the shot) I am sure a wind break would help but that is taking things to extremes, you might be able to use a large oval fold up reflector, but I have not tried it.

    Terry
  8. Re: NN, long exposures, vibration

    #8

    Even skyscraper sways in the wind but doesn't make them inferior by design. Nodal Ninja is very stable and the weakest point (causing the vibration) is usually at some point below the pano head. From the overall height (skyscraper effect) to the tripod neck to the tripod legs not being set out to max. Even the ground you are sitting the tripod on (i.e. sand, dirt, grass etc. can be a factor. You could try lowering the entire rig, spreading out the tripod legs as far as possible and even weighing down the tripod with backpack or rock on a rope (don't let it swing).
    Keep us posted on how you go.
    Bill
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