Purchasing advice

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  1. Purchasing advice

    #1

    Hi all,

    I'm zeroing in on my purchasing decisions for a Nodal Ninja setup and am looking for a last bit of advice before pulling the trigger. I'm sure this will rehash some prior Forum discussion, but I appreciate your indulgence as I'm trying to do this quickly before an upcoming trip to Big Sur or the Russian River Valley in early May.

    My current interest is in architectural (indoor and outdoor, but not VR - I just like buildings) and landscape panoramas, including HDR. I'm mostly interested in one or two row 180s but would like to leave my options open with regards to 360s, spherical, vertical, etc. I'd like to have a lot of precision for my image spacing/overlap. I do most of my image taking while traveling and/or hiking, so reducing size/weight is important. (This is one major reason why I've settled on a NN of some type rather than a Manfrotto or some other brand.)

    I'm currently shooting with a Nikon D80, a Nikkor 20mm f/2.8, 18-200mm DX VR, and a Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX. However, there is a D700 somewhere in my future. I hope.

    I have a Bogen/Manfrotto 3221 tripod. It's big and it's heavy, but I'm going to stick with it for the time being.

    I'm leaning towards the NN5 w/RD16 for the reasons given above. I'm guessing that the NN3MKII would give me most of what I want except for accommodating the D700. Is that true or, if I decided to forgo panos full spherical panos (360x180), would I be okay with the NN3 with the D700? I'd like to use both a D80 or D700 in both portrait and landscape orientation even for one or two row 180s. And, or course, the smaller/lighter the gear on my back, the better. :-)

    In addition to my NN5 vs. NN3 decision, I am also interested in a quick release plate and clamp and a leveler for my tripod.

    Which quick release system would folks recommend? I'd like to keep things as compact as possible - the thinner/lighter the better.

    What do people think about the EZ-Leveller-II versus the Manfrotto 338/3416 Leveling Base? The Manfrotto has a bubble level integrated which makes it useful when not using the NN. Otherwise they seem very similar. I can get the Manfrotto for $20-$30 less than the listed price of the EZ-Leveler.

    Thanks in advance for everybody's help. I'm looking forward to making a decision very soon and making some test images here in Chicago before hitting the trails.

    Aron

  2. Re: Purchasing advice

    #2
    Users Country Flag
    Join Date: Apr 2008
    Location: Hong Kong
    Posts: 2,389

    Quote Originally Posted by asilverton View Post

    I'm currently shooting with a Nikon D80, a Nikkor 20mm f/2.8, 18-200mm DX VR, and a Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX. However, there is a D700 somewhere in my future. I hope.

    I'm leaning towards the NN5 w/RD16 for the reasons given above. I'm guessing that the NN3MKII would give me most of what I want except for accommodating the D700. Is that true or, if I decided to forgo panos full spherical panos (360x180), would I be okay with the NN3 with the D700? I'd like to use both a D80 or D700 in both portrait and landscape orientation even for one or two row 180s. And, or course, the smaller/lighter the gear on my back, the better. :-)
    NN3 will work with D700 for small lens like your primes and the 18-200mm. If light weight is more important for you, get the NN3II or the NN3II with R-D8. If versatility, stability and wider compatibility are more important for you, get the NN5 instead.



    In addition to my NN5 vs. NN3 decision, I am also interested in a quick release plate and clamp and a leveler for my tripod.

    Which quick release system would folks recommend? I'd like to keep things as compact as possible - the thinner/lighter the better.
    Our QRS2
    http://store.nodalninja.com/product_p/qrs-2.htm
    and coming ASQRS2 (Arcas Swiss compatible) QR system is quite thin.





    What do people think about the EZ-Leveller-II versus the Manfrotto 338/3416 Leveling Base? The Manfrotto has a bubble level integrated which makes it useful when not using the NN. Otherwise they seem very similar. I can get the Manfrotto for $20-$30 less than the listed price of the EZ-Leveler.
    With manfrotto, you don't just save $20-$30, you get 400g (200g vs 600g) and extra bulk as bonus.
    We spend a big portion of cost to remove the redundant weight and bulk. The thumb wheels in EZ-L II is more smooth to turn than Manfrotto. EZ-L II allows you to adjust the initial angle of pano head without moving the tripod. Not to speak, we also include a nice padded case which protect not only the EZ-L II but also the more expensive gear in the same bag.


    Nick




    Fanotec
    We listen. We try harder.
  3. Re: Purchasing advice

    #3

    Thanks, Nick.

    With your help and a short discussion with Bill, I've decided to go with the NN5 and RD16 at this time.

    -A
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