Frankenstien NN3

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  1. Frankenstien NN3

    #1
    Users Country Flag
    Join Date: Sep 2009
    Location: Los Angeles, CA
    Posts: 348

    Posted this on Panoguide already. Someone suggested I post it here. Here it is.

    The Nodal Ninja Ultimate line of tripod heads has changed the way I do panorama pictures. I used the R1 with a Sigma 8mm f/3.5 lens and a monopod while on the road. I must have taken that lens on and off the head at least 20 times a day. The panorama head performed flawlessly. The rail stop and the spring plunger work great. I do not have any excuses for not taking my panorama gear with me anywhere.

    After I got back home I started using my NN3. It occurred to me that mounting the camera body to the upper rail was not as efficient as mounting the lens clamp directly to the upper rotator and totally eliminating the upper rail (well, almost totally). After adapting my NN3 to use the ring clamp I took a look at my Nadar bracket. Previously I had to have the pano head on a quick release plate so I could remove it from the tripod and snap in my Nadar bracket. It suddenly became obvious that using the lens ring clamp for the Nadar bracket made sense. I then saw that I could mount a Nadar bracket directly onto what was left of my good old NN3 and eliminate the quick release plates from under the pano head.

    http://www.dlsphoto.net/Panoguide/NN3UR1A.jpg
    http://www.dlsphoto.net/Panoguide/NN3UR1B.jpg
    http://www.dlsphoto.net/Panoguide/NN3UR1C.jpg

    It is lightening quick to move the camera from the pano head to the bracket and back. You only need to move the tripod 11" for an absolute clear Nadar shot. Combining the two images in Photoshop prior to stitching your pano is brain dead easy. You could also mask out the tripod parts in both pictures and bring them into PTGui, stitch as usual.
  2. Re: Frankenstien NN3

    #2

    now that's a mod!
    Looks like bits and pieces from other NN's. Glad it works for you and appreciate you sharing this.

    Bill

    ps - careful with extreme mods - it may void product warranty
  3. Re: Frankenstien NN3

    #3
    bigwade's Avatar
    Join Date: Apr 2008
    Location: Utrecht, The Netherlands
    Posts: 67

    Nice Dennis, but I think this should be on another place...... ?
    NN3 or "everything else"
    grtz
    Frank
  4. Re: Frankenstien NN3

    #4

    the thread now resides in it's proper section
    thx
    Bill
  5. Re: Frankenstien NN3

    #5
    Users Country Flag
    Join Date: Apr 2008
    Location: Bangkok, Thailand
    Posts: 27

    What is the piece that sits between NN3 and the rotator? I don't see it anywhere on NN estore and it looks like an OEM.

    Now this is something I will follow. Thanks
  6. Re: Frankenstien NN3

    #6
  7. Re: Frankenstien NN3

    #7
    Users Country Flag
    Join Date: Apr 2008
    Location: Hong Kong
    Posts: 2,427

    Quote Originally Posted by psJIM View Post
    What is the piece that sits between NN3 and the rotator? I don't see it anywhere on NN estore and it looks like an OEM.

    Now this is something I will follow. Thanks
    that is the pole adapter
    http://store.nodalninja.com/product_p/u-r1-pole-kit.htm

    Nick



    Fanotec
    We listen. We try harder.
  8. Re: Frankenstien NN3

    #8

    that was my next guess
  9. Re: Frankenstien NN3

    #9
    bigwade's Avatar
    Join Date: Apr 2008
    Location: Utrecht, The Netherlands
    Posts: 67

    Hi All,
    The good news is that the original NN3 and all + CAN be modified
    to peoples wishes without so much trouble.

    Got my first NN3 in 2006 (?)
    I was not so happy with the original rotator but found a post on panoguide from Nick there was a hidden 3/8 female in the underrail.
    Hey, that fitted my old Manfrotto MA300 rotator.
    This rotator did a nice (but not so perfect) job until the D8 arrived.

    The nice thing is most NN stuff can be combined and I really like to now how Dennis got this QM on the top rotator :-)

    BTW modding = losing warranty !!! ([s]but who cares, what can go wrong..[/s])

    grtz
    Frank
  10. Re: Frankenstien NN3

    #10
    Users Country Flag
    Join Date: Sep 2009
    Location: Los Angeles, CA
    Posts: 348

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Bailey View Post
    ps - careful with extreme mods - it may void product warranty
    "May void the warranty"? How is that for customer service? I would expect a company to void any and all warranties at the very first sign of tinkering! I do these mods to help make it easier to use products the way I want to. Since I have access to machinery and can do the mods, I do. I would never dream of asking for warranty service in case something goes wrong. When you play on the dark side, you assume all responsibility if something should break.

    I also have never liked the original NN3 rotator. When I got my Ultimate R1 rig, I fell in love with the D4 rotator. I ultimately ended up removing the rotator and using the R1 head on a monopod. This left me with an extra D4 rotator. There are two tapped holes in the top of the rotator. Putting a bolt in the center would not allow me to orient the rotator in such a way as to hide the lock knob and the detente selector knob when I take the Nadar shot. I drilled and countersunk two holes in the NN3 lower arm. This allowed me to orient the rotator the way I wanted. If you are not as anal as I am, you can simply use the 3/8-24 threaded hole in the center of the lower rail. You will need to remove the brass adapter first.

    I have always hated the friction pad style upper arm rotator. It never held my D300 camera securely without a lot of messing around. The vertical arm of the NN3 has a recessed area that is just a little bigger than the detente ring. Since Fanotec included two extra small brass pins (used to locate the detente ring on the lower arm) in the spare parts bag, it was very easy to drill and ream two small holes for these two pins. The detente ring drops right in. I also tapped the center hole to allow the brass adapter to thread in. The aluminum block between the upper arm and the arca clamp has 4 spring loaded ball plungers. Now the upper rotator has absolute positive indexing at 90 degrees (or whatever detente ring I want to put in there). I barely have to tighten the knob in order to hold the camera in position. I don't use a level on the camera hot shoe any more.

    The object between the lower arm and the rotator is a pole adapter. I had to countersink the two holes in the adapter in order to use it. It helps orient the lower arm so the two knobs are hidden during the Nadar shot.

    The more you look at Fanotec's stuff, the more you realize that across the entire line there is a lot of thought put into their products. When I got the pole adapter, I did not understand why there two sets of threaded holes and a set of reamed dowel pin holes. Now I see that these holes fit other products. It appears that they use standard dimensions in their designs. This allows the end user to mix and match stuff to some degree. Very nice.
  11. Re: Frankenstien NN3

    #11

    Quote Originally Posted by DennisS View Post
    "May void the warranty"? How is that for customer service? I would expect a company to void any and all warranties at the very first sign of tinkering!
    The key word here is "may" like you noted. We have seen some very simply mods (like tiny shims for tilting) to extreme mods that stress and bend rails or even using underwater in the salty ocean. If it works for a customer great! I believe most folks realize warranty limits and to date really hasn't been a issue but we do need to remind folks occasionally.
    Mods are good in the perspective that it shows how creative some can get like with this example. It also shows consumer needs and helps Nick with R&D.
    many thx for sharing
    Bill
  12. Re: Frankenstien NN3

    #12

    Quote Originally Posted by DennisS View Post
    It occurred to me that mounting the camera body to the upper rail was not as efficient as mounting the lens clamp directly to the upper rotator and totally eliminating the upper rail (well, almost totally). After adapting my NN3 to use the ring clamp I took a look at my Nadar bracket. Previously I had to have the pano head on a quick release plate so I could remove it from the tripod and snap in my Nadar bracket. It suddenly became obvious that using the lens ring clamp for the Nadar bracket made sense. I then saw that I could mount a Nadar bracket directly onto what was left of my good old NN3 and eliminate the quick release plates from under the pano head.

    http://www.dlsphoto.net/Panoguide/NN3UR1A.jpg
    http://www.dlsphoto.net/Panoguide/NN3UR1B.jpg
    http://www.dlsphoto.net/Panoguide/NN3UR1C.jpg
    Back in June 2008 I wrote:

    http://nodalninja.com/forum/index.php?topic=181.0

    I was wondering if an IPIX style -- grab'em by the throat -- tripod head mounting thingy was being considered? Those lenses seem to remain really popular and useful especially as compact cameras commonly exceed 10/12 megapixels and the prospect for a 20 megapixel compact gets stronger every day.

    Anything like that in the works?

    You could just about use half an NN3 and put a throat grabber on the tilt axis and get a flexible and useful head.
    DennisS just did what I had in mind! Make an adapter for your lens rings that does what DennisS did. The way he did it is better than a single row rotator / lens ring because you can tilt and do multi-rows; nadir and zenith and it's better than the regular NN3/5 because the camera is correctly and accurately positioned easily without having to fool around with it.

    DennisS did what I couldn't do and that is actually making something that works.
  13. Re: Frankenstien NN3

    #13
    Users Country Flag
    Join Date: Sep 2009
    Location: Los Angeles, CA
    Posts: 348

    DemonDuck,

    If you take this to the next logical step, you will have a pano head that can be used for all lenses and most all cameras without having to re calibrate the pano head.

    Figure out the tallest lens ring clamp. Make all other lens mounts that same height. This puts the center line of all the lenes at the exact same distance away from the bottom of the ring clamp. The left/right setting will never change. The difference between a Nikon 10.5 and a Sigma 8mm is about 1/4 inch, give or take so you would have to add a 1/4 inch to the bottom of the Nikon 10.5 ring clamp in order to make the two lenses sit at the exact same height.

    The fore/aft point will be set using a rail stop built into the ring clamp. The rail stop on my Sigma lens is a pleasure to use. I am waiting for the Nikon rail stop.

    For your first purchase, get 1 pano head and the correct ring clamp for your lens . Get a second lens for Christmas? Call up Fanotec and order the correct ring clamp. All differences in dimensions will be taken care of in the ring clamp. not the pano head. If you shoot Canon and your buddy shoots Nikon, you can remove your Sigma 8mm Canon mount lens from the ring clamp, hand him the clamp, he puts it on his Sigma 8mm Nikon mount and shoots away. NO CALIBRATION NEEDED.

    There are pano heads out there that are manufactured to work perfectly with a given camera/lens. Unfortunately, get a camera body with a different dimension and you will need to replace parts on the pano head. You cannot mix and match camera bodies on the same pano head.

    In a perfect world this would work great. In actual use, that may be a different story.

    I would love to see Fanotec produce this sytem before someone else does.

    Dennis
  14. Re: Frankenstien NN3

    #14

    Quote Originally Posted by DennisS View Post
    DemonDuck,

    If you take this to the next logical step, [stuff deleted]
    Dennis
    I had not thought about it like that. But that is an entirely feasible method for making a universal pano head.

    Nice concept! Sure would be simpler than fussing around adjusting the head for each lens/camera combo. Make the ring as the interface between lens/camera and head. That makes perfect sense.
  15. Re: Frankenstien NN3

    #15
    Users Country Flag
    Join Date: Apr 2008
    Location: Hong Kong
    Posts: 2,427

    Quote Originally Posted by DennisS View Post
    DemonDuck,

    If you take this to the next logical step, you will have a pano head that can be used for all lenses and most all cameras without having to re calibrate the pano head.

    Figure out the tallest lens ring clamp. Make all other lens mounts that same height. This puts the center line of all the lenes at the exact same distance away from the bottom of the ring clamp. The left/right setting will never change. The difference between a Nikon 10.5 and a Sigma 8mm is about 1/4 inch, give or take so you would have to add a 1/4 inch to the bottom of the Nikon 10.5 ring clamp in order to make the two lenses sit at the exact same height.

    The fore/aft point will be set using a rail stop built into the ring clamp. The rail stop on my Sigma lens is a pleasure to use. I am waiting for the Nikon rail stop.

    For your first purchase, get 1 pano head and the correct ring clamp for your lens . Get a second lens for Christmas? Call up Fanotec and order the correct ring clamp. All differences in dimensions will be taken care of in the ring clamp. not the pano head. If you shoot Canon and your buddy shoots Nikon, you can remove your Sigma 8mm Canon mount lens from the ring clamp, hand him the clamp, he puts it on his Sigma 8mm Nikon mount and shoots away. NO CALIBRATION NEEDED.

    There are pano heads out there that are manufactured to work perfectly with a given camera/lens. Unfortunately, get a camera body with a different dimension and you will need to replace parts on the pano head. You cannot mix and match camera bodies on the same pano head.

    In a perfect world this would work great. In actual use, that may be a different story.

    I would love to see Fanotec produce this sytem before someone else does.

    Dennis
    most lenses don't have suitable area for clamping. The clamping area must be very rigid and must not be a floating part from the lens flange. The clamping area must be close to the NPP. Since NPP is far away from the camera body for most zoom lens, the camera introduces a large torque on lens body. This can cause damage to the lens.
    Moreover, cost of making each custom insert is high. I have to buy a lens first. Think about the number of lenses to support!

    Nick



    Fanotec
    We listen. We try harder.
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