Nodal ninja 3MKII with a compact camera
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  1. Nodal ninja 3MKII with a compact camera

    #1

    Hi everyone!

    I'm Damir from Croatia, and I'm a freelance web developer. I'm starting a firm, which will offer web developing and 360 panoramas and virtual tours. So, I'm basicy starting with panoramas, and so far I managed to produce only a single row panorama. I want to shoot 360 multirow, spherical panoramas.
    Looking all the way up and down, something like this - http://krpano.com/krpano.html?pano=p...che/kirche.xml .

    I'm just about to order a NN3 MKII. But I have a dilema which one to get. With or without leverer, and what rotator.

    I went to the decision tree:

    1. I have a compact BENQ ( for start ) which tells me I defenitly need a t-adapter because of an offset between center of the lens and a mount hole.
    2. I want to shoot multirow sphereical panoramas, multiimage mosaic etc...so I need a NN3 serias

    the problem starts at the next one:
    3. CHANGING FOCAL LENGHTS rarely or frequently? What does this mean?

    My camera specifications:
    Sensor SONY 10 Mega Pixels, 1/2.3 inch CCD
    Zoom Optical: 3X
    Digital: Up to 5X(Preview) / Up to 12X(Playback)
    Lens f = 6.2 ( W ) ~ 18.6 ( T ) mm
    F= 3.0 (W) ~ 5.6 (T)
    (f = 35~105mm, 35mm equivalent)
    Focus Range Normal: W=80cm ~ Infinity Macro: W=5cm ~ 100cm
    LCD 2.7“ LCD 230k pixels
    Image Resolution 10M / 3:2 / 8M / 5M/ 3M / HD 16:9 / VGA
    Movie Mode 720 x 400 (16:9) / 640 x 480 / 320 x 240 / Web sharing 30 fps,Continuous recording with sound
    Shutter Speed 1/2000 ~ 1 sec. (Fireworks 2 sec.; Manual 15 sec.; Night Scene 8 sec.)
    ISO Auto / 50 / 100 / 200 / 400 / 800 / 1600 / 3200 (3M or lower) / 6400 (VGA and HD 16:9 only)
    Flash Auto Flash, Auto Anti Red-eye, Force On, Slow Sync, Force Off
    Power Source AA Battery x 2
    CIPA Approx 200 base on bundled batteries
    Storage Type Built-in Approx. 21.1MB 4GB SD compatible / 32GB SDHC card compatible
    Dimensions/Weight Dimensions:92.0x60.5x23.8mm


    So, will the basic package do the job, or I need a built in leverer? I assume I do need it.

    4. If I need a leverer, which rotator to get?
    NN3 w/R-D3L ( 6-8-10 )
    NN3 w/R-D3L ( 6-8-30 )
    or without leverer the NN3 w/R-D8?

    I noticed most of you guys use a 8mm fisheye, but is there someone who uses just a compact camera simmilar to mine?

    I would be thankfull if someone could help me. :blushing:
  2. #2

    Welcome Damir,

    I'll try to help you at my best, see below my answers and suggestions to help you in choice ;)

    Quote Originally Posted by dmr View Post
    1. I have a compact BENQ ( for start ) which tells me I defenitly need a t-adapter because of an offset between center of the lens and a mount hole.
    You are right !

    Quote Originally Posted by dmr View Post
    2. I want to shoot multirow sphereical panoramas, multiimage mosaic etc...so I need a NN3 serias
    right also considering size of your camera, NN3 should be able to handle it easily.

    Quote Originally Posted by dmr View Post
    CHANGING FOCAL LENGHTS rarely or frequently? What does this mean?
    It means that your camera allows you to shoot between 35 and 105mm focal length. So you can shot your panoramas at 35mm, 105mm, and all values in between. When you change of focal length, nodal point moves and so it means you'll need different angle stops to setup on your Nodal Ninja 3. If you use the standard rotator included with Nodal Ninja 3 (the one with brass ring), you'll need each time you change of focal length to change ring, it's not difficult but an extra step, not alway easy to do when you are outdoor in nature ! Nodal Ninja 3 with R-D8 or R-D16 is a lot easier to setup as you just need to move a knob on the rotator (you can handle it with gloves easily :) R-D8 contains all configurations for fisheye and wide-angle focal length. R-D16 contains configurations of R-D8 plus extra for telezoom. In your case, R-D16 should be best solution.
    For info, more you increase focal length better quality of your panorama will be, but you'll need more shots, so it's a choice to do depending on situations, quality wanted....

    Quote Originally Posted by dmr View Post
    So, will the basic package do the job, or I need a built in leverer? I assume I do need it.
    EZ-Leveller II will help you to level your Nodal Ninja 3 in a more easy way than using knobs on your tripod legs. If you do only spherical panoramas it's not mandatory as you can level your panorama later during stitching process. Myself I find it better to get panorama levelled at begin, avoid extra work during stitching ;)

    Hope it'll help you to decide ;)

    Cheers,

    Vincèn



    French Nodal Ninja Distributor
    Blog: http://www.skivr.com
    Online shop: http://magasin.skivr.com
    Photo gallery: http://flickr.com/skivr
    Support website: http://support.skivr.com
  3. #3

    This is what I call a fast reply. You helped me a lot, thank you Vincèn. Just a couple more questions. :)

    So, in your opinion, the best solution is a R-D16 rotator. What about the NN3 w/R-D3L ( 6-8-10 ) and NN3 w/R-D3L ( 6-8-30 ) with a built in leveller, there are configured for fish eye lenses and such? Not my best option? :D

    If i don't get a leveller, I need to to adjust the legs on tripod. This built-in bubble level on NN3 is where I control this? I dont have bubble leveller on my tripod. I'm limited financial, so sadly I can't get a R-D16 rotator and a EZ-eveller. :D
  4. #4
    Users Country Flag
    Join Date: Apr 2008
    Location: Saddleworth UK
    Posts: 242

    You will find the ezleveller is not absolutely necessary ... I have one but do not use it. I can level the legs very quickly using the bubble on the NN3.
    The R-D16 is a good choice as it offers more options and is quick, and will still be useful when you change your camers (This is inevitable at some point)

    If you find you need a leveller, You could get one when you have more cash. It is certainly not essential at the start.

    I used to use a canon G6 on a NN3 I always used it with the lens at the widest setting. A camera that you can set the exposure, colour balance and focus manually is really essential to get even blending.
  5. #5

    Thenk you guys, you're really helped out.

    I'm aware I will have to soon buy a new camera. In the single row panoramas this camera turned out ok, but needs a good light.

    One more question. Can this kind of camera produce a decent quality panorama, that can be offered to my potencial clients?
  6. #6

    Quote Originally Posted by dmr View Post
    This is what I call a fast reply. You helped me a lot, thank you Vincèn. Just a couple more questions. :)
    cool it helped you

    Quote Originally Posted by dmr View Post
    So, in your opinion, the best solution is a R-D16 rotator. What about the NN3 w/R-D3L ( 6-8-10 ) and NN3 w/R-D3L ( 6-8-30 ) with a built in leveller, there are configured for fish eye lenses and such? Not my best option? :D
    Best solution is either R-D16 if you have budget, or basic model if you have not. For R-D3L, it combines both leveller and rotator, but it includes just 3 settings, so probably too restrictive for your camera !

    Quote Originally Posted by dmr View Post
    If i don't get a leveller, I need to to adjust the legs on tripod. This built-in bubble level on NN3 is where I control this? I dont have bubble leveller on my tripod. I'm limited financial, so sadly I can't get a R-D16 rotator and a EZ-eveller. :D
    You are right, if you use legs of tripod to adjust level, you'll be able to check it on bubble on horizontal rail of NN3 :) You don't need bubble on your tripod, neither on your camera !

    Vincèn



    French Nodal Ninja Distributor
    Blog: http://www.skivr.com
    Online shop: http://magasin.skivr.com
    Photo gallery: http://flickr.com/skivr
    Support website: http://support.skivr.com
  7. #7

    So close to a final decision, almost there. :D

    To make sure I got everything right, here's an example:

    Lets say, the nodal ninja is set to take 3 shots every 120 degrees.

    I decide to take 15 shots every 24 degees. On the basic model I would have to change this detent plate by unscrewing the main knob and lift off the horizontal bar. On the R-D16 I simply turn the knob.

    Is this the only differnce? If so, I don't really see a good reason to buy a R-D16, expecially if you don't change focal length so often. It isn't such a problem to change this.
  8. #8
    Users Country Flag
    Join Date: Apr 2008
    Location: Saddleworth UK
    Posts: 242

    Quote Originally Posted by dmr View Post
    So close to a final decision, almost there. :D

    To make sure I got everything right, here's an example:

    Lets say, the nodal ninja is set to take 3 shots every 120 degrees.

    I decide to take 15 shots every 24 degees. On the basic model I would have to change this detent plate by unscrewing the main knob and lift off the horizontal bar. On the R-D16 I simply turn the knob.

    Is this the only differnce? If so, I don't really see a good reason to buy a R-D16, expecially if you don't change focal length so often. It isn't such a problem to change this.
    That is true.. You would be able to buy a rd16 later to upgrade. It is a sturdier and easier rotator. But people manage very well with the standard rotator.
    One problem you might have with your camera ( If it is the BenQ DC E1000) Is that you can not manually focus or lock the focus. This can cause problems if there are both close ard far objects as the camera will refocus between shots.
    This can cause the viw angle to change slightly and can cause stitching problrms.

    However in many situations it will not be a problem.
  9. #9

    Quote Originally Posted by Terrywoodenpic View Post
    One problem you might have with your camera ( If it is the BenQ DC E1000) Is that you can not manually focus or lock the focus. This can cause problems if there are both close ard far objects as the camera will refocus between shots.
    This can cause the viw angle to change slightly and can cause stitching problrms.

    However in many situations it will not be a problem.
    Thank you for the warning. Yes, in a manual mode, my BENQ DC 1035 cannot lock focus. The only options are auto focus, pan focus or infinity. I shot a single row panorama with a pan or infinity option, and didn't have stiching problems so far. But i can see that the purchase of the new camera will be, as you said inevitable. :) So the money saved from not buying a R-D16 will be spent on a camera that has better manual options then this one.

    Thanks everyone, you've been very helpfull in my decission. You will probably hear from me again with new problems. :D
  10. #10

    Hello dmr,

    I concur with Vincen and Terrywoodenpic, but thought I would add a comment as I have made successful Spherical Panoramas with a very similar camera to yours - a Panasonic fx100.
    I used this camera on a NN3 II with no Leveller and adjusted the tripod legs to get the NN3 bubble in the centre.
    The important thing is to get the axis of the camera lens parallel to the top arm and a T adapter will do this for you, but if you don't have a big budget, as you say, you can achieve the same thing with a small bar that can have a 1/4" whitworth thread to fit the Nodal Ninja camera adapter to and use a 1/4" Whitworth "camra case screw" (which you can buy from a camera shop) so that you can offset the lens.
    The problem is that your compact probably does not have the 1/4" Whitworth thread in its base in line with the axis of the lens (which is how the Panasonic is) - Most DSLR do have this thread in the right place so if you are planning to buy one in the future, the T adapter will become redundant.
    I hope this helps, but you are welcome to come back with more questions.

    Attachment 101 Attachment 102
  11. #11

    Sorry, I managed to mess up attaching a couple of small photos so will try again.
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  12. #12

    I already ordered my NN3 and a t-adapter. Great thing a t-adapter is a budget-friendly. :) But thanks for your remarks. It's good to knew it can be done with a compact camera.

    I'm expecting my delivery next week, so I'll take your advice about lining the lens.
  13. #13
    Users Country Flag
    Join Date: Apr 2008
    Location: Hong Kong
    Posts: 2,462

    Just to add one more tip.
    You will need to use a detent ring with 30 deg or 24 deg interval at widest zoom. 30 deg will give you 25% overlap, 24 deg will give you 40% overlap.
    if you buy the new NN3II "Starter Package". You need to get extra ring to get these intervals. We remove 2 rings from "complete package" and reduce the price.
    Alternatively, you can skip one stop from the default 15 deg ring to achieve 30 deg interval. 24 deg need a new ring.

    Ask your reseller to add them to your current order to save you shipping. I hope your reseller will not be too effective to have shipped out your order already. LOL.
    Besides, you can ask to swap the standard camera mounting plate with a T-adapter for free.


    Nick
    Last edited by nick fan; 08-25-2010 at 09:50 PM.



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  14. #14

    With 35mm equiv focal length, you will be shooting at least 4 rows with possibly 16 images per row. Going to even longer focal length the number of images in each row will be much higher. I would recommend getting a good wide angle adapter and just stick with that configuration. So eventually, you will not be changing the focal length very often or very much. You really need to figure out one good configuration for your lens/camera combo and stick with it for a while to learn what it can do and can't do.

    I suggest getting the stock NN3 rotator because it is more flexible than the RD rotators to start with. Later on when you figure out what you need, then you can opt for a more expensive rotator that exactly fits you need.
    Last edited by DemonDuck; 08-26-2010 at 10:19 AM.
  15. #15

    Quote Originally Posted by DemonDuck View Post
    With 35mm equiv focal length, you will be shooting at least 4 rows with possibly 16 images per row. Going to even longer focal length the number of images in each row will be much higher. I would recommend getting a good wide angle adapter and just stick with that configuration. So eventually, you will not be changing the focal length very often or very much. You really need to figure out one good configuration for your lens/camera combo and stick with it for a while to learn what it can do and can't do.

    Yes, that's the plan for now. I will stick to 35mm. I'm aware I need to take whole bunch of photos with this kind of camera. :blushing: When shooting single row panorama I shot my scene with about 16-20 photos and the stiching was without any errors. I know its a lot of work when stiching so many photos.

    What about the number of rows to achive a 180 vertical view? How do I calculate this? And how do I shot nadir and zenith?

    I assume, this adapter is expensive?? Later on, I'm planning of buying slr with a 8mm lens, so I probably won't go with adapter. For now I have to manage getting a good quality panorama with this compact camera ( when on full screen clear panorama photo ).

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