I am just starting with panorama photography, as a hobby rather than a business. Most of this will take place in mountainous terrain in Scotland and also on annual trips to the Himalayas (up to about 5500m), so equipment weight is an issue.
My main aim will be single row panoramas , though some multi row will also be done. Very little will be greater than 180 degrees, and for greater than 180 degrees I would probably buy a specialised 8mm or 10.5 mm lens.
My camera body is a Nikon D300, with Nikon 18-200mm VR, Sigma 10-20mm and Nikon 50mm f1.8 lenses. For most of the work I would be using the Sigma 10-20mm ; the Nikon 50mm would be for getting high resolution images of individual features within the landscape (eg trees ; rock outcrops etc) and the Nikon 18-200 would be for panoramas (limited angles) of details of distant mountain summits / ridges . I have no immediate need to do full spherical panoramas - as and when I do I will buy a suitable lens just for this.
The camera plus lens weight for Sigma (equal heaviest lens) is about 1.5Kg - NN3 is stated as being OK at 1.3Kg (and must be below 3Kg).
I have two questions -
Q1: What are the weights of the NN3, NN4 and NN5 in basic form and with the RD16 Rotator? This may seem nerdish, but at my age carrying heavy loads at above 4000m does not get any easier!!
I have attempted to find this information from the websites but there seem to me to be inconsistencies, and it would be useful to get values from people who actually have the kit. I think that NN3 basic is 475grms [By ‘basic’ I am excluding such things as the Ez Leveler); NN3 with RD16 rotator is 860grms; NN4 and NN5 basic are about 890 grms. Based on this I would expect the NN4 / NN5 with RD16 Rotator to be about 1275 grms - though the figures on the website are somewhat lower.
Q2: With a D300 can I get away with an NN3 rather than NN4 or NN5 from a size standpoint ? It seems to me that there are two size issues - (a) being able to position the camera / lens in the no parallax position and (b) ensuring that the camera / lens do not snag the NN bodywork at low or high angles of tilt.
The B measurements (ie rear plane of camera body to front plane of lens housing) / upper rail setting are as follows
D300 + Sigma 10-20 @ 10mm = 141mm / 98mm (in lens table on the web site)
D300 + Sigma 10-20 @ 20mm = 146mm / 104mm (in lens table on the web site)
D300 + Nikon 50mm = 103mm / 59mm (not from web site)
D300 + 18-200VR at 70mm = 205mm / ???
D300 + 18-200VR @ 200mm = 225mm / ???
Note that for the 18-200 the range of rotation angles will be small, and probably less than 90deg).
(All B measurements are without lens hood or filters )
An NN3 basic model with a T-adapter should give maximum of 129mm (107 + 22) for the camera position on the Upper Rail which suggests that it should be ok from the no-parallax point of view.