I am just getting into this and need to buy a NN and lens for my D300S.
The lens most often referenced is the Nikon 10.5 fisheye. It seesm to me that the Nikon 10-24 or Tokina 10-17 would give me the super wide field needed for VR 360s and offer the versatility for longer zooms for longer pans as well.
Is there a reason the Nikon 10-24 won't work for VR 360s?
The Nikon 10-24 will work for 360x180 panoramas, but as it's a rectilinear lens, you'll need to take many more shots than with a 10mm fisheye (17 instead of 8). See lens data at http://www.vrwave.com for shooting recommendations. (The Sigma 10-20mm will serve, as the Nikor lens is not explicitly listed). The Tokina 10-17mm fisheye is a good lens and is probably the most useful. The quality at 10mm is marginally less good than the Nikon 10.5mm fisheye, and the Nikon lens has a wider maximum aperture. Choices are never simple.
David, Cutting the shade off the 10.5mm will make no difference at all, since it's a fullframe fisheye on a D300S, already using all of the frame. It only makes a difference on a full frame camera such as the D3S or D7000.
It might have been the same person that told me that the 10.5 shaved will do a full 180 view with no need for a zenith or nadir shot (take tripod out in ps) Is that true with the 10.5 on an D300 or only on a full frame camera?
Workflow: 0°, +5° and +7.5° to check the Zenith Nadir holes with R1/R10, 2x +60° 180° visa versa to test horizontal connection in case of impossible Zenith at +90°, +90°, 2x -90°Nadir with Nadir Adapter.
For me personally Nikkor 10.5 is the best lens for D300s for taking a "normal pano". I have tested Sigma 8mm/f3.5 and Samyang 8mm/f3.5 - a manual lens - as well. Needs 6 shots around and depending on the Pitch Setting +/- Nadir and Zenith shot.
Basic lens knowledge has to be considered for the decision of taking an extra Zenith Shot or using a different pitch angle than +90° to close the Zenith. A fisheye lens has "minimal problems" - distortion etc.- in the middle of the lens. So in case you want to shoot a "high quality panorama", you should take the 2 more minutes or less to take an extra shot for Zenith at +90°. In case you need lower quality, shoot at a pitch of +5° or +7.5° pitch - move the upper rail on upper rotator to these settings - to get a good result. For an outside shot with a sky zenith for example. Trying to shoot a fresco in a church, I would take an extra zenith shot. Playing around with my pics by stitching in PTGuiPro for example, you can find out about the zenith quality or "overlap" and the corresponding nadir hole. The more you tilt up, the bigger is the result of the nadir hole.
The difference between shooting a panorama with a fisheye or a wide angle lens is a question between lower resolution, fewer number of pics per row plus a single row instead of several rows, which means less "ghosts in busy places" for example. What does this mean: shooting 6 shots around in a busy place you might catch the people or cars moving around on every single shot. But if your wide angle lens asks you to shoot two rows at +/- 30° pitch for example, you might get a problem in a busy place: in the first row you will get half of my body in front of the stop light on one side of the street, while in the second row I will have crossed the street to opposite side and you might catch the lower part of my body. When you stitch, you will get a "ghost". My body will be divided into upper and lower pieces in different places of the road. You have to mask this. May be a lot of work.
David, there are a lot of consequences in panography to decide for different types of lenses. It all depends on what you like to shoot: Real Estate, in calm places like empty churches, or busy places as the central place in city center. So to give you a good advice we'd like to get to know about your goals.
John already mentioned the link to VRWave to get to know how many rows at different pitches you have to take for different types of lenses.
This is the link to get to know about the number of pics you have to shoot for a special Camera-lens combination per row:
In case you get the Nikkor 10.5 and upgrade from D300/s DX format to FX full frame format like D3..., D700 - this is what John mentioned by mistake adding a 0 too much: D7000 - or D800 or D4, you can just shave off the lens hood of the Nikkor 10.5 to shoot 4 shots around on these FX bodies. Quicker than the normal used nikkor 16mm lens on FX bodies who ask 6 shots around in busy places. Though shaved you can still use it on DX bodies.
About NN Advice for your camera: to be open for changes in lenses you might use in the future get the NN4, add Nadir Adapter and for easy re-level Ez-Leveller II. In case you like to use Nikkor 70-200mm, 14-24mm , 24-70mm, you might think about M1 Series.
In case you only like to use a fisheye lens and look for low weight equipment, you could choose for the R1/R10, may be with R1/R10 Zenith Nadir Adapter.
Sorry for a long answer, but pano shooting and hardware is not a "Plug and Play Advice" .
Feel free to ask, I know it is a lot of information. I have tested and own lot of Nikon and NN Equipment. So I dare to give some advice to try to get you on the road.
Last edited by hindenhaag; 12-18-2011 at 02:03 PM.
Much of what you stated is over my head at this point, but I am sure it will start to make sense once I get started. I have decided to buy a NN4 with R16, a 10.5mm and PTGui. I am interested in doing 360 VRs in both interiors and exterior as well as standard 270 and 180 pans that will probably be great with my 18-200.
I don't understand what the Nadir adapter does. What good is a shot straight down above the tripod with the tripod in the pic?
If you are shooting a 360VR why would you angle your camera (pitch) any direction other than straight ahead?
If PTgui can fix the horizon line is Ez-Leveller II that helpful? I guessed that I could get the level close with the tripod legs and fix it with PTGui.
You mentioned the M1. I assume that that is just a heavier version of the NN4 for use with heavy lenses? I doubt that I will want to buy the lenses that you mentioned as they are quite expensive. I was thinking of using an old AI 80-200, for distant pans, but I think the focus and zoom may be too loose--although a thick rubber band may solve that. Would my old AI 80-200 work with the NN4 or do I need the N1?
How useful is my 18-200 for longer pans?
While I don't yet understand everything you stated, I am sure that I will soon and greatly appreciate the time you took to answer!