Help with understanding choices of Nodal Ninja lines

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  1. Help with understanding choices of Nodal Ninja lines

    #1

    Join Date: Aug 2013
    Location: Southern Oregon
    Posts: 14

    I've got an Olympus OM-D E-M5 (micro 4/3rds) camera with a few normal lenses (no fisheyes). Right now, I mostly just want to take multi-row images to increase the resolution (and to compensate for the "crop factor" of the camera), but I'm fascinated by full VR panoramas, so may want to do that eventually. I shoot mostly landscape & architecture type of things. Long exposure and HDR are interests. I believe that a common image will be a 3x3 (or slightly larger) mosaic using a 50-80mm (full frame equivalent) lens. A solution that would make it easy to stitch common cases (like 3x3 mosaic) would be very nice.

    The standard advice when shopping for a tripod is to buy what you think you'll end up needing, because if you start out with a cheap tripod, you'll get unhappy with it very quickly, and you'll end up spending more in the long run. So, I'm hoping to determine the solution that will work for me in the long run rather than just going with a solution that I'll outgrow right away.

    Given that my camera is small & light compared to APS-C or full-frame cameras, I could potentially get by with solutions like NN 3 or RS 1, but I'm not sure if I'd be limited by the rotation control on the upper arm. So, maybe the NN 4, RS 2, or Ultimate M line is appropriate, but it's really hard to tell.

    To further complicate things, I use the Peak Design "Capture" camera clip system which functions as an arca-swiss plate, but because the OM-D's tripod socket is offset from the lens axis, I'm going to have to do something to adjust that. Taking off the "Capture" camera clip isn't an option -- I use that constantly, and only take panoramas occasionally. So, I think using the "t-bar" wouldn't be possible for my situation.

    Here are some options I've come up with from looking at the Nodal Ninja site:
    1. Use NN 4 (or 3), and buy some arca-swiss clamp that will screw onto the upper arm of the NN and allow me to slide the camera a bit side-to-side to align the lens axis. I'm not sure how easy it would be to attach a clamp that will both move easily (when changing the NPP) but still hold my camera appropriately
    2. Use RS 2 (or 1), and buy some camera rail and clamps that will fit in the RS clamp and let me attach the camera appropriately. I don't have any fisheye lenses now, but if I got one in the future, then I could get the lens clamp and use it. Unfortunately, the lenses I have now don't have clamps available (I think).
    3. Use Ultimate M and either replace the upper arm clamp with something else or figure out some other clamping to align the lens axis

    Cost is definitely an issue, but like I said, I don't want to try to save money now and end up being really disappointed.

    I'd appreciate any words of wisdom (including "give up, you've over-constrained the problem"). I'm also interested in hearing what other micro 4/3rds people are doing as well.
  2. #2
    Users Country Flag
    Join Date: Apr 2008
    Location: Hong Kong
    Posts: 2,423

    what is the size of your plate? is it a square bi-directional design? what is the distance of tripod socket offset?

    NIck



    Fanotec
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  3. #3

    Join Date: Aug 2013
    Location: Southern Oregon
    Posts: 14

    The Peak Design "Capture" plate for micro-4/3rds cameras is rectangular rather than square, so it only fits in the arca-swiss clamps in one orientation -- the jaws of the arca-swiss clamp run perpendicular to the camera body when the camera is mounted on a tripod. The rough dimensions of the "capture" plate are 43cm x 30cm. The tripod socket offset is roughly 10cm.
  4. #4
    Users Country Flag
    Join Date: Apr 2008
    Location: Hong Kong
    Posts: 2,423

    Quote Originally Posted by NightFlyer View Post
    The Peak Design "Capture" plate for micro-4/3rds cameras is rectangular rather than square, so it only fits in the arca-swiss clamps in one orientation -- the jaws of the arca-swiss clamp run perpendicular to the camera body when the camera is mounted on a tripod. The rough dimensions of the "capture" plate are 43cm x 30cm. The tripod socket offset is roughly 10cm.
    That is a worse case of mismatch. You need to mount Arca QR clamp on T-adapter for NN3/4. For M1/2, I can make an adapter or a new rail to support offset.

    Nick



    Fanotec
    We listen. We try harder.
  5. #5
    Users Country Flag
    Join Date: Aug 2008
    Location: Netherlands
    Posts: 1,740

    Hi Nick,

    Not really that much worst case. I think I found a solution. I made an adapter plate for the offset and added a Peak Micro Plate which I had in stock. Mounting this to the camera you are in line with lens axis.
    May be it works with the plate NightFlyer got at home as well or he has to get the Micro Plate which I used.

    M1 Series, RS-1 / 2: this cam be mounted directly to the upper rail clamp.

    NN3 NN4: add the 3/8 inch Plate to QRC 40 - A and off you go.

    http://shop.nodalninja.com/rail-plate-3-8-inch-f9207/

    The one I used is a "play around one" so don't think about it.

    In case you like an anti twist option to the plate, you have to drill a 5mm hole in the rail plate.

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    @ NightFlyer: please send your address via IM and I'll send you the adapter plate as a "present" to help you out of your problems.

    Cheers,
    Heinz
    Last edited by hindenhaag; 08-23-2013 at 06:37 AM.
  6. #6

    Join Date: Aug 2013
    Location: Southern Oregon
    Posts: 14

    Quote Originally Posted by hindenhaag View Post
    Not really that much worst case. I think I found a solution. I made an adapter plate for the offset and added a Peak Micro Plate which I had in stock. Mounting this to the camera you are in line with lens axis.
    May be it works with the plate NightFlyer got at home as well or he has to get the Micro Plate which I used.

    M1 Series, RS-1 / 2: this cam be mounted directly to the upper rail clamp.

    NN3 NN4: add the 3/8 inch Plate to QRC 40 - A and off you go.

    @ NightFlyer: please send your address via IM and I'll send you the adapter plate as a "present" to help you out of your problems.

    Cheers,
    Heinz
    Wow! That sounds very interesting.

    A solution that has the offset attached between the NN and a QR clamp is preferable for the following reasons:
    • The OM-D E-M5 has an articulating back screen. One reason I have to use the Capture "microplate" rather than the regular plate is because the regular plate keeps the screen from flipping out (it kind of goes down a little before it flips out). While I'm sure that Heinz could cut the appropriate groove in his offset adapter, it would probably be easier to avoid that.
    • The OM-D E-M5 has an optional battery grip which I use occasionally. Right now, I have to remove the Capture microplate, add the battery grip, then replace the Capture microplate. I can do that without any tools. If the offset plate attaches to the camera, then I'll have to carry a screwdriver. Not a huge problem (I don't use the battery grip that often)

    Would the F8250 rail fit in the RS2 upper clamp? If so, then that might be my best solution, since I could use the rail with my current lenses and if I get a fisheye, then switch to a lens ring for that (removing the offset then as it won't be needed).

    Otherwise, the NN4 seems like a good starter set for me. I'm lusting over the M2, but I haven't done enough panoramas to know that I want to devote that much money.
  7. #7

    Join Date: Aug 2013
    Location: Southern Oregon
    Posts: 14

    Quote Originally Posted by nick fan View Post
    That is a worse case of mismatch. You need to mount Arca QR clamp on T-adapter for NN3/4. For M1/2, I can make an adapter or a new rail to support offset.

    Nick
    I'm not sure I understand how that would work. As I explained to Heinz, it would be much better for me any adapter to be between a QR clamp and the NN, so my camera just clips in to the QR clamp as it does normally now. The T adapter seems to be designed to attach to the camera, or am I missing something?

    I do want to say that you guys are awesome in trying to help! I know that I've got a lot of strange constraints, and I'm about ready to throw up my hands and give up, but you guys keep coming up with potential solutions. I really appreciate that.
  8. #8
    Users Country Flag
    Join Date: Aug 2008
    Location: Netherlands
    Posts: 1,740

    Nick,

    You do not need the T-Adapter, it is used to compensate the offset of tripod mount. It is done by my Adapter Plate.

    You can just clip into the QR Clamp as you do it now. To separate it from NN is the QRC 40 - A. This is the normal clamp for M1.

    By the way, I do not think the plate infers with your screen. In case I can make it smaller. Please send the measurements of your camera, specially width of the bottom of the camera.

    Heinz
  9. #9
    Users Country Flag
    Join Date: Apr 2008
    Location: Hong Kong
    Posts: 2,423

    Quote Originally Posted by NightFlyer View Post
    Wow! That sounds very interesting.

    A solution that has the offset attached between the NN and a QR clamp is preferable for the following reasons:
    • The OM-D E-M5 has an articulating back screen. One reason I have to use the Capture "microplate" rather than the regular plate is because the regular plate keeps the screen from flipping out (it kind of goes down a little before it flips out). While I'm sure that Heinz could cut the appropriate groove in his offset adapter, it would probably be easier to avoid that.
    • The OM-D E-M5 has an optional battery grip which I use occasionally. Right now, I have to remove the Capture microplate, add the battery grip, then replace the Capture microplate. I can do that without any tools. If the offset plate attaches to the camera, then I'll have to carry a screwdriver. Not a huge problem (I don't use the battery grip that often)

    Would the F8250 rail fit in the RS2 upper clamp? If so, then that might be my best solution, since I could use the rail with my current lenses and if I get a fisheye, then switch to a lens ring for that (removing the offset then as it won't be needed).

    Otherwise, the NN4 seems like a good starter set for me. I'm lusting over the M2, but I haven't done enough panoramas to know that I want to devote that much money.
    yes, F8250 rail fit in the RS2 upper clamp. I can make an adapter plate that allows QRC-40A attached to it with an off-set. Or I can make a new rail with built in off set. Which lenses do you plan to use? Maybe I can make a shorter rail.
    I understand your requirement. A camera should be keep as "clean" and compact as possible. Adaptation attached to the camera is not good.
    If you go with NN3/4, you can mount a QR clamp on the T-adapter with appropriate offset. This way, you can use your QR plate and have lens axis aligned to the upper rail.

    Nick



    Fanotec
    We listen. We try harder.
  10. #10

    Join Date: Aug 2013
    Location: Southern Oregon
    Posts: 14

    I think that my #1 choice if it's workable is a RS 2 with a rail that has a built-in offset and QR clamp. The Micro 4/3rds lenses tend to be pretty short. The longest lens I have right now is the Olympus 14-150 zoom (28-300 full frame equivalent), and that lens is only 3.5" long total, so a shorter rail would help to avoid having the rail be in the image (and removing it in post processing).

    If you think this is a workable solution, how do we proceed?
  11. #11
    Users Country Flag
    Join Date: Apr 2008
    Location: Hong Kong
    Posts: 2,423

    Quote Originally Posted by NightFlyer View Post
    I think that my #1 choice if it's workable is a RS 2 with a rail that has a built-in offset and QR clamp. The Micro 4/3rds lenses tend to be pretty short. The longest lens I have right now is the Olympus 14-150 zoom (28-300 full frame equivalent), and that lens is only 3.5" long total, so a shorter rail would help to avoid having the rail be in the image (and removing it in post processing).

    If you think this is a workable solution, how do we proceed?
    I will work on the rail. It will take a month. Send a PM to remind me.
    If you just want to use Olympus 14-150 zoom or lens with similar size and shape, I can adapt a lens ring for it.

    Nick
    Last edited by nick fan; 08-23-2013 at 11:24 PM.



    Fanotec
    We listen. We try harder.
  12. #12

    Join Date: Aug 2013
    Location: Southern Oregon
    Posts: 14

    Quote Originally Posted by nick fan View Post
    I will work on the rail. It will take a month. Send a PM to remind me.
    If you just want to use Olympus 14-150 zoom or lens with similar size and shape, I can adapt a lens ring for it.

    Nick
    I was under the impression that the NPP would vary with the focal length changes in a zoom (especially one like the 14-150 which has the barrel extend (quite a bit!) when it zooms, and so a lens ring wouldn't work for that. In fact, I don't think a lens ring would work for the Oly 14-150 lens anyway, as it zooms pretty easily. The lens ring would have to be rotated for each different zoom focal length, because otherwise the weight of the camera body would zoom the lens to a different focal length as it rotated.
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