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:
- 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
- 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).
- 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.