Buying NN3 MKII or NN4
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  1. Buying NN3 MKII or NN4

    #1

    Hi Guys,

    I'm currently trying to decide between the NN3 MkII with EZ Leveller and the NN4. I have the following:

    Nikon D810 (900 grams or 1.98 lb)
    Sigma 8mm f3.5, circular fisheye (400 grams or 14oz)
    Slik Pro 500HD Tripod with 2-way pan head

    I shoot 360° x 180° HDRs for VFX (currently using a panosaurus 2.0). I've had some great help from support, but I have lots of additional questions and I feel like my answers might help others. My questions are as follows:

    • How close to the weight limit of the NN3 am I? I can afford the NN4 but I like the compactness and lightness of the NN3, I lug a lot of other kit around in my VFX bag so I try to minimize weight if I can.


    • Is the EZ-Leveller something I should get? My tripod is pretty decent but I wonder if it's worth spending the extra 100 bux


    • I've never shot Nadir or Zenith when making my 360's. I usually paint out my tripod after the fact. Would the Nadir adapter solve this problem?


    Support advised me to buy the NN4, which I think I'm leaning towards, but with all the other stuff I might need (nadir adapter, EZ leveller) it's pushing the cost up a bit high for me, so if the NN3 will be solid and do the job for me I might plump for that. I did also consider the R1, but I don't wanna spend that much money on something that only works with my Sigma (i occasionally shoot with other cameras and lenses, such as the 5K mkII and the 8-15mm fisheye zoom).

    Thanks in advance for any help.
  2. #2

    Hi Andy,
    Welcome to the forum.
    Support was correct in recommending the NN4 for your full frame D810. The camera will fit on NN3 however it is very near the upper limits and if you shoot using other lenses you may experience some limitations.
    The EZ-Leveler-II makes leveling more precise but if you have a good ball head you can achieve proper level. Some people, myself included, don't mind using the legs of the tripod to help in leveling albeit a bit rudimentary.
    I would suggest this... Purchase only NN3 MKII - we have some factory irregulars that work perfectly well. http://shop.nodalninja.com/irregulars-used/. All these products come with free shipping within the US. Work with it and run it through it's paces as you would in the real world. If you find you might want a little extra breathing room you can upgrade to the preferred NN4 - we just ask you try to keep the NN3 as clean as possible.
    If you are new to panoramic photography I would be inclined to suggest holding back a bit until you have a little experience. There are several workflows for shooting a nadir w/wo a nadir adapter. If you're ready to dive straight in however and learn from the onset to shoot nadir's with a nadir adapter this added tool does make the job easier.
    The tripod you are using incorporates a panning handle. This may interfere with your shoot as the handle could show in the end panorama. When using this tripod maybe unscrew the handle out from it's base first if possible.
    Hope this helps.
    Best
    Bill
  3. #3

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Bailey View Post
    Hi Andy,
    Welcome to the forum.
    Support was correct in recommending the NN4 for your full frame D810. The camera will fit on NN3 however it is very near the upper limits and if you shoot using other lenses you may experience some limitations.
    The EZ-Leveler-II makes leveling more precise but if you have a good ball head you can achieve proper level. Some people, myself included, don't mind using the legs of the tripod to help in leveling albeit a bit rudimentary.
    I would suggest this... Purchase only NN3 MKII - we have some factory irregulars that work perfectly well. http://shop.nodalninja.com/irregulars-used/. All these products come with free shipping within the US. Work with it and run it through it's paces as you would in the real world. If you find you might want a little extra breathing room you can upgrade to the preferred NN4 - we just ask you try to keep the NN3 as clean as possible.
    If you are new to panoramic photography I would be inclined to suggest holding back a bit until you have a little experience. There are several workflows for shooting a nadir w/wo a nadir adapter. If you're ready to dive straight in however and learn from the onset to shoot nadir's with a nadir adapter this added tool does make the job easier.
    The tripod you are using incorporates a panning handle. This may interfere with your shoot as the handle could show in the end panorama. When using this tripod maybe unscrew the handle out from it's base first if possible.
    Hope this helps.
    Best
    Bill
    Thanks so much for such a comprehensive reply. You, Rob on the phone yesterday and Mauro on the email were super helpful. I also really appreciate the offer of letting me upgrade from the NN3 to the NN4. I think I'm gonna jump in and get the NN4. The panosaurus did the job but for me it makes sense to do a full upgrade rather than moving to an NN3 as a stepping stone. Plus theres a small chance I might need to do a multi-row pano with a longer lens.

    Thanks again, putting an order in now! Can;t wait to play with it!
  4. #4
    Users Country Flag
    Join Date: Apr 2008
    Location: Hong Kong
    Posts: 2,609

    We also have factory irregulars at great prices.

    Nick



    Fanotec
    We listen. We try harder.
  5. #5
    Users Country Flag
    Join Date: Sep 2009
    Location: Los Angeles, CA
    Posts: 371

    Andy,

    I started out with the NN3 back in 2008. I quickly outgrew it and started upon the upgrade path. Getting the NN4 to start with is a great decision. I also purchased an ez leveler. I used it a few times and found that adjusting the tripod legs was good enough. It sort of depends on how easy it is to adjust the legs as to weather or not the ez leveler is necessary. You never need to be spot on level but close. I decided the extra weight of the ez leveler outweighed the shortened leveling time so into my spare parts bin it went. You can always add the ez leveler later. When you swing the nadir adapter out you might have to adjust the ez leveler yet again to get back to level. I am in the "put the pano head directly onto the tripod with nothing between the rotator and tripod center column" camp.

    Dennis
  6. #6

    Quote Originally Posted by DennisS View Post
    I am in the "put the pano head directly onto the tripod with nothing between the rotator and tripod center column" camp.
    Yes, the pan & tilt head can and probably should be detached from the tripod when using the NN4. Also, it's worth mentioning that the 5DII + 8-15mm fisheye set at 12mm will give a larger final equirectangular image than the D810 +Sigma 8mm combination, while still only needing four shots around. So it would be worth doing some comparative tests to establish the preferred combination when flare, chromatic aberration and general camera image quality are taken into account.

    John
  7. #7

    Thanks for all the great advice.

    I've set everything up this weekend, doing tests and getting my NPP correct. I shoot 3 times around because time is a factor for me. I take multiple exposures on each rotation so if clouds move that's bad. If I'm on set I barely have enough chance to do the 3 rotations before getting barked at by the crew.

    Only thing I haven't nailed yet is the nadir shot. I believe as Bill said it's because of my pan and tilt head (I should have thought of that before I got this tripod). The handles get in the way and I can't unwind them because they keep the head level when tight. At the moment the nadir shot is causing my stitch to look skewed and my verticals not as nice and straight. I'm assuming user error so I will carry on testing this. I would upload the photos but I've testing in my bedroom and it's a pig sty.

    Love the NN4, feels sturdy as hell, very little play.

    Would you guys mind sharing what tripod you use? I'm gonna try trade my slik in for something more pano friendly.
  8. #8

    Quote Originally Posted by andyp7 View Post
    At the moment the nadir shot is causing my stitch to look skewed and my verticals not as nice and straight.
    The panorama can be stitched perfectly using PTGui Pro by applying viewpoint correction for the nadir image and levelling using vertical line control points. It doesn't really matter what tripod you have underneath the panorama head and it doesn't have to be levelled. But avoid sticky out arms and knobs that intrude into the nadir view. As I suggested earlier, try removing the pan & tilt head if possible. Upload a set of images somewhere (e.g. to www.ge.tt ) and I will check that a good stitch is possible.

    John
  9. #9

    Hi Andy,

    I recommand you to visit these two pages of my guide to panoramic photography :
    http://www.panoramic-photo-guide.com...tual-tour.html
    http://www.panoramic-photo-guide.com...tual-tour.html
    You should find here some answers to ypur questions. if not, please feel free to contact me for further details.
    best regards,
    arnaud
  10. #10
    Users Country Flag
    Join Date: Apr 2008
    Location: Hong Kong
    Posts: 2,609

    Hi Arnaud,

    Great site with invaluable info, and Nodal Ninja hardware reviews. :-) In 2015, we will have great items for you to update the M1/M2 reviews.

    Nick



    Fanotec
    We listen. We try harder.

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