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Old Mar 2, 2005, 6:40 PM   #1
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:?I've been reading about tripods andfind itpretty confusing. What are the minimum tripod requirements for taking pan stills for virtual-tours? Like ball-joint v monopod? Is 360 range required? Leveling? I'm not asking for the lightweight v heavy or cheap v expensive, but rather what characteristics are needed for the pan stills?

You could also suggest a brand/model that has the minimum characteristics and I could go read about it.

Thanks.

GN
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Old Mar 2, 2005, 9:01 PM   #2
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The unique issue for shooting panoramas is the ability to get the rotation axis vertical. Unless you are using very simple software, the camera does not have to be level, but it should rotate about a vertical axis. Like all other "rules" about shooting panoramas, that can be violated at the cost of not having a rectangular stitched image. See http://www.panoguide.com/howto/panoramas/setup.jsp For "normal" photography, that isn't an issue since the leveling can be done with the head.

Unless you are going to get into very specialized (and expensive) heads, that means adjusting the legs. So you want easy to use and durrable locks. I have found both Bogen/Manfroto wing nuts and the Gitzo twist locks solid and easy to use. The lever locks found on most cheap tripods are simply junk for trying to get the axis vertical.

If you are just starting shooting panos, I suggest just going out and doing it. Not a full 360 (unless you have a *VERY* short lens), and not of very close subjects. Do some reading and some experimenting, and you will figure it out.
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Old Mar 3, 2005, 12:12 PM   #3
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Thanks BillDrew. Tha't what I'll do.
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Old Mar 7, 2005, 3:17 PM   #4
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actually there is an easier way depending on the tripod you get. i myself have 2

1- gitzo 2228

2- manfrotto 055NF3

both of these models allow for the use of the manfrotto 555B leveling ctr post

other tripods that also use this ctr post are the 3021 3021pro 3001 3001pro

it is probably one of the best pieces you can get from manfrotto. its about $95

http://www.pbase.com/crusader/image/40051856the red thang

it allows 15 deg of axial adjustment. this can make up for lots of leg adjustment complete with bullseye level.

it will not work on the mark2 1227/1228 due to a added anti rotation device added to the center post hole which now keys with only their center post

i guess they were afraid of cross utilization. bad for business.

amazingly gitzo has come out with the 1227/1228 LVL models with built in leveling of 10 deg with the anti rotation thang in it too.
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Old Mar 7, 2005, 3:59 PM   #5
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If you are going to keep your stitches in a single plane, use of a tripod is dependent on your light requirements IMO. My Mother in Law is always finding ads for condos she wants me to look at for her. I hold the camera vertically and just rotate in a circle. Then I make a Pixaround exe file she can use to look around the large rooms.

Condos usually have large windows in the bedrooms and living rooms, so I get by without flash. You can do a tour with flash but it is difficult to avoid reflections off windows. I could clone them out but it is a lot of trouble.

With limited light you will need a tripod. It would be a lot easier with a leveling attachment like sjms recommended. You can rotate around OK without one but it is a bear to get the shots level all the way round. I don't think a monopod would cut it, but you could give it a try.

I agree with BillDrew that your best bet is to take the Nike approach and just go out and do it. Unless you have a wide angle lens I recommend learning to shoot panoramas with the camera held vertically to avoid getting too narrow a strip. If you meter for an average light and shoot in manual you can use simple stitching software that doesn't require a lot of overlap. If you shoot in auto you need more sophisticated software that will even out the exposures. Expect to wait a long time for a 360 pano shot with vertical shots if the software has to even out the exposures, and expect to need more overlap.

I use a small pocket camera that has 85% coverage with the optical finder. Just aligning the edges in the optical finder gives plenty of overlap for a simple stitch.

If you want to include the ceilings and floors by stitching in more than one plane you will need a tripod with a good level or a lot of transform work in Photoshop or an advanced stitching program.

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Old Mar 8, 2005, 9:02 AM   #6
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Thank you sjms.

GN
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Old Mar 8, 2005, 9:06 AM   #7
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Thank you slipe. Interesting tip about holding the camera vertically. You are right. I did get some shorter than expected pans.
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