Poor Man’s Panoramic Head

First of all, my equipment is not conventional but it does meet my requirements.

  • Needs to be rugged
  • With me all the time when I am taking landscapes
  • Lightweight
  • Able to take a single  row panorama. My intended use is printed images. I can print a single row panorama to a height of 30” with good resolution.
Mount the camera and panoramic head (in my case the focusing rail) on the tripod.

For best results obtaining multiple images that will be stitched together forming a large panograph, mount the camera and panoramic head (in my case a focusing rail intended for macro photography) on the tripod. Level the tripod and the head. Focus the camera, set the exposure and then make sure to turn all your camera controls to manual.  You are then ready to go.

The equipment works for me, you may have different requirements and may need a different set up. Traditional panoramic setups tend to be not as rugged, portable, ready to use or compact as I need.  Since I only utilize single row panoramics, all I need is a way to attach my camera to a tripod and obtain a position where the camera rotates around the nodal point of the lens. Luckily a simple focusing rail typically used for macro photography meets my requirements. It is also much cheaper than a traditional panoramic head.

Level the tripod

Level the tripod

Level the head.

Level the head.

Other basic equipment includes a tripod and a head, both with a built in bubble level. Having a perfect level camera is important in achieving the final stitched panorama.

I generally keep my camera attached to the focusing rail and the focusing rail attached to the tripod’s quick release plate.  Since I always take landscape images with my tripod, I also have all the basic equipment needed for a panoramic image at all times. I can quickly transition from taking single images to a row of images intended for panoramic stitching.

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