Automatic Panorama Head

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Lefa66
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 1:47 am
Location: Finland

Automatic Panorama Head

Post by Lefa66 » Tue Apr 07, 2009 3:34 am

Hi!

I am thinking of buying an automatic panorama head and need some advice. I have seen that Peacriver studios make Pixorb and Clauss makes RODEON VR Head. Unfortunately they seem a bit pricey, which I think is a shame because they are out of reach of so many. They obviously are quality products and the production series are probably small, which increases the price, but still.

1) Do you have any experience with any automatic panorama head ?
2) Are you thinking of getting one ?
3) What do you think would be an acceptable price for an automatic panorama head ?
Getting the big picture

Karsten33
Posts: 9
Joined: Sat Mar 22, 2008 9:33 am

Post by Karsten33 » Tue Apr 07, 2009 4:03 pm

Lefa66,

there is also the Merlin/ Orion astronomy head, which is deaply discussed in the autopano pro forum. It costs around 180 Euros, but it works not with all cameras (you don't get every camera in the no parallax point).

I hope that helps a little.

Karsten
Last edited by Karsten33 on Thu Apr 09, 2009 1:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

donfrench
Posts: 45
Joined: Sun Dec 11, 2005 5:14 pm

Re: Automatic Panorama Head

Post by donfrench » Tue Apr 07, 2009 7:30 pm

Lefa66 wrote:Hi!

I am thinking of buying an automatic panorama head and need some advice. I have seen that Peacriver studios make Pixorb and Clauss makes RODEON VR Head. Unfortunately they seem a bit pricey, which I think is a shame because they are out of reach of so many. They obviously are quality products and the production series are probably small, which increases the price, but still.

1) Do you have any experience with any automatic panorama head ?
2) Are you thinking of getting one ?
3) What do you think would be an acceptable price for an automatic panorama head ?
I wouldn't pay a dime over $499, which suggests this one: http://www.thegadgetworks.com (full disclaimer: I own the company!)

Lefa66
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 1:47 am
Location: Finland

Re: Automatic Panorama Head

Post by Lefa66 » Wed Apr 08, 2009 4:24 am

donfrench wrote:
Lefa66 wrote:Hi!

I am thinking of buying an automatic panorama head and need some advice. I have seen that Peacriver studios make Pixorb and Clauss makes RODEON VR Head. Unfortunately they seem a bit pricey, which I think is a shame because they are out of reach of so many. They obviously are quality products and the production series are probably small, which increases the price, but still.

1) Do you have any experience with any automatic panorama head ?
2) Are you thinking of getting one ?
3) What do you think would be an acceptable price for an automatic panorama head ?
I wouldn't pay a dime over $499, which suggests this one: http://www.thegadgetworks.com (full disclaimer: I own the company!)
The AutoMate has many nice features, but the nodal point will be an issue for me as I have objects closer too. The panoramas on the web site are taken on a longer distance so the nodal point is not an issue. Also I know I would like to take vertical panoramas as well.
What comes to use a PDA as the controller, well you need two chargers don't you (for the pda and the AA's)? Okay it may be used as a mobile phone too. But still it doesn't fit my bill.
Getting the big picture

donfrench
Posts: 45
Joined: Sun Dec 11, 2005 5:14 pm

Re: Automatic Panorama Head

Post by donfrench » Wed Apr 08, 2009 1:15 pm

Lefa66 wrote:
donfrench wrote:
Lefa66 wrote:Hi!

I am thinking of buying an automatic panorama head and need some advice. I have seen that Peacriver studios make Pixorb and Clauss makes RODEON VR Head. Unfortunately they seem a bit pricey, which I think is a shame because they are out of reach of so many. They obviously are quality products and the production series are probably small, which increases the price, but still.

1) Do you have any experience with any automatic panorama head ?
2) Are you thinking of getting one ?
3) What do you think would be an acceptable price for an automatic panorama head ?
I wouldn't pay a dime over $499, which suggests this one: http://www.thegadgetworks.com (full disclaimer: I own the company!)
The AutoMate has many nice features, but the nodal point will be an issue for me as I have objects closer too. The panoramas on the web site are taken on a longer distance so the nodal point is not an issue. Also I know I would like to take vertical panoramas as well.
What comes to use a PDA as the controller, well you need two chargers don't you (for the pda and the AA's)? Okay it may be used as a mobile phone too. But still it doesn't fit my bill.
Verticals are not a problem with AutoMate. If 30 degrees is not enough vertical range, you can either mount the tripod post vertically or use a Swivel-tilt head such as the Manfrotto 234RC.

Needing two chargers is really a problem for you? Compare to the Gigapan which has 6 AA batteries (which run down much faster than AutoMate's). Unless you have a 6-battery charger, which I have never even seen, you need two chargers for it too. And the Rodeon must be tethered to either a laptop or a PDA for the entire shoot, which not only requires two chargers but also runs down the PDA batteries 10 times as fast. With AutoMate you send the program in a 1-second transmission, then you can turn the controller off. You also mentioned PixOrb. It must be tethered to a laptop for all but the simplest operations. And it isn't made for taking into the field without a Sherpa to carry it.

I won't argue about the nodal point except to say that it is the most misunderstood issue surrounding stitched panoramas and that it is virtually never an issue if you are using anything besides a wide angle lens. It is really sad how misinformed so many people are about this, yourself not included. I know a guy who did a professional shoot for a major software company and spent hours trying to find the exact nodal point of his lens before shooting a flat wall full of memorabilia.

But anyway, you are right that every unit has its pluses and minuses and you have to weigh them against your intended uses of the device and the cost of the devices. But be careful, because you can spend thousands of dollars and discover that a device's negatives are much limiting than you anticipated or spend a few hundred and discover that the limitations are mostly artificial.

Lefa66
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 1:47 am
Location: Finland

Re: Automatic Panorama Head

Post by Lefa66 » Thu Apr 09, 2009 3:58 am

donfrench wrote:
Lefa66 wrote:
donfrench wrote: I wouldn't pay a dime over $499, which suggests this one: http://www.thegadgetworks.com (full disclaimer: I own the company!)
The AutoMate has many nice features, but the nodal point will be an issue for me as I have objects closer too. The panoramas on the web site are taken on a longer distance so the nodal point is not an issue. Also I know I would like to take vertical panoramas as well.
What comes to use a PDA as the controller, well you need two chargers don't you (for the pda and the AA's)? Okay it may be used as a mobile phone too. But still it doesn't fit my bill.
Verticals are not a problem with AutoMate. If 30 degrees is not enough vertical range, you can either mount the tripod post vertically or use a Swivel-tilt head such as the Manfrotto 234RC.

Needing two chargers is really a problem for you? Compare to the Gigapan which has 6 AA batteries (which run down much faster than AutoMate's). Unless you have a 6-battery charger, which I have never even seen, you need two chargers for it too. And the Rodeon must be tethered to either a laptop or a PDA for the entire shoot, which not only requires two chargers but also runs down the PDA batteries 10 times as fast. With AutoMate you send the program in a 1-second transmission, then you can turn the controller off. You also mentioned PixOrb. It must be tethered to a laptop for all but the simplest operations. And it isn't made for taking into the field without a Sherpa to carry it.

I won't argue about the nodal point except to say that it is the most misunderstood issue surrounding stitched panoramas and that it is virtually never an issue if you are using anything besides a wide angle lens. It is really sad how misinformed so many people are about this, yourself not included. I know a guy who did a professional shoot for a major software company and spent hours trying to find the exact nodal point of his lens before shooting a flat wall full of memorabilia.

But anyway, you are right that every unit has its pluses and minuses and you have to weigh them against your intended uses of the device and the cost of the devices. But be careful, because you can spend thousands of dollars and discover that a device's negatives are much limiting than you anticipated or spend a few hundred and discover that the limitations are mostly artificial.
The batteries can be charged by doing 2 runs and yes there are chargers that take as many as ten AA's if needed, but back to business.
If I want the sturdiness of Pixorb the features Automate, and a built in controller without the use of a PDA I end up with DIY ? Well it would probably save my back and some bucks for the price of time.
I won't argue that the user interface trough a PDA is handy, but I really don't need that. My point of focus is steadiness/weight/battery time and what happens when everything goes wrong and the battery dies at the wrong time
Getting the big picture

donfrench
Posts: 45
Joined: Sun Dec 11, 2005 5:14 pm

Re: Automatic Panorama Head

Post by donfrench » Thu Apr 09, 2009 9:52 am

Lefa66 wrote:
donfrench wrote:
Lefa66 wrote: The AutoMate has many nice features, but the nodal point will be an issue for me as I have objects closer too. The panoramas on the web site are taken on a longer distance so the nodal point is not an issue. Also I know I would like to take vertical panoramas as well.
What comes to use a PDA as the controller, well you need two chargers don't you (for the pda and the AA's)? Okay it may be used as a mobile phone too. But still it doesn't fit my bill.
Verticals are not a problem with AutoMate. If 30 degrees is not enough vertical range, you can either mount the tripod post vertically or use a Swivel-tilt head such as the Manfrotto 234RC.

Needing two chargers is really a problem for you? Compare to the Gigapan which has 6 AA batteries (which run down much faster than AutoMate's). Unless you have a 6-battery charger, which I have never even seen, you need two chargers for it too. And the Rodeon must be tethered to either a laptop or a PDA for the entire shoot, which not only requires two chargers but also runs down the PDA batteries 10 times as fast. With AutoMate you send the program in a 1-second transmission, then you can turn the controller off. You also mentioned PixOrb. It must be tethered to a laptop for all but the simplest operations. And it isn't made for taking into the field without a Sherpa to carry it.

I won't argue about the nodal point except to say that it is the most misunderstood issue surrounding stitched panoramas and that it is virtually never an issue if you are using anything besides a wide angle lens. It is really sad how misinformed so many people are about this, yourself not included. I know a guy who did a professional shoot for a major software company and spent hours trying to find the exact nodal point of his lens before shooting a flat wall full of memorabilia.

But anyway, you are right that every unit has its pluses and minuses and you have to weigh them against your intended uses of the device and the cost of the devices. But be careful, because you can spend thousands of dollars and discover that a device's negatives are much limiting than you anticipated or spend a few hundred and discover that the limitations are mostly artificial.
The batteries can be charged by doing 2 runs and yes there are chargers that take as many as ten AA's if needed, but back to business.
If I want the sturdiness of Pixorb the features Automate, and a built in controller without the use of a PDA I end up with DIY ? Well it would probably save my back and some bucks for the price of time.
I won't argue that the user interface trough a PDA is handy, but I really don't need that. My point of focus is steadiness/weight/battery time and what happens when everything goes wrong and the battery dies at the wrong time
For steadiness, AutoMate beats them all. For weight, AutoMate beats them all. For price, AutoMate beats them all. As to what happens when the batteries on the PDA run down, I pop in a backup. But if I charged the battery before I went out I can depend on several days of use before that is necessary.

Terrywoodenpic
Posts: 376
Joined: Mon Mar 06, 2006 10:05 am
Location: Saddleworth England

Re: Automatic Panorama Head

Post by Terrywoodenpic » Thu Apr 09, 2009 12:12 pm

donfrench wrote:
Lefa66 wrote:
donfrench wrote: Verticals are not a problem with AutoMate. If 30 degrees is not enough vertical range, you can either mount the tripod post vertically or use a Swivel-tilt head such as the Manfrotto 234RC.

Needing two chargers is really a problem for you? Compare to the Gigapan which has 6 AA batteries (which run down much faster than AutoMate's). Unless you have a 6-battery charger, which I have never even seen, you need two chargers for it too. And the Rodeon must be tethered to either a laptop or a PDA for the entire shoot, which not only requires two chargers but also runs down the PDA batteries 10 times as fast. With AutoMate you send the program in a 1-second transmission, then you can turn the controller off. You also mentioned PixOrb. It must be tethered to a laptop for all but the simplest operations. And it isn't made for taking into the field without a Sherpa to carry it.

I won't argue about the nodal point except to say that it is the most misunderstood issue surrounding stitched panoramas and that it is virtually never an issue if you are using anything besides a wide angle lens. It is really sad how misinformed so many people are about this, yourself not included. I know a guy who did a professional shoot for a major software company and spent hours trying to find the exact nodal point of his lens before shooting a flat wall full of memorabilia.

But anyway, you are right that every unit has its pluses and minuses and you have to weigh them against your intended uses of the device and the cost of the devices. But be careful, because you can spend thousands of dollars and discover that a device's negatives are much limiting than you anticipated or spend a few hundred and discover that the limitations are mostly artificial.
The batteries can be charged by doing 2 runs and yes there are chargers that take as many as ten AA's if needed, but back to business.
If I want the sturdiness of Pixorb the features Automate, and a built in controller without the use of a PDA I end up with DIY ? Well it would probably save my back and some bucks for the price of time.
I won't argue that the user interface trough a PDA is handy, but I really don't need that. My point of focus is steadiness/weight/battery time and what happens when everything goes wrong and the battery dies at the wrong time
For steadiness, AutoMate beats them all. For weight, AutoMate beats them all. For price, AutoMate beats them all. As to what happens when the batteries on the PDA run down, I pop in a backup. But if I charged the battery before I went out I can depend on several days of use before that is necessary.
This seems a very specialist product aimed at those doing landscape pans with no foreground.

90% 0f my pans are taken with the equivalent of a 28mm setting and almost all would have parallax issues if not set to the entrance pupil .

As to your example above, of someone taking two hours to set up to take a flat pan, is more a comment on the photographer concerned than the equipment. It is a matter of seconds to set up proper equipment.
I am not sure why any one would buy equipment that is handicapped in its functionality. especially when it could have been rectified in the intial design.

With forethought many pans can be taken hand held and still obtain adaquate stitching with out too many compromises. Your equipment would seem to be automating this process.
Terry

old decrepit and still taking photographs

donfrench
Posts: 45
Joined: Sun Dec 11, 2005 5:14 pm

Re: Automatic Panorama Head

Post by donfrench » Thu Apr 09, 2009 12:35 pm

Terrywoodenpic wrote:
donfrench wrote:
Lefa66 wrote: The batteries can be charged by doing 2 runs and yes there are chargers that take as many as ten AA's if needed, but back to business.
If I want the sturdiness of Pixorb the features Automate, and a built in controller without the use of a PDA I end up with DIY ? Well it would probably save my back and some bucks for the price of time.
I won't argue that the user interface trough a PDA is handy, but I really don't need that. My point of focus is steadiness/weight/battery time and what happens when everything goes wrong and the battery dies at the wrong time
For steadiness, AutoMate beats them all. For weight, AutoMate beats them all. For price, AutoMate beats them all. As to what happens when the batteries on the PDA run down, I pop in a backup. But if I charged the battery before I went out I can depend on several days of use before that is necessary.
This seems a very specialist product aimed at those doing landscape pans with no foreground.

90% 0f my pans are taken with the equivalent of a 28mm setting and almost all would have parallax issues if not set to the entrance pupil .

As to your example above, of someone taking two hours to set up to take a flat pan, is more a comment on the photographer concerned than the equipment. It is a matter of seconds to set up proper equipment.
I am not sure why any one would buy equipment that is handicapped in its functionality. especially when it could have been rectified in the intial design.

With forethought many pans can be taken hand held and still obtain adaquate stitching with out too many compromises. Your equipment would seem to be automating this process.
Actually, you should say any landscape regardless if it has foreground or not as long as the lens is not wide angle. This is because if the object is closer than about 30 feet, it is typically not in focus with a long lens and if it is further than that, the parallax effect is so minor as to be insignificant.

I mentioned the foolish photographer only to point out how widespread the misconceptions are about parallax issues with panoramas. And from what I read and hear, a high percentage of people taking a new interest in panoramic photography do not have a clue about this issue and think that they must orient the nodal point for every pano they shoot, regardless.

As to the design of AutoMate, it is helpful to understand that I took advantage of an existing product that was designed for a different purpose and modified it to create a unit that would be both inexpensive and useful for many purposes, including automating the of creation of landscape panoramas.

Terrywoodenpic
Posts: 376
Joined: Mon Mar 06, 2006 10:05 am
Location: Saddleworth England

Re: Automatic Panorama Head

Post by Terrywoodenpic » Thu Apr 09, 2009 3:48 pm


Actually, you should say any landscape regardless if it has foreground or not as long as the lens is not wide angle. This is because if the object is closer than about 30 feet, it is typically not in focus with a long lens and if it is further than that, the parallax effect is so minor as to be insignificant.

I mentioned the foolish photographer only to point out how widespread the misconceptions are about parallax issues with panoramas. And from what I read and hear, a high percentage of people taking a new interest in panoramic photography do not have a clue about this issue and think that they must orient the nodal point for every pano they shoot, regardless.

As to the design of AutoMate, it is helpful to understand that I took advantage of an existing product that was designed for a different purpose and modified it to create a unit that would be both inexpensive and useful for many purposes, including automating the of creation of landscape panoramas.
For Long range Gigapixel work and time lapse work, it looks a great bit of kit.
It would be nice to have the same functionality added to a NN pano bracket but that would seem to need too many special adaptions to be cost effective.
Terry

old decrepit and still taking photographs

europanorama
Posts: 18
Joined: Tue Mar 09, 2004 2:50 pm
Location: basel-switzerland
Contact:

constant rotation plus in small steps too?

Post by europanorama » Thu Jul 09, 2009 1:53 am

can you make the head run in constant variable rotation?
2. in small steps, e.g. 2,3 or 6 degr.steps? 180,120, 60 images around.

3. can you show us the whole construction with a tilt-head where we can set nodalpoint? what will be the costs the all together?
what will be its weight?

from finland comes the best ideas, greetings to my master, rainer k.lampinen. chairman if panhorama ry, society for panoramic photography as an art form. co-constructor of noblex 35mm and horizon 202/technopan/ horizon 205 pc.
michael przewrocki
Michael Przewrocki, MPA
www.europanorama.tk
3D-Stereo-Panoramas
Aeropanoramas-Marspanoramas
Freeviewing like never before

europanorama
Posts: 18
Joined: Tue Mar 09, 2004 2:50 pm
Location: basel-switzerland
Contact:

3D-Stereo-Panoramas

Post by europanorama » Thu Jul 09, 2009 2:18 am

how about synching it with stereodatamaker? new version sdm 1.81 is about to come out. the experts of chdk(2d) and sdm(david sykes) will certainly help.
Michael Przewrocki, MPA
www.europanorama.tk
3D-Stereo-Panoramas
Aeropanoramas-Marspanoramas
Freeviewing like never before

munchmeister
Posts: 38
Joined: Sun Feb 18, 2007 12:52 am
Location: Fort Collins, Colorado

Any updates?

Post by munchmeister » Mon Nov 09, 2009 1:40 pm

Any updates on the motorized pano head? The Gigapan Epic 100 is $450. The AutoMate $499 without a controller (you need to have a compatible PDA or buy one). Just wondering if this kind of thing will ever get any cheaper? Any DIY models, erector sets??????
:?: :?:

Seventy2002
Posts: 8
Joined: Sat Jul 23, 2005 2:05 am
Location: Aberdeen, WA USA

Re: Any updates?

Post by Seventy2002 » Tue Nov 10, 2009 12:39 pm

munchmeister wrote: Any DIY models, erector sets??????
http://www.philohome.com/panobot/panobot.htm

donfrench
Posts: 45
Joined: Sun Dec 11, 2005 5:14 pm

Re: Any updates?

Post by donfrench » Thu Nov 12, 2009 3:24 pm

munchmeister wrote:Any updates on the motorized pano head? The Gigapan Epic 100 is $450. The AutoMate $499 without a controller (you need to have a compatible PDA or buy one). Just wondering if this kind of thing will ever get any cheaper? Any DIY models, erector sets??????
:?: :?:
Stay tuned!

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