This seems a very specialist product aimed at those doing landscape pans with no foreground.donfrench wrote: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.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.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.
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
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
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