Manfrotto Panoramic Head
Up till now, most of the images on Panoramic Earth had been taken using a Manfrotto (MN) 303 panoramic head system. The MN303 can only be used for cylindrical panoramic images, but not those that can pan up and down – spherical panoramic images. The MN system has proved very reliable in every situation we have found ourselves – and this includes from snow-covered mountain tops to volcanoes and caves. It is made of metal throughout, thus is very durable, and can hold quite heavy equipment. The release system to mount it onto the tripod is all a quick release locking system allowing it to be packed away rapidly, knowing that it can be re-assembled just as fast in exactly the same nodal point configuration next time round. The price you pay for this is weight. When considering to upgrade for spherical images this became, as well as the cost, a major consideration. For the work done in cities and on rugged terrain saving weight makes for happier backs.
With this in mind we looked at a number of other options. including the Panosaurus, which is promoted as a low weight, low cost option - an ‘Affordable Fully Spherical Panoramic Head’ and available in the UK through Red Door VR Ltd.. We have now used this system to shoot over 300 panoramic images in both city and outdoor situations.
In the next couple of posts we will look at various aspects of our experience in using the Panosaurus panoramic head, snags encountered and observations made.