Monday, July 24, 2006

Part 3 - Panorsaurus Head Review

Previously on PanoramicEarth (as so many US series start off with any episode before immediately switching to a bunch of ads) – we covered some of the differences between the Panosaurus panoramic head and the Manfrotto MN303 panoramic head. Neither alone fully met our needs for a light weight system that could be quickly packed away and transported with minimum setup time at a new location.

System Combination:
Thus an amalgam of the two was used, providing a more lightweight (and cheaper) system than upgrading to a Manfrotto MN303SPH system. The combination worked, in a ‘thigh-bone connected to the hip-bone’ fashion, thus:

  • Manfrotto 055PRO tripod with Assy support plate connected to-
  • Manfrotto 438 Compact Leveling Head connected to-
  • Manfrotto 300 Pan Rotation Unit (allows ‘click stop’ rotation required) connected to-
  • Manfrotto 3/8” to ¼” thread adaptor connected to-
  • Panosaurus head.

In this way the whole of the panoramic head combination was easily detached from the tripod in one easy maneuver and stashed in a backpack along with the camera for easy transport. All that was needed was to simply slide the camera off the horizontal arm and pack that away with the Panosaurus plate still attached to it. Setup time at a new location took less than a minute including leveling of the camera. The Panosaurus does have a base plate marked with regular divisions for rotation, but I wanted to be able to rely on constantly having the same rotation angle every time as this made post processing easier.

Yes, there are other systems available, but for a relatively cheap option, having already invested in the Manfrotto 303 gear, this seemed a reasonable way to progress to be able to shoot 360 spherical images if required. It would be interesting to obtain a King Pano system to have a look at as well.

Thus far this new system has been used to shoot over 600 panoramic images in Paris, Vienna, Budapest, Prague, Rome, Barcelona and Bratislava. The results of all this mad rushing around is currently being processed and will be added to the city tours in due course.

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