blog added 05/11/2006
Review of 360precision Adjuste panorama tripod head
Over the ten years I have used a range of panorama tripod heads. Panorama tripod heads aim to provide alignment of the camera and lens so that as the camera is rotated parallax errors between photographs are not present and thereby prevent stitching errors. These panorama heads should ideally provide very reproducible positioning otherwise for each panorama capture complex alignment and set is required. This reproducibility is also essential if you are going to have quick processes to stitch and blend several panoramas a day. The picture below shows a few of ones I have used - clockwise from the left they are the Kaidan Spherical Arm for QuickPan QPU-2, the Kaidan QuickPan QPU-2, the Kaidan QuickPan for QuickTake, the 360precision absolute with several arms for Canon camera and lens, and finally at the front the new 360precision Adjuste (last week Matt from 360precision popped by my office with one for me to try out).
From the picture above you can see 360precision Adjuste is small, but yet it is built to be extremely rigid. There are no parts which are not locked very strongly in place, this therefore provides an excellent base to take panoramas. It is sturdy as the 360precision absolute panorama head but very much lighter. The 360precision Adjuste's main feature compared to the other 360precision model is that you can adjust the left and right translation of the camera on the head allowing you to change cameras. You can also adjust the forward and back translation enabling you to change position depending on the front pupil "nodal" point of the camera lens. The adjustments are easily done but once locked in place will not move out of alignment. This provides excellent reproducibility between panorama captures.
Below is a Macromedia Flash video demonstrating the 360precision Adjuste in use in the University Parks, it shows me photographing with the Canon 15 mm Fisheye lens and then changing to photograph with the Canon 17-35mm L lens.
My Pros and Cons comments on this pre-production version of the 360precision Adjuste will added shortly.
Pros of 360precision Adjuste
Cons of 360precision Adjuste
The only issue I had with this panorama head, is that a mechanism for locking the actual camera on to the head was not yet available. Matt from 360precision said that this will be available as an additional accessory. Their other panorama head the 360precision absolute has either a locking bar or a locking pin. I prefer the locking pin approach. But of then that makes the attachment plate the camera is attached to a bespoke plate for each camera, and therefore swapping cameras would require a swap of the attachment plate too.
A locking mechanism is essential for reproducibility since would prevent slight vertical tilt up or down.