Build a Panoramic Head For Perfect Panoramas

Build a Panoramic Head For Perfect PanoramasI do some real estate photography that requires indoor panoramas. Those are kinda hard to take because the small space and proximity of objects really makes any parallax errors show significant distortion on the final picture.

First I bought the Panosaurus (which was HUGE and a bit cumbersome as it support any camera) but it does work. This got me thinking: do I really need a panoramic head that can support any camera at all, or do I just need to support my Lumix GH1 and 9-18mm lens.

After making a few brackets, I decided that this one is going to be focused on ease of manufacturing.

Tools &Supplies

  • Drill & Drill bits
  • hack saw, screw driver, 1/4-20″ tap
  • 90 degree aluminum square
  • Countersink drill bit
  • A piece of 3/4″  pine board.
  • A piece of 1/4″ plywood

Step 1- Establish The Nodal Point For Your Camera/Lens Combo

The nodal point is the axis that if you rotate the camera around it you will get no parallax error. There are some great resources for finding your nodal point, the guide on John H Panos is one of the best there is.

Adjust the diagram below (click on it for a PDF) so it will fit the distance between tripod mount and nodal point right for your camera (it marked by the red lines).

Build a Panoramic Head For Perfect Panoramas

Step 2 – Preparing The Base

After figuring out the center focal point to establish the distance from the camera mount to the tripod mount, transfer drawing onto a the 3/4″ pine board and cut accordingly.

Next cut the aluminum bar according to the template. If you don’t really know how to cut aluminum, go to your local shop, those things can be nasty.

Then use a piece of 1/4″ plywood to keep the camera from rotating.

Both the aluminum bar and the pine wood should now be fitted with
threads for a tripod plate: The pine is fitted with a 1/4-20 TEE nut and the aluminum should be tapped.

Build a Panoramic Head For Perfect Panoramas

The next step is to add the 1/4″ aluminum piece on the side so that you can rotate the camera to take vertical panoramas. Vertical  panoramas are the for for tight spaces.

The rest of the DIY pano is pretty much held together with a few wood screws.

The camera mounts with a 1/4-20 handle screw.

Samples

Here is how the head looks like when mounted horizontally and vertically on a tripod

Build a Panoramic Head For Perfect Panoramas

Build a Panoramic Head For Perfect Panoramas

Build a Panoramic Head For Perfect Panoramas

and here are the resulting images

Build a Panoramic Head For Perfect Panoramas

Build a Panoramic Head For Perfect Panoramas

About The Author

Jon Petersen is a photographer based in the US, he runs Bikerag.com and  Cablecam.org

  • Ed

    I’m a bit confused. What “90 degree aluminium square?” I see an AL bar but no square and no 90 degree. Please clarify.