Panoramic Heads

levelling base

Panoramic tripod heads

In these days of miraculous stitching software is it worth investing in a geared panoramic head?
Well I think so. I use a Manfrotto 438 ( €55/ £50/$75) levelling base, and a 410 geared head(€200)- plus the indispensable hot shoe spirit level (about €5 from eBay)

hot-shoe spirit level
The levelling base allows you to start and finish your pan on the same plane, the geared head means you don’t have to look through the camera between each shot – just count the turns or look at the degrees on the dial. If you do a lot of panoramic stitching then both are indispensable just for the ease and saving of time later in Photoshop – it just makes life so much easier. But what I find this combination really useful for is shooting a pan with a figure. I take maybe 15-30 shots of the model then afterwards maybe one shot to her left and three to her right. I know that everything is going to match up fine and I’ll get a really nice big file. I usually use the camera vertically in these situations which means taking more ‘slices’.
In this image called Lilith I took over 30 pictures of the model, plus two on the left of her and 3 on the right. Here is an out-take. There’s no owl – he was added after.
Camera Etrusca photographic holidays and workshops in Italy

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