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Selecting a Camera & Equipment

Nikon Digital SLR
Typical Digital SLR
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Digital Camera: You want to make panoramas, but with all of the digital cameras out there, which type do you buy? They range in price from hundreds to thousands of dollars.

You need a camera where you can manually focus, which eliminates a lot of casual digital cameras. You need a camera where you can set the aperture, which eliminates even more casual digital cameras. Finally, you need a digital camera with quality optics. Read about why quality optics matter.

You are only left with high-end causual digital cameras, and a class of digital cameras called 'digital single-lens reflex', or DSLR. A DSLR, in general, has much better optics and control over settings than a casual/pocket digital camera.

And since the price point of entry level DSLR's has come down so far -- into the upper range of high-end casual digital cameras, selecting a DSLR is highly recommended over any casual digital camera. For example, you can now purchase a lower end Nikon or Canon DSLR kit (camera with lens) for just over $500.

If you are serious about producing quality panoramas, you need to purchase a serious digital camera, which means a DSLR.

Other Equipment: Next, you will need the appropriate brackets and sliders that allow you to adjust your camera position, even after it is mounted to a tripod. In panoramic photography, you need the Panoramic Pivot Point, typically in the lens area somewhere, located directly over the tripod pivot point. Here is one possible solution from
Manfrotto/Bogen 3021Pro Tripod
  Really Right Stuff (PCL-1) Panning clamp
Panning clamp
  Really Right Stuff (MPR-CL) Rail with clamp
  Really Right Stuff (MC-L) Multi-camera L-plate
Camera braket
Tripod: The tripod is a Manfrotto/Bogen 3021Pro. This is a heavy-duty professional-quality tripod. Note the 3/8" mounting bolt. Most consumer tripods have a 1/4" bolt for mounting a camera directly to the tripod. You mount pano equipment to the tripod, and your camera to the pano equipment.

Panning Clamp: Quick release panning clamp (3/8ths threaded socket version). Connects directly to tripod and allows whatever is connected to it to rotate 360°.

Rail: Multi-purpose rail with mini-clamp. Connects to the panning clamp. For making Panoramic Pivot Point adjustments by sliding the rail through the panning clamp.

Camera bracket: Multi-Camera L-Plate. Connects to camera, which in turn connects to the rail mini-clamp. The camera can now be mounted in portrait or landscape mode. Please note that you may prefer to purchase an 'L-Plate' that is custom made for your particular camera, instead of a generic L-Plate.

Really Right Stuff now offers a 'Pano Elements Package', which includes a PCL-1 and the new MPR-CL II, which is a slightly longer version of the MPR-CL.
Copyright © 2024 Jerry Jongerius