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shim
5/14
Shim
Updated on October 07, 2016

Panoramic heads on the market

Now that we know what a panoramic head is, we just need to review the models on the market among the three main categories:


Tre types of panoramic heads

  • Cylindric heads - two stages slide at 90° to realize monorange panoramas. See the list belowsuivre
  • Spherical heads - two stages slide but one is placed on a tiltable arm. It enables to realize multirange panoramas. See the list below suivre
  • Motorized heads - And finally, a new category of panoramic heads appeared on the mainstream market in 2010. These panoramic heads enable to realize multirange gigapixel panoramas almost automatically. See the list below suivre

 

  My purchasing advice for panoramic heads per use suivre

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Manual cylindric heads


- Manfrotto 303 and 303+
| - Novoflex VR


Pointilles


Manfotto 303 head

Manfrotto 303 L-Bracket (MH057A5) and 303 PLUS panoramic heads

The model Manfrotto 303 L-Bracket is thus the cylindric model. It includes all you could expect from a panoramic head. The rotary base is notched, all sliding stages can be dismounted, as well as the vertical arm, very robust. Dismounted in four parts, this model doesn't take much space in a photo bag. It is thus a reference head to realize monorange panoramas with top-range reflex cameras or middle-size cameras.

$529.90
|

Buy from...

Manfrotto 303
Price Retailer
$529.90
Buy from Amazon.com
 
£289.00 Buy from Amazon.co.uk
 
$529.90

Manfrotto 303 PLUS head

TÍte panoramique Manfrotto 303 PLUSThe model 303 + (303 PLUS) differs from the model 303 by the micro-metric setting of its two sliding stages. But above all, because I find it a bit trivial, these stages are a bit longer than on model 303. It enables to have a little bit more of freedom to set it up, because with certain wide-angle zoom lenses, the entrance pupil is sometimes far from the camera and close to the front lens. The stages are too short then!
Caution! This head can't be disassembled.

$599.90  on   Buy from Amazon.com


Technical specifications

  Manufacturer Nb of notches 360°x180 Weight Kg Price $
Manfrotto 303
10 *
NO
2.03
390
Manfrotto 303 +
10 *
NO
2.34
560


* Nb of notches
: 90°, 60°, 45°, 36°, 30°, 24°, 20°, 15°, 10°, 5°.


Pointilles


TÍte panoramique Novoflex VR II

Novoflex VR heads

There are two types of heads: cylindric VR-System and spherical VR-System Pro. They're particularly well manufactured - in the line of Arca Swiss for connoisseurs! They're adjustable and not to heavy but very stable because well-designed. And finally they're dismountable - except the vertical L-shaped arm -. There are also several notched bases among which a top-range PANORAMA=Q PRO. Note: Novoflex equipment is hard to find in France.

$775.00
|
Buy from Amazon.com

Technical specifications

  Manufacturer Nb of notches 360°x180 Weight Kg Price €
VR-System II
from 6 to 8 *
NO
0.960
450
VR-System 6-8
from 6 to 8 *
YES
1.230
550
 
VR-System PRO II
from 6 to 8 *
YES
1.690
725


* Several bases
: still not too bulky
PANORAMA : not notched
PANORAMA=Q: not notched
PANORAMA=Q6-8: 60°, 45°.
PANORAMA=Q PRO: 60°, 45°, 36°, 30°, 24°, 20°, 18°, 15°, 10°.
The weight depends on the presence or not of a base.
The price also depends on the base itself.


Buy from...

Novoflex VR System II
Price Retailer
$775.99
Buy from Amazon.com
 
$739.99


Pointillestop



 

Manual spherical heads


- Bushman Panoramic Gobi
- Nodal Ninja 4

- Manfrotto 303 SPH
- Pano-Maxx
- 360Precision Adjust and Absolute

Pointilles

TÍte panoramique Kalahari

3 étoiles

Bushman Panoramic Gobi head

This new panoramic head Gobi by the company Bushman Panoramic possesses three obvious qualities at first sight: it is very well-manufactured - materials and finishing -, its is very light since it only weighs 320 grs and its is super-compact since it fits in the hand! It won't take much space in your photo bag or even your pocket. It is not the most stable on the market but this has no importance given its qualities... Pay attention to the length of the stages that won't enable you to place all your lenses at the entrance pupil though.


€235.60
|

Technical specifications

  Retailer Nb of notches 360°x180 Weight Kg Price €
Gobi
Adjustable *
YES
0.320
235

Quick Click optional base: 90 °, 60 °, 45 °, 36 °, 30 °.


Buy the BP Gobi head from...

Bushman Panoramic Gobi
Price in € Retailer
 
€235.60
Buy it from Bushman Panoramic


Pointilles

TÍte panoramique 303 SPH

Manfrotto 303 SPH panoramic head

The model Manfrotto 303 SPH - is completely different from the two previous models. It's a spherical head. This head, quite heavy, still remains according to me a reference for big camera bodies like the EOS 1DS Mark III with a 50mm because of its robustness. I prefer to avoid mounting a wide-angle zoom lens open at 2.8 on it though! I often work with this head.

$689.90
|

Technical specifications

  Retailer Nb of notches 360°x180 Weight in Kg Price
Manfrotto 303 SPH
10 *
YES
2.0
$690


* Nb of notches
: 90°, 60°, 45°, 36°, 30°, 24°, 20°, 15°, 10°, 5°.


Buy from...

Manfrotto 303 SPH
Price Retailer
$689.90
Buy from Amazon.com
 
$689.90


Pointilles

TÍte panoramique Nodal Ninja 4

Nodal Ninja 3 and 4 - RD 16 heads

Rather light, the heads Nodal Ninja 3 and 4 are spherical heads. The question of stability when you set a camera in overhang is thus asked. They're mostly dedicated to point-and-shoot cameras or to light reflex models like the Canon Eos 700 D, 70 D or 5D Mark III or even Nikon D7100 or D610. They're also especially not bulky and very well-designed. They really take few space in a photo bag.
There are several notched positioners. Careful, the model with built-in leveling base isn't very stable.

€319/401
|

Technical specifications

  Retailer Nb of notches 360°x180 Weight Kg Price €
Nodal Ninja 3 II
from 3 to 16 *
YES
0.500
230
Nodal Ninja 4
from 3 to 16 *
YES
0.890
350/500


* RD-16
: 90°, 60°, 45°, 36°, 30°, 24°, 20°, 18°, 15°, 12°, 10°, 7,5°, 5°, 3.75°.
The weight really depends on the presence or not of a RD positioner.
The price also changes depending on the model of positioner, RD-8 or RD-16.


Buy it from...

Nodal Ninja 3 + RD 16
Price in € Retailer
Shop Nodal Ninja
€319.00
Buy from Kolor Store

Buy it from...

Nodal Ninja 4 + RD 16
Price in € Retailer
Shop Nodal Ninja
€401.00
Buy from Kolor Store
 
$439.95

Buy it from...

Nodal Ninja 4
Price in € Retailer
Shop Nodal Ninja
€319.00
buy from Kolor Store
 
$349.95

Pointilles

TÍte panoramique Nodal Ninja 4

Pano-Maxx 2 Head

One of the cheapest panoramic heads on the market, the head Pano-Maxx is a spherical head. The question of stability when the camera is placed in overhang is thus asked, even more since it's rather light. It is mostly aimed at point-and-shoot cameras or light reflex models like the Canon Eos 760D, 80D or even Nikon D5200, D7200. It is also especially not bulky and well-designed. It really doesn't take much space in a photo bag.

$150.00
|
Buy it now !

Technical specifications

  Retailer Nb of notches 360°x180 Weight Kg Price $
Pano-Maxx
from 3 to 24 *
YES
0.700
156


* several discs
: 120°, 90°, 72°, 60°, 45°, 36°, 30°, 22.5 °, 20°, 18°, 15°.


Pointilles

TÍtes panoramiques 360Précision-adjuste-absolute

360Precision Adjust and Absolute heads

The panoramic heads 360Precision are spherical heads. They're very well-manufactured. Both heads 360precsion are aimed at rather light bodies for the model Adjust (1) and at all the rest for the model Absolute (2). The model Adjust has sliding stages. I notice that this head has been chosen a lot by my friend Eric Rougier - FromParis.com - and it's probably not a random choice. The modelAbsolute, as for itself, is tailor-made. You thus need to place your order in accordance with the pair camera/lens used. It enables, I guess, to reinforce the overall stability since this model also suits big bodies and not having to look for the entrance pupil, but it's detrimental to the versatility you're expecting when you stitch monorange panoramas. The model Absolute is thus a tailor-made model that requires specification of the body model and the lens used when you place your order.

Buy from 360precision

Technical specifications

  Retailer Nb of notches 360°x180 Weight Kg Price $
Absolute
4 *
YES
2.500
610
Adjust
4 *
YES
1.100
690
 
Adjust Giga
4 *
YES
1.690
750

4-notches base: 90 °, 60 °, 45 °, 10°.

Pointilles

TÍte panoramique Kalahari

Cambo CLH 500 head

This new panoramic head by the company Cambo possesses two obvious qualities at first sight: it is wonderfully manufactured - materials and finishing - and it is very robust! At last a spherical panoramic head, indeed heavy, but very functional and on which you can mount almost anything. Excellent equipment!

Now in review on this site...

$939.00
|

Buy it from...

Cambo CLH 500
Price in $ Retailer
$939.00
Buy from B&H

Pointilles

TÍte panoramique Nodal Ninja 4

Nodal Ninja Ultimate M1 and M2 heads

Very stable and amazingly manufactured, the Nodal Ninja Ultimate M-1 and M2 panoramic heads are manual spherical heads. The M2 is another version of the M1, even more stable because it comes with two positioners even larger than those of the M1. It is clearly made for gigapixel shootings because its main positioner's notches are very close together.
Two universal heads, probably the best on the market!

I now use a Ultimate M-2+ RD-8.

€614 / $686
|

Technical specifications

  Retailer Nb of notches 360°x180 Weight Kg Price €
NN Ultimate M-1
16 *
YES
2.00
$700
NN Ultimate M-2
8 **
YES
2.10
980


* RD-16
: 90°, 60°, 45°, 36°, 30°, 24°, 20°, 18°, 15°, 12°, 10°, 7,5°, 5°, 3.75°.
** RD-8: 30 °, 15 °, 6 °, 5 °, 4 °, 3 °, 2.5 °, 2° .


Buy it from...

NN Ultimate M-1 + RD16
Price in € Retailer
Shop Nodal Ninja
$649.95
Buy from Kolor store
 
$649.95

Buy it from...

Nodal Ninja Ultimate M-2
Price in € Retailer
Shop Nodal Ninja
€699.95
Buy from Kolor store
 
$699.95

Pointilles

TÍte really Right Stuff

Really Right Stuff heads

Light because very compact, the heads Really Right Stuff look well-designed. It looks a lot like Arca Swiss. The Ultimate Pro version, spherical, can visibly handle effortlessly a body like a D300 or a Canon 5D and enables thanks to a clever L-shaped tailor-made plate, to place the camera horizontally and vertically. It is very convenient to shoot a vertical monorange panorama in addition to the more classic 360 ° × 180°. The vertical arm can also easily turn over on 180° to easily shoot the nadir. The L-Plate versions enable to mount a spherical head around any digital body, even a big one in a very crowded space hence without unbalancing overhang.

Buy from Really Right Stuff

Technical specifications

  Retailer Nb of notches 360°x180 Weight Kg Price €
Pano-Elements
-
NO
0.500
500
PG-02 PRO
-
YES
1.500
750

Pointilles

TÍte panoramique Kalahari

Bushman Kalahari head

This new panoramic head by the company Bushman Panoramic possesses two obvious qualities at first sight: it is amazingly well-manufactured - materials and finishing - and it is very light since it only weighs 380 grs! It won't take much space in your photo bag, nor in your photo jacket by the way. Unfortunately, it is detrimental to stability but at this level of transportability, it would have been hard to do better...

Now in review on this site...

€149.50
|

Technical specifications

  Retailer Nb of notches 360°x180 Weight Kg Price €
Kalahari V1
Adjustable *
YES
0.380
280

Quick Click optional base: 90 °, 60 °, 45 °, 36 °, 30°.


Buy it from...

Bushman Kalahari
Price in € Retailer
€149.50
Buy from Kolor Store

Pointilles

Kaidan heads

The panoramic heads Kaidan - QuickPan Professional and Kiwi - enable to make classic panorama or complete spheres. There are numerous models that can adapt to small, light cameras or even heavier models. The future new model QuickPan Pro seems interesting. Kaidan's website Suivre

Pointilles

Panosaurus heads

Also really light, Panosaurus heads seem rather aimed at point-and-shoot cameras or especially light reflex models. They don't really appeal to me, I have to admit, having had one in my hands on one occasion. Panosaurus' website Suivre

Pointilles

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Pointilles

TÍte Gigapan Epic Pro

Gigapan motorized heads

The motorized heads of the brand Gigapan are among the best value for money on the market. They're rather easy to use, very pleasant and above all very powerful. Remarkable tools. The model Epic Pro possesses two vertical arms for more stability. To set directly on a robust tripod. Nowadays, their main limitation is the lack of radio or bluetooth remote control. But I notice that the firmware is regularly updated and is now available in several languages!

$995.00
|

Technical specifications

  Retailer Nb of notches 360°x180 Weight Kg Price €
Epic
tailor-made
NO
1.400
450
Epic 100
tailor-made
NO
1.600
575
 
Epic Pro
tailor-made
NO
3.600
900

Buy it from...

Gigapan Epic Pro
Price in € Retailer
 
$995.00


Pointilles

TÍte VR Drive Roundshot

Motorized head VR Drive II

The motorized head VR Drive II by Roundshot is built on a Novoflex base, so you can imagine that irreproachable quality is here. One of the best motorized heads on the market is also the most expensive!

  • Motorized with double-axis;
  • Very powerful engines;
  • Very fast shooting mode;
  • Full touch-sensitive control module!
  • "Almost"infinite possibilities... Video, HDR, Time-lapse, etc. modes
€3,360
|
Buy it now!

Technical specifications

  Retailer Nb of notches 360°x180 Weight Kg Price €
VR Drive II
at your convenience
NO
2.300
3,360

Buy it from...

VR Drive II
Price in € Retailer
  Logo Boutique Kolor Kolor store
€3,360.00
Buy from Kolor store

Pointilles


In the next page, we'll talk about preparing the shooting, through the choice of the framing, the field of view, the focusing, etc. -
The preparatives Suivre


  My purchasing advice for panoramic heads per use suivre

pointilles




  VR-Drive II

New PanoBook Kolor 2015 !

From December, 2015.

Learn more about this book

€34.90 Excl. Taxes
       

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