In this second part dedicated to photo equipment you need to realize panoramic photographies by stitching, we'll review more specific equipment. I'm talking about the photo tripod and the telescopic pole. In the next page, we'll talk about a very useful particularity it can have and finally about levelling bases, so convenient to save time because levelling the panoramic head is almost essential.
If you're a beginner...
A new part of this guide is now dedicated to you. There you'll find simple pieces of advice to implement to stitch nice panoramas, choose your software, your equipment...
The process of shooting mentioned in the first page makes using a tripod almost essential when you want to be rigorous, hence productive. It is one thing to manage to stitch a panorama correctly and it's a different thing to make several "easily". The framings and focusing will be even more accurate.
But of course, you'd better take a photo without a tripod than no photo at all if the subject lends itself to it occasionally.
Some images need to be taken instantly and some photographers specialized in virtual tours don't hesitate to work with a Fisheye lens with the camera hand-held or with a monopod in the middle of a crowd. The photographer can also be looking for special artistic effects: camera shakes or anamorphosis...
"Classic" photo tripods
It's the most stable solution. Any tripod can be fine, of course, but it can also be useful to place it very close to the floor in certain cases or even at an important height (photo here on the right) - it's less common though because a height of 1.50 m seems very interesting to me... see preparatives - and finally as stable as possible, above all in the particular case of the realization of a gigapixel panorama. In many cases you'll just make it work! For their settings possibilities and their value for money, Manfrotto, Benro tripods are very interesting and for their quality only, Gitzo carbon tripods are among marvelous tools because light and rigid.
It's interesting to note that there's a new generation of tripods which central column can be slightly tilted, like on the models Gitzo LVL or by adding a special column to Manfrotto - 555B and 556B -. It appears to be especially convenient when levelling the panoramic head because 15° of tilting in all directions enable to fix almost any situation in one screw movement. See below.
A few suggestions of tripods I like...
Synthetic table of a few photo tripods
Benro "Classic" Alu
1.4 to 2.0
130 to 160
Benro "Classic" Carbon
1.5 to 2.0
260 to 400
Gitzo LVL tripod
Feisol LV tripod
Photo tripod Benro "Classic" Aluminium
There are two categories of Benro tripods: aluminium/magnesium and Carbon/Magnesium. The Alu/Mag tripods are already very light, and really well manufactured!
As light as Gitzo carbon!!!
To close the arms, possibility to choose between valves or clips,
New! Possibility to add a central column to the leveling ball, not very expensive and very well-manufactured,
One little defect only: they can't go down to ground level. Excellent value for money and nice discovery...
I regularly recommend them to my trainees so these are tripods I know in the field.
These tripods have the particularity to have a special central column since it can tilt. It is especially convenient to level your panoramic head as we'll see in the next page...
FEISOL CT-3472 LV tripod
Feisol really makes very good carbon tripods, very light and yet stable enough and they also possess what I find most convenient to quickly level a panoramic head, a central column that tilts on about 10°, as on the famous Leveling Gitzo...
Gitzo has among its range of carbon tripods - hence expensive, unfortunately! - two tripods which central column can be completely tilted on 15° unlike the Manfrotto one on which only the ball tilts. It is more convenient because the clamping screw is easier to reach. I love these tripods which qualities I praise everyday to realize panoramas! You can change parts very quickly and level it...
Another solution is to use a monopod as support for the panoramic head. It's more convenient when you want to make panoramas in few photos only to go very fast, anywhere like in a crowd for instance...
Unless it's about realizing a panorama in height, with a telescopic pole. With lots of carbon tripods now on the market, light and not too expensive, this shooting mode is expanding. It will then be easy to make monorange panoramas at a height of more than 6m without heavy installation to set up. It prevents of course long exposure times but when technically the photos can be shot, the point of view of the panorama. As for now, one telescopic pole stands out: the carbon pole Nodal Ninja / Fanotec P2 . It is light to carry, not too long once folded, very well made and designed... a true revolution, very pleasant to use.
Telescopic pole P-1 and P-2
There are numerous versions enabling to reach different heights. You need to choose according to your needs.
Light: less than 2 Kg!
Choice of the height: from 2.80 to 6m,
Short once folded: less than 1.20m,
Excellent value for money to discover a new world, perched at a height of six meters!
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