Panorama Tag

The advantage of an X-Pan/TX-1 film camera back in the day was the compact nature of the rig vs the large alternatives that Linhof, Fujifilm, and other specialist makers cobbled up for pano work. These behemoths were wonderful, taking very large negatives on roll or sheet film, but they were monsters to haul out to remote places. Every venture to take panoramas for commercial purposes was a complete campaign. The X-Pan/ TX-1, on the other hand was a hand camera using 35mm film - and no larger than a regular rangefinder. It had automatic film advance and sophisticated exposure measuring. It was very nearly as automated as a digital camera - albeit one that threw an image some 23mm x 65 mm on the transparency or negative. Well I propose to throw an image some 23.6 x 7.8 mm on the sensor and trust that modern pixellage will be good enough to cope with it. But I want the historical ease of use. Two choices present themselves for this - the X-Pro1 and the X-E2. I own each of these bodies and they,...

For years I read about the Hasselblad X-Pan camera and the Fujifilm TX-1 - in reality the same camera from the Fujifilm stable but wiht different body treatments - and did not crave one. I owned a Hasselblad and a studio and combined the 6 x 6 format with indoor shots. There was very little call on my part for any sort of panorama work. Indeed, I had decided that I could not see panoramas anyway - I have been wearing glasses for 64 years and they formed the tunnel of my vision. Yet I have a book of Kodak Colorama panos from Grand Central Station and they are some of the most charming advertising shots I've seen...

Okay, it's time to be honest with ourselves. There are things that we desire, but can neither justify nor afford. And I'm not just talking about the kick line in the Zeigfield Follies - I mean the stuff that raises the real lust; photographic equipment. There. I've said it. The cat is out of the bag and yowling to be let out the front door. In five minutes it'll be yowling to be let in. Anyone want a cat? They're cheaper than camera accessories. The heading image is the thing I want, but cannot afford. The desire is purely visceral - there is no actual need for the device. Yet...

Well, the Three Legged Thing people are back again with another little accessory. It is one of their brightly-coloured ones so you can use it with a cheerful mien. The 360 Cl assembly is a panoramic clamp and turntable that allows you to use any standard tripod and three-way or ball tripod head to take accurate panoramic images. It joins the same sort of apparatus made by a number of other firms. but does so in real style. Underside it has the standard screw sockets for attachment to the heads - or to bare tripod legs , if you wish. Above the pivoting turntable is an Arca-Swiss compatible clamp and one of Three legged Thing's orange-anodised camera plates. Nestled into the runner of the head is a universal bubble level. You needn't use a Three Legged Thing tripod for the support - but they are stylish as all get-out so if you are buying one, give it some thought. Is it absolutely necessary to use a 360º rotating turntable to take panoramas? No - with the ability of the Photoshop program to stitch...

Stap Me Vitals! I nearly forgot to post the pictures. A few posts ago I showed you a Leofoto folding tripod for tabletop use - the one Carlos has chosen for his portable rig with the extra attachment sockets on each leg. That should have been the sequel to today's post about the little sister tripod from Leofoto. the pictures of it got lost in the image morgue. Well, we shall resurrect them. The Leofoto MT-02 is just one leg length - it doesn't fold out like the video one. And the MTB-19 head that is attached to it is slightly smaller than the ones that go on the larger tripod - but the rig is charming nevertheless, and particularly so for the travelling panoramicist. Recognise the configuration? It's got the ball on the bottom and a turntable head on top - like a tiny version of the Arca Swiss P head. When you level the top with the camera attached, it is only a matter of loosening the turntable lock and the rig can swivel accurately. Perfect stitching later or pretty good dynamic...

There comes a point where you have to be honest with yourself - there are some pieces of equipment that you pick up just so that you can fiddle with the controls. This can be the bane of a sales situation or the flight deck of an airliner. It's also why I have been banned from the wireless aisle in JB Hifi. It was one of the reasons I picked the Leofoto LEP-02 Panorama head off the storeroom shelf. If you have studied the panorama and stitched photo business  - the virtual world that seeks to show more than the average lens can see - you'll have seen some of the complex support systems that are needed. There have been at least 6 major makers that I've seen come through the shop in the last 8 years - and some are still making what they produced all that long ago. But there are new makers coming from mainland Asia all the time, and the standard of production is steadily rising. I'll not start a fight over copying designs or adding new ideas...

Flat, but not down in the dumps - in fact quite elated. Manfrotto have made a winner. Sometimes we need to have a stable platform that is exactly horizontal. We might be launching V-2's or looking at the stars or making panoramic photographs - possibly all three on a busy week. Manfrotto have come up with an accessory that makes this easy. The 438 Camera Ball Leveler does the job. It is meant to go between a Manfrotto tripod with a 3/8" stud and another device with a 3/8" socket. The size of the leveller and these two connections tell you that it is intended for professional gear - this is not something you take as a backpacker tourist, unless you are a Royal Marine on workdays. It's heavy. It's also precise and locks with a positive lever action. Both top and bottom can be lock-screwed to their respective mates. Uses? a. Put a video head on it, level it, and you can be sure that when you pan with the race car or surfer, you will not be getting a tilted or rising/falling...