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Thread: Alignment of camera with ball head

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    Default Alignment of camera with ball head

    Can anybody tell me how to quickly align a camera and making sure that the lens is aligned with the centre of the pivot on a ball head for panoramic shots.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis
    Can anybody tell me how to quickly align a camera and making sure that the lens is aligned with the centre of the pivot on a ball head for panoramic shots.
    for panoramic shots, best not to use a ball head. (just imho...)

    solution is use a spirit level, see that your camera is align against the horizon, so when you move your camera it follows a straight smooth movement (since you disengage the panning portion of the ballhead with the ball head fixed). check your tripod & ballhead's spirit level as well, if tripod is not aligned, most likely even the ballhead is align, there might be some distortion. if kia su, also can get a spirit level for the camera...
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    I do have a spirit level but can only make sure that the camera is level. It does not align the lens axis with the centre of the ballhead. How can I do that ?.

    Quote Originally Posted by Del_CtrlnoAlt
    for panoramic shots, best not to use a ball head. (just imho...)

    solution is use a spirit level, see that your camera is align against the horizon, so when you move your camera it follows a straight smooth movement (since you disengage the panning portion of the ballhead with the ball head fixed). check your tripod & ballhead's spirit level as well, if tripod is not aligned, most likely even the ballhead is align, there might be some distortion. if kia su, also can get a spirit level for the camera...

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    it works in 3 point... the tripod, the head & the camera, if either 1 is not in perfect straight alignment, your pic is going to be off... hence the need for photoshop post processing if the alignment is off. cropping in this instance.

    suggestion for such case is, if you can't align tripod perfectly, get a leveling tripod centre column, adjust it to be level, dun care about the tripod even if its crooked, den align the head, den most likely the camera is in level (if plate is loose, alignment also off)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Del_CtrlnoAlt
    it works in 3 point... the tripod, the head & the camera, if either 1 is not in perfect straight alignment, your pic is going to be off... hence the need for photoshop post processing if the alignment is off. cropping in this instance.

    suggestion for such case is, if you can't align tripod perfectly, get a leveling tripod centre column, adjust it to be level, dun care about the tripod even if its crooked, den align the head, den most likely the camera is in level (if plate is loose, alignment also off)

    I cannot understand why there is a necessity for the camera, tripod head and tripod to be in alignment. It may be nice, but at the end of it, not really necessary. I do landscape and the only I care for is that my camera is in horizontal position. This is the only important thing. So if my camera on the ball head is off, so what, as long as my camera is horizontal. And to do this get a two way spirit level on your camera. I have absolutely no problem with alignment.

    To illustrate, in landscape (well , it depends on where you do the landscape!), often the tripod legs are all over the places, and the whole tripod may be "off centre"(slanted). As long as the slanted tripod can still hold my camera, it will be OK if the camera is aligned horizontally.

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    Quote Originally Posted by student
    I cannot understand why there is a necessity for the camera, tripod head and tripod to be in alignment. It may be nice, but at the end of it, not really necessary. I do landscape and the only I care for is that my camera is in horizontal position. This is the only important thing. So if my camera on the ball head is off, so what, as long as my camera is horizontal. And to do this get a two way spirit level on your camera. I have absolutely no problem with alignment.

    To illustrate, in landscape (well , it depends on where you do the landscape!), often the tripod legs are all over the places, and the whole tripod may be "off centre"(slanted). As long as the slanted tripod can still hold my camera, it will be OK if the camera is aligned horizontally.
    I think they are talking about stitching a few shots together for panorama. Tripod leg position is quite essential in that scenario.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dkw
    I think they are talking about stitching a few shots together for panorama. Tripod leg position is quite essential in that scenario.
    I see, then a ballhead would be a nightmare! Since you have a spirit level, try this (I have absolutley no idea if it would work!) Put a spirit level on the plate on the ball head, ensure the plate is horizontal. Lock the head and then use the pan to see if the level is still level! Let us know please!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis
    Can anybody tell me how to quickly align a camera and making sure that the lens is aligned with the centre of the pivot on a ball head for panoramic shots.
    You don't need to for stitching.

    1. If your subject is at 'infinity' or very far away, just leveling the camera is enough. It will stitch ok if your leveling is good.

    2. If your subject is nearer and may distort due to rotating, you need to place the ballhead under the front nodal point of the lens, NOT the camera body. The FNP is where the lens 'sees', as if putting your eye there. NOT the camera behind. It is different for lenses of different focal lengths.

    You can get cheap spirit levels from DIY shops. They also sell spirit-bubbles that you can mount on your camera hotshoe for about $20+.

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    Quote Originally Posted by student
    I see, then a ballhead would be a nightmare! Since you have a spirit level, try this (I have absolutley no idea if it would work!) Put a spirit level on the plate on the ball head, ensure the plate is horizontal. Lock the head and then use the pan to see if the level is still level! Let us know please!
    tats y read my 1st post... dun use a ballhead...

    and thats y, i also say, align the legs, so that when do panning, the camera alignment is still centre... so until this part of the process i still somewhat correct right?
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    On top of all the alignment there is still the lens axis and the pivot point of the head to take care. Mmmm OK I think it is true that a ball head is a nightmare in this situation.

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    You can use a ballhead no problem, as long as it has a panning system (with independent lock). Make sure the (panning) ball/three-way head is levelled by using a Manfrotto leveling head (has its own bubble) AND the camera itself is levelled, and whenever you pan, the camera-CCD/film always stays horizontal! its easy........no need to look for nodalpoint or whatever.......

    HS

  12. #12

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    for stitched panoramas, not only the camera needs to be level, so does the panning base, or else will get a series of level shots, but at different heights

    but the original question isn't even about that right? it's asking how to get the nodal point over the pivot... maybe you're looking for something like this?

    http://www.tawbaware.com/nodalninja_review.htm

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    Thanks. Yes that was what I was looking for but it seems difficult to align and does not fit all camera.

    Quote Originally Posted by pai
    for stitched panoramas, not only the camera needs to be level, so does the panning base, or else will get a series of level shots, but at different heights

    but the original question isn't even about that right? it's asking how to get the nodal point over the pivot... maybe you're looking for something like this?

    http://www.tawbaware.com/nodalninja_review.htm

  14. #14

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    hehe, well i really don't know anything about panorama shooting, but i can still use google :P

    how bout this?

    really right stuff pano equipment

    scroll down, there's more stuff below the pano clamp...

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