With the growth of digital photography, panoramas have emerged as a growing passion that any shooter can easily achieve. Digital Panoramas are created by shooting multiple overlapping images, and then stitching them together in an app like Adobe Photoshop. There are a lot of things you need to be mindful of when shooting panoramas, (see today’s pano episode), but the two most important are Keep it Level, and Eliminate parallax!!! You can remove parallax distortion by positioning the optical center of the lens over the point of rotation! (more info here). To help you with your journey in shooting panoramics, we’ve put together a small list of gear suggestions that you’ll want to use to capture breathtaking images!
3 Legged Thing’s – EDDIE we’ve covered once before, but it’s such a great tripod it has to make the list again. Coming in at under 3-lbs, carbon Fiber, a ball head that can support nearly 27-lbs of gear, and is ultra-compact, this rig can get as low as 5? from the ground or as high as 7 feet!!! You ideally want to choose a ball head tripod when shooting panoramics as you’ll be using a custom mount and the ball heads will let you perfectly balance/level your shots before starting!
Manfrotto’s MKCompactLT-BK is our suggestion for the budget ball-head tripod! It can’t support as much weight as the 3LT Professional Level, but it’s great in a pinch! 2.4 pounds, built in ball head, and a max, (Safe), capacity of 3.3lbs. (please note, that these weight capacities are usually depending on the tripod heads, NOT the tripod Bodies. So if you want to put more weight on them you’ll have to upgrade the heads). This tripod is the natural connection between a mini and full Size tripod!!
The Induro PHQ3 – 5 Way Panhead will give you a full five-way convenient and compact camera positioning system with a support capacity of 35.2lbs!!! If you want to have complete control over your Angles and not worry about the micro Adjustments on a ball head, then this is the tripod-head for you!
The Induro PHT2 3-Way Panhead is a fantastic budget-alternative to the 5-way mentioned previously. It’s got a graduated Angle Scale so you can see and set the position of your tilts and pans precisely while still having a heavy payload! It can support 26.5lbs still! It may not have as many Adjustment and control points as it’s PHQ3 but it’s still got nearly everything you’d need to secure your shot!
We’ve covered the eMotimo TB3 in our Timelapse article, but a little known bonus of this Tool is an amazing Panoramic Features! The TB3 Head will run in a fully automated Panorama mode which will help you eliminate parallax and distortion from your shots. It’ll also ensure you get all the coverage you need! Never miss a shot by accident again! Simply set your top left and bottom right frame, and the eMotimo will do the rest for you!
While still expensive, the Gigapan is a much more affordable choice for a complete robotic panoramic device! It comes with fully integrated software that will automatically combine photos to create huge panoramas!
The L Plates may not seem like an important Tool for your arsenal, but having the ability to safely, securely, and quickly shift your camera from Landscape to portrait mode without changing your tripod/mount settings is a pretty huge deal! The Photo Clam for the Canon 5D is pretty commonly used among the Landscape/canon shooters we know and comes highly recommended.
The Lee Filter kits are absolutely my favorite Tools in panoramic and landscape photography. Some of the top quality ND Filters in the industry combined in a foundation kit that provides you with nearly everything you’ll need to get the job done! The ND and Graduated ND Filters will help you get longer Exposures, (needed to eliminate Motion from people/animals etc), or simply balanced Exposures in varied Light situations! Personally, I never leave my house without my Lee Filter kits!
The Colkin Compatible budget alternative kit to cover all your ND Filter needs at a fraction of the cost! I started with this kit and still use it even when i have my Lee available! The only down side of the plastic filters is they will tend to leave a bit of a Color Balance shift on your images that you’ll need to adjust for…so obviously, be sure to shoot your images in RAW 😉