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Ultimate M2 24.63 Gigapixel Image

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  • Ultimate M2 24.63 Gigapixel Image

    Basic stats:
    Panorama size: 24632 megapixels (355,936 x 69,204 pixels) or 24.63GB
    Input images: 1560 (120 columns by 13 rows)
    FOV: 360 x 70 degrees
    Nikon D800E
    80-400mm zoom lens shot at 280mm (3 degree increments)

    This is "my" largest gigapixel image to date and I believe may be the largest ever shot with a manual panoramic tripod head. Ranked about 37th in size out of 50,000+ images hosted on As with most of my work it's far from perfect so not seeking criticism.

    Nick sent me the new M2 w/RD8-II to start playing with and I was more than eager to get started.
    On a recent trip to San Diego I wanted to shot something other than a cityscape so I decided to try and shoot the flight deck of the USS Midway. A must see Naval Museum if ever in San Diego.

    The biggest challenge was with all the hundreds of people moving about the flight deck. While I was able to pause and wait for people to move out of the shot this was taking up valuable time so ended up with lots of chopped up people. And because the image exceeded 300,000 pixels I couldn't do any edits in Photoshop.

    The entire 1560 images sequence took only 1.5 hours - much quicker than a robotic head. With positive control over the camera and shutter release I could shoot faster than the memory card could write. Without the pauses and with smaller image size I'm sure the image could have been shot in under 30 minutes. I also have the Gigapan Epic robotic head and using it here would have taken easy 3+ hours. With the adjustable detent tension on lower rotator, and end tab on upper rotator makes for more comfortable and reliable shooting. If you have a little patience and can count shots then shooting with manual head is IMO preferable over robotics for the shear speed and positive control not to mention lighter and no power source needed.

    Click image for larger version

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    All in all the Ultimate M2 is another excellent product I can boast about - well done Nick!


  • #2
    Hi Bill,

    Thx for sharing.

    Great example. During my test with M2 RD8II thx Nick, I got the same experience.

    Workflow for new users:

    Shooting from upper left to lower right the pano head is easy to adjust. Head set to 0 mark , set up the tripod and set it to favorite viewfinder position straight on. Move to the left to find the left end position. 0 mark has moved to the right. Now adjust the movable index ring to this mark and fix it. Now move to the right to find the right end horizontal position. 0 mark has moved to the left. Now adjust the blue ring mark to this position. Now the horizontal row is fixed by 0 mark plus blue end mark.

    Next step is to fix the vertical movement on upper rotator. Move up till you think this is it. Remember the degree setting on the index ring. Now move down to the last vertical row and set the blu end mark.

    To start shooting, move to upper left position: let's say +20° pitch and rotator moved to 0 mark on the right. Shoot the first horizontal row up to blue end mark on lower rotator with needed detend setting by adapting the detend plungers on rotator.

    Now adapt the upper rotator by interval let's say -5° step. Fix upper rotator with the knob. Move back to the left, 0 mark on the right, and start shooting next horizontal row. At blue end mark readjust pitch on upper rotator, move back to the left, 0 mark on the right on index ring, and shoot you next row. Go on by adjusting pitch by every horizontal row till you end up with the last one at end mark of upper rotator on the lower right. Finished.

    With this great design of start and end marks, by the way the same on RD16II as well, Nick gave us a great help not to get lost in between shooting a gigapixel pano. Just shoot horizontal row by setting the rotator to next click stop, adjust vertical pitch and on you go.

    The new RD8II has adjustable tension of the knobs inside the detend knobs. It can be adjusted to smooth click stops by a Hex Key, parked inside the fixing knob. The smaller blue knob on the right hand side of Bill's picture.

    Compared to my Epic Pano Pro Robotic head, this is a time saver! Not only for shooting time in total, but as Bill already mentioned by avoiding ghosts because you are able by manually stopp in between shots to avoid them.

    In total, Thx Nick! for another great design for us.

    BTW: you can use lower, upper rail with clamp as well as vertical rail of your M1. Should be MFR210 twice, plus a QRS65 on top of the RD8II rotator. Same for RD16II.

    I have laser tested this system about movement in itself with and without D3 300mm/f2.8 and there is no movement at all. Adapting the camera and lens to the systems, horizontal and vertical rails stay in the same position of laser rays as without it. No bending at all. And this is around 4kg.

    By opening the upper and lower rotator knobs, you can use this system as a gimbal head. Soft and smooth move!
    A money saving add on!!

    Last edited by hindenhaag; January 7, 2013, 11:26 AM.


    • #3
      I will try to upload pics about the workflow the next days cause I could not succeed.



      • #4
        Pics for workflow: pics©2013 Nodal Ninja Fanotec

        Click image for larger version

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        Workflow M2 Upper Rotator, RD16II - same as with RD8II

        Last edited by hindenhaag; January 7, 2013, 10:45 PM.