Panorama : My, that’s an awfully wide word!

Who made those rules?

The frame size of 35mm, 2 1/4″, 4×5, 8×10, 11×14, yes even 110?
How about Cinemascope, Vistavision,HD 16×9?

We love panoramic.

Why?
You can tell a different story, move the viewers eye through a landscape.
And the landscape doesn’t have to mean Bryce Canyon.
How about Brooklyn?

There are many ways to achieve this elongated view.

From old school film cameras to iPhones, we’re gonna take a little look around,
Our tools of choice will be briefly looked at here, and future article will keep exploring.

One of the best systems for a solid 360º is the Nodal Ninja Ultimate R-1
It’s a compact, solid rig, that when coupled with the right camera setup, will give you a compact panorama solution.

In 8 shots including top and bottom, you will get an awesome 360º look at the word.

Yes, you need the right software to stitch it all together, and Bill Bailey & Rob at Nodal Ninja will get you all hooked up. The rig alone is about $350. at NodalNinja.com. They do sell complete bundles.
Check out some of Bill’s work right here.
The man who shot the Smithsonian Museum, and The Last Shuttle, Dennis Biela (thelastshuttle.com) turned me on to the best configuration: Sony NEX 5N, 8mm lens, Ultimate R-1, and a Monopod (ok, tripod when you are first starting out) and you are in business. It has found a spot in the camera bag. And recommended by Google.

Not concerned with the full interactive 360º?

Cool, just take that Sony NEX 5N and get that panoramic mode working:

Physically move the camera in a panning motion,left to right;right to left; or up and down, and the camera will stitch it together IN-CAMERA. Yes, you can review the pano in camera as it enlarges and moves across the length of the shot.

Then we go to the film camera mode:
The most common choices are the Widelux, currently made famous by Jeff Bridges, and the Noblex.
The Widelux uses springs and gears, and has a slight tendency to need repair. about $1000 on ebay
The Noblex is motor powered, consistent, and uses batteries. About $750 on ebay.
It’s film, and reliable.

This was shot with a Noblex U150 and is the timeline photo on our Facebook page.
New ones coming.

As you can see, the format is slightly less wide than the Sony.
What you may want is the wider Noblex 175. Tough to find but does 140º.
The Widelux does 140º
Nothing is perfect.

Then we look at the Gigapan.
This camera mount has a variety of sizes depending n the camera you use.
And the venue you are covering.
Used at U2 concerts , so you can find yourself in the crowd. AND at the Republican National Convention, this unit holds your camera, connects it into a moco (motion control) type of platform and bracket.
This ensures that all of the shots needed have been covered. Of course, software is the key to stitch all of this together.
Units go for about $450 to $850 brand new.

But wait, there’s more…
3 companies have come out with a mirrored funnel that is attached to a tube, that connects to your camera.
In one shot you have a 360º panoramic image.
easy, right?
Well each funnel optic has a slightly different angle, and we are working our test through and have some preferences.
0-360º has a less extreme optic giving us a more approachable image with less distortion.
GoPano has a similar and well made system, with a slightly more extreme optic.
One other company, the folks from DOT who also make the sweetest iPhone accessory for 360º videos, also have a version.
We’re looking forward to a comparative test with that unit. All about $600 (0-360)-$900 (DOT).

And of course, the iPhone.
Word is that the new one, with it’s wider screen is a perfect pano camera format.
We agree. Plus there are the apps. We are partial to AutoStitch.

There is much more coming in the pano-realm.
Remember this word: Tamaggo!

And I know, all of you analog folks. Not one word on the Lomography solutions. Well, post up the shots. Tell us why you love em!

I love the challenge of different frame. It’s been over 20 years shooting it in some form.
Starting with disposable pano cameras, to some secret methods using film cameras and a Minolta tool, it’s a guilty pleasure that opens up my eyes.

It ain’t the same old frame.

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