GigaPan Epic Pro

Panoramic photography with the GigaPan Epic Pro

We’ve just got a GigaPan Epic Pro for some of our high resolution panoramic photography.

I’m hoping to have a more detailed review when work allows, but in the mean time I’ll post a few shorter updates here on the blog.

Here’s what I’ve used for some time – the excellent Manfrotto 303sph

Manfrotto 303 panoramic tripod head

Manfrotto 303 panoramic tripod head

In the background is a Canon 5100 printer that I’m currently testing.

The 303 is robust, but a little lightweight for the Canon 1Ds3 with heavier lenses. It does allow for very accurate setting of the camera position to eliminate parallax errors.

After removing the Gigapan device from its box, the first thing to do is charge that NiMH battery – this takes several hours for a new battery.

battery and leads for GigaPan

Battery, charger and leads for GigaPan Epic Pro

Note the array of connecting leads – seven are included, so I found myself wondering what cameras the other six fit?

The device fits on top of my tripod.

GigaPan Epic pro

GigaPan Epic pro

Actually, I’ve fitted the GigaPan (via its 3/8″ tripod mount) to a Manfrotto 338 levelling device

Manfrotto 338 levelling attachment

Manfrotto 338 levelling attachment

This makes final levelling of the GigaPan much easier.

Here’s the camera mounted on the GigaPan

1Ds3 mounted on GigPan Epic Pro

Canon 1Ds3 mounted on GigPan Epic Pro

On slight issue I’ve found with the Canon 1Ds 3 – it’s fractionally too tall for the mount, so the centre axis of the lens is perhaps 5mm above the rotation axis.

The lens is a TS-E90mm lens (I’d nothing else at this focal length – I’m not using any shift here). I’ve moved the camera back on the mount to get rid of side to side parallax, but if you had objects very close, you might still find some up/down parallax.  I’ll have to experiment and see if this really is a problem.

After a few hours charging I took a simple set of Pano shots in the room, and stitched them both in the supplied GigaPan software, and Photoshop CS5

The device is very easy to set up and operate, but I’ll leave that until I can show some examples.

  • Don

    I just purchased a GigaPan EPIC Pro and have found two issues.

    The GigaPan is mounted on best Really Right Stuff components.

    1. The bubble level. I first center the bubble level precisely. Then when I rotate the GigaPan the bubble goes out of level clear over to the side and moves along the edge until returning to the starting point. Does yours do the same?

    2. Wobble. At the base of the GigaPan, where it rotates, the fit is not snug and when a slight pressure is applied to the top of the GigaPan, on both left and right sides, the GigaPan wobbles slightly both ways. Does yours do the same?

    I have a concern for both issues. With the second issue the main concern is when using it on windy days and ending up with a camera shake result.

    I have ordered a Hot Shoe Three Axis Triple Bubble Spirit Level and will try it for leveling.

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    Don

    • http://www.northlight-images.co.uk Keith

      The device could do with a bit more precision in some of its manufacturing – the levelling is one reason I use the tribrach and survey tripod
      http://www.northlight-images.co.uk/article_pages/hardware/gigapan_tripod.html

      I don’t get any wobble, but I have heard that there is some slack in the design which can often be fixed with a careful disassembly/assembly of parts of the mount and tightening up some of the slack – this may help with the level as well?

  • Nigel Dawkins

    Hi keith,

    Thanks for the reviews. I was interested in how your Canon 5100 is shaping up? You did a very thorough and interesting review of the Epson 3880; any thoughts on how they both compare? Quality wise is the Canon better do you think.

    Kind regards,

    Nigel

    • http://www.northlight-images.co.uk Keith

      I only had the 5100 for a few weeks, but it works very well, and printwise is very similar to the 3880. I have an ipf8300 as our main printer here.

      Obviously, the 5100 has roll support, and is designed for heavier use, but that’s not important to many, unless you do a lot of pano shots or canvas.

      If well profiled, there isn’t much difference between a 3880 and 5100 – if it was my own money, I’d be looking at the prices, since both are probably due for some form of upgrade in the next year or so.

  • http://www.malcolmmackenzie.co.uk Malcolm

    Hi Keith
    Have you had time to play yet as I am looking at it it for large scale landscapes.
    Thanks
    Malcolm

  • http://www.panoramas.lt Kostas

    Hi,
    I lost my battery charger
    What are the specifications for the Epic Pro charger?
    Best regards,
    Kostas

    • http://www.northlight-images.co.uk Keith

      It is an actual charger, not a plain power supply as far as I can see – the two colour LED suggests that it has charging circuitry inside

      Says 9.6V/1.2A