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Rogeti 360 Panoramic head review

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Looking at the Rogeti 360 Panoramic Head

Review of tripod head for multi shot panoramic images


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Keith has been looking at the new Rogeti 360 Panoramic Head.

This review shows how the device works and how it is assembled for use.

Due to covid restrictions at the time, outdoor testing was curtailed, but Keith has made a short (11m) video showing the assembly and use of the head.

The 360 Panoramic Head is available from Rogeti [$395]

rogeti-360-pano-head

The panoramic head

If you regularly shoot multi-shot panoramic images, the limitations of conventional tripod heads can become quite restrictive. This is particularly so if you shoot multi-row panoramas, rather than simple up/down or left/right stitched shots.

For my highest resolution work I have a GigaPan Epic Pro device (review), a computer controlled mount which allows me to take dozens of shots with longer lenses. It is however quite bulky and battery operated.  For shots with wide angle or fisheye lenses, something a little more portable is helpful.

The Rogeti 360

Even the case looks good – a very solid, waterproof one.

case

The case and mount weighs ~1.6kg

However, the light alloy parts of the mount inside weigh only 760gm

rogeti-360

Like all Rogeti kit I’ve looked at, it has a nice feel of precision about it.

The two 360º dovetail mounts and X-Y mount are the same as you find with the Rogeti RG-1 geared tripod head I’ve looked at elsewhere. I know the 360 units have a very smooth movement and secure clamping action.

Assembling the mount

The mount assembles together very easily. There are however a few physical adjustment needed, which I’ll show in a bit, to match it to any particular lens/camera.

You need a tripod to attach the head to. I’m using an oldish video tripod that I’ve had for many years. it’s very solid and easily takes the weight of my Gigapan, although I now tend to use a survey tripod for that [Article about using the survey tripod]

My tripod has a 3/8 screw thread, but you could use anything offering an Arca style dovetail.

mount-options

Note the two version of the dovetail. The Rogeti version has fine locating pins which slot into their dovetail mounts ensuring precision placement and added security against accidental release.

You can see the fine slots for the pins with the 360º dovetail.

base-fitted

The L bracket is locked into place. Note the levelling bubble.

fit-main-bracket

On the other side of the mount are adjustments for camera size.  I’m using my 5Ds in a Rogeti L bracket, which makes setup a bit easier. However, even if you are using a different camera/mount, then setting the reference position for reassembly is a once only operation. That is, as long as you remeber to write down the setting…

lens-centering

The L bracket in place.

l-bracket

The slot at the top of the bracket has an alignment ridge to facilitate quick and accurate placement of the top 360º dovetail.

slot-alignment

The dovetail is attached with a large bolt.

Note the alignment slot in the dovetail.

top-fitting

The dovetail fits very solidly in place.

lock-top-swivel

The crossbar now needs fitting – note the pins.

top-bar-fitting-slot

The slide bar is now ready to take the XY dovetail. Note the safety pin at the left, it helps stop your camera slide off the bar.

bar-fitted

The XY plate, fitted for use. Note the orientation of the parts.

camera-x-y-plate

Here’s my Canon 5Ds attached with an L Bracket.

camera-fitted-front

The view from the rear.

camera-L-bracket-fitted

Optical alignment

For optimal stitching, the lens optical axis (where it’s pointing) needs to run through the rotational axis of each 360º dovetail.

Secondly, what’s known as the nodal point of your lens needs to be at the intersection of these two axes.

Fortunately this is much easier to set up than that description might suggest.

The Camera X-Y adjustment

As set up, the level marks the vertical rotational axis, but this is so after adjustment only when using the Rogeti L bracket here or TSE frame lens mount (see later), For other camera mounting plates the level may be off centre after adjustment. This doesn’t affect its utility in any way though.

mount-adjustments

By turning the camera to point downwards, the camera can be adjusted to centre the axis.

looking-down

When using the Rogeti L bracket there is no adjustment needed – the rotation axis is already set correctly and the bubble level right over it in the centre of the frame.

With a different mount the centre axis of rotation of the lower 360 dovetail may mean the bubble level is off-centre after alignment.

The size of the mount means that bigger cameras like the Canon 1 series are too large to fit.  Rogeti do an L bracket for the Sony A7R3/A7R4/A7R2/A9/A9II models as well.[Review]

point-camera-down

The two adjustments are the camera left/right on the XY dovetail and of the bottom of the main L bracket where it attaches to the bottom 360 dovetail.

These are one-off settings for your particular camera and bracket/plate.

The nodal point adjustment

Lenses have a point (usually inside them) which is effectively the point in space where your captured image is seen from. This is commonly referred to as the lens nodal point (there’s far more about this but this isn’t an article about lens design).

This is rarely information published for lenses, but fortunately it’s easy to test for.

Parallax: The simplest example of the effect we are trying to counter is shown if you hold a finger up and look through one eye at a distant view. Swap to the other eye and your finger will move relative to the distant view. When rotating a camera on a tripod, the lens nodal point is not usually over the tripod axis of rotation. This movement of the nodal point can cause parallax shifts between near and far objects – this makes accurate stitching of shots much more difficult.

Point the camera at a distant view, and have something closer that lines up with a more distant feature.

In this example, it’s in my kitchen and I’m lining up part of a tripod with the door frame beyond.

centre-target

The lens is an 8-15mm fisheye [my EF8-15 F4L review] at 15mm, giving a 180º diagonal FOV.

Zooming in on the screen shows the alignment I’m looking for.

straight

Rotating the camera to the left, and moving the  zoomed view back to the tripod shows a small change.

offset

This is clearer on these magnified views of the screen.

parallax-shift

This movement was because the camera was too far forward.

Moving it backwards removed the effect.

The adjustment here is different for every lens, and can change with zooming. I’ve found that a simple phone photo gives all the setting accuracy I need for any particular lens, although you can simply note the measurement from the top bar.

Other Lenses

If using the TS-E50/24/17 tilt shift lenses for my shots I can mount the lens in a TSE Frame and attach it (+camera) directly to the panoramic head.

set-nodal-point-tse24-

There is in fact an optional base plate for the TSE frame which has indications for the nodal point settings for the lenses (17/24 shown here).

You could use this to replace the entire top bar and XY dovetail. With the TSE frame, the optical axis should align with the vertical rotational axis.

tse24-on-pano-mount

Here’s just a TS-E 24mm and TSEframe attached directly – it matches the rotation axis as-is.

tse-frame-on-mount

It also shows the range of markings on the 360 dovetail, where the combination of marks at 15º intervals and 18º intervals give extra flexibility when stepping between shots.

One other feature of note it you use any of the three TS-E lenses (with or without the TSE Frame) is the printed reminder of the fields of view of those lenses. [click to enlarge]

tse-fov-list

Using the pano head

I’m going to assume that if you’re interested in a specialist head like this then you’re already familiar with stitching images.

I still use AutoPano Giga software for my stitching – it unfortunately is no longer available  …losing out to corporate greed and ineptitude, I’ve seen it suggested.

However, this review is about capturing images, not what you do with them…

One feature that may well be of some help, is being able to reverse the top of the mount where the top 360 dovetail can be loosened and swapped over to take a vertically downwards looking nadir shot without the tripod in the way.

camera-pointing-down

In normal use, a straight down shot captures the tripod, but swapping the mount over and shifting the tripod the opposite direction allows for a patching nadir shot.

top-360-plate-swapped-for-nadir

A quick example

Four fisheye shots at 90º and one shot pointed upwards give a view of my kitchen rather more expansive than it feels.

wide-kitchen-view

A crop of a different projection looking downwards

downwards

Usability and conclusions

I’ve not been able to go out and use the mount for any serious work, due to covid here in the UK, but every time I assemble it, it just feels very solidly constructed and nicely designed.

Using with the Rogeti L bracket for my 5Ds and the TSE Frame just give a feel for a system that has been put together by someone who actually has taken time to appreciate the real needs of a photographer using the kit.

Other Rogeti items

I’ve looked at several Rogeti items over the years

The 360 Panoramic Head is available from Rogeti

Note – We have no business relationship with Rogeti. The link above is an affiliate link and purchasing items through it helps support the web site

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