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Thread: Nodal Ninja 3 has arrived

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John Houghton

Posts: 3897
Location: Hitchin, United Kingdom
Registered: 17 Jan 2005
Re: Nodal Ninja 3 has arrived
Posted: 28 Jun 2006 at 11:02 GMT

Nick Fan said:

Thanks I didn't know this method before.

I haven't seen this method suggested before either. However, once you accept that the no parallax point is located at the entrance pupil and not at a nodal point, the fact that you can see the entrance pupil opens up various possibilities for aligning the lens. It's really only common sense. The entrance pupil needs to be in line with the axis of rotation. Since both are visible, you can use your own imagination to devise a simple method of checking this.

John
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Smooth

Posts: 4258
Location: Mount Panorama, Australia
Registered: 21 Jul 2004
Re: Nodal Ninja 3 has arrived
Posted: 28 Jun 2006 at 14:12 GMT
updated: 28 Jun 2006 at 14:15 GMT
Yes, this is the solution and as you can see "IF" a central point is more definite then the accuracy is easier and faster to position the "No Parallax point" (entrance pupil) over the rotating axis centreline point.

Like I said a small hole or ^ point in the exact centre of the screw is an easy achievable low cost solution to implement. The centre point of a HEX screw or PHILIPS screw is one answer (Not optimal, but still much better than the wide slot).

If you know the position of the entrance pupil of the lens either by mm or banding then using a plumb bob allows you to position this point over the rotating centreline using both axis'

Regards, Smooth cool
www.smooth360.com

P.S: Optimal = Laser light inbuilt shining up from this position! (affordable?) China Manufacturing = everything is affordable (in comparison).
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Bill Bailey
[NodalNinja]

Posts: 615
Location: Phoenix, Arizona, United States
Registered: 27 Jan 2005
Re: Nodal Ninja 3 has arrived
Posted: 28 Jun 2006 at 14:18 GMT
Hi Guys,
It is good to hear initial reviews favorable. Nick and I have provided a few select units to those with extensive experience in the field. Reviewers here in Panoguide include, but not limited to, John, Smooth and Eric Rougier. We have asked for non-bias reviews in hopes that others will learn what some of the top pros think of NN3. Their objective, and subjective, views are valuable to not only the consumer but in the development of future models. As Nick mentioned earlier Nodal Ninja has been evolving based on input from users, amateurs and professionals alike.

As with any new product their may be a tweak needed here or there. So rather than just mass producing these units Nick produces small batches so as to tweak or modify minor issues that may arise. In this way he can fine tune the design based on customer feedback. ANY customer that experiences ANY difficulty in the setup and use of Nodal Ninja is ALWAYS encouraged to contact us ASAP. More often than not these are minor issues that can easily be resolved with a bit of guidance. Defective units are rare but should it happen we are quick to do what ever is necessary to get you up and running. We pride ourselves on customer support which is paramount to relations with our users.

John: Appreciate the honest reviews. Very helpful to consumers and in further R&D.

John Houghton said:

… I tried fitting a 70-200mm f/4L on to the 20D and that held its position ok. I took a test shot in the 200mm position but had to use mirror lockup to avoid camera shake blurring

While a 70-200mm lens would push the upper limits of Nodal Ninja I am curious if you would really even need a pano head with these longer focal lengths. Please correct me if I am wrong but IMO parallax would be so small that you could use a standard tripod with pan/tilt head. Max Lyons actually used a Bogen 3028 tripod head to help in the creation of his HUGE image.

Smooth: I’m expressing you the detents plates today (just in).

rudders said:

...and there is very slight 'play' in the rotation...

John Houghton said:

There is a tendency for the head to unscrew when rotating the head counter clockwise with detents...

Occasionally a new Nodal Ninja will need some initial tightening. Once properly tightened the unit should be both secure and should not unscrew if turned counterclockwise. I would like to expound a bit on Nicks suggestion as proper tightening is important.
This is very to easy to do.
1) Loosen the lock screw on lower rotator base first.
2) Tighten rotator base knob (with Nodal Ninja markings) until you achieve the desired rotation tension or friction. You can note the amount of friction by holding the base rotator and turning the lower arm around in a "clockwise manner", as this prevents unscrewing of the base unit until locked. It doesn't take much tightening at all.
3) "Lock" that tension by tightening the inner lock screw securely with large coin or screwdriver. Double check the tension against the click stop feel and re-adjust as needed.
4) You may need to also adjust the spring tension of the detent pin. The adjustment is located on the underside of the lower base rotator. We’ve enclosed hex key with each NN.
If the unit still has a tendency to unscrew try placing an extra teflon washer (included with each NN) under the rotator knob (that says Nodal Ninja) and repeat above steps.
Proper tightening should enable the user to find a friction point that you feel comfortable with. This is actually a customizable option.

rudders said:

...and the line up markings on the arms are out by about 1/2 a degree, i.e. on one side its a 0 degrees but the line on the other side is say 180.5 degrees

OK you got us – a few units in the first batch did have some minor cosmetic issues. wink Rest assused this does not affect the functionality of NN whatsoever.
Nick has addressed this with needed tweaks in the next batch due out in early August. For those needing a fix we will offer a free replacement. Just touch bases with us around the first of August for an update.

Thanks again guys for all the input.

Cheers
Bill
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Nick Fan
[NodalNinja]

Posts: 763
Location: Hong Kong
Registered: 26 May 2006
Re: Nodal Ninja 3 has arrived
Posted: 28 Jun 2006 at 15:45 GMT

Smooth said:

P.S: Optimal = Laser light inbuilt shining up from this position! (affordable?) China Manufacturing = everything is affordable (in comparison).


I have no intention to cause any conflicts here. But I want to share my opinion.
There is no absolute relationship between market price and production cost. production cost just sets the bottom line of the final price. It is more a company's (or business owner's) objective/ philosophy to provide an affordable product. many hardware and software are made in china or other less developed countries. However, many of them are sold at the old prices as they were made in developed countries. also many items made in developed countries are affordable too. Take PTGUI and PTAssembler and many other stitchers as example, the authors are in developed countries, the softwares are powerful. Yet they are sold at affordable prices. smile
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John Houghton

Posts: 3897
Location: Hitchin, United Kingdom
Registered: 17 Jan 2005
Re: Nodal Ninja 3 has arrived
Posted: 28 Jun 2006 at 16:12 GMT
updated: 28 Jun 2006 at 16:13 GMT

PhotoBill said:

While a 70-200mm lens would push the upper limits of Nodal Ninja I am curious if you would really even need a pano head with these longer focal lengths.

Probably not, but everything depends on what you are photographing and how far away. The depth of field is important. For the 1GP pano that Max took, the subject was a huge distance away and there was no risk of parallax at all, even for a hand held camera. If you select the 70mm zoom setting and f/16, you will have a depth of field that extends from 8m to infinity. In portrait orientation with the camera pivoting about its tripod bush, the entrance pupil will move about 24mm between shots. This means a parallax shift by the same amount relative to a distant background for any near object (the shift being measured at the object). 24mm is certainly big enough to cause stitching errors on vertical edges, especially things only 8m or so away.

I know using such a combination of lens and camera is not what the NN3 is really about, but by using the head you have the benefit of no parallax to worry about and also the graduated horizontal scales that enable the camera to be positioned reasonably accurately. This is particularly useful when there are areas lacking features to assign control points on and you can rely on the angular data to stitch the images in the right place.

BTW, it is nice to see such a long and considered response to points raised.

John
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Nick Fan
[NodalNinja]

Posts: 763
Location: Hong Kong
Registered: 26 May 2006
Re: Nodal Ninja 3 has arrived
Posted: 28 Jun 2006 at 16:14 GMT

PhotoBill said:

Hi Guys,
While a 70-200mm lens would push the upper limits of Nodal Ninja I am curious if you would really even need a pano head with these longer focal lengths. Please correct me if I am wrong but IMO parallax would be so small that you could use a standard tripod with pan/tilt head. Max Lyons actually used a Bogen 3028 tripod head to help in the creation of his HUGE image.


Bill,
whether a pano head is neccessary for distant scenes really depends on the 3D environment of the scene. if the scene is flat then, parallax is no problem. however, if the scene is very 3D (containing objects at varying distances), parallax may be a problem. i think many people in Max's forum have discussed the importance of a well calibrated bracket. since the final image is very high resolution, parallax will be esaily revealed. I think Max is using his Panosaurus most of time.
To make it clear, NN3 is not intented for long focal length lens (or big lens). It is intended for wide and medium focal length lens. for DC, it will work for much larger focal length range.
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Smooth

Posts: 4258
Location: Mount Panorama, Australia
Registered: 21 Jul 2004
Re: Nodal Ninja 3 has arrived
Posted: 28 Jun 2006 at 17:32 GMT
Nick,

I'm not totally sure how to take your comments or if you take mine in the intended way?

Nor am I sure why you would be causing any conflicts?

I have no issue where Nodal Ninja is made (half of my house is full of quality items for China or developing countries). In fact, to keep the cost down China is an exceptional choice. Adding a suggested change like I mentioned doesn't seem like much in the way of production cost nor final retail price. This is twice in this thread you have made mention about affordability/costs after my suggestions. Very stage from where I sit. Changing a screw is expensive?

My suggestion on a laser is also valid (if only a optimal request). These are very cheap in China and to implement shouldn't be that difficult - every second power tool these days has a laser to help cut or guide straight! Again it is only a suggestion. I tiny button battery cell is all that is needed to power it.

Again, China is fine for manufacturing and the price of the Nodal Ninja is cheap and affordable to all needing a Panorama head.

If for some reason you have taken offence to a comment/suggestion I have made I apologise. But I honestly have no idea why or what I may have said you find wrong. confused

Regards, Smooth cool
www.smooth360.com
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mshakeshaft

Posts: 97
Location:
Registered: 3 Mar 2006
Re: Nodal Ninja 3 has arrived
Posted: 28 Jun 2006 at 17:43 GMT
Nick

Here are a couple of ideas for you.

One of the things I really like about the NN is its portability, it can be packed away small. One the downside this means it has to be set up accurately every time it is used. To speed things up and so I can put it together quickly I use small plastic tabs/stops stuck on with double sided tape.

What would be nice is small metal tabs/stops that could be left in place. I use tape because nuts would get in the way of the locking nuts, but you could use very flat nuts or bolts (there would be room for these in the recess underneath) .

Another feature I would like is a screw stop on the upright/arm bracket so that you could set the angle and everytime you open it it would be set


What do you think?

Martin
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NYCreate

Posts: 497
Location: North Yorkshire & Northern England, United Kingdom
Registered: 21 Aug 2005
Re: Nodal Ninja 3 has arrived
Posted: 29 Jun 2006 at 0:25 GMT
Im very happy with mine! The only VERY VERY slight thing is the 'play' in the detent plate, even when it is tightened. But this does not affect the producing of the pano in any way!.. I think Nick has produced an excellent quality product for the price. I think the screw idea to find the centre point is a good one. A very simple solution would be just to make a plastic cap for the screw head with a bullseye make or cross on it.
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Nick Fan
[NodalNinja]

Posts: 763
Location: Hong Kong
Registered: 26 May 2006
Re: Nodal Ninja 3 has arrived
Posted: 29 Jun 2006 at 4:07 GMT

Smooth said:

Nick,

I'm not totally sure how to take your comments or if you take mine in the intended way?

Nor am I sure why you would be causing any conflicts?

I have no issue where Nodal Ninja is made (half of my house is full of quality items for China or developing countries). In fact, to keep the cost down China is an exceptional choice. Adding a suggested change like I mentioned doesn't seem like much in the way of production cost nor final retail price. This is twice in this thread you have made mention about affordability/costs after my suggestions. Very stage from where I sit. Changing a screw is expensive?

My suggestion on a laser is also valid (if only a optimal request). These are very cheap in China and to implement shouldn't be that difficult - every second power tool these days has a laser to help cut or guide straight! Again it is only a suggestion. I tiny button battery cell is all that is needed to power it.

Again, China is fine for manufacturing and the price of the Nodal Ninja is cheap and affordable to all needing a Panorama head.

If for some reason you have taken offence to a comment/suggestion I have made I apologise. But I honestly have no idea why or what I may have said you find wrong. confused

Regards, Smooth cool
www.smooth360.com


Sorry, Smooth. I misunderstood your meaning. Pardon my poor English. blush I got it wrong because I see the word "China". lol. As a Chinese, I am a bit sensitive to criticism against manufacturing in China.
yes, I decided to make change to the screw after your suggestion. Thanks for the insight. also thanks for John's demo.
your suggestion of using a laser may be too difficult at this stage. Lots of work is needed to guarantee accurate alignment.

sorry for my misunderstanding again.

nick
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Smooth

Posts: 4258
Location: Mount Panorama, Australia
Registered: 21 Jul 2004
Re: Nodal Ninja 3 has arrived
Posted: 29 Jun 2006 at 4:38 GMT
Nick,

No worries mate!

I think that this may be your "Knee Jerk" reaction word. Quality product can come from any country and yours is one of the best. That said, poor products can come from any country also including China. Quality control is your job to look after your product.

The laser is pie in the sky stuff and only a suggestion also (maybe for a future realise?)

Keep up the excellent work.

Regards, Smooth cool
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Nick Fan
[NodalNinja]

Posts: 763
Location: Hong Kong
Registered: 26 May 2006
Re: Nodal Ninja 3 has arrived
Posted: 29 Jun 2006 at 4:39 GMT

mshakeshaft said:

Nick

Here are a couple of ideas for you.

One of the things I really like about the NN is its portability, it can be packed away small. One the downside this means it has to be set up accurately every time it is used. To speed things up and so I can put it together quickly I use small plastic tabs/stops stuck on with double sided tape.

What would be nice is small metal tabs/stops that could be left in place. I use tape because nuts would get in the way of the locking nuts, but you could use very flat nuts or bolts (there would be room for these in the recess underneath) .

Another feature I would like is a screw stop on the upright/arm bracket so that you could set the angle and everytime you open it it would be set


What do you think?

Martin


Thanks Martin for the ideas. I will try to make some plastic blocks for preseting location on the rails.
for the other feature, I am developing vertical detent system for the same purpose. It will take some time and will only be in the next model.

nick
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mshakeshaft

Posts: 97
Location:
Registered: 3 Mar 2006
Re: Nodal Ninja 3 has arrived
Posted: 29 Jun 2006 at 6:46 GMT
updated: 29 Jun 2006 at 6:48 GMT

Nick Fan said:


Thanks Martin for the ideas. I will try to make some plastic blocks for preseting location on the rails.
for the other feature, I am developing vertical detent system for the same purpose. It will take some time and will only be in the next model.

nick


The problem with a verticle detent system is the accuracy that would be required. When I use the NN with a Canon 20D and Sigma 8mm I have to set the angle to -4 degrees, just less than the -5 degree mark. I don't know how you could do this with a detent system, it would need 1 degree increments!

Martin
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John Houghton

Posts: 3897
Location: Hitchin, United Kingdom
Registered: 17 Jan 2005
Re: Nodal Ninja 3 has arrived
Posted: 29 Jun 2006 at 6:59 GMT
Out of curiosity, why does it have to be exactly -4 degrees?

John
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mshakeshaft

Posts: 97
Location:
Registered: 3 Mar 2006
Re: Nodal Ninja 3 has arrived
Posted: 29 Jun 2006 at 7:15 GMT

John Houghton said:

Out of curiosity, why does it have to be exactly -4 degrees?

John

To get the smallest black square if I intent to use the patch tool to take out the tripod.

Cheers

Martin
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