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Tripod For VR


Majority of VR Photographers shoot the nadir hand held.  For most well lit locations this technique is more than adequate.  That would work fine until you come to a situation where you must shoot at long exposures and bracketing mode.


Recently there has been new designs with tripods.  New materials, load capacity, column lock mechanism, more accessories, etc.  But one stands out for VR.  The center column has been redesigned for multi-positioning to achieve shooting angles that were previously impossible with existing tripods.   I'm guessing the initial design was intended for close-up shooting such as macro and/or product photography.  You can probably guess already what "we", as VR Photographers, can use this feature for...



In my "Nadir Shooting Techniques" tutorial I illustrated how a regular tripod can be used to shoot the nadir for long exposures.  The only draw back with that technique was that you had to move the camera to the furthest position on the upper arm of the NN3.  Which also meant that a modification was required to quickly reposition the camera back to its setting.  It was simple and it worked.





Below is an example of how this center column design can be used for shooting the nadir.  As you can see it's similar to the technique above.  But this has an advantage. 


You can see that the position of the camera and the upper arm is in the same position as you would be shooting the panorama.  The only difference is that the center column is now horizontal. 




You can achieve various heights by adjusting the legs as shown below.  Notice how the rear leg is one section shorter than the front two.  This is for counter-balancing.  There is a lot of weight on the camera's end when the center column is extended to its furthest position horizontally.



This particular tripod's manufacturer is Induro.  Model CX214.  It is made of carbon fiber with four sections.  I chose this particular model for it's weight (1.9kg), compact size (21" folded) and strength (CX-Series - 60% stronger than conventional carbon fiber tripods). 



Here is a sample of a nadir shot.  Taken with Nikon D70s and 10.5mm fisheye.  For this shot the tripod's two front legs were extended to its fourth section and the rear to the third section and the center column to its furthest horizontal position to maximize the nadir image. 


It's quite obvious you'll have plenty to work with for patching the nadir.






Here are some detail images.











"How low can you go?"




Although this center column feature is nice to have it is not necessary.  Thousands of VR Photographers have created beautiful panoramas before without this feature.  To take the time to spread the two front legs to it's maximum position, approximately 78 inches, is probably not practical in some locations where you're shooting a panorama while on vacation or on a local panoramic jaunt for the weekend.  Although I've done it in awkward places it is possible. 


The introduction of this feature will definitely change the way full 360x180 spherical panoramas are taken.  With the recent rise in HDR panoramas this feature will certainly be of necessity rather than just a "nice to have". 


The level of panoramas created these days has exceptionally increased due to new development in panoramic heads, software and techniques.  VR Photographers are continually finding new ways to create these panoramic masterpieces. 


This center column tripod feature only gets us closer to perfection. 


To name other manufacturers that has the same features... 

Of course there are many more out there...




Benro (Induro)








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