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
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
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
This particular tripod's
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.
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 360°x180° spherical
panoramas are taken. With the recent rise in HDR panoramas
this feature will certainly be of necessity rather than just a "nice
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