I sometimes (about 5 times per year) decide to shoot a panorama, just for me, with no intentions to sell or use the photo outside my family and close relatives.

Currently I use my Pentax DAL 18-55 lens and free Hugin software for it but I plan to buy Samyang 8 mm fisheye. I made few panoramas using my monopod (better than to shoot "from hand"). However I read something about things like nodal point etc. and found out that the head mount should be located not on the bottom of the body but near the rear lens element.

I know of things like Nodal Ninja etc., but it is too expensive and I do not plan to shoot panoramas often. When I would stick with my monopod and lets say with the Samyang fisheye, than some simple small and light aluminum profile with two holes, tripod nut and screw would make it possible to mount the camera and rotate it around nodal point - is it right? Does it make sense to build such gadget or do you think I will have similar results using standard mount?


Yes, you can do it. I know some people that have, one friend made one out of wood because it was easier than metal. If you intend to do it for your 8mm, it will be relatively easy since there is ONE fixed nodal point, contrarily to the zoom.

You said you do not do panoramas often but do you do Macro? If so, a macro rail is sufficient to work for a DSLR with a short lens and it will work for the 8mm and your zoom at all focal-lengths.

Included in my How To Make a Panorama tutorial are instructions with an example on how to find the nodal point (technically entrance pupil).

  • Hi, I have a poor eyes, so I cannot do macro seriously. I sometimes take some shots in "macro" mode of my Tamron 70-300 but it is not real macro. So I do not have a macro rail. :-P
    – Juhele
    Jul 18 '11 at 9:31
  • I found some info here: hugha.co.uk/NodalPoint/Index.htm#Samyang%208mm and here wiki.panotools.org/… so it looks it is enough to set the mount position to the golden ring.
    – Juhele
    Jul 18 '11 at 9:34

Yes, it makes sens and it is about as cheap as you can get for achieving this result. You will have to experiment to find the exact point. This point changes with focal length, so zoom lens will need extra measurements.

One way to experiment is to put two standing batteries on the table, one behind the other on the optical axis. Now rotate the camera left and right around the current approximated axis. If while rotating the rear battery (the hidden one) is revealed, then your axis is at the wrong place. So make the corrections and try again. The greater the error the more of the rear battery is revealed for a given rotation angle.

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