I was shooting a pano this morning and many of the images had the lights with streaks to the right. Always the right. I was panning to the right, manually rotating the camera, releasing it and pressing a remote release with a one second delay. The lights in the images often appeared as: O-----

I am guessing it is not the camera itself (Nikon D810), so it has to be the tripod or its head. The head is a Vanguard SBH 300 on Vanguard Alta Pro 263AT legs. It's pretty solid and stable. If it were ground shake, I'd expect the light line ("-----") to wiggle and go in different directions. It is perfectly straight and always to the right. I was always turning to the right, too. Next time, I'll go in both directions.

But what could cause it? (No, I didn't touch the tripod. That's why I used a remote release.)

enter image description here

  • Did you lock down the pan axis between each shot? What focal length were you using, and what were your exposure settings (especially your shutter speed)? Also, I see your tripod has a center column (and angle-positionable, no less). Was the column extended, or was it retracted? – scottbb Aug 12 '17 at 21:57
  • Happens at all focal lengths for the lens in use: 24-120. The shutter speed before daylight was always long (3 to 30 seconds). The tripod bubble was dead center. The "O" was the (nearly) full exposure of the light and the "-----" was its streak off to the right. (I'm still looking around for adding the jpeg and I have to go get my images from my camera.) – Bruce Aug 12 '17 at 22:00
  • Understood. Was the tripod center column extended high, or was it retracted (putting the camera close to the tripod apex)? One last question, sorry: Was your camera mounted in portrait orientation? – scottbb Aug 12 '17 at 22:01
  • And WRT "did you lock down the pan axis", no, I did not. lock-shoot-unlock-move takes too many steps #-( If that's the cause, I'll find out on another dawn. – Bruce Aug 12 '17 at 22:02
  • Legs extended, column not extended, landscape mode I meant to say (sorry). – Bruce Aug 12 '17 at 22:03

I found the source of the problem: my hand

When taking the images, three distinct sounds are made: the clunk of the mirror up, the click of the front curtain opening and the "tic-schlup" of the rear curtain closing and the mirror dropping down. I had (incorrectly?) interpreted the "tic" as the curtain closing. It was actually within the "sch" part of the sound and that happened enough after the "tic" that I was able to start moving the camera around before the curtain closed. I'll need to wait for that "lup" before starting to move the camera. That will add tens of milli-seconds to my pano capture time. I didn't expect this to be the answer. :-D

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