As I am based in Europe and not in the U.S, I started to search German sites to find a suitable solution for panoramic photography for students on my photo workshops. Something within the budget of 300 Euros or less. Because quite frankly the Manfrotto and some other heads are over priced for what they are. While there are cheaper options available however for the weight of a full frame camera with an expensive lens on it it’s best to find something more solid and robust. So off I start with the Pano Maxx.
PANOMAXX2 Panoramakopf / Nodalpunktadapter – Amazon.de
I had borrowed the Pano-Maxx panorama head from a friend of mine just to try it out. It was sturdy enough once all the bit were checked, tightened and secured. It did the job quite well it may not be a refined as the others. However for under 200 Eur. it really is a bargain when you consider the price point. Having said that you don’t want it falling apart and 4 grands worth of gear crashing down to the ground. Although the Pano-Maxx has one advantage over each of the Pano heads here, that is it’s compact when it’s folded up. It is also the lightest of the lot however the others definitely are more beefier and offer more stability.
I’d recommend it for occasional use and travel but not for demanding tasks. For more frequent use, it is better to spend a little more for something more robust. It does require a lot tightened to keep things secure and accuracy when setting up and taking the panorama images. It also doesn’t feature a quick release plate for the camera. The nodal point rotator I found got loose over time and found myself tightening it far too often. But as I said isn’t too bad at all. Great for starting out and for beginners.
Roundabout NP Deluxe
Roundabout NP Deluxe makes it easy to rotate up and down smoothly. It also comes with a choice of one quick release plates from a selection of three when you order it. The quick release plate saves time when mounting the camera and actually its a requirement for any serious photographer. It is definitely much more stable than the Pano Maxx and it isn’t too costly. The website is both in English and German with close up images of the device.
It’s well made and solid, I’ve being use this one now for a couple of months now. The rotator work very well with well defined clicks. I purchased the 5˚ version as this is better for longer focal lengths. There are scales along side so it’s simple enough to set up your lens to avoid paralax see the YouTube video below for a tutorial.
Recommended for serious photography and every day use. However it’s not so easy to keep in your camera bag as it’s quite bulky. For the price it exceptional good value. If it could be taken apart easily it would be perfect.
The more expensive Nodal Ninja heads are very popular but don’t appear to support quickrelease plates at this price range. While the cheapest one, the NN4 doesn’t have a quickplate however for the price I would expected one. It can be taken apart and easy to bring along with you in your camera bag. In the end of day, it’s a trade off like most things in photography between portability and image quality.
||Roundabout NP Deluxe
||Nodal Ninja NN4 Starter Package
|Price||Eur. 259||Eur. 308.||Eur. 159|
|Camera Weight up to||2.5 Kg||5.3kg||3 Kg|
|Click Stops||15 deg. / 5 deg||Yes||22,5° / 30° / 36°|
|Quick Release Plate||Yes – Choose of 3||No||No|
|Rotator Head included||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Suitable for cameras with Battery grips||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Tripod Screw||3/8″ + 1/4″||3/8″ + 1/4″||3/8″ + 1/4″|
Setting up a Panorama Head
Despite this video being doubled, it explain the important setup very well. So I recommend view it.