AustralianLight - Landscape Photography AustralianLight - Landscape Photography

AustralianLight - Landscape Photography is my new site with my good mate Bernie. If you have found my blog posts useful over the years, then how about giving us a hand to promote AustralianLight.

We are doing everything we can to get our australian landscape photography out there and guess what..... it's bloody hard work!! So please visit the gallery and if you like what see, share it with your friends.

Thanks, we really do appreciate your help. - Russell

Friday, 25 March 2011

Panoramic photography on the cheap! - PART 2

It's been quite a while since my first blog entry was posted on this subject (see: Panoramic photography on the cheap!) and I have managed to pick up a few bits & pieces to make my pano setup just that little bit more convenient.

While my original setup worked and worked well. It was not all that convenient and added to the weight in the camera bag quite considerably. So I was always on the lookout for a lighter, more compact and easier solution, as I often found myself not bothering to get the gear out.... it just required too much effort for a lazy sod like me.

So here is what I use now....

As you can see, it's very neat and there is a whole lot less "putting together" and this makes it sooooo much more convenient to use. In fact, it is such a nice and easy solution, that I use this as my standard setup every single time I put the camera on the tripod!

This means that I am always ready to shoot a regular single frame image and a nodally rotated stitched panorama... PLUS with the 24mm TS-E II Tilt/Shift lens on there, I can also shoot linear shift panoramas as well... without changing a thing.

OK, that is cool, but what about shooting with the camera in portrait orientation?

Again, it's just too easy! (why do I feel like I am about to offer you a set of steak knifes at this point?...oh well...) The Kirk Enterprises L Bracket makes swapping from landscape to portrait orientaion very fast and easy. Simply undo the one quick release plate, rotate the camera and lock it in the plate once again.

So what are the other parts used?....

Well there is a standard ball head on the tripod that uses the arca/swiss release mechanism. (Although as you can see in the topmost image, I have adapted it via a Manfrotto plate, to maintain tripod compatibility with my older system)

On the tripod's arca-swiss is mounted the Really Right Stuff PCL-1 Panning Clamp ...thats the round thing.

I will mention that the Panning Clamp is not really required, as the sliding rail (mentioned below) can be mounted directly to the tripod, but using the Panning Clamp makes things a whole lot easier. As it removes tripod levelling from the equation. Instead, the Panning Clamp is levelled using the ball head and then the ball head can be locked and forgotten, as the rotation happens within the Panning Clamp itself.

Mounted to the Panning Clamp is an arca-swiss style sliding rail. This can slide back and forward within the Panning Clamp to adjust for lens nodal distance.

Permanently fixed to the rear of the sliding rail (using a stainless bolt from the hardware) is an arca-swiss style clamp. This can be of any brand and need not be the more expensive ones that contain their own bubble level, as the Panning Clamp takes care of all levelling.

Surely this setup is not cheap?

Well... no I guess it's not, ...BUT it is a heck of a lot cheaper than buying "quality" ready made panoramic solutions!

Here are a few tips for putting this kit together on the cheap like I did....

* Buy your generic sliding clamp off eBay and avoid the big name "nodal sliders" with the built in arca-swiss clamp.

I got my 8 inch slide rail for about AUD30 delivered. (Ensure that you have checked what nodal offset you require for your lens and buy the appropriate length.)

* Buy a lesser known brand of clamp like "PhotoClam" I have found their equipment to be of the utmost quality, yet their prices are much more pleasing.

* Keep an eye on eBay and other online Buy & Sell forums like It took a little while, but with regular checks, I managed to get my Panning Clamp & L Bracket through Fred's site and paid less than 1/2 of new price.... and that's including delivery!

OK Russ, this is a great setup, but you cant do multi-row panoramas anymore can you?

Ummm... Yes and no. The setup as you see here does allow me to create multi row panoramas. The 24mm TS-E can shift both up and down. So it's a simple matter of shooting one row with the lens shifted up and the a second with the lens shifted down.

But you are correct in such that I cannot do a full "global" view. For this I will need to swap back to my original setup.... the good thing is that I don't do global views. :-)

So there its, my new panorama setup that allows for quick and easy transition between shooting styles. No longer is it a time consuming chore and more time can be dedicated to doing what I love - taking images like these.....

Linear Shift Panorama with 24mm TS-E and camera in landscape orientation:

Nodally Rotated Panorama with 24mm TS-E and camera in portrait orientation:

Two very different Fields Of View, one very simple camera setup.



Tags: canon 24mm ts-e II tilt linear shift landscape photography panoramic panorama panoramas pano panos nodal rotation


  1. Great blog, I like your practical approach to gear!

    Regarding the TS-E, when you do shift panos, do you find that you need to slide the body in the opposite direction from which you shift to avoid parallax issues? Thus keeping the lens node stationary when shifting? It seems this set up would be helpful for that (horizontal shifts) but I am not sure if it is even a real world issue.


  2. I only do the slide body thing when there are very close foreground objects. If they are more than a few meters away then there is no need, as the 15-16mm total lens shift has minimal effect and easily dealt with in the stitch.

    The lens is capable of more shift obviously, but I don't like to go too far as light falloff can be come an issue at the extremities.