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Old December 20th, 2011, 11:43 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 35,250
Default One surprise that left me flummoxed!

Immediate question.

In the Epic Pro Quick Start guide, it has the following:

7. Balance the camera and lens on the Epic Pro.

Loosen the camera rail by turning the knob underneath
the rail clockwise. Estimate the center of mass of the
camera and lens. Adjust the camera rail so that the camera
and lens are balanced at the center of the axis of rotation.

This is the first time I've seen an instruction that concentrates our efforts on balancing mass, rather than putting the entrance pupil of the lens over the center of the axes or rotation of a pano head!

This makes me imagine that for the most part, for this machine, it's much more important to have the mass balanced and get a smooth motion of the machine, rather than go for optical accuracy. It is likely that this is of little consequence for stitching of most panoramas, where the elements are at some considerable distance from the camera lens. However, for fence posts within 10 ft or so, there's likely to be considerable mismatch and stitching difficulty. I must admit I'm surpassed by this but It must be a worry where users could attach some massive 600 mm lens to the platform and stress out the motors.

I'll address this again later. I'd like to look into balancing the mass and still respecting the constraints of achieving rotation though the centers of rotation of the entrance pupil so that there will be no stitching issues due to poor adjustment to exclude parallax errors.

Still, i'd like to stress that it's likely just me fussing and that for most folk's work, obeying the instruction to balancing mass distribution will not likely result in bad panoramas too often, LOL! After all, the guys from Carnegie Mellon University are bright enough to have designed the original forerunner robot for the Mars pano camera, so I think they know where shortcuts can be safely made!

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