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Old February 6th, 2009, 02:13 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is online now
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Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 34,914

The Gigapan Epic is the first model in the current Gigapan auto panohead series. This is designed for any light digicam. A heavier duty form, the Gigapan 100 is available shortly and will take the larger digicams. Then the even heftier version will appear and this should handle DSLR's although I don't know that it would take full size lenses like the 70-200 f2.8. We'll get to that down the road.
Aside: A most important addition: Before we get into the details of my experience, let me direct you to the wonderful PDF instructions for using the Gigapan Epic here. Be patient in the download. It's full of hints great for taking any Pano. It differs from AutoPano Pro recommendations in just one respect. Lionel of Kolor, which makes APP suggests using the camera in autoexposure, a difference from the classical advise from panoramists. Gigapan holds the classic view that we should lock exposure. Lionel asserts that when the software includes (especially) sky blending capability, software will give a deeper dynamic range probing into the shadows.
So let's start. Let me show you how well the Gigapan Epic was packed:

Photo Asher Kelman Gigapan Epic As Packed nothing to Assemble
may be used with reference to

Notice the horizontal mount for the Digicam has a slot in it in which a threaded bolt sits for fixing the camera to the Gigapan Epic using the camera's tripod mount. Next to it is the adjustable lever which will hopefully depress the shutter. This was a design decision to allow the myriad of digicams to be used without worrying about protocols for shutter control. To the left of the base with the visible horizontal slot for holding the mounting bolt, there's another bolt on the side. This is the forward-backward adjustment to get the optical center of the lens (ie the entrance pupil) centered on the axis by which the Gigapan epic tilts down forward or raised up for shots needed to complete a 360 degree sphere of images if one so desires.

An aside: The base image, where the tripod is, would still have to be taken freehand. It's a good idea to do this first if there is grass as after the session, there maybe accumulated damage to the grass or footmarks that could be untidy.

Photo Asher Kelman Gigapan Epic Controls and Parts
may be used with reference to

The Gigapan Epic viewed from the back, user interface side. Notice the base plate for mounting the digicam is swung forward so we see it facing us. The axis of the camera platform is able to tilt down and up. The center of the platform is also able to rotate around the optical axis of the lens.

Aside: I do understand, however, that there has been a whisper that the coming DSLR version will use a USB control. If this turns out to be true, I cannot say, but sure would be preferable. I'd even like the whole device to be slaved by a Palm Pilot or ipod or laptop! However to do that there are other options using a astronomy telescope motorized tracking mount that one has to make some adaptions to use. Here Gigapan does it all for us).

The Epic meant to be used with Digicam lens extended. That way one gets a more detailed final stitched panorama. I mounted the Epic on my Manfrotto 3047 Head, which has the advantage of quick release levers and a stable grip. I do not use a ball head but that might change as a RRS head would be more compact perhaps. I've mounted the head on a Manfrotto Carbon One 440 which is heavy enough to be sturdy and still not to much to carry!

Pictures of that in the morning. Then will be my first shoot!

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Last edited by Asher Kelman; February 18th, 2009 at 11:49 AM. Reason: Adding reference to Instructional PDF
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