Questions, thoughts and features
Hello there fellow Piner's!
I finally was able to purchase everything needed and started diving into using the Pine and my Nic-O-Tilt motors. The obvious area for me was to start with the 360 degree pano mode. So far I really really love the setup. It's even capable of carrying my heavy D810 and my 24- 70 mm lens. While I have to admit, I will probably switch to the 14 - 24 mm because that lens is a little shorter and therefore the nodal point is easier to get to, or I even buy a prime lens to do those panos in the future, I will never do a 360 pano using my manual Nodal Ninja head again. Unless I do not find an assistant to carry all my gear. 🙂
On that note, Special shout-out to Moritz for his patience and support!!
Here's a few questions and remarks on my experience.
- Why is there a limitation of 9 columns Pine can? Let's say I want to use a 28 mm lens and 30% of overlap in portrait mode, Pine tells me that the dimensions are too large. Even 28 mm with 25% of overlap is too large. As said above, I intend to get a prime lens, probably a 28 mm f1.8 or a 24 mm f1.8, mainly for size and weight reason (any suggestions here are very welcome btw!). But with either I will hit the limits very fast. Could you guys open that up so we could go as crazy as we want? i.e. using a 70 mm lens for a giga-giga pixel 360 (I know nobody would ever want to edit that image on any of today's computers, but hey, we're crazy, right?!?)
- I don't seem to be able to figure out how to trigger the release multiple times per position for bracketing. Let's say I set the bracketing to 3 (plus and minus 2 f-stops) I have to hit the release button 3 times to get the 3 exposures I want on my D810. Is there a way to tell Pine to release the shutter multiple times per position?
- A very important feature for me would be to be able to have the motors stop at the end of a pano. I use a Nadir Adapter form Nodal Ninja. That's a piece that slips under the rail that goes up to the tilt motor. That enables me to move the tripod and swing the upper part of my rig outwards, so I can shoot a nadir shot without the tripod. Here's a link to the adapter I am talking about: https://shop.nodalninja.com/accessories/m-series-parts/m-series-nadir-adapter-f8301/
- A feature I would love to see is that the motors go back to the starting position if I hit the stop button. Or at least ask me if I would like to go back to the starting position. It can always be that something happens and I need to restart the pano. Fiddling it back to the starting position is annoying and can be distracting I think.
- A premium feature would be an interrupt and repeat function. Imagine you shoot a panorama outside, and suddenly there's a car, a tourist or something else that walks into the frame that can not be taken out by a mask in the stitching process. In that case it would be very handsome to hit a button "stop/repeat" and then the system would continue with an exposure and the move on.
- I find the camera setup a little confusing under "Camera" in the 360 pano setup module. My intend was to delay the exposure so the rig could calm down after moving to avoid motion blur when exposing. I eventually figured out that I have to set the "Focus" delay to something like 2 or 3 seconds. Form the dialog I first adjusted the "Exposure" delay, thinking that's the correct parameter to delay the exposure. Further confusing was that if I set the "Exposure" delay to zero, the camera doesn't shoot at all. Would you have a document that explains those attributes in detail?
- Under the "Controls tab the "Pan" and "Tilt" sliders are very finicky. Sometimes the slider has to be grabbed a few times and then it doesn't seem to be very linear. Meaning, sometimes I have to push the slider quite far for the motor to react and then it's moving a lot at once. But that's a minor minor detail.
Cheers & Thanks!
Thank you for sharing your experience. We are glad you are happy with the setup!
- Limitations in 360 Mode:
We developed this mode for use with mostly wide angle lenses below 20mm focal length. For those lenses, up to 5 rows and 9 columns should be sufficient. We also did this to keep the UI of this mode fairly simple (or to not make it more complex as it now is). We have been thinking about how to resolve this and most likely, there will be an update at some time.
Use the Giga-Pixel Mode to go crazy with 360 Panos. Just set the upper left corner when the camera points to the sky, then move the Pan axis by 360 degrees and the Tilt axis by 180 degrees (camera pointing to the ground), then set the lower right corner keyframe. In this mode there are no limitations, you only might get more images than you actually need (large overlap at beginning and ending).
Usually you set the bracketing sequence on your camera. Within the PINE app, you then need to set the Camera Exposure time long enough. Let's say 3 seconds. Within this time, your camera should take all bracketing images. So a long exposure time in the PINE app acts like a long-pressing of the physical camera trigger button - no need for 3 separate actuations of the trigger button. This definitely works for Canon and Sony cameras. Not sure about Nikon but it should work the same way there.
- Motors Stop at End of Pano (360 Mode):
Good idea. Will think about a solution for this. So far, we make the camera return to the start position as this would make the workflow for taking multiple panos faster.
- Stop/Continue Feature (360 Mode):
Good point as well. We will try to include the ability to pause after each image in a future update.
- Camera Times
When you set the Exposure Time to zero, yes the camera does not trigger at all. This should be self-explanatory. Exposure time acts like pressing the physical camera trigger button. Focus Time acts like a half-press of the trigger button.
You mentioned an "Exposure Delay". There is only an "Exposure" Time and a "Delay" Time. The delay time is the pause beginning right after the Exposure time until the motors start moving.
I agree, an additional Delay time AFTER the motor movement (before the new camera trigger) would be helpful!
By the way, are you using the Android or iOS version of the app? Please always mention this as the UI of the apps slightly differs. Thanks!
All the best,
Thank you for taking the time to go through my multiple topic post. I know it's not the best thing to put that many topics in one post.
I am using Nikon D810 and the iOS app.
- Limitations 360 Mode
I am determined to get a 20 mm f1.8 lens. So this will be a non issue in the near future. And using the Giga-Pixel mode is a good idea.
I will have to figure that out. So far I always pressed the button for each exposure of the bracket. I now consulted the manual (RTFM) and saw how to set up multiple exposures. I find it pretty cumbersome, especially if the exposure goes beyond 30 seconds. Apparently I also need to setup an exposure delay somewhere in the menu. But I need to read up on that. Unfortunately the skipped the U1 and U2 (user modes) on the dial, so one has to go through the menu... Long story short, if PINE would handle that, being able to shoot multiple exposures, we'd have it all in one place. One less thing to forget setting up in the heat of the action.
Thank you for considering the next two features on my list. That would be awesome! And the camera times are now crystal clear to me.
Hi Alex - I know it's been a long time since you posted, but I just saw this today. I shoot with a Nikon D750 and Tamrom 15-30mm lens. And I do just like Patrick suggested and set the Camera Exposure time to be long enough for the number of shots in the bracket. I'm currently able to use 1.5 seconds, which is faster than Patrick mentioned.
But, it's very important for you to change the shooting mode to be Continuous High - that way the shooting burst will be as fast as possible. I also turn OFF Live View and also turn OFF Image Preview to allow the camera to shoot as fast as possible.
We shoot architectural 360s for luxury villas and hotels in Bali Indonesia. And, we often shoot exterior panos. In that situation we want to have the entire pano sequence shot as fast as possible so that the lighting conditions are as similar as possible, and also moving things like palm tree leaves and clouds move as little as possible between the individual shots.
We don't generally use the bracketed shots for making HDR images - as I find the dynamic range of the D750 generally lets me get away with cranking down on the highlights for the shots with a lot of sky, and then cranking up on the shadows for the shots with interior views.
The main benefit we get from bracketing is that we're able to select the most uniformly exposed set of images from each of the 5-shot scenes. (When shooting a manual 360, I would always have to shoot and then move the pano head—and then check the exposure settings—and then shoot again... for each of the required images.) With the PINE Motion Controller and my Stage R pan and tilt heads, I just start the sequence and wait for it to finish. Yes, I end up importing a lot of extra images into Lightroom, but once I have my "normalized" set of images, I can delete all the rest.
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