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Nodal point slide vs Tilt shift lens for panos?


Well-known member
Ok, I've tried to get as much info on film panos using either a nodal slide for single row panos or a tilt/shift lens. I'm curious if anyone has used film for panos using MF or 35mm FF? I'm not interested in the 6x12 format or the Noblex, as I'd like to use my current FL's of 35, 50, 85mm and keep it fully mechanical. Can the nodal point be accurately determined on a rangefinder Leica M2?
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Well-known member
If you are talking film, are you simply going to stich in something like PShop or you going to be doing this in a wet darkroom. If digitally, then both methods can be fine. The software will take care of the stich. A wet darkroom is far more complex and using shift lenses would be easier.

I dod have a nodal slide, but never ended up using it much as most pano software deals with the stitch fine. The only time I use a slider is if I have close foreground object in a scene. That is were you will see the effects of parallax . If you are swing your camera with a nodal slide, the cylindrical projection tends to work best, which is similar to a Noblex swing lens camera. If you can open your Leica shutter and put a ground glass or frosted piece of plastic at the film plane, you should be able to figure out the nodal point. But as I said before, it is not that critical, so estimating somewhere in the center of the lens length would probably be fine.

If you want a pano similar to a flat-field panoramic camera, Horseman, Fuji, or Linhof, then a shift lens is a better option. You simply take and stich a series of shifted images. View cameras like the Actus Mini tend to be a bit better than tilt/shift lenses as you can move the image plane/camera, which keeps the lens in the same position. I think the Actus comes with an M-mount for a camera and then you can use SLR optics for the lens.


like many others I get ok results using a mirrorless camera, panoramic head adapter and the auto stitching function of photoshop that is able to paper over most of my technical shortcomings, so if you scan your film you may even be able to do panoramas by swinging your camera via the strap.

what is more difficult is figuring out how to optimise the process to get better than average results.


Sr. Administrator
Staff member
On a Leica, if you pivot around the middle of the lens that should be close enough.

Note that nodal point panos render like a swing-lens with curved foreground perspective, while shift-panos render flat like a wide format pano. While you can correct the curved foreground digitally, you loose a LOT of image height doing it, so best to shoot with that in mind...