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Thread: Interfacing Phase One 645DF and GigaPan EPIC Pro

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    Interfacing Phase One 645DF and GigaPan EPIC Pro

    If you've got a Phase One 645DF and a GigaPan EPIC Pro but haven't been able to use them together because of lack of a shutter release cable, here are my instructions for making your own.

    645DF GigaPan instructions

    Martin
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    Senior Member malmac's Avatar
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    Re: Interfacing Phase One 645DF and GigaPan EPIC Pro

    Martin

    Look forward to seeing the photographic results of such a weapon.


    Mal

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    Re: Interfacing Phase One 645DF and GigaPan EPIC Pro

    Nice work Martin - I guess I'm spoiled with the VR Drive 2 that Seitz are able to provide a cable!

    Any hints/tips you fancy sharing on the best settings for shooting panos with the DF would be gratefully received. Particularly with regards how much time you're allowing for "settling" for different focal lengths, and what kind of shutter speeds you're using.

    I'm not doing much pano work at the moment because the weather out here is dire now summer has arrived, but have lots planned for the cooler months

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    Re: Interfacing Phase One 645DF and GigaPan EPIC Pro

    Quote Originally Posted by gerald.d View Post
    Any hints/tips you fancy sharing on the best settings for shooting panos with the DF would be gratefully received. Particularly with regards how much time you're allowing for "settling" for different focal lengths, and what kind of shutter speeds you're using.

    I'm not doing much pano work at the moment because the weather out here is dire now summer has arrived, but have lots planned for the cooler months
    I'm going to have to experiment a bit first. I've only shot one panorama in the backyard so far to test the setup.

    Martin

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    Senior Member alajuela's Avatar
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    Re: Interfacing Phase One 645DF and GigaPan EPIC Pro

    Quote Originally Posted by mrenters View Post
    I'm going to have to experiment a bit first. I've only shot one panorama in the backyard so far to test the setup.

    Martin
    Hi Martin

    Any updates?

    best

    Phil

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    Re: Interfacing Phase One 645DF and GigaPan EPIC Pro

    Anyone use this in any kind of moderate wind? I tried it with a D800 on an ocean coast with 10-15 knot winds, everything tied down, bracket replaced with RRS and nodal, Gigapan on Gitzo 5 series, mounted directly. MUP, and 2 second delays between exposures as well as MUP. I also had the rigid setting "on".

    There is so much play up/down/fore aft between the rotating motorized base and the unit itself that even touching causes a few seconds of vibration. Emailed GP (no phone number), and they asked for a video. In the video, just for ease, I had an RRS plate mounted to the tripod directly and the Epic Pro with the RRS dovetail on the plate. This part is super solid, but they claim this is the issue. BTW, the reason I put this clamp on was that screwing and unscrewing the GP head directly on the tripod torques against the motor, which I would think is not such a bright idea. Regardless, I used the unit directly mounted on the tripod in the shoot in question.

    The rig was relatively light - D800 + Coastal Optics 60mm (maybe 500-700g).

    Exposure was in the 6-12s range for various series. Images were unusable. A complete waste of an evening's worth of shooting. The motion blur is so bad that some images look like double exposures.

    Has anyone used this in any sort of wind -- not a typhoon, just normal winds in the 10-15mph range with long exposures?

    Here's the video I sent as asked. At some point I show the play in the unit.

    https://vimeo.com/62648871

    Response from GP...or so I hate BS! You can see clearly where the play is in the video.

    "I had our technician view your video and he said all your settings are correct, but to eliminate the Arca mount between the Pro and tripod. There could be more stability mounting unit directly on to tripod. He did not find anything faulty about this unit.Any further assistance we can provide, please let me know."


    I did have plans to use the DF/IQ180 and Arca/IQ180 (manual mode) on this, but I'm not sure this would even be possible outdoors. perhaps the Roundshot VR is the answer, should have gone with my first instinct. Will geck with Gerald.d that does have that setup.

    Cheers...

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    Re: Interfacing Phase One 645DF and GigaPan EPIC Pro

    Hi Jag -

    I think you're going to really struggle with the Gigapan in those kind of conditions. As you point out in the video, it's not the settling of the head that's going to be the problem, it's the fact that the entire unit simply isn't rigid enough. I used to own a Gigapan so am very familiar with it.

    The VR Drive is in a different league.

    I've just had a play around with my VR Drive set up (tried this with an FPS/IQ180/Canon 8-15; Arca Swiss Cube; Gitzo GT2540LLVL) and looked carefully as I wobble the thing to see where any looseness might exist, and there is none whatsoever in the head itself.

    The only movement I can induce in the whole set-up is caused by the center column on the tripod.

    My conclusion would be that if you can mount your camera directly onto your tripod in similar conditions and get a shot, then I'm fairly confident that you could introduce the VR Drive into the mix, and still get the shot.

    The Gigapan is built to a price - and I think it's fair to say that it's a pretty decent piece of kit for the price.

    But the VR Drive is just built, and ends up at whatever price it ends up at.

    Kind regards,

    Gerald.

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    Re: Interfacing Phase One 645DF and GigaPan EPIC Pro

    Thanks Gerald. My simple test was pushing on the Gigapan with one finger and it flexes at the base. Doing the same with my RRS multi-row pano gear, would lift one of the tripod legs, and need far more effort.

    I have been looking at the RS VR, and as you say, it looks like they built the best they could and put a price on it. I have no issue with this as most gear we buy under Dante's guidance falls in this category. My only concern was the fancy LCD (reliability) and the myriad of cables that appear to come out of the unit. Also, it appeared that the camera was always show in portrait mode. One other use I saw for the RS was astrophotography. Do you know if you can program it to behave like a guided equatorial mount? I was looking at a Losmandy GM11 for this, and maybe sticking with something designed for the purpose is best.

    In comparison, the GP appeared to offer a more "contained" solution. But as affordable and elegant as it seemed, it is quite useless to me at this point. I will speak to them again and see what they say. I am just put off by the stupid response I have received so far. I suspected that as soon as they asked for a video, I would get something back like the response above.

    Cheers,

    Jag

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    Re: Interfacing Phase One 645DF and GigaPan EPIC Pro

    Quote Originally Posted by jagsiva View Post
    Thanks Gerald. My simple test was pushing on the Gigapan with one finger and it flexes at the base. Doing the same with my RRS multi-row pano gear, would lift one of the tripod legs, and need far more effort.

    I have been looking at the RS VR, and as you say, it looks like they built the best they could and put a price on it. I have no issue with this as most gear we buy under Dante's guidance falls in this category. My only concern was the fancy LCD (reliability) and the myriad of cables that appear to come out of the unit. Also, it appeared that the camera was always show in portrait mode. One other use I saw for the RS was astrophotography. Do you know if you can program it to behave like a guided equatorial mount? I was looking at a Losmandy GM11 for this, and maybe sticking with something designed for the purpose is best.

    In comparison, the GP appeared to offer a more "contained" solution. But as affordable and elegant as it seemed, it is quite useless to me at this point. I will speak to them again and see what they say. I am just put off by the stupid response I have received so far. I suspected that as soon as they asked for a video, I would get something back like the response above.

    Cheers,

    Jag
    The camera does mount in portrait (unless you use an L bracket). No issues with this at all though. I know it seems a little odd coming from a Gigapan, but this is simply how it is when you have two separate motors mounted on the X and Y axes.

    Funnily enough, I've thought about the equatorial mount thing before. I had an idea ages ago for doing a timelapse with a fisheye that stayed centered on the sun all through the day, but never got around to doing it.

    There's no specific program for it, but you could do it by setting up the VR Drive on the tripod so that it's pointing north at 23 degrees, lock into your target with X and Y motors, and then just run the Y motor at the appropriate speed (I think). Never done this though. The guys at Seitz are certainly smart enough to work out a way of doing it without having to tilt the mount I'm sure (although you'd still of course have to align it to something).

    I've had no issues with reliability of anything -the LCD screen (whilst resistive not capacative) works perfectly and I'd hate to have it any other way.

    Cable wise, you have one that connects the two motors, and one that connects the base unit (x-motor) with the camera for normal control. If you want the VR Drive to fully control the camera for unlimited bracketing options (certain Nikons and Canons only I believe), then you need to run a second USB cable between the base unit and the camera. This does give unparalleled control though.

    I know I might be coming across as a bit of a fanboy when it comes to the VR Drive, but it's just one of those pieces of kit that it's hard not to rave about.

    One last thing that's worth mentioning is that Seitz are very good when it comes to releasing firmware updates. Just one example - a few weeks back, I had a chat on Facebook with another VR Drive owner who was asking for a spreadsheet that I use to calculate minimum shutter speed to use in the "speed" mode dependent on sensor characteristics, lens focal length, and speed of rotation of the mount. He forwarded the discussion onto Seitz, and within 2 weeks, they released a new firmware that did this calculation in the unit itself. Now, when you set up a speed mode program, the minimum shutter speed to use is displayed right on the screen of the unit.

    Yes - this thing is expensive, but it simply reeks of quality (remember - these guys make the ALPAs), and is an absolute joy to use.

    Regards,

    Gerald.

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    Re: Interfacing Phase One 645DF and GigaPan EPIC Pro

    Thanks Gerald. If the L-bracket works, I see no issue for landscape mode.

    I think the dual arms of the Gigapan give it a look of stability vs. the single arm, but when comparing to even my Pano kit from RRS which is a single arm holding the camera, the Gigapan is just flimsy.

    Interesting that you've given the guided mount some thought. RS already appears to have a smooth motor pan with the video option, so assuming the precision adjustment of speed exists, I can see this being possible via software.

    One last question....on the list of supported cameras they list the Mamiya. But they also list the P1 backs like the IQ series separately. What kind of control do they have over the back directly? I may be reaching here, and at the risk of showing my noobiness, using a tech cam, and leaving the shutter open on the lens, is there any way of capturing images by triggering just the back?

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    Re: Interfacing Phase One 645DF and GigaPan EPIC Pro

    Quote Originally Posted by jagsiva View Post
    Thanks Gerald. If the L-bracket works, I see no issue for landscape mode.

    I think the dual arms of the Gigapan give it a look of stability vs. the single arm, but when comparing to even my Pano kit from RRS which is a single arm holding the camera, the Gigapan is just flimsy.

    Interesting that you've given the guided mount some thought. RS already appears to have a smooth motor pan with the video option, so assuming the precision adjustment of speed exists, I can see this being possible via software.

    One last question....on the list of supported cameras they list the Mamiya. But they also list the P1 backs like the IQ series separately. What kind of control do they have over the back directly? I may be reaching here, and at the risk of showing my noobiness, using a tech cam, and leaving the shutter open on the lens, is there any way of capturing images by triggering just the back?
    The Mamiya/Phase One camera is listed because the VR Drive can control the firing of its shutter with a cable between the main unit and the camera.

    The backs are listed, because you have to select the right back when setting up a program (sensor size is what's important as this impacts field of view of a specific focal length lens).

    There is no way for the VR to control any setting on either the back or the camera - all it can do is send the trigger signal to fire the shutter in the camera. This is different to the Canon and Nikons, where it can take control of setting shutter speed, aperture and ISO.

    There is no way to take a picture (regardless of what is in control) on an IQ back without firing either a leaf or focal plane shutter - what you're describing would require a back with what I believe is referred to as a "global shutter".

    Regards,

    Gerald.

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    Re: Interfacing Phase One 645DF and GigaPan EPIC Pro

    Thanks Gerald. Makes sense.

    Jag.

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    Re: Interfacing Phase One 645DF and GigaPan EPIC Pro

    Quote Originally Posted by alajuela View Post
    Hi Martin

    Any updates?

    best

    Phil
    I've shot a couple of panoramas and they've turned out very well. Here's a link to one of them that we printed as a 7' x 33' print (9 strips of 7'x43") for an exhibition. The 9 strips where each mounted to a coroplast backing and then set up in an 11' circle that people could walk into giving the viewer the impression of standing in the middle of the field.

    Ivor Wynne Stadium

    The detail is absolutely stunning in the print and we had a "where's Waldo" questionnaire to find details in the image such as the water bottle in the link above.

    The image was shot with an IQ180 on a 645DF with an 80mm LS lens and my cable to trigger the 645DF from the GigaPan. Exposure was around 1/10 second at f/9 as I recall and 42 frames make up that image. I used mirror-lockup with the self timer on a 7 second delay. Stitching was done using PTgui.

    I like the 80mm LS lens because it is light and very sharp. The 75-150mm is too long and heavy and causes the GigaPan to sag when the motors aren't in rigid mode. The 80mm LS is just better balanced on the GigaPan.

    I've recently purchased the RRS GigaPan Clamp bar:

    GP-CB Pkg: GigaPan Clamp Bar + MPR-CL II - GP-CB-Pkg - Kit Configuration Page

    and the round dovetail plate for the bottom of the GigaPan:

    http://reallyrightstuff.com/ProductD...-Plate&key=ait

    Some of the other commentators have said that the GigaPan is a bit wobbly. The RRS round base plate does help with that over the straight plate I was using before. It still isn't completely rigid, but even before I haven't had any problems with it with the type of shooting I'm doing in light winds. I haven't shot in high winds though and I think you'd have trouble getting anything to be completely rigid in that case. There is lots of surface area that the wind can catch on.

    Martin

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