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Thread: RRS Panorama components?

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    RRS Panorama components?

    I am trying to put together a Really Righty Stuff order for a complete single-row panorama kit for my Contax 645 AF as well as my Leica M8, and I don't find some of the components I am looking for.

    I am starting with a ballhead, and just to be on the safe side, I decided on the BH-55 PCL setup. This gives me the swivel ability I need. Then I added a "192 FAS Package; FAS Clamp and MPR 192", but this I am less sure on. Is this rail sufficient for some of the longer Contax 645 lenses, like the 120mm Macro and the 210mm?

    With a head, swivel, rail and clamp, I should just need some plates for my cameras. I have generic plates for the M8, but no L-plate, nor anything for the Contax 645. Does anyone know if there is an L-plate which will work with the Contax, and if there is an L-plate which works with the Leica M8?

    Thanks in advance for any help.
    Carsten - Website

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    Re: RRS Panorama components?

    Hmm, it seems a lot cheaper if I order the "BH-55 No Clamp" and the "Pano Elements Package; For Single Row". Is that equivalent, or do I need a more stable rail and/or clamp on the rail for MF?
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    Re: RRS Panorama components?

    The panning clamp that comes with the elements package will replace and mount directly to the standard clamp version BH55, so yes you can do a proper single-row pano with that combo.
    Jack
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    Re: RRS Panorama components?

    The package includes the heavier rail which also has the laser engraved rule on it. It should be strong enough, and likely stiffer than the slimmer, lighter alternate.

    (heehee, typing slow again)

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    Re: RRS Panorama components?

    Sorry, I am being dense here. Jack, so you are saying that the BH-55 no clamp + Pano elements Package is enough to get started with single-row panos?

    And Dave, "Package" means "Pano elements Package", which has the stronger rail?

    If both of those are okay, then I guess that is what I am ordering.

    Does anyone know what to do about an L-plate for the Contax 645 *without* MP-1 battery pack? I will probably order the MC-L generic L-plate for the M8, since that is one of the configurations they show. Maybe it will work for the Contax 645 as well...
    Carsten - Website

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    Re: RRS Panorama components?

    Sorry, Carsten, Yes I was agreeing that the Pano Elements package has the heavier rail. I'll go grab my printed catalogue to confirm the part number if you like (their site can be a pain at times).

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    Re: RRS Panorama components?

    Here is my cart at the moment (although I am just spec'ing it out here; I need to wait for a money transfer to arrive):

    Attachment 13498
    Carsten - Website

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    Re: RRS Panorama components?

    Looks good. That will get you going.

    If you don't want to use the Pano clamp as you full-time clamp (due to weight, etc.) you can go with one of the other clamps at some point. There is also a dovetail plate that can be attached to the bottom of the Pano clamp so that one can temporarily clamp it into a standard-type clamp as well.

    All kinds of ways to go broke with RRS.

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    Re: RRS Panorama components?

    That's the kit. Just make sure you get the proper screw to mount the clamp to the head -- it's probably in with the head or clamp kit but only $1 for an extra in case it isn't -- and you definitely need it to mount the clamp to the head: http://reallyrightstuff.com/rrs/Item...x3%2F4&eq=&Tp=
    Jack
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    Re: RRS Panorama components?

    The screw is included with the plate, I am pretty sure, but I have taken your advice and added one. Cool, I look forward to ordering and getting this. Thanks guys!

    Dave, I saw the dovetail and quick-release combination option, but decided that with the BH-55, the extra weight of just leaving the PCL-1 on there was not going to make a difference. I just hope now that my old Manfrotto 055C is up to the task. I will have to do some tests.
    Carsten - Website

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    Re: RRS Panorama components?

    just to make you drool:

    though thiis is the L-plate for the c645 with the grip. id deerly recommend to go that route. before buying the RRS stuff i had the generic manfrotto L-plate and it was unbearable. the c645 grip is really good (far better than the grips for the canons) and it allows you to use a set of 4 AA batteries. might be a saving over the costly 2cr5s. the RRS-L-plate for the C645 is rock solid. i have the shorter rail to do singel row panos, it is solid enough, but the lack of a millimeter scale is a pitty, but i was not sure if the longer rail would interfere with the ultra wide angle lenses, so i went with the shorter one.


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    Re: RRS Panorama components?

    I am considering this option, but to be honest, the 2CR5s are not that expensive, and I have a couple extra. The MP-1 and the 4 AAs add significantly to the weight though, which I am not keen on. I am considering the Kirk Big L, but it isn't custom, and I am not sure how well it would fit. I presume the 35mm without battery grip one is the best fit for the C645 without MP-1.
    Carsten - Website

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    Re: RRS Panorama components?

    I've been playing in this sand box for a couple years now and would like to offer my thoughts.

    An L- bracket is a must - this allows you to shift the camera from horizontal to vertical without changing the focal point or level.

    Recommendation: Get a good L-bracket.

    I like and used the RSS Pano Elements Package with great success then I moved to their Ultimate Package then on to the Cube.

    Good choice and you'll be able to build off this.

    BH-55 Ballhead... Looks good and actually had thought of trying one before the Cube. The BH-55 gets excellent reviews from everyone who has one.

    I'd like to add another item to the mix. Go to Acratech and look at their leveling base. I had one and loved it. While you can get a decent pano with a ballhead I personally preferred not using one as it can be very difficult at time getting the balance and sweet spot necessary for a panorama. I used to remove my ballhead and used the leveling base followed by the pano gear whenever I was taking a multiple image panorama; I used this setup when I was shooting with my 1Ds II and used it with the AFD. Just a suggestion.

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    Re: RRS Panorama components?

    Hey Don,

    Yup, I would love to get an L-bracket, but the problem is that there doesn't seem to be one specifically for the Contax 645 without the MP-1 battery holder... I might get the Big L from Kirk, which apparently fits.

    The Cube is way too expensive for me at this point. I might think about it in the future, anyway, I don't think it helps for multi-row panos, does it? And the pivot point is only an approximation for the Entrance Pupil, i.e. the quality of the pano would be no better. Nice piece, but too pricy.

    The levelling base in interesting, and I will earmark it; however I am not doing exclusively panos, so I am not sure if I could avoid getting a ballhead in any case. Thoughts?
    Carsten - Website

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    Re: RRS Panorama components?

    Carsten

    By all means get a ballhead; please don't think that I was saying not to.

    The thought I was attempting to get across was that you can have two systems, a ballhead for everyday "normal" work and a panorama kit consisting of the leveling base, RSS pano elements package, and some type of l-bracket. I actually kept the leveling base on the tripod all the time and my ballhead attached to that. I used the leveling base as a first line of leveling then the ballhead or pano kit as a second.

    I tried the Cube this past week on a single row panorama and found it works; next will be a test to see if I can do mult-row which I think in theory should work just fine. I also use a Noveflex focusing rack with the Cube both with the Cambo and Phase; it helps with focusing the Cambo and the nodal point on the Phase.

    Hope this helps

    Don
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    Re: RRS Panorama components?

    Whichever L bracket you end up getting will probably work well but as far as ballheads go, I highly recommend the Arca Swiss head over RSS, I have both and as good as the RSS is, there's really no comparison between the two, yet the difference in price is insignificant!

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    Re: RRS Panorama components?

    Whichever L bracket you end up getting will probably work well but as far as ballheads go, I highly recommend the Arca Swiss head over RSS, I have both and as good as the RSS is, there's really no comparison between the two, yet the difference in price is insignificant!
    Horses for courses. The A-S head is a very smoothly operating ball head (smoother ball than the RRS), but I prefer the pan-lock (band-lock instead of detent screw - unless A-S has changed their newest offerings) and the control knobs. I dearly love the large primary locking knob of the BH-55. It fits the way I like to work without looking at the head. Both are good heads though IMO. No need to apologize for either.
    Last edited by Dale Allyn; 14th March 2009 at 22:59.

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    Re: RRS Panorama components?

    Carsten,
    I got the BH-55 LR and it is fantastic. I have been very pleased with the lever release clamp - it is quick, easy, and secure. You don't need the PCL clamp if you have a leveling base for your tripod because the BH-55 has very good panning capability. You just need to have the ball head base level and the LR clamp level. The LR clamp has a bubble level built-in and my Gitzo leveling base also has a bubble level. In addition to an L-bracket for your camera, you should get a nodal rail so you can adjust for the nodal point of the lens (see photo below for the two options).

    I like this setup because you get full time use out of all the pieces (leveling base, ball head with LR clamp, L-bracket) except the nodal rail. The addition of the leveling base dramatically improved my experience using a tripod.

    Mark

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    Re: RRS Panorama components?

    Aaahhh, it all comes together. That makes sense. Thanks Don for bringing the leveling head to my attention, and Mark for pointing out how to make a kit that makes more sense.

    It doesn't even cost much more, since the pano kit is $220 more expensive than just the rail, but the BH-55LR costs $100 more than the naked head. the $120 saved goes towards the leveling head, which costs $149. Neat. I am also keen on not duplicating functionality in ways which don't add anything, and I had already looked askance at the pivot base of the BH-55 and the PCL-1.

    David, the Z1 is an interesting head, but two things strike me: the locking arm for the panning base is very close to the bottom. I saw one review saying that it hits the tripod and cannot be closed completely. What tripod do you use? The other thing is that I love the RRS LR clamp, and would want to fit one if I were to buy a Z1. Is this possible? All reviews said that the Z1 had a smoother action than the BH-55, and the elliptical ball is a stroke of genius. One minor detractor here is that Arca-Swiss is not online... I find this truly bizarre in today's world. Where are they based?
    Carsten - Website

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    Re: RRS Panorama components?

    Does anyone have any experience with the Acratech Universal L Bracket? I wonder if it will fit the Contax 645 well.
    Carsten - Website

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    Re: RRS Panorama components?

    David, the Z1 is an interesting head, but two things strike me: the locking arm for the panning base is very close to the bottom. I saw one review saying that it hits the tripod and cannot be closed completely. What tripod do you use? The other thing is that I love the RRS LR clamp, and would want to fit one if I were to buy a Z1. Is this possible? All reviews said that the Z1 had a smoother action than the BH-55, and the elliptical ball is a stroke of genius. One minor detractor here is that Arca-Swiss is not online... I find this truly bizarre in today's world. Where are they based?[/QUOTE]

    In the U.S they have an office in Chicago, but their home office is currently in France. It is rather odd that they don't have a web site to show off their products.

    I recently purchased the BH-55LR, but only after talking directly to RRS. They guided me as to what head would fit my needs. I would suggest calling them and see what they recommend for your app.

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    Re: RRS Panorama components?

    Quote Originally Posted by carstenw View Post
    David, the Z1 is an interesting head, but two things strike me: the locking arm for the panning base is very close to the bottom. I saw one review saying that it hits the tripod and cannot be closed completely. What tripod do you use? The other thing is that I love the RRS LR clamp, and would want to fit one if I were to buy a Z1. Is this possible? All reviews said that the Z1 had a smoother action than the BH-55, and the elliptical ball is a stroke of genius. One minor detractor here is that Arca-Swiss is not online... I find this truly bizarre in today's world. Where are they based?
    Carsten,

    I have two of the double pan Z1s which I use with a couple of Gitzo basalt and carbon tripods, I had Manfrottos and Sliks before and never experienced any issues with panning head on any of these tripods over the past 15 months since I got the Arca heads.

    The difference between Z1 and RSS head is a lot more than just smoothness, the way to work with each is different. With the Arca I mount the camera, adjust the tension with the one knob and then smoothly move the camera to the desired position, minor adjustments are very easy without touching any controls and where the smoothness really comes into play with this head. The tension control on the RSS doesn't seem to work at all, the head is either loose or so tight that you can't move it at all. I find this annoying specially with a heavy lens attached when you have to loosen the ball every time you need to move the camera a little and hope that it doesn't slip away from you. I find fine tuning composition and making minor adjustments to camera difficult with this head.

    Looking at the two heads the clamps seem to be interchangeable between them, but again the I find the Arca clamp much more elegant with its lower profile and lighter weight. I also like its dual locking mechanism better. I might sound negative towards RSS but I really have nothing but praise for the compan, tech support is very effective and helpful, wonderful customer service and they have some of the best products on the market, its just that I find Arca's equipment on a higher level.

    Arca has a product called the Svelt which is an L bracket that attaches to the head instead of the camera, this might solve your problem if you can get one.

    I find it very strange that AS has no website too, but they seem to be just fine without one. Here's a link to Precision Camera Works, you'll find a lot of information on AS products;

    http://www.precisioncameraworks.com/...arca_core.html

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    Re: RRS Panorama components?

    My experience with the RRS tension control differs from David's. I find that I can set mine and use it just as he describes using (and as I have used) the A-S head. However, I do agree that the A-S is easier for those micro-adjustments in composition because of the smoother functioning ball.

    I much prefer the handling of the RRS BH-55, but I am going to buy another A-S Z1 (I think) for a lighter tripod which is in need of a head update. I do like them both, but I like the A-S for my DSLR.

    It's nice that we have options to suit preferences.

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    Re: RRS Panorama components?

    Hmm, well I am thoroughly confused. Both sound wonderful, people have different experiences. Since we are not talking about a huge amount of money in either case, and since I am ordering a bunch of items from RRS anyway, I decided to try this one first. I have (previously) heard only praise for the BH-55, and I wanted to try it. It is more likely that I can find an Arca-Swiss in a store to try out here in Europe than the RRS, so I will keep my eyes open for it. If I should ultimately prefer it, I will just sell the RRS, at a small loss. No big deal.

    Thanks for all the advice. I have ordered the BH-55 LR, MPR-CL II pano rail and the MC-L universal L-bracket. I know that this fits on the M8, but I think the lower rear edge lip would prevent it from being a good fit on the Contax 645 AF. I will try to cut a layer of cork to insert to get around this, but if that doesn't work, I will order either the new Acratech universal L-bracket, or the Kirk Big L, short version. Any enlightenment w.r.t. an L-bracket for the Contax 645 AF without MP-1 battery holder is very welcome.
    Carsten - Website

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