by Tycho Smith January 11, 2019
Everyone loves a great panoramic photo: sweeping landscapes, endless rows of skyscrapers, beaches that go on forever. We’d all love to photograph panoramic shots, and it’s possible to do so with the most basic camera or smartphone today. Most smartphones and DSLR cameras now have a panorama feature, and will usually give you pretty good results if you are able to hold the camera steady enough. However, for the best results, and for ease of use, it’s best to use the tools that are available to you. That is where the panoramic tripod head comes in.
What is a Panoramic Tripod Head?
A panoramic tripod head attaches to the top of a tripod and allows for the steady rotation of your camera. While you can get quality panoramic shots without any kind of stabilization, using a panoramic tripod head increases the precision and thus the quality of your pictures. The most basic tripod heads are simply a rotating device that you can move manually. However, nicer models are often motorized, to provide smoother movement for time lapse photography. These are three great panoramic tripod heads that are worth checking out:
This is a very simple, affordable and effective tripod head. It’s not fancy, but it gets the job done. It’s simple, egg timer-like design allows you to attach your camera and set the timer to rotate for up to 60 minutes, giving you the ability to get smooth time lapses or great panoramic videos. Able to support up to 4.4 pounds, it is compatible with all DSLRs, smartphones and GoPros. This is perfect for anyone looking to get started in panoramic photography.
If you’re looking for a higher quality, professional grade panoramic tripod head, the MTP-11 is a big step up. This motorized version gives you more options to work with: panning speed can be set to 5, 15, 30 or 60 minute rotations; rotation angle can be set to 15°, 30°, 45°, 60°, 90°, 180° or 360°; and rotation direction can be set to clockwise or counterclockwise. These options ensure more precise control over your photography, allowing for more possibilities when it comes to panoramic shoots.
The ultimate in panoramic photography, this motorized panoramic tripod head comes with a remote control, which allows you to control your entire setup from up to 20 feet away. Like the MTP-11, it’s got all the other great stuff as well - compatibility with DLSRs, smartphones, and GoPros; up to 360° rotation; and an even longer time duration up to 2 hours and 46 minutes. It can also hold up to 5.5 pounds, and it’s 5 hour battery ensures that you’ll have ample time to capture amazing panoramic and time lapse shots.
We hope this was a quick helpful guide to getting to know a bit more about panoramic tripod heads. There’s a lot to learn to become an expert at panoramic photography, but learning the basics and getting the right gear is always the best way to start. Good luck!