360 Camera Techniques Virtual Tour Accessories

Wrong-headed: this is the NOT a panoramic head for 360 photos!!!

Yesterday, someone told me that they were trying to shoot a 360 photo with their DSLR but that the photo was not spherical, despite shooting 6 photos with a circular fisheye:

Out of curiosity, I wondered how they took their shots. It then became obvious why he couldn’t get a 360 photo:

Yup, someone recommended this type of head for taking 360 photos with a DSLR….

gimbal head
gimbal head

Wow.  For those of you who don’t know, this is a gimbal head.  It is designed to support heavier lenses.  It is emphatically NOT designed for shooting spherical panoramas.

I’ve never heard of such bizarre and plainly horrible advice.   No wonder he couldn’t get a fully spherical photo even with 6 shots from a friggin circular fisheye!  And yes someone really is recommending this gimbal head for 360 photos with DSLRs.  I found the YouTube video.  It really is out there.   Unfortunately, in the few months that the video has been there, not one person has commented on the video that the advice is simply wrong.

Here’s the truth: to shoot a spherical 360 photo, you need a panoramic head, either multi-row or single-row.   Panoramic heads are designed to enable you to shoot from the no parallax point aka nodal point.  Please watch my tutorials:

Multi-row panohead tutorial:

Single-row panohead tutorial (faster to shoot, but requires more skill to stitch):

If you want a cheap panoramic head, this one can work.  But from my experience, I get more stitching errors with that than with my Nodal Ninja 3.

Nodal Ninja 3 multi-row panoramic head
Nodal Ninja 3 multi-row panoramic head

There’s a reason Nodal Ninja products have been trusted and respected by 360 shooters for many years.  It’s designed by actual 360 shooters, and the results are repeatable.  FYI, Nodal Ninja is offering free shipping in the US only for July.

Also, even though the Meike is a sharp lens, using it to take 360 photos will give you only about half of the resolution you could get with a better lens.  Here are some camera and lens suggestions.

About the author

Mic Ty


Click here to post a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  • I think that the main issue here is the definition / description of a 360 panorama.
    Of course you can make a pano with a Gimbal, just that it will be cylindrical not spherical. So the video from Neweer might not have lied (I haven’t seen it so I cant say).

    • It is definitely a gimbal head but it does not mean it won’t work for taking pictures for a spherical panorama. You may only need to add a longer clamp plate. The original clamp plate centre seems to be sitting exactly above a point of rotation. It is hard to see on your picture but if you look at this one https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71pvyIriDZL._SL1500_.jpg you will see it is centered.

      So with a longer clamp plate and using a lock on a gimbal vertical axis it should not be that hard to set it to your lens nodal point.

  • The main problem is that people do not inform themselves, do not read, do not look for all the information they need before investing their money.
    Clearly the publication of amazon and the advise that was given was that it could be used for 360 SPHERICAL panoramas … very different to only CYLINDRICAL panoramas !!
    and that is in fact a lie.
    The people, all the people who publish and comment, should also read carefuly before giving their opinion. (that includes me, hahaha)

    • Thanks Sebastian. Actually, even with cylindrical 360 panormas, you will get stitching errors. It is simply not a 360 panohead. And it’s not just the Amazon label. There are ‘experts’ who are recommending this type of head for 360 photos, and that’s wrong advice unfortunately.
      best regards,