My 360 Photography DSLR Set Up

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Wow…is 360 imagery hot right now! You do not need a 360 camera to capture great 360 imagery. You can create higher quality with your DSLR, fisheye lens, and pano head. I am sharing my set up that I have perfected over the last 6 years creating 360 imagery and tours. I create custom tours as well as Google 360 tours for my clients.

360 Gear DSLR Setup part 1

Item / Some Affiliate links Comments
1. Nikon D-850 Full frame camera oriented in portrait direction.
For most 360’s you do not need this high of a resolution. A crop sensor with 20MP provides perfectly adequate resolution for most viewing on the web.
The higher resolution camera like the D850, can be used to give best zoom-in ability IF your hosting platform allows it.
2. Nikon 8-15mm Fisheye Fisheye lenses set to 12mm for a full frame camera,
For a crop sensor set it to 8mm.
With 8mm on a full frame camera you use about half of the sensor, and you are losing resolution.
Other fisheye options are the Sigma 8mm fisheye lens which is a bit less expensive, not as sharp, and has more chromatic aberration, or
the Rokinon 8mm, but the quality is less than the Sigma 8mm.
3. OP/TECH Uni-Loop Connector I use this connector on all my cameras and lights to connect to my OP/TECH straps.
4. Flashpoint R2 TTL Transmitter I occasionally use flash with my 360 panos. When there are bright windows, a lot of glare on the floors, or crazy mixed lighting, I will add flash to fix the issues. Flash adds quite a bit to the workflow, so this is reserved to higher end commercial work.
5. Yongnuo RF-603 II N3 Wireless trigger I have used this trigger for 6 years. I need it to remotely trigger my camera when there are window or mirror reflections.
6. Shutter Release cable This is a 2.5mm connection to the Yongnuo with a 10-pin connection for my D850/D500 on teh other end. There is another one with a DC-2 connection for the Nikon Z7/D750.
7. Gaffers tape   I use a piece of tape to keep my camera at 12mm. I do not want it to shift during a shoot. I use a template for stitching to speed things up, so I want to keep all of my set-up consistent to speed my post processing along. Do not use cheap gaffers tape. It becomes sticky over time, and will gum up your gear.
8. Nodal Ninja Lens Ring This ring holds the lens in position for the pano. It is specific for the lens. It has an arca swiss compatible foot that fits on the pano head, or other clamps if you like.
9. Nodal Ninja R1 pano head You can use the R20 or R10 (find it used) pano heads as they are more compact and rigid that the R1. The R1 allows you to change the orientation of the head to swing up or down to capture the nadir or zenith shots. You can still capture a floor shot with the R10 or R20 by shifting back and taking another photo, but this gives you a bit better quality and an easier stitch when you flip down to capture the nadir.
10. Matt Kaye MA N-Bomb Matt Kaye has been making tools for the Google Trusted Independent Photographers for years. This level is much larger than the one on the nodal ninja head, and allows you to adjust the mirror for viewing at different shooting levels. It also includes a light so you can see in dark spaces.
11. Nodal Ninja Rotator Mini This has 4 stops at 90 degrees for my fisheye lens. The fewer stops prevents potential misalignment during capture.
12. Peak Design Standard Plate I use this camera plate on the bottom of my pano head to make is easy to switch between my tripods or travel pole.
13. Arca Swiss D4 with RRS clamp I now use my Arca Swiss D4 under my pano head to adjust level of the pano head. It is a bit more bulky than my previous set up with the nodal ninja EZ Leveler to make adjustments along with a RRS leveling base.
The Arca Swiss D4 is small enough to hide under the camera, but other geared heads would stick out more at the bottom.  You can also use a ball head for big changes in level, but it is difficult to get the exact level without something like the EZ Leveler or a geared head.
Please note I purchased the cheapest option for the D4 (monoball fix), then had Precision Camera Works replace the Arca Swiss clamp with the  RRS lever clamp.
14. RRS dovetail plate This is another plate I have on the bottom of my Arca Swiss D4 which allows me to swap heads between my tripod quickly.
15. RRS clamp This clamp lives on my tripod
16. RRS center column   I use this adjust the height of my shots quickly
17. RRS TVC-34L tripod This tripod will extend to 8 feet. It is rock solid. The extra weight  helps with minimizing slight nudges when changing the direction of the pano head. I have used my Gitzo Travel Tripod before I got my RRS, and the legs tended to flex a bit during use.
18. Cheat Sheet List of shutter speeds with brackets for 3, 5, and 7 exposures at 2 stops each. It also provides a white spot to take white balance readings in Lightroom
19. Foam core Serves 3 purposes
i. Cut to help snug in my tripod legs to keep them from showing in the pano.
ii. Used to shield my lens from flare.
iii. Used as a gray card if necessary
20. Bungee cord Holds the foam core if it drops from the legs, and can also hold a door open when the door stops do not work.
21. Nodal ninja tripod adapter For securely attaching my nodal ninja travel pole to my tripod. The pole adds another 8 feet to my tripod height.
I have used the height to create exterior panos of tall subjects.
22. Dee Zunker Photography Sticker I put stickers on all my stuff.
I think this one needs to be replaced.
23. Knob on the R1 which allows me to flip the camera down or up to take the nadir or zenith shot.

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