A few people have asked about the panorama robot I recently assembled so I thought I'd make a quick video demonstration. The robot is based on a Sky-Watcher alt-azimuth non-goto telescope mover. This particular model is useful because it also has a shutter release port built right in to the the head. The head is controlled wirelessly via the Papymerlin serial to bluetooth adapter module. The computer that actually does the control is a Nokia N810 Internet Tablet (It's like a smart phone, minus the phone) which runs the open source Papywizard software and sends the commands out via bluetooth.

In order to get the camera mounted so the lens is perfectly positioned at the "no parallax" point all that was needed in the case of the 7D was a thinner dove-tail rail. The rail was built by one of my co-workers out of hardwood. I also enlisted the help of another friend to grind a few millimeters off of the dove-tail clamp on the Sky-Watcher, which makes enough room to attach even the largest diameter lenses in my kit.

At present, I use the cameras built-in bracketing to shoot HRDIs. It's convenient as I can use the Sky-Watchers built-in shutter release to fire the camera remotely. However it's also a limitation of my current setup as the Auto Bracketing on the Canon 7D only shoots 3 shots each spaced 3 stops from the last. In many cases I could use more. Until there is a firmware update from Canon or I figure out a more versatile way to trigger the camera, I'm stuck with only three shots for making my HDRIs.

This kit, all-in, is still less expensive than any other dedicated panorama robot on the market yet in many ways more flexible. For example, it can be programed to do custom shooting patterns, "gigapans" and even time-lapse. The software has a great GUI and integration on the N810. On top of it all, the Papywizard software is open source and written in Python, so if one has the chops they can hack it to customize it anyway they like.

You can see more of my panoramas here: 360cities.net/profile/hyperfocus

Loading more stuff…

Hmm…it looks like things are taking a while to load. Try again?

Loading videos…