Tripods for HDR Panorama Photography
Shooting HDR panoramas is a whole world with its own set of specialized gear and techniques, and one of the most important is the tripod. If you’re not shooting professionally, you don’t really need to worry about the differences between casual and professional panoramas. If you want the most professional results and the highest quality images, however, here are a few things you should do to up your game.
Buy a dedicated panorama tripod head, which moves the axis of rotation from somewhere in the camera body (where the screw goes in using a normal tripod head) to a point that is the optical center of the lens. There is confusion about what this point is called: the no-parallax point, the entrance pupil, or the nodal point.
Shooting frames that revolve around the no-parallax point reduces or eliminates parallax (a visual side effect where nearby objects move in relation to far objects between frames, like your finger moves against the background when you look at it with one eye, then the other). You have to dial in this point by taking test shots and moving the camera forward or backward in the panorama head mount.
You can also change the orientation of your camera to vertical (portrait). This is easier to do on some tripod heads than others, but it’s a breeze if you have a panorama head.
The benefit of shooting portrait panoramas is having more photos to use after you stitch the images. You will be sure to capture enough area so that when you crop the final image, you won’t be forced to make incredibly painful decisions on what to lose.
The downside is that you’ll have to shoot more frames from left to right, but that’s easier than shooting two rows or wider frames to capture the same area.