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12-21-2011, 03:17 PM   #1
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Gigapan Epic Pro and the 645D

Well, stuff is finally starting to arrive. I received my lenses from KEH.com (FA75, A120 Macro, and FA200) all in fantastic, better-than-expected condition. I also got two Hoodman Raw Steel 32GB SDHC cards and the USB 3.0 reader. A Gigapan Epic Pro is on its way. Alas, the US Postal Service still has my 645D hostage - it was last seen in Illinois.

But while I'm waiting, I was wondering if any has used the Gigapan Epic Pro with their 645?
I'm wondering if changing the supplied hardware/mount to the one put out by Really Right Stuff is worth the $500 investment (mounting bracket, nodal point bracket, plus mounting plate and quick-releases).
I'm going to wait and try the unit to see if I experience any problems with it as it comes out of the box before spending any more money on it.

Thanks

Frank

12-21-2011, 03:25 PM   #2
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Hey Frank, those should be some really gigantic files for sure! I hope you will report your findings, along with a few pics. I just ordered a 645d outfit via Pentax and KEH this week too, only somehow they messed up my special two-day delivery for the camera and it is arriving a day early (today). Kudos to UPS!
12-21-2011, 04:54 PM   #3
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I would save the $500 for the new faster computer and extra storage you are going to need.
12-21-2011, 08:57 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Yamanobori Quote
I would save the $500 for the new faster computer and extra storage you are going to need.
$500 worth of upgrades most likely wouldn't cut it, more like $2,500 and a bucketful of DDR3 ram.

12-22-2011, 01:06 AM   #5
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I found those hoodman raw steel sd cards were a VERY tight fit in my 645D. It seems hoodman not only ruggedized the cards , they increased the overall thickness a little.
12-22-2011, 03:56 AM   #6
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Nodal Point Bracket

Fortunately the panorama software is getting smarter and smarter with every update. The ability to merge files is taking less and less computing time. But it can sure tax the computer. Put together a HDR panorama, and it can be interesting using the 645d. I basically maxed out my mac with every upgrade possible for speed.

The Nodal Point Bracket is an interesting question. Most are made for smaller cameras for sure. I went with the Nodal Ninja and it took a little bit to figure out how to use it with the 645d. Was it worth the money? Yeah, I think it was. I would sure make sure the bracket you go with can handle the weight and size of every lens you would want to use. I tend to use my 45mm when doing 645d panos.
12-22-2011, 04:33 PM   #7
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Well, it has been exactly a two-week wait to have it shipped from the nice folks at Photo Central in Canada, but it's here!!! It's finally here!!

I'm the pround new papa of a 34.5 oz baby 645D!!!

Starring at this beautiful white box writting this instead of opening it. WTF is wrong with me!!!

Look very much foward to posting my experiances witht the 645D, the lenses, and the Gigapan too.

Woohoo!!!
12-22-2011, 08:39 PM   #8
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Congrats. But don't open it until the 25th.

BTW, I have found finding the model point on panoramas only important with lots of foreground details like trees. Landscapes are easy, even handheld.

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12-23-2011, 12:33 AM   #9
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Because of the GigaPan, I plan on upgrading my computer to the LGA2011 chipset & 64GB of RAM some time next year once the prices drop. RAM is cheap, but today the two Intel chips available for the new (released in 11/2011) 2011 MoBos are $599 & $1,049. I'll wait when they're < $300. In the mean I'll have to get by with my current rig.

Yamanobori - Looks like you use the Gigapan too. Are you using it with a 645, and if so is the Gigapan stock or modified? I'ld like to read your experiance.

thanks all,

Frank
12-23-2011, 12:34 AM   #10
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I installed two Hoodman SDHC 32GB cards in the 645D. The cards went in smoothly without issue.
12-23-2011, 07:03 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by FrankC Quote
Because of the GigaPan, I plan on upgrading my computer to the LGA2011 chipset & 64GB of RAM some time next year once the prices drop. RAM is cheap, but today the two Intel chips available for the new (released in 11/2011) 2011 MoBos are $599 & $1,049. I'll wait when they're < $300. In the mean I'll have to get by with my current rig.

Yamanobori - Looks like you use the Gigapan too. Are you using it with a 645, and if so is the Gigapan stock or modified? I'ld like to read your experiance.

thanks all,

Frank
Frank, sorry. I do not use the Gigapan. That image was to illustrate how easy it is to make panos. The 645D was mounted on a small tabletop tripod and set on a window sill and simply rotated the camera and support to get the frames for the pano--I am really sure the lens was not revolved around the nodal point. BTW, the 645 Refconverter 90 degree angle finder was really important for this shot--I was going out to dinner with some family and I had this in my walk around bag, just in case.

I have to carry my stuff large distances in the work I do. My panoramic "system" when I don't handhold the camera is an Arca Swiss P0 bullhead and a Manfrotto macro rail used as a nodal rail. This is a very compact and light solution. It is really nice that the 645D has two tripod sockets.

But I hope you have some computing power. My panos are simple linear stitches of mostly 3 to 6 frames and those present plenty of data for my computer.
12-25-2011, 06:23 AM   #12
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i was kicking around an idea fro better poanorama prints in my head when i saw an article on the gigapan system.my idea is cheaper it only requires a tripod head with horizontal and verticle refrence points.
12-25-2011, 12:21 PM   #13
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I ended up waiting two weeks for the camera because it was shipped USPS ground. I could have gotten it quicker, but would have meant that the camera would have been traveled via Jet. A little-known fact is that the CCD/CMOS chips can be permanently damaged when exposed to cosmic rays commonly found at the high altitudes that commercial jets fly. At sea level (or close to it) these cosmic rays are filtered out by the atmosphere, but not so at high altitude. So, if one of these rays should hit a pixel, then the entire column of pixels is effectively turned off.
A real-life example of this is problem was experienced by the film crew of the movie Superman Returns. They used digital cameras that were shipped from Japan, but they were flown to Australia where the movie was filmed. In post production, the editors found that one of the cameras had columns of dead pixels which had to digitally removed from every frame.

I realize the chances for damage are small, but with the amount invested waiting an extra week was worth it.
Here's a link explaining the phenomenon: http://www.jai.com/SiteCollectionDocuments/Camera_Solutions_Application_Tech...CosmicRays.pdf
12-25-2011, 12:43 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by FrankC Quote
Because of the GigaPan, I plan on upgrading my computer to the LGA2011 chipset & 64GB of RAM some time next year once the prices drop. RAM is cheap, but today the two Intel chips available for the new (released in 11/2011) 2011 MoBos are $599 & $1,049. I'll wait when they're < $300. In the mean I'll have to get by with my current rig.
Frank, have you considered using the Microsoft ICE software to stitch your images? It is free and does an excellent job with very limited resources. It supports structured panoramas as they are generated by devices like GigaPan. I have used it extensively with handheld images and works great.

Here is the link to download it: Microsoft Research Image Composite Editor (ICE)

Good luck,

Demetri
12-25-2011, 12:50 PM   #15
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I've never heard of MS ICE before, thank you for the link. I downloaded the 64 bit version and will compare it to the stitching software provided with the Gigapan. I haven't recent the Gigapan yet, but I'll be sure to post some pictures (or probably a link) and a comparison review of the two software options.
I'm still reading the owner's manual for 645D and just getting used to it - took my first photo of it last night. I wanted the first pix to be a family group shot. Very pleased with it so far.
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