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360AutomationDJI Ronin SC2DSLRGimbalsRSC2Smooth 4

Testing an idea: DSLR/Mirrorless Gimbal for 360 capture15974

Wingman private msg quote post Address this user
I have been always thinking a dslr/mirrorless 3/4 axis gimbal may be a good way to automate a process for capturing a 360 photo. My smartphone Smooth 4 gimbal comes with some pano mode capture but it does not look it can do 360x180 panorama.

And yesterday I found this video


It looks simple, without even thinking how many shoots you want for some specific focal length. Just add all required parameters, shoot and PTGui should do the rest.

It may sound expensive for some gimbals but DJI Ronin SC-2 is in abundance online for AU$699 brand new and you can get refurbished by DJI for AU$499 Compare it with any automated pano head and even mecha e1 which is quite cheap will cost you more.

So I have decided to get a refurbished one and I am going to test it for 360 capture with my DSLR rig once it arrives.

Other benefits as I can see them, if you want to create tremendous in size shots you can actually use it as a substitute for something like Gigapan. The top range of a Gigapan head that works with heavy cameras costs much more than the gimbal. Not to mention you can use the gimbal for recording videos.

For those who would ask, why not use a manual capture? I have tried a few times and in most cases I keep forgetting how many spins I have done. And just to make sure you may be doing extra shoots that will be quite hard to manage for stitching considering you are doing brackets and there are huge amount of pictures just for one 360 photo.
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EaglePrecision private msg quote post Address this user
Get a fisheye lens (Rokinon or Samyang) and a pano head - one spin: 4 shots and you're done. I tried the Ronin SC-2 but it has vertical limits - it's not a fully spherical pano. Also, the more photos you take, the more time you're going to spend editing stitching errors in PTGui.
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Seestvaates private msg quote post Address this user
Some months ago I tried it with my RSC2 right after seeing that video too. The nodal point problem is very strong, unfortunately. My first test shot in a large open space was acceptable with a lot of tuning in PTgui, not worth it.

Now I have a wider fisheye lens and after seeing your post I tried it out once again. This time in my room. Totally unusable due to parallax. Also, unfortunately, the app was fine for setting up the narrow lens, but with the wide lens for some inexplicable reason the Ronin wants to take more than 360 degrees of photos in one row. The last shot in a row is the exact copy of the first shot. I had to fiddle with the settings, just to get something that has the wrong settings but simply works.

Also as I was setting it up today I remembered what I had forgotten: the set up is a pain. So many things. Because you are adding gimbal balancing/calibration to the mix, and if you are doing it correctly, you have to attach the camera before the tripod plate, which is yet another thing that has to be screwed on tightly from underneath and then centered etc etc. I guess the process could be streamlined, but all that for such janky results, not worth it.

I did test one more thing now with the RSC2: I locked off my gimbal arms in a tilted position and I was able to lock other sliders and things so that my camera is slanted totally diagonally, with the lens in the perfect horizontal nodal point, for one row at least. I can even temporarily unlock two knobs (without messing up the previously defined horizontal nodal point) and get an acceptable ceiling shot. This is quite cool, without gimbal balancing. But also without motors and automation. So, yes, I will get a nodal ninja and keep RSC2 only for my video work.

But I wish it would work perfectly somehow. This device is so close to it, it initially seems like a no brainer. Maybe somebody can figure out how to use only the lowest motor while other gimbal arms remain locked, to automate the one-row process, with shutter control too.
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EaglePrecision private msg quote post Address this user
It's been a year or two since I tried it but you described my experience and conclusions pretty well. It's a lot easier (and cheaper) to use a pano head with the fisheye - one shot each 90 degrees and you're done. A lot easier to set up, too.
The RSC2 is designed primarily for shooting video with a mirrorless which it does a good job at. I was using a Canon RP and a Fujifilm X-T20 but have replaced them with a Canon R6 which I haven't tried on the RSC2 yet.
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Wingman private msg quote post Address this user
After a bit of emails with a shop i have finally got refund and purchased the same gimbal as a combo.
I have just seen what DJI RavenEye can do and I like it. Purchasing it separately makes it more expensive

If you want the combo really cheap you can get it here
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Wingman private msg quote post Address this user
My neighbor has DJI RS 2 which is more expensive version and I have borrowed it from him just to test 360 capture. Since it is already balanced for his camera and lens and probably somehow linked to his camera I decided to put just my Sony a6000 instead of going with a much heavier Canon 5DS, balanced it a tiny bit remembering how it was before and fired panorama capture.

Pros: it actually should work very well for a 360 capture automation. Other uses like video stabilization or capturing giga panoramas(hello GigaPan). May be a good tool to capture for a photogrammetry even though a small drone that can safely fly inside would be much more better and significantly faster.

Cons: I think it overshoots extra 40% and it makes it slow as well. It is fixable if you use 16mm lens because you can always say it is 12mm to reduce amount of shooting points. It should remove most of extra shoots. However if you use 10mm lens it seems DJI thinks that 10mm or any lower focal length always needs 15(5x3) photos and there is no way to go any lower than 15 shoots even if you set it as a 1mm lens. In reality you can do it in 4-6 photos with 10mm lens on a full frame camera. That leaves a small may be about 10 degree in size hole at nadir. Not a big deal as tripod legs are much bigger in size.
16mm lens according to DJI needs 40(8x5) photos with 30% overlap to build 360x180. 30% is a minimum you can choose in panorama settings.

Anyway when I get my RSC2 combo I will do a full test with capturing and stitching and I will post results here. The shop I have bought it from says it is going to be send on 17th of December so it will be some time after that date.
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