Gigapan Mount
How to mount a D200 to the Gigapan unit.

OK, here is the scoop. The modifications only work with certain lens combinations and sometimes only to a certain degree of tilt. You need to minimize the torque on the elevation gearbox/servo or the servo will not hold.

I have good luck with the following as far as not causing slipping 10.5mm, Sigma 15mm, Sigma 60mm macro, Nikon 105mm macro with the lens not extended out for macro focus, and 500mm Samyang mirror lens. You have to find the sweet spot for balance when mounting all of these combinations. For the wide angle lenses, the camera is NOT moving about its lens nodal point so there WILL be stitching errors on close objects. The camera really needs to sit back a few inches to put the center or rotation in the sweet spot, but the servo will never be able to hold that torque. This has not bothered me so far as I have just been taking photos of distant objects.

I am using a $3 L bracket from True Value is all (really!), plus a remote IR setup for the D200, some nuts and bolts.

I mount the IR transmitter to the camera mount tray and let the button pusher push the transmitter. Sometimes I mount the reciever onto the tray or sometimes just leave it atop the camera. The transmitter just hangs from its power cord and strap (need to mount it somewhere but I like it hanging as it minimizes any vibrations.

When I use the 500mm lens I need to use mirror lock up and the Gigapan Unit can not do the double shutter push, so I just do the shutter releases manually (its an option under expert gigapan options on the units menu). You have to push 'next' on each frame on the gigapan unit.

To mount the L bracket I took out one of the four black screws on the elevator gear (the one next to where the thumb screw for the camera bracket) and using a longer screw mounted the L bracket here, and used the thumb screw next to it for additional support.

As I said, some lens combinations will overwhelm the servos holding power. It will slip. This is not hurting the Gigapan unit or its gears, its the servos electromagnets that are not able to hold so there is no damage being done to the gigapan unit (it will sound scary though, but its just like moving the unit when it is powered up). When the Gigapan powers down be careful that your camera does not crash into the unit as there will be no holding torque when its off.

I have also mounted a Glass Sigma 500mm lens to the unit, mounting the L bracket firmly to the Unit so no elevation rotation is possible and doing the elevation rotation by hand on the lens-Lbracket interface with a thumb screw holding the lens to the L bracket. Really need to minimize vibration with this heavy lens setup so mirror lock up is mandatory, strong tripod, etc. Its a heavy lens. I use the gigapan unit then just for horizontal movement of the lens (1.8 degrees field of view set on gigapan setup) and I have the lens rotated in its bracket so that the photo sequence will work with the gigapan stitcher (which is expecting top left down and accross to bottom right, so I rotate the camera90 degrees to the left and start with the bottom left, each row moving up to finish at top right, then the stitcher has no problems putting it all together like always).

Check out my gigapans at gigapan.bigbig.com

Good luck

Jason
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