A Lightweight Pole Camera Rig

(c) 2011 Thomas K Sharpless
The SONY NEX-5N camera and SAMYANG 7.5mm MFT lens combine to form a very compact 16 MPixel camera with a full 180 degree vertical field of view and excellent image quality. Parts of a Nodal Ninja 3 panohead, a radio remote control, and a telescoping pole with ball-joint foot complete a very handy panography package.

Click for annotated images.
Test Panorama
Four shots with the rig shown at left (pole supported by tripod; focus taped at hyperfocal point). 1/20 sec f/3.5, ISO 400, 16 MP ARW files. TCA and vignetting corrected in ACR. Auto-stitched with PTGui giving 41.5 MPixel equirectangular. Moderate noise reduction applied in PS CS5. Soft zenith and nadir are evident, but overall image is very clean and crisp.  And this with the lens wide open; it gets even sharper at f/8.

Click for interactive view.
Another test panorama shot outdoors at f/8