Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 28

Thread: PCL-1 Panning Clamp

  1. #1
    PhotoByTrace's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    North Queensland, Australia
    Posts
    442
    Real Name
    Trace

    PCL-1 Panning Clamp

    The Really Right Stuff PCL-1 Panning Clamp.... looking for advice from those with experience with it... I'm looking to pair it with the medium ball head and an L-plate.

    Do you list it in the
    • "can't live without it" category; or the
    • "makes life much easier, but not really essential" category; or maybe the
    • "gets carted everywhere but only put it on the tripod on the odd occasion I decide to do a pano" category?

    Please feel free to add a category that best captures your experiences with it as I'm sure my list isn't exhaustive.

    Additional questions:
    Is there anything you especially like or dislike about it?
    Is there anything a new user to RRS should be aware of or consider before purchasing?

    And while I'm asking, does anybody have experience with the compact or ultra-light ball-heads (to be coupled with a travel tripod)?

    TIA!

  2. #2
    jeeperman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Seattle Washington
    Posts
    3,550
    Real Name
    Paul

    Re: PCL-1 Panning Clamp

    Wish I could help, but unless shooting video I always pan freehand, and I rarely shoot video. Although I will say if it is something you feel you need Really Right Stuff is great gear.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    17,662
    Real Name
    Have a guess :)

    Re: PCL-1 Panning Clamp

    Hi Trace,

    I use it - to be honest though, I don't recommend it for a couple of reasons ...

    1. It's attached to my RRS BH-55 head - which also has a panning base. The panning base on the BH-55 is far smoother with the ONLY disadvantage is that one must level the tripod first to be able to use it for shooting overlapping panoramas for stitching (and that's not hard to do - especially if you have a level). With the panning clamp attached to the ball head then all you need to do is level the clamp by repositioning the ball, but with practice, it's pretty easy to level a tripod anyway -- and usually there's no rush with panos.

    2. The clamp has a bit of "play" in it between the two pieces that rotate - unless one does up the locking screw REALLY tight (tighter than I can comfortably manage without pliers) - and this play tends to add to a bit of instability. Not a lot, but when it's windy and/or I have a long lens mounted it's just one more problem I don't need.

    One the other hand though, I can't recommend the BH-55 highly enough - many pros use them and they are just the bees knees.

    I've bought a lot of RRS "stuff" over the years and the panning clamp is the one item that I didn't think was up to their usual very high standards.

  4. #4
    PhotoByTrace's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    North Queensland, Australia
    Posts
    442
    Real Name
    Trace

    Re: PCL-1 Panning Clamp

    Thanks guys! Hi Paul, You are echoing what I've been largely hearing; there were three brands I was considering but RRS seems to have the most favourable feedback so have decided to head this direction.

    Hi Colin, that is exactly the kind of real-time user feedback that is invaluable with helping me with this decision... thank you!!! I could definitely see the benefit of the panning clamp, but as my tripod does have a level as well I guess I was questioning whether it would be the best investment; so your feedback helps immensely.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Grafton, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    2,340
    Real Name
    Allan Short

    Re: PCL-1 Panning Clamp

    Trace: I could suggest that ther best value is to get BH-40 LR mid size ball head as it already has the paning head incorropated into the design, combine that with the quick release clamp with their L-bracket for your camera, best band for your buck IMO.
    I myself use the BH-55LR with the L bracket on both my D600 and D7000 and love that I can change from landscape to portrait in seconds knowing my centre of the lens is still lined up on my subject.

    Cheers:

    Allan

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    17,662
    Real Name
    Have a guess :)

    Re: PCL-1 Panning Clamp

    Quote Originally Posted by PhotoByTrace View Post
    Hi Colin, that is exactly the kind of real-time user feedback that is invaluable with helping me with this decision... thank you!!! I could definitely see the benefit of the panning clamp, but as my tripod does have a level as well I guess I was questioning whether it would be the best investment; so your feedback helps immensely.
    No worries Trace

    In reality, what I do (I also have a level in the tripod base) is just set it up roughly to begin with and then just pick up one or two legs until it's level, and then undo the release for the leg(s) and let it/them drop back to the ground what which point the leg(s) is/are re-tightened. Saves continuously adjusting / checking etc.

  7. #7
    PhotoByTrace's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    North Queensland, Australia
    Posts
    442
    Real Name
    Trace

    Re: PCL-1 Panning Clamp

    Thanks Allan, yes that is the combination of pieces I have settled on... probably just with a nodal rail also.
    Those seem like good mechanics for levelling thanks Colin.

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    17,662
    Real Name
    Have a guess :)

    Re: PCL-1 Panning Clamp

    No worries Trace. Just keep in mind though that you really only need the nodal rail if there are objects in the foreground (good to have regardless though) - for shots like this one, it's not needed (shot H/H with a 70-200 lens).

    PCL-1 Panning Clamp

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Grafton, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    2,340
    Real Name
    Allan Short

    Re: PCL-1 Panning Clamp

    Trace: I agree with Colin about the rail, I have one only use it to shoot in churches as the pews are in the forground. The only other time I use it is, I attach it to the clamp on the ball head to make sure the clamp it level in all 360 degs. I would suggest to leave that for another day.

    Cheers:

    Allan

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Dunedin New Zealand
    Posts
    2,697
    Real Name
    J stands for John

    Re: PCL-1 Panning Clamp

    If you have a 'proper' editor such as Paint Shop Pro or the Adobe ones [ E /PS ] you don't need anything for the general shot type pano like Colin's, just your hands and 'time on them'

  11. #11
    PhotoByTrace's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    North Queensland, Australia
    Posts
    442
    Real Name
    Trace

    Re: PCL-1 Panning Clamp

    Thanks guys, I've been asked to do some architectual panos for a new building, interior and exterior, so the rail is primarily for that, but once I "calibrate" it for my lenses and shooting lengths it is likely it will get used. And yes, it will be a bonus that I hadn't really thought about to help with levelling.

    My inbox this morning...
    Really Right Stuff thought I'd like to know that my order has shipped

  12. #12

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    17,662
    Real Name
    Have a guess :)

    Re: PCL-1 Panning Clamp

    Quote Originally Posted by PhotoByTrace View Post
    Thanks guys, I've been asked to do some architectual panos for a new building, interior and exterior, so the rail is primarily for that, but once I "calibrate" it for my lenses and shooting lengths it is likely it will get used. And yes, it will be a bonus that I hadn't really thought about to help with levelling.

    My inbox this morning...
    Really Right Stuff thought I'd like to know that my order has shipped
    Hi Trace,

    Some thoughts that might help ...

    - You'll want to avoid keystoning ... so make sure your sensor is absolutely perpendicular to the ground.

    - The nodal point will be pretty much "on plane" with the front element of the lens.

    - I usually overlap by about 15 to 20% when shooting panos - I usually use an AF mark as a guide.

  13. #13
    PhotoByTrace's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    North Queensland, Australia
    Posts
    442
    Real Name
    Trace

    Re: PCL-1 Panning Clamp

    Hi Colin,
    The point I'm unsure of here...
    - The nodal point will be pretty much "on plane" with the front element of the lens.
    I've read several times statements similar to this, but I have difficulty getting my head around it... and I'm not entirely sure how to use that information. I guess i just don't really understand the physics of lenses.

    I have read about, and played with, finding where the entrance pupil appears to be (bright dot when looking into the lens with rear of camera facing light).... and had thought I'd work with that to give me an approximation of where to start with the camera on the nodal rail then fine tune using the two vertical objects method.

  14. #14

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    17,662
    Real Name
    Have a guess :)

    Re: PCL-1 Panning Clamp

    Quote Originally Posted by PhotoByTrace View Post
    Hi Colin,
    The point I'm unsure of here...

    I've read several times statements similar to this, but I have difficulty getting my head around it... and I'm not entirely sure how to use that information. I guess i just don't really understand the physics of lenses.

    I have read about, and played with, finding where the entrance pupil appears to be (bright dot when looking into the lens with rear of camera facing light).... and had thought I'd work with that to give me an approximation of where to start with the camera on the nodal rail then fine tune using the two vertical objects method.
    Hi Trace,

    You're possibly over-thinking it a bit. Just stick a couple of objects in the ground - one close - the other further away - and watch to see if they change position relative to one another as you pan (you probably know that already). When you find the point where there is no relative movement, you're done. And when you get to that point, you'll probably find that the front element is pretty much over the centre of rotation (ie right over the middle of the ball in the ballhead).

    So working backwards from there - if you start with the front element being over the centre of roation then you'll probably find there's very little fine tuning to be done - if any. It's not anything that requires sub-millimeter accuracy.

    Make sense?

  15. #15
    PhotoByTrace's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    North Queensland, Australia
    Posts
    442
    Real Name
    Trace

    Re: PCL-1 Panning Clamp

    I guess the stupid question is... how do I know where the front element is?? That is what I meant by I don't know what to do with that info LOL

  16. #16

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    17,662
    Real Name
    Have a guess :)

    Re: PCL-1 Panning Clamp

    Quote Originally Posted by PhotoByTrace View Post
    I guess the stupid question is... how do I know where the front element is?? That is what I meant by I don't know what to do with that info LOL
    Look into the front of the lens whilst bringing it closer and closer to your face. The front element is the bit your nose hits first (AKA "the minimum photo viewing distance for photographers", but I digress!).

  17. #17

    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Norfolk, UK
    Posts
    396
    Real Name
    Yes

    Re: PCL-1 Panning Clamp

    I use some of the sliding plates made by manfrotto to get the back and side displacement for the nodal point, together with the L quick release clamp. Gives a very solid base to work from. Incidently in UK at least you can but for about£5 a spirit level which clamps round the vertical column of a tripod, very handy for levelling.

  18. #18
    PhotoByTrace's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    North Queensland, Australia
    Posts
    442
    Real Name
    Trace

    Re: PCL-1 Panning Clamp

    I got a parcel! PCL-1 Panning Clamp

    Which has led to a thorough cleaning of my tripod and it is now in about 100 pieces. That's all still drying out so haven't got to try out the new head yet, but Colin you were certainly right about the quality of the machining. Very nice pieces... impressed just with the feel and finish. Of course the proof of the pudding is in the eating...

    Then comes playing with the nodal rail starting at the front element found via the much touted minimum viewing distance method

  19. #19
    Andrew76's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    1,300
    Real Name
    Andrew

    Re: PCL-1 Panning Clamp

    Hi Trace, that's great news! Can you please let us know how you make out? I've been on the fence with one of these for a while now too. Just not sure it's what I want.

    Thanks!

  20. #20
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Windsor, Berks, UK
    Posts
    16,057
    Real Name
    Dave Humphries :)

    Re: PCL-1 Panning Clamp

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    So working backwards from there - if you start with the front element being over the centre of roation then you'll probably find there's very little fine tuning to be done - if any. It's not anything that requires sub-millimeter accuracy.
    With camera mounted horizontally; I was going to suggest holding a pencil vertically resting on the front of the lens/filter (temporarily without a lens hood fitted) and where it points (downward), will be the centre of rotation - or the first place to try, and fine tune from there.

    Cheers,

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •