At last, something to rival the Nodal Ninja 3?
The Made in Czech Republic, Bushman range of panorama equipment are beautiful machines. They are great to hold and use. We’ve been using it for the past month and here’s our thoughts.
It’s been a long time since we got the Canon EF 8-15mm and unable to choose between manual and auto focus when we are using the Nodal Ninja R1 has really been a sore thought. Some have also commented that what for? Again, we’ll keep this short. We just want to be able to shoot panos and be able to switch to maybe portrait shots using auto focus without having to change lens. That’s the reason some of us spend good money on the 8-15mm in the first place. We want to be able to do that without using the Nodal Ninja 3 MK2. We simply want to use the R1.
Today, a smaller version of such a pano head, the Gobi is making it possible.
It is a “traditional” kind of pano head with upper rails, lower rails. Unlike the R10 which is more of a lens-fixed panorama head similar to the 360 Precision’s Atome.
The Gobi has a unique “rotation ability” as their Kalahari pano head is capable of too. If you have the Nodal Ninja, it combines the Nodal Ninja 3MK2 with the NADIR adaptor into a single package. The below image illustrate this well.
Image: Bushman Panoramic
Upon assembly, the Bushman do not allow additional of our trusty Velbon quick release plates. It’s size will fit cameras like the 5D MK3 fitted with a EF 8-15mm just nicely. Any addition in height to the upper rails will offset all settings to the nodal point (see below).
That got us a little excited too. We wanna fit it with a Olympus OM-D EM5 and a 8mm or the 7-14mm but that’ll be for another article. The weight of the 5DMK3 with a 8-15mm lens could be a little too much for the Gobi. They work but due to the weight, the setup could slide off parallel to the upper rails. Tightening the adaptor to the base of the camera can only be done that much. Any over tightening is of course not recommended. It’s cheaper to replace this adaptor than well… the camera.
by the way, did we mention, it matches our red Markins?!
Number One on our list is, we love the color! The machining and finishing is tip top.
At times, it’s something of a love hate relationship using the Gobi. We love the size, the weight, the look, finishing and it’s great to hold. But when we need to be fast in working our pano, need minor adjustment, the knobs could be a tad hard to loosen and when it does loosen, it moves around too much and getting it back to the mark can be challenging. This could change after some use.
The bubble level could be bigger to allow us to level it parallel to the ground.
The indent for each degrees could be “deeper”. While we ordered the default ring indent for an indent stop every 30 degrees, turning the setup for 6 shots means we have to skip one indent. The feeling could be too little to be felt making us check. That will waste a few seconds and a few seconds is all we need if there’s an interesting pano scene you need to freeze.
We really thought we might have found a rival to the Nodal Ninja setup we use primarily. The NN3 MK2 and the R1 but these work horses are just not replaceable with the Gobi just yet. However, we look forward to any new literation of the Gobi or their other flagship, the Kalahari.
– Bigger knobs, which may help the functionality of the Gobi. It’s quite a pain (to the fingers), literally, if we need to adjust it in any way.
– Bigger bubble level
– “Deeper” indent to make “feeling” them easier
The Panos at Gardens by the Bay, Singapore.
Pano 1 – 15 degrees up, 6 shots around.
Pano 2 – 30 degrees up, 6 shots around. Bigger nadir. 15 degrees up allows better results. We didn’t make use much for the nadir.
Gobi – bushman-panoramic.com/panoramic-heads/gobi.php
Kalahari – bushman-panoramic.com/panoramic-heads/kalahari.php
Nodal Ninja R1 – shop.nodalninja.com/ultimate-r1-adjustable-tilt-ring-mount-rotator-mini-package-f6161/