For a shoot last year that was cancelled, we got the Nodal Ninja (NN) Travel Poles to prep for it.
Small and Light
Match with a small tripod like and a Upper Pole cap to convert it to a monopod, you only need to bring the upper pole, your ball head and your choice of pano head. I match it with my R1, ballhead camera and lens.
The upper and lower pole is 50cm each.
The lower pole will require the top cap that is an accessory you have to add on to the travel pole purchase.
And yes, you are actually mounting the upper pole section upside down, the original female mounting hole with the 9mm screw that was for the ball head is removed and inserted into the short tripod legs.
If you have the optional bubble mounted for use with both poles, it will now be upside down/ useless. You will also have to remove the 9mm (3/8 inch) male screw to mount this end to the mini tripod. The male screw need to be removed with a allen key. It is provided by Nodal Ninja. Those with muscle memory of using the both poles most of the time will have to be careful that now the knobs turn the other way to extend and retract. Don’t drop your gears.
Upper pole with monopod cap is about 625grams. Our mini tripod is 650grams. The lower pole on it’s own is 443grams.
In this config, the screw on the cap that’s on the lower pole reached 1.7 meters. No, I will not convert it to inches or feet here. Get on the metric system already!
Could be smaller
You can see the poles are taller than the Think Tank Photo Helipak. It has to be stored diagonally in the bag to fit. They could perhaps be broken down further into 3 parts to further reduce the storing length. This however, may reduce the overall strength on the maximum loads.
Dual Pole Configuration
It is much more stable when both poles are used together. It’s more rigid thus less vibration. There is still vibration, keeping some fingers on the pole when in use with the Mecha seemed ok even with 3 shots bracketed.
The best part – Panorama at Height
This is one of the reasons that I got the pole. To do panorama at height. It will be good to have the 10 meters (Nodal Ninja have a 10 meters version) pole but the project fell through so 3 meters travel pole for now. It’s for places where a drone is too high to get the shots we need, indoors at height, no fly zones etc.
When at height, you will need to be able to find a way to trigger your camera.
No Mecha, No Problem
You do not need to have a NN Mecha to use the travel pole. It’s convenient for sure but if you already have NN Rotators, you can easily install the rotator, upside down on the lower pole, add the foot pad and you’re golden for manual panorama.
However, if you planning to do a high number of panorama for a location, the NN Mecha is actually a time saver that allowed me to do more with lesser effort. It may feel like it’s taking longer since it it is automated but I have done over 150 panoramas of a property manually and had abrasion “burns” on my palms after the shoot as I was not allowed to move around the property with the tripod extended. Moving the NN3 manually also took effort. It may not seem much doing 1-3 shots per room but when there is so many rooms, it adds up quickly. There was a lot of packing and unpacking from rooms to rooms to take the shots.
GPS info is useful, for street view, for photos to have GPS info, I simply use a clamp that fits nicely at the bottom of the mini tripod. I used to hold the phone in my bag or on myself, at times i need to move away and it’s just simply a little out. This allow the photos to record as close to the camera as possible.
The Primary reason to be using the travel pole should be for a smaller nadir and be able to get to height. The system is well though out but we hope
Shorter when kept, maybe a 3 section version so a normal sized, any camera bag will be able to hold it.
Tool-less conversion when going from single pole to dual pole setup.
Tool-less conversion when changing configuration to use manually when using foot pedal in the event for whatever reason, the Mecha fails.
All panorama in this Tour is done with only the Travel Pole.