P5100 on NN3 Lower Rail

28 Sept 2008 – Update. Shooting with only the lower rails at times will give undesireable results. See the Vimeo videos at the end of this article.


This article explains the different ways I found and finally managed to mount the P5100 with a FC-E8 fisheye using a UR-E20 on a NN3 lower rail only. This make the compact pano gear even more mobile, lighter and easier to pack for travelling.

I posted a thread hopefully to gain insight on the UR-E20 being scratch by the NN3’s lower rail knob. A few replies later, I have an idea with the suggestion from Nick (Fan), the inventor of Nodal Ninja products.

From the first article, you have seen how I mounted the P5100 setup on the NN3 lower rail. Here’s the picture to save explaining.

Then, the kind reseller of NN product from Australia posted this image, I seem to be rotating the FC-E8 around the wrong setting for it’s nodal point thus some errors when stitching.

Note the FC-E8 sitting halfway in the bottom rail’s knob? I got to have this settings so I set out trying with what I already have. The idea is to first be able to raise the lens enough to miss the knob thus preventing sctraches. Using the Velbon QRA-6L, it does that beautifully.

but it is due to the distance and length of the Velbon quick release plate, theres no way I can adjust the distance but mounting it sideways will allow a lot of leeway and free distance I can adjust to and from.

Perfect. Did the usual test in my room and it works perfectly. No more nadir editing needed, feed all 5 images (4 images, 90 degrees one shot and one handheld nadir) into PTGui, stitch them and it’s done!


Below, stitching with masking only the NADIR image. Produces multiple view of the NN3 lower rails. Not ideal.

Masking of all images before feeding them into PTGui gives at times good but at times, like the following not too good results.

Seems the best way is to get the Nodal Ninja 180 or other pano heads made for the FC-E8 such as the Agnos MrotatorA (approx SGD$332.00) or the 360 Precision’s P5100 (approx SGD$590.00). Both look very compact and beautifully designed and both comes at quite a high price.

Prices are based on webpage linked, does not include shipping/ taxes/ handling charges.

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