I am with Panopeeper on this. I can't say that you won't have SOME decent results without a calibrated setup, but your results will be inconsistent and your keeper rate will be much lower. Sometimes, depending on your photographic method, that is an acceptable tradeoff. For me, I like to know that my technique is going to hold up under all conditions.
Pom, you are showing some superior results, but their compositional elements aren't challenging to stitching software. I too have shot large handheld panoramics that I have sold for $100s. The difference is that when the circumstances become challenging, the calibrated setup will not fail you. If you are knowledgeable enough to recognize when more precision is needed, you can get great results without a calibrated head, like the shots you have shown, but when you get home and enthusiastically start stitching an image for which you have high-hopes only to find substantial parallax error across multiple frames, no amount of cloning and blending will soothe your breaking heart.
Some people shoot from the hip and get great results. Others are more deliberative and precise, and they too get great results. Neither is right or wrong. I guess your approach to stitching depends on the type of photographer you are.
Not again!I'M NOT SHOOTING BLEEDING HANDHELD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Neither have I at any point advocated it! As I've said twice, I use an RRS pano head.
What I am saying is that I've never run into a situation where I have had parralex and I've done a heck of a lot more pano shooting than just these two pics!
I concur with those who say that it is not an issue for modern software and am yet to see an example which would be a problem.
I'm issuing a challenge. I want someone to put up a set of 'challenging' images for stitching that 'need' nodal point rotation but were shot rotating only the ballhead's base. I'll download them, shoot them through my software and we'll see if there is a parallex issue. I'm shooting with close up elements and have never seen a problem. If you can't show that modern software needs nodal point rotation with anything but niche applications then I would suggest that you stop advocating the need for it. I agree that indoor architectural photography may need it
but as a niche application it is far from requiring the need to purchase expensive equipment unless you need it for that specific application.
I use a pano head (sans nodal slide) as it's a fast and easy way of stitching vertical pano's. Not because I couldn't use the ballheads rotating base instead which is the point I've been trying to make.