I like things that multi task. Hence a Manfrotto geared 410 head on top of a leveling base with geared focus rail sometime attached. Great for macros and closeup of flowers with or without the rail. I usually level the base because then if I pan a little to the sides it keeps the vertical composition in place. Very easy and precise positioning.
Now for panos I use the same setup. Level the base then the camera (bubble level on camera). Since most of my panos are without close foreground objects, I don't usually use the rail. If I have close up objects I use the rail for which I have a list of settings in my notebook for my most used lenses so I can set the correct nodal point. Use an L bracket for verticals I use a Panasonic G1 with articulated screen so I can look down to the LCD, don't have to have the camera at eyelevel. I do a check to see how much I have to turn the the knob for a pan to get an approximately 1/3 overlap. When ready to shoot I have my remote on my left hand, eye on the LCD, and right hand on the panning knob. Expose, check LCD quickly, and turn knob required number of times. Then repeat until done. I can get a set of exposures off in under 5 seconds which minimizes cloud movement.
Of course this is not for everyone. But for my subjects it works well. I don't shoot action so don't have to follow a subject - geared not good for this. I shoot longer lenses. I shoot static subjects with precise framing - geared is good. Don't do multi-row, would have to add a bracket for this. Almost never have problems with stitching using CS5. Draw backs, heavy but I don't stray far from the car with this. Have a much lighter setup for when required - shift adapter for m4/3 which shifts the body, lens stationary (use mostly old, quality manual lenses). Use with any tripod and head. Gives 3:1 with horizontal camera and 2:1 with vertical. Enough for most of what I want to do. Only good with lenses 40mm and up (80mm ff), shorter lenses vignette and color shift at the sides.
Might mention that this is sort of modular, mix and match. Everything snaps together quickly with rapid clamps, no screwing around. It all goes together with the same alignment each time so I am assured of results.