... It's probably the "excellent" in your earlier post that triggered Slobodan's response...
Indeed. Tripod heads are neither "excellent" nor even "leveling" devices (unless they have a bubble level built-in). And even if they have a bubble level, they are leveling devices only for a single shot, not leveling devices for panoramas.
Can you get away without a special tripod-head leveling device? Of course you can. Can you get away without a special pano head? Of course you can (I do). Can you get away without even a tripod? Of course you can (I do, on occasion). But I do not proclaim pano heads or tripods "redundant" or my hands as "excellent leveling devices".
And Ellis, given your list of equipment, you ARE using a separate leveling device, except you put it on top of your tripod head, instead of under it (I am referring to PCL-1 Panning Clamp). Granted, it serves double purpose (i.e., leveling and panning), but is also three times more expensive than a standard head leveler.
Pulling your pro rank on me is not going to change the facts or the laws of geometry. I am not a pro (though I do have things published and paid for), but I did enough panos with and without a leveling device to know the difference.
The OP asked for help for a very specific problem (pano "tiling") which happens to have a very specific cause: tripod not leveled well enough. There are at least three ways to deal with it:
- the one I suggested (i.e., head leveler, under
- the one you use (i.e., leveling device above
- the third would be a manual leveling of the tripod
So lets see under which conditions no leveling or some manual leveling might work:
- if you are shooting from an already level ground, say a street (like it seems to be the case in your urban panoramas)
- if your tripod legs are all extended to a perfectly equal length
- if your tripod legs are all extended with the same angle (relative to the central column)
- you do not mind losing pixels at the top and bottom of the pano (in order to crop out the "tiling")
If either of the first three above is not perfect, you will need some form of leveling device (or you can continue to fiddle manually with leg extension and angle). Can you get away with none of the above? Sure you can. The price you will pay, however, would be pano "tiling".
I happen to be shooting landscape panoramas, from almost never leveled grounds, and I find a head leveler rather handy.
P.S. By the way, Ellis, I do respect your pro status and I actually enjoyed your photography, some even very much.
P.P.S. For those interested, Michael Reichmann has a short article
, which among other things, explains why a leveler.