Ever since Bill Bailey sponsored our Google Summer of Code team with Nodal Ninja panoramic heads, I’ve been using it for higher resolution partial panoramas.
The guy in red with the white beard brought me a Sigma 15mm Fisheye lens. And the guy in blue with the black beard had to calibrate it right away. And at the same time describe this ingenious method he first saw from John Houghton. This works only for dSLRs. All you’ll need is a second camera and a source of bright light.
Assemble the Nodal Ninja with the lens to be calibrated and position it with the source of light in the back.
Position your second camera so that it can see the center of the lens.
Calibrate the horizontal position (left/right relative to the rotator in the horizontal plane) by moving the camera between two symmetric positions and checking that the entrance pupil disc is in the same place at the two positions. The symmetric positions are simply 180° apart by turning on both the horizontal and vertical rotators.
Once the horizontal position is calibrated, calibrate the depth of the camera on the upper arm. Again, the principle is the same: take two pictures of the panoramic head in two different positions and compare the positions of the entrance pupil disc.
For fisheye lenses the yaw difference between the two pictures must be the stepping used during shooting because the entrance pupil moves with changes of the light’s angle of entry. So if you shoot six around at 60°, turn the panoramic head to -30° and to +30° relative to the second camera. Shoot and compare the two pictures.
Music courtesy of Quantum Jazz, licensed CC-BY-SA.