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DIY Multi Row Nodal Point Spherical Panorama Head

Need to shoot a 360 HDR Spherical Panorama but don't feel like spending $500 on a special Pano Head. You can make one yourself for a small fraction of that cost.

Fusion 360 Model can be found here

This example Rig will enable you to compensate for the Nodal point of your lens so you can easily shoot seamless 360 Panoramics and have close and far objects all align properly.

It allows 45 degrees of up and down vertical rotation in addition to the 360 provided horizontally by your tripod head.

Goal is to have your lens rotating around its Nodal point (paralax point) in all directions (vertical and horizontal) .The middle of the lens will need to align to the rotation point of your tripod head. and also need to align around the horizontal support arm. There is a plastic hand knob to adjust tension and change vertical angle.

Each hand knob screws onto a Carriage bolt. (square hole will need to be cut to prevent rotation, easily done with dremel tool or File.)

This is not a how-to with step by step instructions. Use this more as inspiration to make your own. You will need to customize it to suit your camera and lens and tripod.

 This Head was custom made to work with a Canon 5D Mark III DSLR (without Grip) and a Canon 17-40 EF F4 L Lens set to a 17mm Focal Length.

Tripod Head shown is a Manfrotto 410 Geared head, This head has a build in rotator and lets me level it which is very handy. you may need to purchase a rotator attachment for your tripod to get the same functionality

The DIY Multi Row Nodal Point Spherical Panorama Head can be made using these parts

Openbuilds 20x80 Vslot (1x 500mm piece)

Openbuilds 20x40 Vslot (1x 250mm piece)

Hidden Inside Corner Braces or Makerlink 90 Brackets (8x)

1/4-20 Screw for Tripod Plate - (x1 aprox 1.5" - Home Depot)

1/4-20 Screw for Camera Moutning - (x1 aprox 1" - Home Depot)

3/8-16 Carriage Bold x 2"

1/4- 20 Hand Knob (x1) - Home Depot

3/8-16 Hand Knob (x1) - Home Depot

 Information you need

Entrance Pupil distance for the Camera and Nodal Point (Paralax) distance for your lens- Click here for reference page

Field of view of your camera when in a portrait orientation can be found here

Panoramic Lens Database

Other useful links

Panorama Calculator

PTGui Pano Software


Fusion 360 Model can be found here


 Enjoy :)