Overlapping images for single-row panoramas are typically shot from left to right in a single row, keeping the camera perfectly level while panning. Keeping the camera level helps maintain alignment of vertical and horizontal objects during stitching. For ballhead users, that means leveling in two places: the tripod legs and the clamp. When you level the tripod legs, you're ensuring that the built-in panning base of your ballhead remains level throughout the pan. And when you then level out your quick-release clamp, you ensure that your camera remains parallel to the panning axis throughout the pan.
Nikon D200 with 50mm/f1.4 lens. Camera fitted with BMBD200-L plate; mounted on MPR-CL nodal slide & PCL-1 panning clamp. Note how nodal slide has been used to shift camera backwards so that optical center of lens can sit atop the axis of rotation (in this case, the center of the panning clamp).
The Easiest Solution: RRS Panning Clamps
Instead of fussing with your tripod legs, simplify your life and buy either of our patented panning clamps featuring an Arca-Swiss style clamp with spirit level + precision panning base and dovetailed mount. With this clamp mounted on your ballhead, the leveling process becomes a quick 10 second task. Just loosen the ball and adjust the clamp until its spirit level indicates the clamp is level; lock the ball into position. No need for bulky leveling bases or panorama-specific heads. Leveling is now quick and painless.
Our panning clamps can be installed on any ballhead. Spin it on any industry standard ¼"-20 or 3/8"-16 threaded stud ( ¼"-20 stud requires a bushing). Or if your head has a female threaded socket, install our panning clamps with a 1-inch long cap-head screw (included). Of course, our panning clamps work great with any Really Right Stuff ballhead! At right is our BH-55 ballhead with the PCL-Pro panning clamp installed.
PCL-Pro in Action
When you use a Really Right Stuff panning clamp, your tripod legs don't need to be level. Just level the panning clamp! Image below shows PCL-Pro mounted on a BH-55 LR ballhead.
Panning Clamp Key Features
Integral dovetail base fits all Arca-Swiss/Really Right Stuff-style clamps.
Precision panning base laser-engraved at 2.5° increments from 0° to 360°; no click stops.
RRS quick-release clamp (screw-knob or lever release).
Unique drum & perimeter band brake design for positive pan locking.
Built-in circular level.
Comes in its own protective neoprene pouch (our OpTech-Small).
Mount your Panning Clamp Part-Time
If you already own a Really Right Stuff-style clamp, then you can mount your RRS panning clamp part-time by using the built in dovetail. This allows you to drop either of our panning clamps into your existing clamp for only those times when you want to shoot panos. Very convenient! And when you're done shooting, just slip the panning clamp back into its custom neoprene pouch and drop it in your camera bag.