Jasper Engineering: Photo Tools



Pano Head 2PANO HEAD 3

The Pano Head 3 is an upscale design of the Original Pano Head introduced in 1985.

The Pano Head 3 was designed for use with "Standard" SLRs, Point & Shoot, and Regular Sized Digital's for VR and Stitch programs etc., using standard sized and large tripods. However, the Pano Head 3 is solidly built and using Larger SLRs with motor mounts and Heavy Digital's can be done effectively, into the 4 to 5 Lb. range. Since camera systems can vary, we can't be more specific as to the compatability with your equipment, you are the best judge of that. We can't speak to any camera or equipment specifically, simply because there are "tons" of this equipment on the market and the designs are changing daily. I'm not a dealer, so I don't have hands on experience with all of the photo equipment that's available today.

The Pano Head 3 has been designed to fit most cameras, including Digital for VR and Stitch Programs and is easy to use. When you put out "bucks" for a Photo Tool it should be versatile, especially for use with new cameras you may buy in the future or perhaps you may want to lend it to a friend or colleague. The following is a description of the Pano Head 3.


The Pano Head 3 is 70 mm (2.75 in.) in diameter at the Base Block, the Sweep Bar is 51 mm (2 in.) wide and is 267 mm (10.5 in.) long and weighs 0.9 kg (2 Lbs.) with the Vertical and Horizontal Bracket attached.


Vertical or Portrait Mode Camera Mounting

The Pano Head 3 allows you to mount your camera in the Horizontal (scenic) or Vertical (portrait) position.

The Vertical Bracket Mounting Bracket attaches to the Sliding Block and has a “left-right” maximum adjustment of 114 mm (4.50 in.) from the Vertical Mounting Bar to the centerline of the Pano Head with a minimum adjustment of 38 MmmM (1.50 in.)

The Camera Mounting Knob, on the Vertical Bar has three, camera screw mounting, positions to choose from, one inch apart, at 3 , 4 & 5 inches up from the base of the Pano Head.



Pano Head 2The Horizontal Mounting Tilt Bar attaches to the Vertical Bar and can be rotated to tilt your camera up or down. You always have to pan level, but you can tilt your camera up or down for horizon adjustment. The Camera Mounting Screw 1/4-20 TPI, on the Horizontal Mounting Bar has a “left-right” shift of 76 mm (3 in.) or 38 mm (1.5 in.) each side of center of the Bar, to accomodate cameras whose threaded mounting hole is not in line with the centerline of the lens.



The Pano Head 3 comes with a 24 Detent Base Block

A series of color coded detents, are on the Pano Head Base Block for quick and easy spacing. The movement is “taught” and positioning between the detents is possible.

They are as follows:

White Dot Zero 0 Degrees
Silver Dot at 12th Space 180 Degrees
Green Dots 8 Spaces 45 Degrees Each
Red Dots 6 Spaces 60 Degrees Each
Yellow Dots 24 Spaces 15 Degrees Each
(plus all other colors)

Base Blocks with a variety of detent positions are now available upon request. The standard is 24 detents. This number has been chosen because it is most evenly divided by most small numbers, to give a variety of spacings. They are color coded as stated above.

The Base Block is threaded, on center, 3/8-16 TPI for tripod mounting and using a Brass Insert can then be converted to the “standard” 1/4-20 TPI for tripod mounting. Insert included.

Base Blocks are interchangeable, by removing two screws and switching them. Special Base Blocks with custom Detent Spacing is available if the 24 Detent Spacing doesn't suite your needs and are available, upon request, for those that need that feature.



A Bubble Level is on the Sweep Bar for easy leveling. After attaching the Pano Head to your tripod, level it up, the best that you can, front to back and left to right. You don't have to “split hairs” with the leveling. The leveling just keeps your “pan series” of photos from drifting “uphill” or “downhill”.



The Sliding Block which slides along the Sweep Bar and allows you to pivot your camera over the Rear Focal Node of the lens that you are using and adjusts from

5 mm to 160 mm. so that the “Film Plane”, for all practical purposes this is the same as the back of your camera, is over the point on the MM Scale that corresponds to the focal length of the lens that you're using.

Example: If your using an 85 mm lens, than the back of your camera should be placed on or about the 85 MM point on the white scale. You don't have to “split hairs” with positioning, just get it close by looking at it.

For Digitals and cameras with extended lenses and whose “rear focal node” is in a

place that doesn't correspond to the lens focal length, I suggest you get this position for the focal node from the camera manufacturer or research it on the Internet, such as on the website Panoguide.Com.



The following technique, known as the “Broom Handle or Lamp Post Technique”, has been used successfully by some people for finding the correct Focal Node pivot point.

Place the tripod with the Pano Head 3 attached and the camera mounted on the Pano Head, in the center of a room, use the wall and its prominent features as a reference background. Put a “broom handle”, upright, out two feet in front of the lens. Pan the camera left and right, while observing the relationship of the background to the broom handle, continue to adjust the camera, along the Sweep Bar, forward and backward while panning until the broom handle appears to be stationary against the background.



The Pano Head 3 is basically designed to do single row 360 degree panoramas. There is no attachment to "specifically" do multiple row, Spherical Panoramas, available at this time.

However, multiple row panoramas have been done with the Pano Head 3 using other techniques such as those described below.


  • Full 360° Panoramic Photography
  • Color Coded Detent Stops
  • Focal Node adjustment from 5 mm to 160 mm
  • Camera mounts Horizontally or Vertically
  • Tilt Bar allows you to adjust to the horizon
  • Horizontal Tilt Bar is engraved every 15 degrees or plus 45 degrees and minus 45 degrees from horizontal
  • Bulls Eye Bubble Level
  • Solid 6061 Aluminum Construction
  • Black Anodized Finish with recessed scale
  • Instructions included
  • Made in the USA
    $229.00(plus S&H ans applicable sales tax)

Splicing Instructions
Allow at least ¼ inch, or more, overlap on each picture during the taking of the panorama scene. After processing, overlap the photos and align by eye as close as possible, paying attention to the central area. Using Scotch Transparent Tape, place a small piece at the top and the bottom and a long piece along the front and back . Using a scale or rule measure the overlap at the top and put a mark on the tape ½ the amount of the overlap. Repeat for the bottom overlap. Using a paper cutter or straight edge & sharp knife, cut through both pictures at the marked points. Remove the tape and place photos together.

As an uphill or downhill panorama will have a tendency to arc, the overlap points on the photos will be lesser at the top on down panos and lesser at the bottom on an uphill pano. Be sure there is enough overlap to allow for this condition.

Before mounting your photos after splicing, you may want to color the matching edges using "Pentel Color Pens" which will reduce the noticeability of the spliced edge.

Jasper Engineering Jasper Engineering
Tim Chervenak
1240 A Pear Avenue
Mountain View, CA 94043
Phone +1 (650) 967-1578
E-Mail: Jasper31@att.net

Member of the National Stereoscopic Association and the Photographic Society of America

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Last modified on May 10, 2010

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