DIY Pano-Head / Vertical Mount for Digital Camera


Introduction: DIY Pano-Head / Vertical Mount for Digital Camera

The purpose of this instructable is to illustrate an idea of the cheapest panoramic tripod head / vertical camera mount that works for a small P&S camera and could be easily make at home without a lot of time and tools invested.

The dimensions of this example are geared towards my Canon S3 IS digital camera with the nodal point being "relatively" close. So, please understand adjustments will be needed for your particular camera in order to clear the tilling and setting on the nodal point more accurately.

*** I strongly suggest anyone to research about the working of a pano-head and the nodal point of your camera before making one of your own. There are lots of info on the web regarding these topics and examples of more complex pano-head, which would be more professional looking, as well as giving more accurate panoramic shots. ***

Anyway, for my version, the set up should be pretty self-explanatory and below is a list of material.

1) Metal corner brace (4"x4"x1" in this case)
2) Circular (bullseye) spirit level (optional)
3) 1/4" dia. bolt (3" long in this example)
4) 1/4" wing nut (x2)
5) Washer (optional)

I just used the pre-drilled holes on the metal brace, which worked good enough for me. However, I did had to do some minor filing of the hole, before they are large enough for the threads of the ¼” bolt.

Please note the spirit level is used since my tripod doesn't come with any level and I just like the look of the bullseye. The level is the most expensive part at ~$3 and you may find something smaller and cheaper.

The total cost will vary, especially if you already have some of the material handy. Mine cost ~$5 in total which is about all I wanted to spend for now.

*Important tips on taking panoramic shots:

1) Use manual mode and make sure setting is consistent between shots. You will thank me later.
2) Takes lots and lots of shots (sky, ground & sideway) so you have enough coverage of the scenery you want. You don't want to find out later that you'll need "more" to complete a panorama photo. (See my pano sample with not quite enough shots).



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    oh goodness haha thats scary. id be afraid to put my slr on that thing!

    3 replies

    Well I was scared a bit too, so I built mine super strong.

    I didn't follow this instructable, I just used some info, my head and some guesstimating.

    Now I tested it fully - the monster is amazingly strong. However, mine's made of thick wood and solid 5/16 bolts. Mine also has another slider so you can use different lenses without building a new one each time.

    I tested my head by trying to make a shitty panorama in the worst condition. Well... I succeeded! I used Hugin (Mac OS X) with LOTS of tweaking and time spent involved.

    Check the linked image for the crappy 28MP version.

    Man, DIY IS SO NICE.

    Also thanks to, known here as stefan63, for his great pano head DIY and many many other ideas...

    (sry! image didn't work first time!)


    I used a piece of 1/2" thick Plexiglas by 1.5" x 6" to not only support the base of the camera but also keep the screw in a parallel plane with reference to the horizontal side of the "L" bracket. I then place the the Plexiglas on the horizontal top part of the "L" bracket with 1.5" side facing the vertical side of the "L" bracket, then marked the location of the hole needed for the screw to pass and drilled the hole. Then screwed on a wing nut onto the screw, next place the Plexiglas piece onto the screw, screwed the screw into camera, slid the Plexiglas up against the base of the camera, then tighten down the wing nut. Now everything is supported and is at a right angle to each other. Wished I could send a picture of my rendition. Hope this solves all your questions addressing the support of ones SLRs, it has mine.

    What is the number of shots your particular camera takes as it pivots around from a 0 degree (starting point) to the final 360 degree (stopping point)? Like a 24mm lens requires 12 steps to make a full circle, but by contrast, a 28mm lens requires 16 images to do the same.

    Brilliant concept. It can be improved by putting another piece of metal against the camera that runs done to the base to maintain 90 degree vertical. Put a wingnut on the main bolt to maintain the camera angle and hold the metal tight. Turn the ballhead over so the turntable is up, in that way, the camera can be rotated to take the panorama or VR even if the tripod is cockeyed. This requires a 1/4-inch "coupler" from Home Depot to attach the ballhead to the tripod. If you mount the level as shown, it will drive you nuts trying to balance the rig. I put the level on the ballhead, then attach the panohead after ball-head is level.


    I think it' not as strong as needed, 90° square angle couldn't be maintained correctly.

    2 replies

    The composite shot looks like it worked well... In any case, this is a proof of concept - you can get a respectable result without paying US$100+ for a commercial version (just results from a froogle search).

    i agree with kzar. Pano heads require much precision or will lead to parallax problems

    I like the simplicity of this design. I also made a homemade mount for my mavica and have done many pano's. This design seems easier to adjust than mine. Mine had the same problem..mantaining the 90' angle...maybe doubling the bracket would help. Keeping the camera at 90 is important to get a really good pano without loosing alot of the picture to cropping.