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To prevent parallax problems, panographers often use tripods or monopods in conjunction with panoramic heads to place the no-parallax point of the camera at the centre of rotation. A cheaper and more portable alternative is to shoot handheld and use a philopod to keep the camera in position.

Philopods are named after Philippe Hurbain who describes the Philopod technique on his website.

A philopod is basically a piece of string tied around the no-parallax point on the lens, a weight at the other end of the string allows the camera to be positioned over a feature on the ground.

This may not be quite as accurate as a properly calibrated panoramic head, but there are other advantages:

  • Speed of set-up.
  • Portability.
  • No tripod that needs to be painted out of the nadir.
  • Ability to use small variations in pitch angles to capture the entire scene without separate zenith and nadir shots.

This last technique should be a separate tutorial, but the simplest variation is to shoot four portrait fisheye pictures around at 90 degrees apart. If the first and third images are tilted down by 10 degrees or so, they capture the nadir with a good overlap - The second and fourth images can be tilted-up similarly to capture the zenith.