I studied Software Systems Engineering at the Hasse Plattner Institute in Potsdam, Germany. I'm just about to finish the masters degree in Australia where I discovered this beautiful kind of photography. What's better suited for panoramas than red sand, rain forests or vast landscapes...
A Olympus Camedia 4040z with nothing else, no special lenses. I use a very old Manfrotto tripod and level it by adjusting the length of the legs. Yes, I know, that prehistoric but it works. I built a panohead similar to the one from Mike Runge (see panoramic heads).
Some of my panoramas can be viewed at . I'm sorry that it's German but the essential parts should be easy to get.