A panoramic head allows perfect rotation around the entrance-pupil of the lens. This keeps objects in the same position relative to each other, making stitching much easier. These heads are either made for a particular combination of camera and lens or have rails to be adjusted by the user. User-adjustments must be made to precise settings which depend on the lens.
Since panoramic heads are heavy, bulky and generally expensive, the second best choice is to use a ball-head with independent pan movement. Having a level above the rotation point ensures the camera can stay level while rotating. All ball-heads selected here have a level on the quick-release mechanism, allowing the head to be leveled before attaching the camera.
Multi-Row panoramic head for nearly all cameras and lens combinations. Nodal position must be set manually with etched markings as guide. Includes high-precision rotator base. Quite heavy and bulky.
Single-row panoramic head for landscape and portrait orientation shooting. Includes high-precision rotator. Still heavy and bulky.
Light-weight ball-head with friction control. Large RC4 Quick-Release has dual-levels, provides a large contact surface and very quick to disengage. Holds up to 8kg and weighs only 0.7kg.
Smaller and lighter than Midi Ballhead, this one holds 10kg and uses Q2 Quick-Release plate with dual-levels on the base. Q2 is less cumbersome to keep attached to the camera but less efficient than RC4.
Heavy duty ball-head holds up to 15kg while weighing at 1.4kg. Uses efficient RC4 Quick-Release with dual-levels and large contact area.
Hydrostatic ball-head minimizes drift while tightening. This one holds up to 15kg while weighing only 0.73kg. Expensive but very precise.
All you really need is a capable digital camera and stitching software. There is plenty of photography gear that can greatly help make a panorama, with a tripod being most beneficial.
Check items below for recommended gear to make capturing panoramic photos much more enjoyable:
High quality panoramas are assembled by specialized image stitching software like the ones reviewed here. Stitching a panorama photo is very complex so the panorama software can make a huge difference.