MG Panohead

Those who used to watch "Monster Garage" on Discovery Channel shall immediately understand the subject. The original hardware (it was always a motor car in the case of the TV series) was modified and its resulting usage was completely diverted during only a week span and on a very low budget by a team that was specially hired for the weekly endeavour.

The object was also supposed to perform even better than its "normal" counterpart against which it was opposed in a final competition. It won most of the times. Weareability is not garanteed however. Hence a spectacular conclusion for a single occasion of use by Jesse James, the hero.

The TV show aired the series finale on June 12, 2006. Jesse G. James, the host of the show, did not participate. (French) TV channel AB Moteurs still runs the old episodes as the time of writing though.

I had decided to get some tools from my workshop and transmuted them into a spherical panorama head...

Please note that like Jesse James, I do not intend to really use the result later on in the field. I have just enjoyed making it. In a very short time and a very low budget!

Two hi-quality socket wrenches were assembled to make this strange looking photo equipment

Click on image to enlarge

The "vertical" wrench is actually slightly canted in a way to make possible a correct alignement of the nodal point.

Pitch position can be clicked in 72 steps. Hence horizontal rows of photos can be taken at 5° intervals of inclination. Both up an down motions are possible by simply reversing the detent system.

Similarily, Yaw rotation can be registered in 36 steps then allowing 10° intervals (clockwise only).

Distances of camera-body to yaw axis and camera-body to pitch axis are adjustable in order to fit with most cameras and lens with correct nodal point alignment.


Click on image to enlarge

A: 19mm standard Socket Wrench

B: Universal Socket Wrench 1/2" square

C: Arm (pitch) made from 9mm thick PVC

D: 4 parts Assy made from 9mm thick PVC + Screws + Nuts + Aluminum Shim

E: Threaded rod 20mm Dia. drilled and tapped 3/8" + (2 x) 20mm Nuts + 2 Washers hand made from steel wire

F: Camera Adapter (previously home made for a somewhat more classical panohead)


Another view of the MG Panohead:

There are two other gadgets shown on this image:

These two features that I have named "Nadir Ninja" and "Chimeron" respectively shall be the subject of next to be posted web pages on this site...

Michel Thoby

2 August 2005

Updated December 2007.