Stefan Kohler's DIY Pan / Tilt Panorama Head Supports 13.2 Pounds

Stefan Kohler's DIY Pan / Tilt Panorama Head Supports 13.2 Pounds

Today, Stefan Kohler shared a look at his mammoth pan / tilt head for large lenses on DIY Photography. The rig pictured below shows Stefan's D800 and the Nikkor 400mm f/2.8 lens — at a combined weight of 11.7 pounds. Here's a look at how he built it.

This particular rig was used in his "Where is Waldo" project last year, a shoot requiring a great deal of precision and accuracy from the mechanized head. According the Stefan, this particular setup is useable for up to 6 kg (13.2 pounds), has a repeating accuracy of < 0.25º, and provides full manual control over each axis of rotation.


Stefan's first step was to mock-up the head in Google Sketchup, (which can be downloaded here).



The pan-axis was designed with the upmost sturdiness in mind (laser-cut from 5mm steel).


The tilt-axis is was made of 20-80 aluminum bars, set on roller bearings, all counter-weighted to reduce strain and minimize required power output on the motors.


Stefan reported that calibration took several hours, multiple bubble-levels, lasers, and quite a bit of patience. The results were definitely worth it.

For a more detailed view of Stefan's project, check out the original post. You can also download his original Sketchup diagram and Arduino code to kick-start your own build.

[Via DIY Photography]

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How much slave labor is needed to cart that thing around?...

Thanks for sharing :-)
it has a weight of about 12 pounds plus additional 5 - 15 pounds for the counterweight.

Great job, looks like a lot of fun to build.

actually the pressure these days was enormous, so - yes - part of it was a lot of fun. on the other hand this thing had to work and there was no such thing like a plan b...