REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

by PowerReviews
GigaPanEPIC Pro Robotic Camera Mount
 
4.0

(based on 33 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (16)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (7)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (6)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (3)

77%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Easy to use (26)
  • Solid/sturdy (14)
  • Improves tripod function (11)
  • Fits well (8)

Cons

  • Heavy (8)
  • Loose clamp (8)
  • Poor design (7)
  • Heavy / bulky (6)

Best Uses

  • Landscape/scenery (30)
  • Travel (9)
  • Night shots (8)
  • Portraits (3)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Semi-pro photographer (12), Pro photographer (11), Photo enthusiast (7)
    • Was this a gift?:
    • No (31)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

Both more and less than what I expected

For anybody that has taken panoramic photos using stitched-together contiguous frames, this is the answer to at least some of the problems you must have encountered. Cost aside, this easy to set up...Read complete review

For anybody that has taken panoramic photos using stitched-together contiguous frames, this is the answer to at least some of the problems you must have encountered. Cost aside, this easy to set up unit will automatically take sequences of overlapped photos--linear or matrix--with precise positioning and overlap of the frames. It also comes with software that automatically stitches and blends the individual frames together into a gigantic very high spatial resolution image that can be post-processed or published for fee on the gigapan.org site so that others can view it in detail using the same type of pan a zoom tools that Google Maps uses to display satellite images.Perfect for large scale landscapes, there are also other types of very high resolution photographs of largely static scenes for which this tool can be an effective solution short of using a medium format digital camera.Although I have been using this device for only a short time, I have found some issues that could be improved:When used with a long lens, the proper setup to minimize parallax puts the camera so far back from the vertical pivot axis that it becomes dangerously out of balance. Luckily, I was able to add a counter weight to the front of the camera mounting platform so that the mass was counterbalanced without exceeding the unit's maximum load capacity of 10 pounds.Because the camera shoots a large number of frames sequentially, any movement within the panoramic scene between the individual exposures results in various artifacts such as "ghosts" and "fractured" objects. The software doesn't allow for the manual correction of these visual anomalies. One possible improvement would be to allow shooting the frame sequence in a zig-zag pattern instead of either a vertical or horizontal raster which are the two patterns offered.The overlap between frames can be varied, however the minimum is 25% on all sides. Although this may be a lower boundary for use with the automatic stitching software provided, for other software techniques it results in an excessive number of frames, and only increases the chance of introducing visual artifacts dues to movement within the scene being photographed.To end on a well-deserved positive note, this is a fine piece of equipment that truly takes advantage of several digital technologies to enable extremely high resolution images at a comparatively low cost. To understand what this equipment is about, visit [@]

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

Mounting hardware is cheaply made

The quality of the robot is excellent. The quality of the mounting hardware? Garbage. [*]The lever mounting hole was crooked, the screw was stripped (this little screw is all that holds...Read complete review

The quality of the robot is excellent. The quality of the mounting hardware? Garbage. [*]The lever mounting hole was crooked, the screw was stripped (this little screw is all that holds the lever in place - and the lever locks your camera!) Mine arrived with the parts rattling around in the box. The mounting system is a rip-off of the Bogen/Manfrotto plate system, only the Bogen is much higher quality.I honestly don't know it I'll keep this robot - I DO NOT trust the mounting system.

Reviewed by 33 customers

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4.0

NASA knows what they are doing

By praying mantis

from Rio Rancho, New Mexico

About Me Pro Photographer

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Easy To Use

Cons

  • Bulky
  • Heavy

Best Uses

  • Landscape/Scenery

Comments about GigaPan EPIC Pro Robotic Camera Mount:

I have used a Gigapan Epic Pro for about 4 to 5 years having shot close to 1000 panoramas. I bought a back-up as the company hasn't been in business for a few years (?bankrupt) and I doubt I could find anyone to fix the device should it break down. At $600 I couldn't resist buying a second one of these. If you aren't aware of the history of the device its technology, both hardware and software are a spin off from NASA
Mars Rover. It is superior to any other product and actually there are no other products that can do what this can do with both precision that allows using lenses up to 500mm. It has been totally reliable for me thus far and the stitching software is very intuitive and virtually always works for me without any failures to stitch. I have found Photoshop worthless for stitching in rows and columns. I tried PT-GUI and there is no comparison. I also
used Really Right Stuff Omni-pivot package which is a manual way of doing panoramas. That latter
method is too slow when dealing with moving clouds in the landscape. I have only one criticism of this device and that is the batteries. After a battery has been used for about 50 panoramas I have noticed that they cant charge fully to 100% and if you fully charge one of these moderately used batteries you will find that the charge will drop 20-40% in only 12 to 24 hours after fully charging. These batteries are
Nickel metal hydride and not Lithium. A lithium battery would have a much better milliamp-hour rating and wouldn't lose its charge so quickly.
However, a one pound Lithium battery if overheated
significantly could blow your auto to smithereens and kill you no doubt.

  • Was this a gift?:
  • No

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5.0

Awesome Product!

By manu

from Boston, MA

About Me Casual Photographer

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Easy To Use
  • Improves Tripod Function
  • Many Features
  • Solid/Sturdy

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Landscape/Scenery
    • Portraits
    • Travel
    • Weddings/Events
    • Wildlife

    Comments about GigaPan EPIC Pro Robotic Camera Mount:

    Great for getting photos which are otherwise impossible with my current equipment.

    • Was this a gift?:
    • No

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    5.0

    Everything you'd expect

    By CLee

    from Pasadena, CA

    About Me Semi-pro Photographer

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

    • Easy To Use

    Cons

    • Heavy

    Best Uses

    • Landscape/Scenery

    Comments about GigaPan EPIC Pro Robotic Camera Mount:

    Really cool tool. I do substantial beach and landscape photography. This expands my alternatives in several ways. More detail, better flexibility and great selections in post. Big slow files thought.

    • Was this a gift?:
    • No

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    (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

     
    4.0

    Awesome results with a little up front effort!

    By ImageSmiths Photography, Inc.

    from Peoria, IL

    About Me Semi-pro Photographer

    Pros

    • Easy To Use

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Landscape/Scenery

      Comments about GigaPan EPIC Pro Robotic Camera Mount:

      With some up front work you can get amazing results with this device fairly quickly and easily in the field. The most critical element for great panoramas is to be as level as possible. The built in spirit level on our unit was flawed out of the box, which is why we had to drop our review to 4 out of 5 stars. For this much money I would expect that such a critical component be spot on accurate. However, using a couple of torpedo levels, and a Manfroto leveling base we were able to find the exact level point for our unit. We then marked the position of the center of the spirit level's bubble using a red Sharpie pen. Now in the field we simply get the spirit level bubble centered on our red dot, and we are perfectly level. A little more work up front to determine the optical center of rotation for shorter lenses before taking them out into the field will also help you get great results. With this done we found setting up the device and taking a panorama to be fairly quick and easy. The customizable settings for delays before shooting, speed of movement, and how rigid the device holds position make taking panoramas pretty simple under most circumstances. Even the best device is only going to be able to do so much for things like windy conditions. Be prepared to have some wind block available if you are using the device in windy conditions (or compensate with fast enough shutter speeds). The battery life seems good, but we haven't taken the unit out for a long test session yet to truly put the battery to a test. We purchased the kit that includes an extra battery just in case. We have done several test panoramas using everything from a crop sensor Canon 7D with a 300mm f/4 prime lens, to a full frame Canon 5D Mark III with a 50mm lens. The results have been amazing every time. I highly recommend this device to anyone serious about taking panoramas or any sort of large area shots.

      • Was this a gift?:
      • No

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      (6 of 7 customers found this review helpful)

       
      3.0

      Works ok, but....

      By Shelb

      from Colorado

      About Me Semi-pro Photographer

      Verified Reviewer

      Pros

      • Does A Reasonable Job

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Interiors
        • Landscape/Scenery
        • Night Shots

        Comments about GigaPan EPIC Pro Robotic Camera Mount:

        This worked well with my Nikon D300. I don't use it that often except for special purposes. Programing could be better, there should be a better way to reset the unit for a different focal length lens without having to dig through the menu.

        But my biggest grip is the battery lifetime. They seem to need replacing every 2- 3 years even with very light use, and they are very expensive. Also if you want to run it with ac power you must have a good battery because the power adapter doesn't have the capacity to run it without the batter. It could have been designed with an external plug and a little more power.

        I have tried to order a battery on their web site, but the site seems to be broken. Perhaps they are not longer in business. It is very frustrating and at this time I can no longer recommend buying anything from them. If they get their support working, then I would change this to a recommend. It really upsets me to do this as I think with a little work they could have a very fine product.

        • Was this a gift?:
        • No

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        (7 of 7 customers found this review helpful)

         
        3.0

        Good but not great

        By CB Photo

        from Möbius Strip, Illinois

        About Me Pro Photographer

        Verified Reviewer

        Pros

        • Easy To Use

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Landscape/Scenery

          Comments about GigaPan EPIC Pro Robotic Camera Mount:

          I spent a few weeks with this Epic Pro robotic head and have noted a few things.

          The head works well with light cameras, but not with heavier cameras (e.g., Canon 1DsIII) and a telephoto lens (e.g., Canon 400mm f5.6). It's just too much weight for this device. Even when using specific settings for heavy gear, it's obvious the unit labors under the weight, and it's tiling is not as accurate as with a lighter camera/lens rig. With a smaller, lighter camera & lens (e.g., Canon 70D & 40mm pancake lens) the unit works very well, and the tile images are very accurately overlapped.

          Secondly, the head I bought has an incorrectly mounted bubble level. When I secure the bubble in the center of the level, the horizon is crooked. There's probably a way to fix this, but I cannot reach anyone at GigaPan Systems.

          That's right, GigaPan Systems does not respond to emails or phone calls. There is no support forthcoming from them. Their blog is active, but emails are not answered. I don't know what this means for the warranty of the product.

          On the good side, the setup for a panorama is easy and straightforward. Once the unit is properly leveled, a quality pano can be captured very quickly. It also includes options for shooting in mirror-up mode to minimize vibrations.

          GigaPan Systems has upgraded the saddle from earlier versions. The mount and slide are now made from machined aluminum and it's much better than the plastic mount.

          If GigaPan Systems was more active in their support and responsiveness I would give this head 4 stars. If it accommodated heavier camera/lens combos I'd give it 5 stars.

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          • No

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          (0 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

           
          5.0

          very cool

          By Kalihari

          from Walla Walla, WA

          About Me Pro Photographer

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

          • Easy To Use
          • Solid/Sturdy

          Cons

            Best Uses

            • 360 Panos
            • Landscape/Scenery

            Comments about GigaPan EPIC Pro Robotic Camera Mount:

            Things are solid and easy to figure out with little use of the quick start guide. Have yet to try out their software, dedicated to photoshop use, but will try it for the true gigapans I plan to make.

            It would be nice if they made a custom case. Bought a Pelican and it works nice though.

            • Was this a gift?:
            • No

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            (7 of 7 customers found this review helpful)

             
            3.0

            Good idea, but problem build

            By LA PHOTO LTD

            from Austin, TX

            About Me Pro Photographer

            Verified Buyer

            Pros

            • Easy To Use
            • Unique Automation

            Cons

            • Heavy
            • Less Accurate Than Expect
            • Loose Clamp
            • Poor Design

            Best Uses

            • Landscape/Scenery

            Comments about GigaPan EPIC Pro Robotic Camera Mount:

            The product works well for automating panoramas. Controls are pretty good and the compatibility with lots of cameras is also good.

            So whats not good? Well the software that comes with it to stitch is very basic. You can find much better stitching software by searching on the web.

            Worse yet the construction leaves something to be desired. I've had 2 of these units and both have had the same problem. When the motor rotates the angle of the camera rig (and so the image on the camera) changes by up to 3º.

            While this is hardly noticeable for smaller panoramas, it is a huge difference for large 400 image panoramas that this device is famous for. When 1 full frame image is 5º and the error on the device is 3º you will be off by 1/2 a frame.

            There is no easy solution to fix this - it's a device build quality issue. You can not correct this with the tripod adjustment because as the device rotates, the direction of the tilt changes.

            So if you buy be prepared for some manual corrections in Photoshop to correct for hardware errors.

            The end results are very good if you do take the time to correct.

            • Was this a gift?:
            • No

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            (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

             
            5.0

            Nicely executed gear

            By TechnoFan

            from Buffalo, New York

            About Me Pro Photographer

            Verified Buyer

            Pros

            • Easy To Use
            • Fits Well
            • Improves Tripod Function

            Cons

            • Original Camera Mount

            Best Uses

            • High Resolution Panoramas
            • Landscape/Scenery
            • Travel

            Comments about GigaPan EPIC Pro Robotic Camera Mount:

            Have shot many gigapixel photos handheld over the years. Finally the Epic Pro is part of my panoramic hardware. I unboxed it and did the setup and shot a very satisfying detailed image. It performed as promised. I shot a 360 test and was satisfied that no errors occurred. Parallax adjustment needs to be considered in smaller spaces. I recommend using PTGui as the stitching software. I also recommend the purchase of a Gigapan Epic Pro Camera Mount Vice/Clamp. This is a more secure and solid camera mount using a thumb screw to hold the camera mounting plate securely in place. The Epic Pro can shoot a 360 pan but it is really designed to shoot a high resolution flat pano. I rely on a Manfrotto cubic panorama rig using PTGui as the stitching software. It has performed flawlessly for me.

            • Was this a gift?:
            • No

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            (0 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

             
            4.0

            Easy to set up!

            By jbarbrey

            from Punta Gorda, FL

            About Me Semi-pro Photographer

            Verified Buyer

            Pros

            • Easy To Use
            • Improves Tripod Function
            • Solid/Sturdy

            Cons

            • Bulky
            • Heavy

            Best Uses

            • Landscape/Scenery

            Comments about GigaPan EPIC Pro Robotic Camera Mount:

            Easy to set up!

            • Was this a gift?:
            • No

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            (0 of 19 customers found this review helpful)

             
            1.0

            Not good for Astrophotography

            By Dave the Space Cadet

            from KC KS

            About Me Semi-pro Photographer

            Pros

              Cons

              • Poor Design

              Best Uses

              • Landscape/Scenery

              Comments about GigaPan EPIC Pro Robotic Camera Mount:

              This review is written entirely as a review of the Gigapans use as a astrophotography device. The software and the flexibility very lacking in this department and for the price I would definitely expect much more.OK I go the unit. Basically it's useless, at least for Astrophotography. I had an idea to mount this on a telescope mount and be able to do 1-2 minute astro photos that had some depth to the details of the stars. This unit can only do that in a "manual" mode where you have to take the picture then press OK to go to the next frame, so what's the point?You are limited otherwise to the 30 secs of timing in your camera's "manual" mode. Very frustrating and stupid design. A $14 intervalometer from China has vastly better software and flexibility.This is basically unusable as a astro panorama taking device. Unless you want to be limited to 30 second shots.So given that it's a $[$]toy without even a modicum of thought of its use in astrophotography, it will be returned. Shame really the possibilities are there to do some cool things with this.

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              • No

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              (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

               
              5.0

              Great for archaeology

              By MaKai

              from Sacramento, Ca

              About Me Semi-pro Photographer

              See all my reviews

              Verified Buyer

              Pros

              • Easy To Use

              Cons

              • Heavy

              Best Uses

              • Landscape/Scenery
              • Travel

              Comments about GigaPan EPIC Pro Robotic Camera Mount:

              This is one of the best tools for collecting data on a site. Easy to stitch software, close up detail and landscape views are excellent in capturing detailed information and recording it. I plan on using this on a rock art site so as to document the rock art and the graffiti so as to monitor the site and make comparisons as to vandalism and natural erosion over time.

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              • No

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              (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

               
              5.0

              good product

              By edouard de blay

              from canada

              About Me Pro Photographer

              Verified Buyer

              Pros

              • Easy To Use

              Cons

              • Loose Clamp

              Best Uses

              • Landscape/Scenery
              • Travel

              Comments about GigaPan EPIC Pro Robotic Camera Mount:

              very good for big pano but also (and some people doesn't know about that) for 360° .Need to buy a second battery . When i bought the giga,the program was in English,from now on, you get it in French with the new firmware. Need also to buy the clamp WITH its the camera mount, not alone. Very easy to use, i needed 15mn only

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              (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

               
              5.0

              It works fine

              By phografo

              from boston,ma

              About Me Casual Photographer

              Verified Buyer

              Pros

              • Easy To Use
              • Fits Well

              Cons

                Best Uses

                • Landscape/Scenery
                • Portraits

                Comments about GigaPan EPIC Pro Robotic Camera Mount:

                My question is how long is going to last. It does not look like a equipment for heavy work.
                Anyways it is a great invention and Im happy so far.

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                • No

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                3.0

                Seems so simple

                By jeff

                from new jersey

                About Me Photo Enthusiast

                Verified Buyer

                Pros

                  Cons

                    Best Uses

                    • Landscape/Scenery
                    • Night Shots
                    • Travel

                    Comments about GigaPan EPIC Pro Robotic Camera Mount:

                    Not as easy to use as it seems, but the photos, when put together with the software are really great.

                    • Was this a gift?:
                    • Yes

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                    (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                     
                    4.0

                    Surprisingly easy! Awesome!

                    By Purple Cow

                    from Jalisco, Mexico

                    About Me Semi-pro Photographer

                    Verified Buyer

                    Pros

                    • Easy To Use
                    • Solid/Sturdy

                    Cons

                    • Loose Clamp

                    Best Uses

                    • Landscape/Scenery

                    Comments about GigaPan EPIC Pro Robotic Camera Mount:

                    I purchased this piece of hardware and kept it waiting for three weeks until I found time to read the manual and watch a couple of videos about it on YouTube, Now I know it is really simple to use, If you know how to use your camera you are almost set.

                    The Good: easy to use. Sturdy, quick setup, the display is clearly visible even in bright sunlight, quiet smooth operation, and I have to say it, looks cool. The battery life is amazing! And you can charge it inside the EpicPro or outside directly connected to the charger, so if you get a second pack you can keep shooting while charging the second battery.

                    The bad: The camera mounting plate, might feel somewhat loose after locking the lever, I fixed that with a really thin roll of plain paper to prevent the camera from wiggling. Be careful if a camera is mounted with the rail all the way back and the lever is not locked, the locking pin will scrape and damage the finish on the plate between the arms and over the display when aiming high.

                    I'm very happy with it and I spect to have a lot of fun with it for a long time!

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                    • No

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                    (7 of 8 customers found this review helpful)

                     
                    5.0

                    Excellent but one major annoyint thing

                    By Dahl

                    from Copenhagen

                    About Me Photo Enthusiast

                    Verified Buyer

                    Pros

                    • Easy To Use
                    • Improves Tripod Function

                    Cons

                    • Loose Clamp

                    Best Uses

                    • Landscape/Scenery
                    • Night Shots

                    Comments about GigaPan EPIC Pro Robotic Camera Mount:

                    The Gigapan is a great tool for taking panoramas, it is easy to use, and is generally well built. BUT, the unit I received had a plastic latch for fixing the camera mount, and it broke as I tried to open it. Considering that the camera mount is one of the most important things when to use a tripod or even this robot, I find it ridiculous that this bit is so cheaply made. The reason why I still give 5 stars is that I have been able to use the Gigapan, and it operates nicely, and also that Gigapan responded quickly, promising to send a spare part. I do look forward to using this equipment and make some awesome panoramas.

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                    • No

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                    (11 of 13 customers found this review helpful)

                     
                    1.0

                    Really bad mounting hardware

                    By Dahl

                    from Cph, DK

                    About Me Photo Enthusiast

                    Verified Reviewer

                    Pros

                      Cons

                      • Poor Design

                      Best Uses

                        Comments about GigaPan EPIC Pro Robotic Camera Mount:

                        I have not had the chance to use the Epic Pro yet, because when I had charged the batteries and was about to mount a camera, I could not release the quick mounting plate. As I tried a bit more, the plastic arm that holds the plate broke. This is just bad craftmanship. On any good tripod you find a solid metal arm for mounting your camera. Here, it is plastic!!! Come on, even if it had worked the first time, whidh it did not, it would not work for long for people who need to mount and unmount their cameras.

                        The rest of the unit seems to be nicely made but how can I know? My first impression is that it is bad, and I had so high expectations.

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                        • No

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                        (4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

                         
                        5.0

                        Great product!

                        By Salaam

                        from Oman

                        About Me Semi-pro Photographer

                        Verified Buyer

                        Pros

                        • Easy To Use
                        • Fits Well
                        • Improves Tripod Function
                        • Solid/Sturdy

                        Cons

                        • Bulky
                        • Heavy
                        • Loose Clamp

                        Best Uses

                        • Landscape/Scenery

                        Comments about GigaPan EPIC Pro Robotic Camera Mount:

                        The Epic Pro is fairly simple to use and has great features - such as automatically figuring out the angle of view of each lens, etc. It can do multirow panoramic shots with ease. They have automatic shutter release cables for most cameras - except my Leica S2 (grrr). I have been using it with my H4D50 Hasselblad with success, but weight of the cameral/lens seems to test the Epic Pro - only being able to firmly hold its position when the power is on. Also, I found the standard clamp loose and not sufficient to hold a heavy camera. To fix this you must get the EPIC Pro Camera Mount Vice/Clamp.

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                        • No

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                        (1 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                         
                        5.0

                        What a great piece of equipment !

                        By Robert

                        from Mcallen, Texas

                        About Me Photo Enthusiast

                        Verified Buyer

                        Pros

                        • Easy To Use
                        • Solid/Sturdy

                        Cons

                        • None

                        Best Uses

                        • Landscape/Scenery

                        Comments about GigaPan EPIC Pro Robotic Camera Mount:

                        This EPIC Pro by GigaPan is a dream come true for those of us interested in large, high resolution Panoramic pics ! It was easy to set up and use and the included software was also great. Service at B&H was also stellar with regards to questions and troubleshooting....Overall it was FANTASTIC !

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                        • No

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