Price: £595 (ex VAT)
Contact: 360Precision 01869 34 7272 + www.360precision.com
Needs: Any digital SLR or SLR-style camera + Tripod
Pros: Light, compact and precise panoramic tripod head + Works with many different camera and lenses
If you're seriously considering panoramic photography, whether you want to shoot 'partial' panoramas or create virtual reality productions, a specialist panorama head is the most important piece of equipment you can own.
360Precision is highly regarded in this field, and its new Adjuste head, the sibling to its flagship Absolute head, seems set to continue this tradition.
Unlike the Absolute, which is bought to fit a specific camera and lens combination, the Adjuste is adjustable. Like Kaidan's QuickPan Professional Spherical, the Adjuste can be set up to accommodate different camera bodies and lenses.
The base contains the horizontal arm and the rotator mechanism, a ball-bearing-sprung unit that can be turned from stop-point to stop-point with one hand. The camera arm's mounting plate has a location pin that matches a recess in the body of certain cameras, so that attaching your camera is fast and precise. This pin is the only thing that's relatively camera-specific, and different ones can be swapped in very easily. Rather than using a solid - and heavy - set of arms, the Adjuste uses parallel bars for each part. This provides the rigidity it needs, but without the weight penalty.
Once you start using the Adjuste one thing becomes clear very quickly - this is a product designed with extraordinary attention to detail, both in the precise engineering and in the usability design terms. The centre of the rotator base has a built-in bubble level, and unscrewing this reveals a set of points for changing the rotator base's click-stop count (it comes with options for turning to four, six, eight and 36 steps around) and also the lock-down screws for fixing the horizontal arm's position.
Getting the Adjuste configured for your particular camera body and lens is something you'll need to do yourself, but figures for many digital SLRs and suitable lenses are available to get you set up virtually perfectly without hassles.
At 1.1kg, the Adjuste is relatively light, certainly compared with products of a similar quality. It's also easy to use - once set up for the first time, you simply connect the camera, level the tripod and shoot. The results are so precise that they can be stitched together using pre-made templates rather than painstakingly matching shots individually.
All this is very good to know, as you certainly pay for what you get. At Â£595 this is roughly Â£180 more than the QuickPan Professional - so does the product justify the cost? After using it for a couple of months we have to admit that it does. It made an immediate difference to our shots, and it was small and light enough to pack in a camera bag for remote fieldwork.
You'll need to be a serious amateur at least to justify the cost. But there's no denying that if you want the best, then the 360Precision Adjuste is it. As well as being light, precise and compact, it is an unarguably elegant design. In short, everything you could want in a panorama head, whether you're shooting for ultra-high-resolution print work or interactive VR imagery.