Cinematography Mailing List - CML

3 - Axis Nodal Head

I’m looking to rent a 3-axis head (manual, not remote), with the third axis having an adjustable nodal point (I want the centre of the image to stay constant when rotated 180 degrees). I once used Clairmont’s Roundy-Round, but had a very frustrating time getting the electronics to work. To my knowledge, a Weaver-Steadman with 3rd axis adapter will only pivot on it’s connecting bracket. Has anyone had any experiences with Otto Nemenz’ “Nemenz Nodal Head” with “3rd Axis Module,” Clairmont’s “Nodal Point 3-Axis Head,” or Cartoni’s “Lambda Head with 3rd axis?” Any other suggestions?


Andrew Huebscher
Director of Photography
Los Angeles, CA

No Question ... the new-ish Lamda 3 axis is the way to go. Very easy to set up (especially compared to a Weaver 3 axis) and balance. If your usual rental house is out of the third axis ... you can sub rent Keslow Camera's Lamda 3rd axis.

Mako, Weaver owner, Glendale, CA

From the shameless pitch department . . .

Oppenheimer Camera Products makes the Spin-Axis 360 Head.

It is a motorized third axis system. Works with all modern cameras. Comes with supports that centre the lens on the rotation point with Aaton, Arriflex, Moviecam, and Panavision cameras. There is also an adjustable support primarily designed for video cameras.

The Spin-Axis 360 mounts to motorized heads like the Power Pod, as well as onto gear heads and heavy duty fluid heads.

It is a true 360 head and can carry any modern camera in full 360's.

While not manual, our electronics are very easy to use, and the set-up is such that any common, current film camera can easily be set to nodal on the rotation axis.

Nodal for the other two axes will depend on the head being used.

While in rental houses in the UK, Canada, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand, we remain the only rental source in the US. We have two units in rental, and have rarely had a booking problem.

Please let me know if I can help you with your rotational head need.

Marty Oppenheimer
Oppenheimer Camera Products

The Weaver and the Lambda head both have nodal adjustability, but I believe the lambda has a variable crank mechanism, where the weaver has only sliding tubes. The weaver does have a crank to raise and lower the baseplate, and limited yaw ability on its dovetail mount. The most important thing is to make sure you are totally square to your target plane when you rotate.

Try lining up a target once the camera is balanced on the head. It will tend to be off set, as the film plane isn't in the same spot as the camera's centre of gravity. This can lead to some awkward operating, so be wary.

If you can lock off pan, tilt and the dolly as well, it will help significantly. Line up your shot position first, then centre the camera on its nodal. If you line up on a tighter lense than what you're shooting with, it will help smooth things out as well.

A target button and a sharpie mark on the monitor will do wonders for the line up process.

As for which head?? The Cartoni lambda is a beautiful head, but I find the Weaver w/third-axis to actually be stiffer and more variable (and about half the price at the rental house!!).

Good luck.

Patrick Thompson, Toronto

May I suggest Panavision's Dutch Plus 360. It is nodal and the height is adjustable. Although is motorized, it can mount on a gear or fluid head too. its available from Panavision remote systems in Woodland Hills

Lou Duskin SOC

>...I'm looking to rent a 3-axis head (manual, not remote), with the third >axis having an adjustable nodal point...

The *Revolver* would work for this.

(Marketed, I think, by the same people that do the *Tango* head)

David Perrault, csc

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