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Nodal Ninja Quick Reference Guides

Advanced Rotators

Nodal Ninja - RD3L

EZ-Leveler II with Built in D3 Rotator

Rotator D3L (RD3L) is a state of the art design from Fanotec. It combines a precision rotator and EZ-Leveler II into one lightweight and compact package. The rotator has 3 detent options which can be changed in less than 3 seconds by simply flipping detent switches. The built-in EZ-Leveler II allows easy and smooth level adjustment. Its shape helps to minimize the nadir footprint when taking spherical panoramas. Its "Head Alignment Knob" allows a pano head with an indexed rotator to point in any direction without moving the tripod. Alternatively, it allows aligning of EZ-L II edges to the tripod legs to minimize the nadir footprint.

Package Contents of Rotator D3L

Click to enlargeRotator D3L
Spare Parts Qty
3/8" to 1/4" adapter 1


Rotator D3L

Installing Nodal Ninja 3/4/5 and Ultimate M1/2 on RD3L

Click to enlargeRotator D3L
For NN3, remove brass collar (if any) installed on the lower rail. Align and place the anti-twist plate on RD3L.
For NN4/5 and M1/2, install the custom anti-twist screws on the lower rail or QRC-55/65 quick release clamp.

Click to enlargeRotator D3L
Align the anti-twist plate/ sockets and place the lower rail or QRC-55/65 on RD3L. Install and tighten the M6 mounting screw using a 4mm hex key. For NN3/4/5, install the logo cap on the mounting screw. Now the Nodal Ninja with RD3L is ready for use.

Mounting Nodal Ninja with RD3L and its Level Adjustment

Click to enlargeRotator D3L
Install the 3/8" to 1/4" adapter if the tripod has a 1/4" thread. If tripod top plate has bare metal surface, consider adding a friction material to prevent loosening and/or scratching the base of RD3L. An optional cork sheet is available from Fanotec.

Click to enlargeRotator D3L
Place the tripod legs in their preferred positions. Unlock the level locks. Turn the rollers to roughly the middle of their full adjustment range. Tighten the "Head Alignment Knob" (HA Knob) of RD3L to the base. Tighten RD3L to tripod while holding the knob with fingers.

Click to enlargeRotator D3L
Set up the Nodal Ninja. Mount the camera. Then roughly level (bubble inside or on the circle line) it by adjusting the length of tripod legs. This prevents the leveler from going out of adjustment range.

Click to enlargeRotator D3L
Stand in a position so that 2 rollers (1 and 2) are horizontal in front of you. Look at the bubble from vertically above. Adjust the horizontal rollers to center the bubble horizontally.

Rotator D3L
Adjust roller 3 to center the bubble vertically. If this fails due to poor initial leveling, adjust rollers 1 and 2 simultaneously till the bubble is centered horizontally and vertically.

Click to enlargeRotator D3L
Confirm the accuracy of reading by ensuring the bubble is centered horizontally when viewed from the top front/back as well as from the top left/right. If not, re-adjust roller(s) to center the bubble. Lock the level locks to prevent accidental change of level. Do NOT change the level for remaining shots in the same pano sequence.

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Using Detent Switches

Rotator D3L
Turn on/off a detent option by flipping the switch to the left/right respectively. To use a detent option, turn on its switch and turn off the others. More detent options are available by skipping one or two click stops. When transporting the tripod with Nodal Ninja RD3L mounted, rotate the RD3L to 0 degrees and turn on all the detents witches to enable stronger resistance to rotation.

Using the Head Alignment Knob (HA Knob)

In panoramic photography, one may want to include a specific view into a single image to reduce stitching errors. One may also want to set a specific viewpoint as the initial displayed view, instead of in post processing. This can be achieved by moving the tripod legs. Some situations may require the tripod legs be placed in specific positions, e.g., in very crowded places. The detent in RD3L may hinder rotation to the preferred angle. The HA Knob will allow the camera to point in any direction. Alternatively, it allows RD3L to align its edges to the tripod legs to minimize the nadir footprint.

Click to enlargeRotator D3L
To Align Camera Viewpoint
Set up RD3L on tripod as described previously. Loosen RD3L a bit to help loosen HA Knob. Gradually loosen HA Knob while tightening RD3L, until the camera is about to point at the desired direction. Tighten RD3L fully.

Rotator D3L
To Minimize Nadir Footprint
Set up RD3L on tripod as described previously. Loosen RD3L a bit to help loosen HA Knob. Gradually loosen HA Knob while tightening RD3L, until its edges are about to align with the tripod legs. Then tighten RD3L fully.

Note About Maximum Loading and Off-Axis Loading

Click to enlargeRotator D3L
EZ-L II in RD3L is designed to support 10kg (22 lb) vertical compressive loading, a typical loading type for equipment to be mounted on RD3L. For equipment with center of gravity far away from the mounting point, the load rating is reduced due to the much amplified bending torque. This is the case for long lenses and Nodal Ninja with nadir adapter in the swung out position. We recommend maximum loading of 1.5kg (3.3lb) using a nadir adapter on RD3L. There may be a slight lifting of level on the opposite side of load.

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