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EPIC Pro Introduction

EPIC Pro Introduction

1.1 The GigaPan Solution

Capturing stunning gigapixel images is easy with GigaPan - a complete solution with integrated equipment, software and website. The GigaPan EPIC Pro works seamlessly with the GigaPan Stitch software and GigaPan.com to capture, upload and share gigapixel panoramas. Zoom into thousands of stunning panoramas from around the world with the amazing GigaPan Viewer. Join GigaPan.com to view and share with friends, take snapshots and embed panoramas on your own website.

Here is an overview of how easy and fun it is to use the GigaPan System, in 4 simple steps:

1. Pick a Scene
The GigaPan EPIC series automates the panorama-taking process by taking hundreds of images of the selected scene.

2. Click 
The GigaPan EPIC automatically operates your camera to take a series of photographs of your scene.

3. Stitch
The Gigapan Stitch software assembles, aligns and blends the individual images into one large panorama. 

4. Share
GigaPan Stitch Software then uploads your panorama to GigaPan.com to share with friends and the GigaPan community. You also have the ability to embed your uploaded panorama onto any website.

 

1.2 GigaPan Epic Pro Parts

Please see Chapter 2: Setting Up the EPIC Pro for more information about how to adjust the EPIC Pro parts to fit your camera and lens.


 

EPIC Pro Body

Camera Rail - Holds the camera mounting plate and can be adjusted forward or back to accommodate the size of your camera and lens.

Rail Adjustment Knob - Loosen or tighten the knob to move the camera rail when mounting a camera and lens.

Camera Mounting Platform - Holds the camera rail and can be adjusted up or down to accommodate your camera. Platform Thumbscrews - Loosen or tighten the thumbscrews to move the camera mounting platform.

Camera Mounting Plate - Attaches to the camera or lens to mount it on the EPIC Pro.

Camera Mounting Plate Lever - Holds the camera mounting plate securely in place. Move the small silver pin below the lever clockwise and rotate the lever clockwise to release the camera mounting plate.

Navigation panel - Contains the LCD display and directional buttons for operating the EPIC Pro Menu.

Tripod Mount - Attaches the EPIC Pro to your tripod. Bubble Level - Measures that your EPIC Pro is level on your tripod and on the ground.

Battery Chamber - Holds the EPIC Pro battery. Turn the latch counterclockwise and pull it the battery holder away from the unit to remove it from the chamber.
 

Navigation Panel

LCD Display - Displays the EPIC Pro Menu. Directional Keys - Press up, down, left or right buttons to select items in the EPIC Pro Menu, or move the camera left to right and up or down to select parameters when shooting a panorama.

Cancel Button - Cancel selections in navigating the EPIC Pro Menu.

Power/OK Button - Hold down for a few seconds to power the EPIC Pro ON or OFF, or use to select items when navigating the Menu.

Trigger cable port - Use with electronic trigger cable to actuate the shutter and cause the camera to focus if you are using auto focus.

Remote trigger port - Use with a pocket wizard or a wireless shutter release that has a 2.5mm miniplug to trigger the EPIC Pro to capture a panorama.

Battery port - Plug the power cord into the battery port to charge the battery while it is in the EPIC Pro.

 

1.3 EPIC Pro Features

HIGHLIGHTS
DSLR camera compatible - EPIC Pro works with almost all digital DSLR cameras introduced after 2004.

Large lenses are supported - Camera and lens combinations of up to 10 lbs can be used with the EPIC Pro.

Precision accuracy - Powered camera movement and simple fore/aft up/down adjustment for optimal positioning of the nodal point and varied camera/lens combinations.

Quick set up - Easy to secure EPIC Pro to tripod. Fits standard tripods, with 1/4” or 3/8” thread. Onboard bubble level for horizontal alignment.

Clear and simple to navigate menu - Access frequently-used functions with the touch of a button, such as to move the camera or set the shutter delay. Screen is highly visible with back lit display.

Strong and durable yet lightweight - Excellent design with magnesium chassis and aluminum arm, the EPIC Pro weighs less than 8 lbs with battery pack.


SPECIAL FEATURES
Rechargeable battery pack (7.2V, 4300mAH) included - Charge the battery on its own or while inserted in the EPIC Pro, convenient for charging while shoot- ing. Charger included.

Multiple triggering option - Allows the EPIC Pro to take multiple pictures at each image location up to 20 times per position for exposure bracketing or multiple image enhancement.

Optimized range of motion - 360 panoramic and -65/+90 tilt range of motion with precision incremental movement.

Remote trigger port - Enables you to start taking a panorama from a different location using a remote trigger with a Canon E3 type connector. (not included).

Advanced settings include: option to repeat last panorama, pause and scroll, and order pictures as rows or columns.

Adjustable features include: time between exposures, pre trigger delay, focus assertion time ( shutter length ), motor speed, aspect ratio, and picture overlap.

 

1.4 Navigate the EPIC Pro Menu

Turn the EPIC Pro on by pressing the Power/OK button. The first menu option, 'New Panorama', will appear. To navigate to other menu options, push the down button. To reach submenus within a menu option, push the OK button once you reach the desired main menu option, then the down button to access the submenu choices. To exit a menu or submenu, push the X button.


EPIC Pro Menu Tree for Firmware Version 128.1


New Panorama

360 Panorama

Options

Time Per Pic

Start Del/Trig

Mult Shutter

Pic Order

Battery Status

Factory Reset

Expert Options

Checklist

Shutter Mode

Shutter Length

Motor Speed

Motors Rigid

Pretrigger Delay

Backlight Mode

Aspect Ratio

Picture Overlap

Quick Menu Set-up

Firmware Ver

Panorama Memory

Previous

Save Previous

Recall

Camera Setup

Move Camera


EPIC Pro Menu Tree for Firmware Version 171

New Panorama

360 Panorama

Options

Time/Exposure

Mult Picture

Brackets

EV Step Size

Mirror Lock-up

Lockup-time

Shutter Teach

Start Del/trig

Pic Order

Timelapse/Series

Battery Status

Save/Load Config

Factory Reset

Expert Options

Checklist

Shutter Mode

Shutter Length

Motor Speed

Motors Rigid

Pretrigger Delay

Bracket Delay

Backlight Mode

Aspect Ratio

Picture Overlap

Last Pic Hold

Shutter Feedback

Shutter Retries

Quick Menu Setup

Firmware Ver

Test Shutter

Panorama Memory

Previous

Save Previous

Recall

Camera Setup

Move Camera

Note: Some menu items will be available dependent upon other settings.

When 'Shutter Teach' is set to "On" a small "T" icon will be displayed in the upper right hand corner. The 'Options' menu items 'Time/Exposure', and 'Brackets' will not be dis- played as they are not needed when 'Shutter Teach' is enabled. When, or if , you wish to return to the normal mode set the 'Shutter Teach' option to "Off".

When 'Options'->'Brackets' is set to a value greater than one, the 'Options'->'EV Step Size' menu item will appear.

You can also access 'Options'->'EV Step Size' from the 'Options'->'Brackets' menu by pressing the right arrow key.

Menu Options Glossary for Firmware Version 128.1

Main Menu

New Panorama – Sets the upper left photo and lower right photo that defines the rectangular area of the panorama.

360 Panorama – Sets the upper pitch and the lower pitch of a panorama that is 360 degrees and completes a full circle.

Options – Contains submenus that allow you to change more settings.

Panorama Memory – Recalls the previous panorama or a previously saved panorama. Also allows you to save a panorama. When you save a panorama you must also set a reference point. The reference point provides a method to orient the Epic Pro imager body in the same position. The reference point is in addition to placing the tripod in the same location.

Camera Setup – Any time you change the camera, lens, or zoom lens focal length you need to do a camera setup. 'Camera Setup' determines the coverage of a single photograph by measuring the vertical angles that the lens and camera sensor sees. Choose a unique point and move the lens so that the point is at the top of the lens. Then move the lens so that the unique point is at the bottom of the lens. Then the EPIC Pro knows the vertical angles and calculates the horizontal angle of view using the aspect ratio. The EPIC Pro also accounts for image overlap which has a default setting of 30%.

Move Camera – Moves the camera and lens from left to right and up and down using the directional keys.

Options Menu

Time per Pic - The amount of time that the EPIC Pro will wait until it moves the camera to the next position. It is important to allow enough time for the camera to process the current photograph and move the data to flash memory. This is the most likely reason the camera would miss a photograph.

Start Del/Trig – Enables a timer delay of (External Trigger, 15s, 30s, 45s, 1m, 2m, 5m, Timer ) before the panorama capture begins. The external trigger setting is designed to work with a Canon E3 style remote shutter that is inserted in the EPIC Pro remote trigger port.

Mult Shutter – Allows you to take multiple pictures at each position during the capture of your panorama. You can take up to 20 pictures at each position.

Pic Order – Allows for different patterns of capturing the individual photographs such as (column-right, column-left, row – down, row – up).

Battery Status - Tells you what the voltage level of the batteries is. A voltage of 7.4 volts means that the batteries are fully charged. A voltage of around 7 volts means your batteries will not be able to operate the EPIC Pro for much longer.

Factory Reset - Resets certain options to their default values. The 'Camera Setup', 'Time per Pic', 'Start Delay', 'Mult Shutter', 'Pic Order', 'Saved Panoramas' and vertical field of view will be reset.

Expert Options Submenu

Checklist - If this option is set to ON, a checklist of things that need to be done in order to successfully create a technically good image are presented to the user before the panorama is taken. Selecting OFF will eliminate these prompts.

Shutter Mode - Allows you to choose how the unit will operate your camera's shutter. The settings are Remote or Manual. The Remote setting will use the electronic trigger cable to connect the EPIC Pro to the remote shutter port on your camera. If the Manual method is used, the user must manually actuate the shutter and press the OK button on the EPIC Pro to advance to the next photograph.

Shutter Length - When using autofocus with difficult subjects this setting allows you to incrementally increase the amount of time that the focus signal is asserted to achieve good focus. You can set the value to (Time per pic, 0.5s, 0.6s, ..., 2.0s, 2.2s, ..., 4.0s, 4.5s, ..., 8.0s). If the 'Shutter Length' setting exceeds the 'Time per Pic' setting, the 'Shutter Length' setting will be used. This allows you to fine tune the amount of time needed to achieve good focus separately from how much time your camera needs to sustainably write images to the Flash memory without filing up the cameras buffer memory.

Motor Speed - Options are 'Slow', 'Med,' or 'Fast'. It is recommended that you use the 'Slow' setting when using large lenses to reduce the settling time after accelerating and de-accelerating a large lens.

Motors Rigid - The 'On' setting will help hold large lenses in position when you are not in a 'Move' mode, or actively capturing a panorama.

Pre-trigger Delay (0.0s, 0.5s, 1.0s, 1.5s, 2.0s, 2.5s, 3.0s) This delay is between the EPIC Pro movements and the electronic trigger signal to your camera. This allows a lens and camera body to settle after an EPIC Pro movement. This is especially important for large and longer focal length lenses.

Backlight Mode This setting allows you to choose when the back light is in use. The options are Power Save, Always Off, Always On.

Aspect Ratio The options are 1:1, 3:2, 4:3, 16:9. The default setting is 4:3 (4 units wide to 3 units tall).

Picture Overlap (25%, 30%, 35%, 40%, 45%, 50%, 55%, 60%, 65%, 70%, 75%,) This setting allows you to increase the overlap to compensate for vignetting, or poor performance of a lens at the edges of the glass. Increasing this value may help give the stitch software more common area to find control points. The EPIC Pro default picture overlap is 30%.

Quick Menu Setup - Allows you to change which four items will be accessible from the quick menu. The quick menu is accessed by pressing and holding the left X button for one to two seconds. Useful menu items might be (Time Per Pic, Start/Del trig, Mult Shutter, Battery Status)

Panorama Memory Menu

Previous – Repeat the previous panorama. Your panorama will be lost unless you use the 'Save Previous' option before turning the power off.

Save Previous – Save the previous panorama settings to the EPIC Pro's memory, including an approximate reference point that will be used in the future to give the EPIC Pro a point of reference to begin shooting.

Recall – Recall a panorama setting from the EPIC Pro's memory that was saved using the 'Save Previous' option.

Menu Options Glossary for Firmware Version 171

Main Menu

New Panorama – Sets the upper left photo and lower right photo that defines the rectangular area of the panorama.

360 Panorama – Sets the upper pitch and the lower pitch of a panorama that is 360 degrees and completes a full circle.

Options – Contains submenus that allow you to change more settings.

Test Shutter - Allows you to optionally test your settings such as single shutter, multiple shutters, exposure bracketing, and or mirror flip-up before starting the capture of a panorama. To set, Select 'Test Shutter' from the menu. Once you press the OK button the EPIC Pro will trigger the camera with the current settings.

Panorama Memory – Recalls the previous panorama or a previously saved panorama. Also allows you to save a panorama. When you save a panorama you must also set a reference point. The reference point provides a method to orient the EPIC Pro body in the same position. The reference point is in addition to placing the tripod in the same location.

Camera Setup – Any time you change the camera, lens, or zoom lens focal length you need to do a camera setup. 'Camera Setup' determines the coverage of a single photograph by measuring the vertical angles that the lens and camera sensor sees. Choose a unique point and move the lens so that the point is at the top of the lens. Then move the lens so that the unique point is at the bottom of the lens. Then the EPIC Pro knows the vertical angles and calculates the horizontal angle of view using the aspect ratio. The EPIC Pro also accounts for image overlap which has a default setting of 30%.

Move Camera – Moves the camera and lens from left to right and up and down using the directional keys.

Options Menu

Time/Exposure - This was previously named 'Time per Pic' in firmware version 128.1 and is the amount of time that the EPIC Pro will wait until it moves the camera to the next position. It is important to allow enough time for the camera to process the current photograph and copy the data from the cameras buffer memory to the flash memory. This is the most likely reason that the camera would miss a photograph. Some cameras will light an LED while the photograph is being transferred.

Mult Picture - This was previously called 'Mult Shutter' in firmware version 128.1. This setting allows you to set the number of photographs that will be triggered per position. If you have 'Brackets' enabled, 'Mult Picture' will repeat the bracket sequence per the number of photographs you selected when setting 'Mult Picture'.

Brackets - Exposure bracketing of 1, 3, 5, 7, or 9 photographs for HDR images by working with the camera AEB ( automatic exposure bracketing ) firmware. Use the 'EV Step' setting to set the separation of exposure values to (0.3, 0.7, 1.0, 1.3, 1.7, or 2.0) EV (exposure value). You may exceed the capability of your camera AEB firmware by setting the 'Expert Options'->'Shutter Length' to 'Bulb' if all exposures are slower than about 1/10 of a second (such as at night).

EV Step Size - Used in conjunction with the 'Brackets' setting to capture multiple exposures per position to create HDR panoramas. You can set the exposure value separation to (0.3, 0.7, 1.0, 1.3, 1.7 or 2.0) EV. One exposure value separation is equivalent to doubling or halving the shutter speed when you keep the aperture and ISO constant.

Mirror Lockup - Is used in conjunction with the camera firmware to flip up the mirror and wait a delay of 'Options'->'Lockup-time' before triggering the shutter. When 'Mirror Lockup' is enabled in the EPIC Pro and your camera, there will be two shutter signals for each photograph taken. The first assertion of the signal will flip up the mirror. The second shutter signal will be asserted after 'Options->'Lockup- time' and will trigger the shutter. 'Mirror Lockup' is useful for longer focal length lenses where any lack of settling is amplified by the optical magnification. If you are using a large 200-400mm f/4.0 lens you might set the lockup-time to 1.8 seconds. If you are using a 50mm or 100mm prime lens you might disable 'Mirror Lockup'

Lockup-time - Is used in conjunction with 'Mirror Lockup' and your camera's mirror lockup settings. You may set a lockup-time of (0.25s, 0.50s, 0.75s, 1.00s, 1.25s, 1.50s, 1.75s, 2.00s, 2.25s, 2.50s, 3.00s).

Shutter Teach - This setting is an alternative method of defining exposure bracketing timing or multiple pictures where you "teach" the EPIC Pro how you would like the camera's shutter button to be pressed. The Pro will then remember how many times you want the shutter to be pressed as well as the extra timing between shutters. 'Shutter Teach' is located in the 'Options' submenu and the left arrow button is used to teach the imager. End the sequence with the OK button.

Start Del/Trig – Enables a timer delay of (External Trigger, 15s, 30s, 45s, 1m, 2m, 5m, Timer ) before the panorama capture begins. The external trigger setting is designed to work with a Canon E3 style remote shutter that is inserted in the EPIC Pro remote trigger port.

Pic Order – Allows for different patterns of capturing the individual photographs such as (column-right, column-left, row – down, row – up).

Timelapse/Series - Used to capture a sequence of panoramas over a period of time. You may use a timer of zero seconds to 99 days or an external trigger to change when each panorama in the sequence is taken. When you choose the timer, the value includes the time to capture the panorama. When external trigger has been selected, use a Canon E3 style remote shutter that is inserted in the EPIC Pro remote trigger port.

Battery Status - Tells you what the voltage level of the batteries is. A voltage of 7.4 volts means that the batteries are fully charged. A voltage of around 7 volts means your batteries will not be able to operate the EPIC Pro for much longer.

Save/Load Config - Allows you to save up to three configurations, which is convenient when you want to quickly change lenses or bracketing options.

Factory Reset - Resets certain options to their default values. The 'Camera Setup', 'Time per Pic', 'Start Delay', 'Mult Shutter', 'Pic Order', 'Saved Panoramas' and vertical field of view will be reset.

Expert Options Submenu

Checklist - If this option is set to ON, a checklist of things that need to be done in order to successfully create a technically good image are presented to the user before the panorama is taken. Selecting OFF will eliminate these prompts.

Shutter Mode - Allows you to choose how the unit will operate your camera's shutter. The settings are Remote or Manual. The Remote setting will use the electronic trigger cable to connect the EPIC Pro to the remote shutter port on your camera. If the Manual method is used, the user must manually actuate the shutter and press the OK button on the EPIC Pro to advance to the next photograph.

Shutter Length - The amount of time that the focus and shutter signals are asserted (Exposure (bulb), 0.5s, 0.6s, 0.7s, 0.8s, 0.9s, 1.0s, ... 2.0s, and 2.2s, 2.4s ... 4.0s, and 4.5s, 5.0s, 8.0s). You are able to incrementally increase the amount of time that the focus signal is asserted when using autofocus. You are able to quickly find a tradeoff between allowing for enough time for your camera's autofocus subsystem to achieve good focus and not requiring too much time to capture the entire gigapan. When 'Shutter Length' exceeds 'Time/Exposure', then 'Shutter Length' takes precedent. You can also use the bulb so that the remote shutter controls the exposure time when using autofocus or doing exposure bracketing to capture HDR images.

Motor Speed - Options are 'Slow', 'Med,' or 'Fast'. It is recommended that you use the 'Slow' setting when using large lenses to reduce the settling time after accelerating and de- accelerating a large lens.

Motors Rigid The 'On' setting will help hold large lenses in position when you are not in a 'Move' mode, or actively capturing a panorama.

Pre-trigger Delay (0.0s, 0.5s, 1.0s, 1.5s, 2.0s, 2.5s, 3.0s) This delay is between the EPIC Pro movements and the electronic trigger signal to your camera. This allows a lens and camera body to settle after an EPIC Pro movement. This is especially important for large and longer focal length lenses.

Bracket Delay - Time delay added to allow your camera to not overflow its memory buffer while capturing exposure brackets for HDR images. Programmable between 0.1 seconds and 8 seconds.

Backlight Mode - This setting allows you to choose when the backlight is in use. The options are Power Save, Always Off, Always On.

Aspect Ratio - The ratio of the width to height of the camera system. The default setting is 3 units wide by 2 units high which is the default setting for standard DSLR cameras. You can set 'Aspect Ratio' to the following values of width to height (1:1, 3:2, 4:3, 16:9, and custom values 0.50:1, 0.55:1, ... through 2.00:1)

Picture Overlap (25%, 30%, 35%, 40%, 45%, 50%, 55%, 60%, 65%, 70%, 75%,) This setting allows you to increase the overlap to compensate for vignetting, or poor performance of a lens at the edges of the glass. Increasing this value may help give the stitch software more common area to find control points. The EPIC Pro default picture overlap is 30%.

Last Pic Hold - Continues to assert the shutter signal after the last photograph in the panorama so that a camera does not power down. This is especially useful for the timelapse function.

Shutter Feedback - Used to automatically detect a missed photograph at each position and retry again up to ten times. You must set the camera to focus priority, set 'Expert Options'->'Shutter Retries' and connect a sync cable between the camera and the EPIC Pro. The sync cable has a PC connector at one end and a mini plug at the other end. You connect the PC connector to the camera and the mini plug to the EPIC Pro remote trigger cable port. If your camera does not include a PC connector, you can purchase a hot shoe adapter that has a PC connector.

Shutter Retries - Determines the maximum number of times to retry per position when the shutter fails to trigger. Only visible when 'Expert Options'->'Shutter Feedback' is set to ON. May be set from one to ten retries.

Quick Menu Setup - Allows you to change which six items will be accessible from the quick menu. The quick menu is accessed by pressing and holding the left X button for one to two seconds. Useful menu items might be (Time/Exposure, Pretrigger delay, Mult Picture, Battery Status, Shutter Length, Mirror Lock-up)

 

 

Panorama Memory Menu

 

Previous – Repeat the previous panorama. Your panorama will be lost unless you use the 'Save Previous' option before turning the power off.

 

Save Previous –Save the previous panorama settings to the EPIC Pro's memory, including an approximate reference point that will be used in the future to give the EPIC Pro a point of reference to begin shooting.

 

Recall – Recall a panorama setting from the EPIC Pro's memory that was saved using the 'Save Previous' option.

 

1.5 Set up the EPIC Pro

Access the Quick Menu at any time by pressing and holding the X button until the Quick Menu appears. You can choose which items appear on this menu to suit your preferences. Use the 'Expert Options' submenu item 'Quick Menu Setup' to set one of the four menu items (six menu items with firmware version 171) on the Quick Menu. You have the ability to choose one of the following items for each of the quick menu items.

Firmware version 128.1:

  • Move Camera
  • Time Per Pic
  • Mult Shutter
  • Start Del/trig
  • Pic Order
  • Pretrigger Delay
  • Battery Status
  • Motor Speed
  • Shutter Length

Recommended functions to add to the Quick Menu, include: Time Per Pic, Pretrigger Delay, Battery Status, and Shutter Length.

Firmware version 171:

  • Move Camera
  • Time/Exposure
  • Mult Picture
  • Start Del/trig
  • Pic Order
  • Pretrigger Delay
  • Battery Status
  • Motor Speed
  • Shutter Length
  • Mirror Lock-up

Recommended functions to add to the Quick Menu, include: Time/Exposure, Pretrigger delay, Mult Picture, Battery Status, Shutter Length, and Mirror Lock-up

 

1.6 Electronic Trigger Cable Compatibility

Your EPIC Pro arrived with seven electronic trigger cables.  To find which cable is compatible with your camera, please visit the Camera Compatibility Page.