Recently I've been getting back into panoramic photography. It's been a lot of fun, after perhaps a decade long hiatus, to capture spherical panoramas again. I picked up a mint condition Kaidan QuickPan IV tripod head with Spherical Bracket to relive my early 00's QTVR days, while securely mounting my new Nikon D810 camera when capturing photos.

In order to capture a panorama I use the tripod head to take evenly spaced photographs in all directions. It uses small plastic disks to click into the right position, so the photos are easily aligned.

It works great, but I found that I needed a different set of detent discs than came with the tripod head. I think there was some standard set—but to achieve 25% overlap with my 17-35mm lens, I calculated 7 photos would be optimal, but that value wasn't included in the kit.

I figured it would be nearly impossible to find additional Kaidan detent discs since the company is now defunct, so I set about making my own through Ponoko. I used my vintage Browne & Sharpe Dial Caliper to measure the original discs, then drew up some new ones using Inkscape. Ponoko gave me a $20 coupon for signing up, so I got my set of 5 laser-cut discs for less than $10 shipping & handling. The quality is excellent, and the 1.5mm Delrin material is perfect for the discs.

Reproduction Detent Discs

The fit is a bit snug, but they work great! I've made the discs available for purchase through Ponoko here, and also am providing the design file for download here. While it's unlikely many folks are looking for detent discs for the long discontinued QuickPan IV tripod head, I figured it'd be nice to have some source to get them in case anybody needs replacements.

I haven't yet captured a panorama with my new discs, but last weekend I went to Treasure Island and recorded the image below. I'm still working on HDR, color, and stitching details, but still happy with the results.

Treasure Island