Almost eight years ago, we released the RhinoCam, which was a shift-stitch solution that let people use their mirrorless cameras to get medium-format-style images. It was geared towards consumers and APS-C sensors primarily, but the RhinoCam+ was then released years later for Sony E full-frame mirrorless cameras (the typical choice for full-frame mirrorless cameras at the time).
Now that full-frame mirrorless has more options (like the Nikon Z and Canon RF systems), we’re reintroducing the RhinoCam in its newest iteration: the RhinoCam Vertex.
Even at first glance, the new system is very different from the previous versions. If you’re in the market for a stitching solution, this post will lay out the key differences so you can figure out which one works best for your needs.
To compare, we used the same lens, the same camera, and we even kept the tripod in the exact same spot. The only thing we changed was the version of RhinoCam system being used. On the left side is the stitch we created using images from the RhinoCam Vertex, and the right-side stitch was created using the RhinoCam+:
After stitching the image in Photoshop, it’s clear we get a square-format image from both versions, but if we overlay them as such:
You’ll see that the RhinoCam+ offers a much more complete field of view.
Number of Shots
The total number of shots for a full stitch is correlated to the total coverage that each device allows for, which is directly affected by the mechanics of each version.
The RhinoCam+ requires six shots for the full stitch:
The RhinoCam Vertex, on the other hand, requires only four shots for a full stitch:
With the A7RII, the native resolution for a full-size image is 42 megapixels, at 7952 x 5304 pixels. Using the area (or total megapixel count of the stitches), we’re able to calculate how much bigger the stitched images are:
After the stitch, the image dimension for the RhinoCam+ stitch was 14360 x 14586 pixels (coming out to 209 megapixels), resulting in an image area 4.98 times bigger than a single shot.
After the stitch, the image dimension for the RhinoCam Vertex was 10366 x 10343 pixels (coming out to 107 megapixels), resulting in an image area 2.55 times bigger than a single shot, which is still pretty good, considering it manages to be a tiny bit larger than a Fujifilm GFX 100 image.
Ease of Use
The RhinoCam+ has three different dots (shown below) that must be aligned to the lower dot when taking each image for the stitch. Unfortunately, there are no audible clicks or ball-bearings to give you tactile confirmation of alignment, so it must be done visually.
This process must be done twice: one for each row corresponding to the vertical alignment dots shown below.
Additionally, the RhinoCam+ has a ground glass that you can use to frame your composition before taking your images. This is great if you need a rough idea of what your final stitch will look like and definitely helps smooth out the shooting process.
The RhinoCam Vertex is significantly less-complicated in its mechanics. The back side of the adapter rotates for you to take a picture every 90 degrees.
This is certainly easier than carefully aligning the dots as you would with the RhinoCam+, but the tradeoff is that your final image won’t cover as wide of an area as the previous RhinoCams. The lack of ground glass can also make framing your scene a bit more tricky, however the good thing about this rotating system is that you can clearly see at least one outer edge of the final stitch, no matter where the camera is rotated.
In either scenario, these stitching solutions are going to be lighter than bringing your actual medium format camera with your lenses. Compared to each other, the amount of space they take up differs a lot. That difference can be the deciding factor on how many lenses you can bring, especially if space is at a premium in your gear:
The RhinoCam+ can take up quite a bit of space, while the RhinoCam Vertex is roughly the size of our larger lens mount adapters. If I’m going to be walking around, I prefer a smaller bag, so the Vertex makes the most sense for me.
I think both versions have something to offer, and it depends on what you’re looking for in the product. For a seasoned shooter that’s got an endless reservoir of patience and wants to take the largest and widest images possible, the original RhinoCam is likely the best bet.
If you’re just starting off, have full-frame cameras for the Sony E, Nikon Z, or Canon RF systems, or you just desire a simple, streamlined process, the RhinoCam Vertex is a great way to get into medium-format shooting.
Click here to view our new RhinoCam Vertex adapters. More lens/body combinations coming soon!