Swiss manufacturer Seitz Phototechnik AG has announced the Roundshot VR Drive 's', a faster version of its motorized panorama head. Capable of capturing both cylindrical and spherical panoramic images, it can complete a 360° revolution in 8 seconds. It also features a 'quality mode' for High Dynamic Range work, and is billed as compact and lightweight at 1.65kg. Existing users of the Roundshot VR Drive can upgrade to the speed (s) version for €333, while new buyers can avail themselves of it for €1870.

Press Release:

New Roundshot VR Drive "s" - speed - a new quality standard for high speed digital 360° panorama photography

Lustdorf / Switzerland – February 2010. Swiss company Seitz Phototechnik AG launches a new automated panorama head that sets a new standard in high-speed, consistent 360° photography.

The new Roundshot VR Drive "s" - speed - works in a simple, two step process. Firstly, it rotates, completing a revolution in eight seconds, while capturing up to 5 images per second. Secondly, the resulting images are assembled with high-powered stitching software.

The VR Drive’s precision and smooth rotation allows higher resolution panoramas than are achievable with manually operated stitching solutions. Its high processing speed also eliminates the problem of ‘ghosting’ when capturing moving objects such as people or clouds.

The panoramas can be rendered either as cylindrical or spherical images easily and cost-effectively. The VR Drive is compatible with many digital single lens reflex (SLR) cameras and with all lenses, from fisheye to tele lens.

An optional turntable mounted on top of the VR Drive motor can be used for creating object movies. Also, it can be used to produce high-definition videos or time-lapse movies. The VR Drive enables up to 800 positions in one 360° revolution, which is ideal for gigapixel imaging.

In situations where a higher dynamic range is required, the VR Drive's "quality mode" positions the camera for automatic image bracketing. Using this technique, the subject is photographed several times to obtain a higher dynamic range. These bracketed images can then be combined into a 32-bit HDR image used for 3D-modelling or film production.

At just 1.65 kg, the VR Drive "s" is a lightweight, compact unit that fits into any equipment bag.
The Roundshot VR Drive "s" is available in stock and priced at CHF 2,800 (EUR 1,870). Roundshot photographers with an existing VR Drive can upgrade their unit to the "s" version for CHF 500 (EUR 333).