|Review rating: ***|
|List of sponsored/free gear: None
Did I get paid for this review? No
What is the Rhinocam?
The Vizelex Rhinocam sold by Fotodiox Pro allows you to shoot six vertical frames using a Sony a7R II, a7S II and a7II camera that can then be stitched to an approximate image size of 66x66mm to form a larger image with greater resolution.In this review I cover the following topics:
1. How does the Rhinocam work?
2. How much resolution do you get?
3. What is the crop factor, and how wide can you go?
4. Is the Rhinocam constructed well enough for tough professional use?The difference between the Rhinocam and a nodal system is that the Rhinocam moves the sensor within the image circle, so you don’t have to correct for geometric distortion that results from moving around the nodal point. Which method is better? Both have their advantages and disadvantages, so it would depend on your needs and practices.ReviewHere’s my detailed review:
- Crop factor is approximately 0.53, though in reality it can rise to about 0.58-0.6 depending on how much you crop.
- You gain an increase of about 4-5 times the resolution. With a 42 MP sensor you get a maximum of about 200 MP. With a 12 MP sensor you get about 56 MP, and with a 24 MP sensor you get about 112 MP.
- The lens mounts are Mamiya 645 and Hasselblad V.
- Stitching errors might be correctible with better technique or software.
I love the idea of the Rhinocam, which is why I bought it. Unfortunately, the Rhinocam suffers from one major flaw – poor construction.How can Vizelex make it better? They can:
- Integrate the tripod mount with the body itself, i.e., CNC machine everything from one solid piece.
- Replace the tripod mount, or better yet, machine it so the base is compatible with the arca swiss system. Too often the Rhinocam is heavy enough to swivel around the quick release plate, which can lead to distastrous consequences.
- Replace the fur-like material that covers the sensor with something that doesn’t attract dust or particles.
- Have versions that directly use 6×7 lenses (like the older Rhinocam), or even large format lenses.
- Have a better material for ground glass, or at least a hood that will allow us to see better. Also, give us some way to have different aspect ratios like 6×7 and 645, both horizontally and vertically.
For a well-built system, I would gladly have paid 2-3 times the price. You can overlook the flaws (with a screwdriver you can continue working, so no deal breakers) because there’s nothing else that comes close to the price. It’s very hard to make a tough well-machined but precise system, but I had hoped Vizelex had upped their game with this iteration.After all, stitching is a highly specific niche of photography, and shift-stitching with medium format lenses is a smaller sub-niche within that. Why not make something that’s really good? And charge what you like? So, if the people at Vizelex are reading this, please continue developing this product.All said and done, I’m not going to fault the Vizelex Rhinocam (Mamiya mount, Hasselblad mount), because, for the low price, you get a whole lot of functionality. Nothing else comes close. If it’s for you, it’s for you.As for me, I’ll probably continue using the nodal system for stitches. And I’m glad I bought the Mamiya lenses, because I can adapt it for use with the a7R II and a7S II cheaply.