September 5, 2013

Quick Connect Panorama Set for APS-C and 4/3 Mirrorless Cameras from Hejnar Photo - Preview

Hejnar 4/3 Quick Connect Panorama Set w/ Fujifilm X-E1
Hejnar PHOTO has introduced a new multi-row Panorama Rails Set, quite innovative and different in concept from their older solutions.

It is addressed to the APS-C and 4/3 mirrorless camera owners, who would like a less bulky, lightweight and Quick Connect solution for their Panorama shooting needs.

The new rail set is CNC machined into a skeletal form, out of single blocks of 6061-T6 Aluminium. The same material all Hejnar products are made of.

The rails that comprise the set are all Arca-Swiss® compatible with double dovetails and besides the skeletal design they maintain enough sturdiness to cope with the load of contemporary mirrorless compact cameras, without vibrations.

In my opinion this Quick Connect Panorama Set best fits the needs of those photographers, who already have a ball head equipped with a panoramic clamp and would like to expand their rig in order to experiment with multi-row panoramas.

The Quick Connect Set

Hejnar 4/3 Quick Connect Panorama Set components
The Hejnar PHOTO 4/3 Quick Connect Set is comprised of a 5" vertical rail, a 6" horizontal rail, the E30-40 4" Nodal slide, the updated F60 1" QR clamp, two Index Bars, one 1/4"-20 flat head screw, two dowel pins and three Allen hex keys.
Model:4/3 Quick Connect Set
Base Rail Length:6.0" (15.24 cm)
Vertical Rail Length:5.0" (12.70 cm)
Nodal Rail Length:4.0" (10.16 cm)
Rails' Width:1,5" (03.81 cm)
Rails' Thickness:3/8" (0.95 cm)
F60 QR Clamp width:1.0" (2.54 cm)
Total Set Weight:10.08 oz (286 gr)
Material:6061-T6 Aluminium
Safety Stop Screws:2 x M3
Engraved Scales:Metric in 1 mm inc.
Hardware:Stainless Steel
Color:Black hard coat anodized
Made in USA

The Basic Components & Quick Connect Concept
The 6" long horizontal and the 5" long vertical, rails are the basic components of the Quick Connect Panorama Set. The horizontal rail hollow in the middle, featuring laser engraved decimal scales on both top-sides ranging from 0-13 cm divided in 1 mm increments, and a large bubble level at the front end. The Vertical rail is more simple with a hollow part, one 1/4"-20 tapped hole at the top-end and a captive slot a little lower.

Hejnar 4/3 Quick Connect Panorama Set connection details
The "secret" of the Quick Connect concept is found in the combination of the vertical rail bottom bosses and the horizontal rail rear end slots; pictured in the bottom photos. The vertical rail is equipped with a long screw topped by a large knob. Further, the screw is captive, so it cannot be unscrewed off completely and be lost in the field.

Connecting the Vertical Rail
Is a very straight forward procedure that's why at Hejnar PHOTO call it Quick Connect.

Hejnar 4/3 Quick Connecting Horizontal and Vertical Rails sequence
Just insert the long screw at the bottom-end of the vertical rail into the gap at the rear end of the horizontal rail (top photo) and then tighten the screw-knob very well (bottom left). The vertical rail bosses fit snugly into the relevant slots, ensuring the correct positioning and perfect alignment between the two rails (bottom right). Total weight of the assembly is 176 gr (6.2 oz).

Vertical Panoramic Clamp Choices
The Hejnar 4/3 Quick Connect set offers only the rails required to build your multi-row panorama setup. Therefore, the vertical rail is designed to accept a variety of Panning QR Clamps of your choice, that will perform the role of the vertical rotator.

Hejnar 4/3 Quick Connect Set - Panoramic clamp attachment seq.
The 1/4"-20 tapped hole at the top of the vertical rail combined with the captive slot below can accommodate from larger panning clamps -as in the top left photo- to tiny panning clamps as the ones pictured in the bottom left and right photos.
The top tapped hole accepts a flat head 1/4"-20 screw passing through the center of the panning clamp of the users choice. Another short 1/4"-20 captive screw passed in the captive slot from behind, will immobilize and align the clamp by one of the tapped holes usually found at the panning clamp's bottom-side.
Hejnar 4/3 Quick Connect Set - Vertical rotator fixing w/ hex-socket screw
Even if the panning clamp you chose does not have any tapped 1/4"-20 bottom mounting holes, like the Sunwayfoto DDH-02 compact Panning Clamp taken as an example here, there is still a solution for its immobilization in order to avoid twisting. For this purpose, the use of a hex-socket soft-tip screw is advisable. After tightening the clamp by its center screw well, insert the soft-tip screw in the top 1/4"-20 threads of the vertical rail captive slot and tighten it with the appropriate size Allen hex key. As simple as that.
Hejnar 4/3 Quick Connect Set w/ Vertical panoramic clamp
The assembled combo is illustrated here with the Sunwayfoto DDH-03 Panning Clamp which is an excellent example of light weight, compactness and sturdiness, matching the Hejnar 4/3 Quick Connect Set characteristics.

The Nodal Slide Assembly
The recently previewed Hejnar Photo E030-40 4" Nodal Slide is very simple in its assembly. The F60 QR clamp, may be mounted at the back-end into the 1/4"-20 tapped hole of the rail in either orientation proves convenient for your camera base plate or L bracket. (You may find a full description and details in the fore-mentioned preview).

Hejnar Photo E030-40 4" Nodal Slide assembly sequence
All we need is to use one dowel pin in the appropriate hole according to the desired clamp orientation (bottom left), the included 1/4"-20 flat head screw, the F60 QR clamp and the the larger 4mm Allen hex key to tighten the screw. The QR clamp can be aligned and fixed securely at the back end of the small nodal slide.
Both the F60 QR clamp and the E30-40 rail have laser engraved decimal scales in 1 mm increments for the correct positioning of the camera on the head. If you ever need to use the Nodal slide for single row panoramas there is a large bubble level available to aid the head leveling.

The Index Bars

Hejnar 4/3 Quick Connect Set - Index Bar details
The set contains two Index Bars. Each bar can be fixed at the desired position on the top dovetail of the rails with the appropriate Allen hex key supplied. Each bar weighs only 9 gr (0.31 oz) so it will add very little to the total weight.
This proves a convenient solution for marking a point on a rail e.g. the horizontal rail centering point or the the exact "nodal" point for the lens in use, for future reference avoiding the solution of stickers, markers etc.

The Complete Setup

Hejnar 4/3 Quick Connect Set complete w/ Nodal slide and Panoramic clamps
Hejnar Photo 4/3 Quick Connect Set complete setup is illustrated above with the optional Sunwayfoto DDH-02 and DDH-03 panoramic clamps and the Hejnar E30-40 4" Nodal slide attached in place.

Using with a Camera

Fujifilm X-E1 mounted on complete Hejnar 4/3 Quick Connect Set
The Fujifilm X-E1 equipped with the new Hejnar - Fuji X-E1 Modular L Bracket is mounted and centered on the Hejnar 4/3 Quick Connect Panorama Set giving a good size comparison for the lightweight structure. The index bar on the horizontal rail is an easy way to mark the lens center axis for quick setup.
Fujifilm X-E1 mounted on Hejnar 4/3 Quick Connect Set - Horizontal
Alignment and centering of the camera/lens axis is performed via the Nodal Slide QR clamp. In this case all it takes is to make the Φ center mark on the L-Bracket coincide with the Φ center mark on the QR clamp.
Vertical positioning for a Zenith shot. In the photo above it is obvious that the second index bar is used on the Nodal slide to mark the Non Parallax Point (Nodal Point) for the desired focal length / aperture of the lens to be used.
Fujifilm X-E1 mounted on Hejnar 4/3 Quick Connect Set - Nadir position
In order to shoot a Nadir frame without obstruction from the pano head, tripod legs etc, the vertical rail / camera combo can be loosened and turned by 180° so the camera goes to the outer side.

Dismantling for Transport

Hejnar 4/3 Quick Connect Set assembled modules
Dismantling the set equals to unscrewing three screw-knobs. One for the camera, one for the Nodal Slide and one for the Vertical Rail. The small size of components can be easily packed for transport.
Hejnar 4/3 Quick Connect Set transport packing
The Horizontal Rail can be clamped on the Vertical Panning clamp and depending on the orientation of the QR clamp on the Nodal Slide, the later can be inserted between the two other rails and clamped on the bottom dovetail of the Horizontal rail pictured above.

I hope you found the preview useful, thank you for viewing.
All Photos used by permission © 2013 C.Hejnar /Hejnar Photo

Price & Availability:
Current price for the Quick connect Panorama Package is US$ 180.00 (+Shipping where applicable), and is available from the Hejnar Photo online store

If you are interested in the Hejnar product, do check the Recommended Sellers page for a valid Hejnar Photo discount coupon before ordering.

Additionaly current price for the Sunwayfoto DDH-02i and DDH-03Ni Panning Clamps is US$ 79.00 and US$ 89.00 respectively, both avaialble from
Sunwayfoto DDH 02i and DDH-03i have been discontinued and replaced by newer and cheaper DDH models which may be purchased new from eBay worldwide

Optionally Matin Neoprene Pouches, for storing the head, are also available from Amazon or from eBay

Availability links for individual items may be found in their respective Reviews listed below.

Referenced Articles:

New Hejnar Photo E030-40 4" Nodal Slide Rail Preview

Hejnar PHOTO F60 1" Quick Release Clamp Review

Hejnar Photo Index Bars Reference

Sunwayfoto DDH-02 compact Panning Clamp Review

Sunwayfoto DDH-03 Panning Clamp Review

New Modular L Bracket for Fuji X-E1 from Hejnar PHOTO

Matin Neoprene Lens Pouch Set Review

Relevant Articles:

Create a Mini Multi-Row Panorama Head for Mirrorless Cameras

Create a Multi Row Panorama Head Ver. II


  1. Thanks for this review of the Hejnar quick connect panorama setup for 4/3 cameras.
    I have an Olympus OM-D EM 1 camera with olympus 12-40 f2.8 pro lens. Also have the RRS BOEM-1 plate as a baseplate for the camera. Do you think the Hejnar setup as you have described in the review will accommodate my camera/lens combo at both ends of the zoom range of the lens.
    I like the price point and the light weight of the hejnar set up. Definitely much better on both accounts than the RRS multi-row pano setup! I do a lot of backpacking photo expeditions so weight is a big concern for me.
    Thanks for your consideration.

    1. Hi Paul,
      Thanks for commenting. Unfortunately I cannot find any data regarding the non-parallax (nodal) point(s) of the zuiko 12-40 Pro lens. Especially for its widest focal length, which has usually the longest distance from the tripod socket on the camera. That would determine if the small dimensions of the Hejnar 4/3 pano are adequate for your camera/lens combo.
      Based on data available for older Olympus lenses, I suspect that the Nodal Rail included with the package might prove short for your combo at the widest focal length.
      If you have this information available, it will be easier to determine compatibility or make any further suggestion.

    2. Thanks for the quick reply Sotiris
      I set up my camera and determined that the Non Parallax point at the 12 mm end of the zoom is 3 inches (76 mm) and at the 40 mm end of the zoom it is 2.375 inches (60mm) from the centre of the tripod socket on the camera.
      Hope this helps,
      Cheers, Paul

    3. Thanks Paul, it sure helps.
      Taking into consideration the greater of the two numbers (76mm) and the fact that the middle of the dovetails on the BOEM-1 plate is a little offset back from the mounting screw, I see that the E030-40 Nodal rail included in the Hejnar Quick Connect Pano Package, which has an effective length of 70mm might be marginally suitable. But I cannot recommend an ambiguous solution.
      I've communicated with Hejnar Photo on the matter in order to propose a slightly longer nodal rail instead, but any longer one will interfere with the horizontal when turned for a zenith shot.
      There is an option of a custom Quick Connect package with a longer vertical rail by 1" but that would set you back about 10 weeks.
      Therefore, I cannot recommend the Quick Connect Package for your gear.
      Alternatively, I can only prompt you to have a look at another full sized, heavier though, solution as described in my article Create a Multi Row Panorama Head Ver. II but instead of the Benro clamps suggested therein, utilize the New Improved DDH-03i Panning Clamp in order to save on weight.

  2. Thanks again Sotiris
    I don't anticipate doing any spherical/360 pans so I shouldn't need the zenith shot so I think I will go for a slightly longer nodal rail - I'll check to see if Hejnar has a 3/8" nodal rail 1" longer.
    Your help here is greatly appreciated.
    Cheers, Paul

  3. Save for the nodal rail, would the horizontal and vertical rails be sturdy enough using one of the Sunwayfoto clamps listed above for a FF camera a 24-70mm lens? I do not do 360 degree panoramas but mostly 2-4 rows vertically and multiple horizontally at 50-70mm so I do not need much clearance with the vertical rail. I would certainly need a longer nodal rail but otherwise I love the ease, small size, and price of this set up. Thoughts?

    1. Although I feel that the QC Panorama Set is marginal for a camera lens combo you describe, Hejnar Photo confirms it did not deflect when tried with a Nikon D750 with grip and an older 28-70 f2.8 which is quite a heavy lens.
      As for the Panning clamps choice, I would suggest a couple of DDH-03Ni's for both vertical and horizontal rotators, if you can find them.