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Wanting to purchase an indoor photogrammetric camera and software solution

I am buying a camera+lens in the next few days for PHOTOGRAMMETRIC INDOOR MAPPING!

Price is not an object! Quality and precision is! If there are cameras of yesterday and today technology each with its own advantages, I can buy both solutions no problem. If you know of any camera that will be released in December for example, I can patiently wait until it is released and not waste my money on a filler solution. Technological gap is very important to me!

I already use handheld + terrestrial laser scanners but would like to create a photogrammetry branch that will do the same work for a fraction of a price.

Whether Nikon or Sony or Canon and lenses, I would like to buy the proven best at this particular moment in technological date (AUGUST 17 2016)

I will appreciate all help and I intend to bother you again next time when I invest in a drone and GPS equipment for outdoor mapping

subscribe to the issue, I would like to learn about similar experiences of other participants.

Sure unless I get some better info I will buy a Nikon D810 w/ 2.8/16mm Fisheye lens next Wednesday in Hong Kong.

It can store a lot of pixels and it works well in dark environment. I am thinking between Nikon D810 w/ 2.8/16mm Fisheye lens and Sony A7R II w/ Fisheye 2.8/16mm or even both (I would use the Sony primarily for videos to accompany the maps given to the customer).

But first I shall visit a photogrammetry company in Hong Kong to inquire about the lenses further.

Nikon has 10.5mm 14mm Wide lens and 16mm. I might even get the 14mm though is double price of 16mm

I will also buy any geotagging solutions I can find and am very interested in finding a solution for indoor mapping that is assisted by outside GPS via total station, compass etc… (The Sony a7r II does not include a GPS facility!!!)


Other is Solmeta GMAX

They are both fully compatible with Nikon D810. The way I see it, if I buy the Nikon D810, I will still have the best DSLR solution and then can continue working with it until the market for mirrorless cameras is established a little better

If money is no object, you should look at the NCTech iStar Fusion for Indoor Modeling. 

It’s a 360 Degree Camera that’s directly supported with the newest version of Pix4D as per Support Article: . 




That is a very interesting solution and I have seriously thought between Spheron, Omnipro and IStar. I have inquired further about the Istar in Linkedin but there was a problem: If I take a Nikon D810 and a Nodal Ninja module, I can use the camera to capture panoramic and then stitch it to my LIDAR file from the laser scanner. IStar only had this support for Faro Focus 3D Terrestrial Laser Scanner of which I have none and is currently also doing the same thing with Leica. I do realize this has nothing to do with photogrammetry and the support of IStar in PIX4D but if I wait a little longer, I could probably get a spherical camera with a file system that can inter-operate flawlessly between LIDAR hardware & software, as well as any photogrammetry solutions. I have a multitude of established LIDAR hardware from Faro handhelds to Dotproduct DPI-8 to Trimble laser scanners and will invest in any solutions that takes that into account.

However I do know the idea of a spherical camera is a lifesaver and only twice the price of a Nikon+Nodal Ninja solution but processes at a fraction of the time. As soon as a good solution goes in the market, I have the cash ready to buy it!!!

Hi Ryan you may be right. I think I may go for a NCTECH IStar 360 Fusion as well. Thank you.

I was, however, hooked by the spheron Lite VR though!

100mb VR quality resolution that my server can process in no time and can get adapters for virtually any 3D scanner to get it to sit in the exact positionin the tripod but is about 20.000USD I hear

Well I have purchased a NIKON D810 body (16500 HK Dollars) with a NIKKOR FISHEYE 16/2.8 (5100 HK Dollars) at ECHO shop in Hong Kong. Will couple this with: 

1 TRIMBLE fiberglass heavy-duty tripod / 1 Nodal Ninja module / 1 servo motor / 1 remote shutter / 1 tablet and a software for automatic capturing and stitching and turn it into a solution similar to SPHERON LITE VR but much cheaper and with ultra high definition for documentation since the choice of resolution is controlled by me and not by a NIKON lens with a more simplified sensor (compared to NIKON D810) which is SPHERON. I am really looking forward to building my own solution.

Also in 80 days I will purchase the ISTAR Pulsar which allows photo as well as video capture. Will have to travel to Singapore or Europe for that since in China the prices are 2 to 3 times higher than the retail suggested price by the website. This, of course, is very good for me since I will be able to give my maps away for very cheap as opposed to my competitors who have to endure corporate sodomy just to get the same tools

Hello Denis i am curius if you try the system that you make because i want to make a simillar. Also can you share aproject that you make with us?

Sure Georgios!

First I need to remind you that my goal of this project is to create a mount device that can be used both with 3D laser scanner (LIDAR) as well as photogrammetry point cloud built in PIX4D. This means that even though I haven’t yet a planar rotary laser scanner, I will have a:

  1. TRIPOD (base device in which I can place either the laser scanner directly or: adapter which corresponds with the height of laser (varied size based on laser machine I will own) followed by a servo motor followed by angled adapter that ensures the precision matching nodal point of the optical center of the lens matches the absolute x vertical point of the center of the tripod and y horizontal point of the center of either the laser scanner or the camera and lens on which you will base this project) TRIMBLE fiberglass heavy-duty tripod is not affected by weather conditions which is what you need on a precission capture device

  2. ADAPTER (precission milled device which will be the height of the servo motor + the height differential that will ensure that the appropriate laser scanner Y horizotal point will absolutely match the optical center of the lens)

3 SERVO MOTOR (device which will rotate the camera to the desired angles and capture the photo after each rotation, preferably automatically. If you find one that fits your use you might want to buy a few because if yu change the height of the servo motor you must make new adapter as well as angled adapter)

4 ANGLED ADAPTER (precission milled device which will place the optical center of the lens to the absolute x vertical point on center of tripod and Y horizontal point of laser scanner and camera

5 CAMERA AND LENS (You must make sure your camera and lens never change! If that happens you need to do all calculations from start)

6 CAPTURE DEVICE (tablet that runs the servo motor, capture and stitching and possibly waypoint creation)

Ultimately I will have a device that when paired with a laser scanner will provide beautiful colorization and documentation as well as a photogrammetric cloud that can be compared with a LIDAR point cloud (just for the fun of it I guess of for sorting out precission) or if working on its own can provide a dense point cloud that can later be processed by modelling and delivery software (Archicad Rhino etc)

That is the plan! However so far I have done none of it since I got a villa that I am breaking down the interior. Afterwards I plan to take panoramas using manual nodal device such as Manfrotto Pano head which means that for this construction I will use 1 photogrammetric point cloud that originates from PIX4D and 2 LIDAR point clouds that originate from my 2 handheld laser scanners: Faro Freestyle 3D and Dotproduct DPI-8.

These three point clouds (1 photogrammetric and 2 LIDAR) will be processed separately but by not having a nodal point I will not be able to use the panorama to aid the LIDAR scans colorization and enhanced detail which ultimately I am looking forward when I build the above-mentioned contraption and buy a planar rotary laser scanner as well! This will alow the laser precission paired with ultimate documentation and colorization up to 36mb per shot)

I have so far: camera + lens + tripod + tablet and am researching the stitching software the laser scanners currently in sale for dimension al information which will allow me to design and mill the two adapters and for a good servo motor that can be controlled with an app

Denis Petani you done it or not, i am curious…

Sorry dude still stuck at step 2/3/4. Very difficult to find precission milling services where I reside (Guangzhou) unless is wholesale production numbers… And the workmanship here is terrible unless you use newer comanies with better machines. They are located around Shanghai. So I have put it on hold for a while. I am, however trying to buy a Nodal Ninja M2 Giga x/RD8-II (F9000) that will let me use the camera positioning in manual mode. This will at least let me check the latter processes with camera, tablet, software and automatization of capturing photos. I have gotten any possible Pano tool in the market. I let you know when something important changes or if I have decided on what software to settle

After reading this thread, why dont you place targets in the scene and scan and photograph them.  Then on the back end if you line up those targets you can apply the photos to the lidar points.  There is a Point cloud product(3DReshaper) out there that will let you do this, it is very expensive though.

I already do all that for LIDAR and Photogrammetric capture using all-around targets, spheres and large sticks with measurements for easy calibration. The whole effort is going into making a solution where the Nikon D810 with Fish-eye lens will go to a tripod that can rotate and capture a high quality image that can generate a dense point cloud which I can syncronise with LIDAR scans from one of my handheld laser scanners especially for MEP (otherwise just use photogrammetric cloud). This is essentially much cheaper than bringing the scanner to a site! That having been said, all the curent options that offer this POINT CLOUD COLORIZATION are too expensive, software limited and hardware limited as well as I have explained above. I would rather build a solution or buy a robotic head in which I can attach the best camera there is that I already have bought, rather than buy a 20000$ solution that gives you a generic lens or a generic sensor attached to a very good lens but which is not full frame or is a very subpar product! Remember: a full - frame sensor has over 2.5 times the surface area of an APS-C sensor. In conclusion this is an effort to not be limited by the market products or the shortcuts makers take in order to make an extra buck. I am however stuck in the making of the aluminum adapter as well as a nice servo and control solution that would place the robotic head and camera on the same exact angle as any planar laser scanner (provided you change the adapter to the correct one that has been designed and milled according to the height of the planar laser scanner you are momentarily using) Trimble TX8 already has a Nodal Ninja solution in which after you have taken the rotary scan, you remove the scanner, install Nodal Ninja adapter for Trimble TX8 and Nikon d810 wth fish-eye and take colorization photos which are registered in Realworks with the LIDAR files. I have access to several software solutions whether Photogrammetric, Pano and LIDAR registration so that is not a problem. It’s been done to death, is just difficult to do it from your workshop )))