I need an indexing tool for taking images at set angles to stitch into panoramic photos
Q - I need an indexing tool for taking images at set angles to stitch into panoramic photos
A - Many tripod heads now come with separate indexed panning bases marked with degrees of rotation, but if you need this separately, or want to add this capability to the top of a tripod head so you can use the head for levelling and then pan independently, there are a number of products available.
Examples of these are:
Gitzo GS3750D Panoramic head, which is a very low profile head to keep the head compact or,
Manfrotto 300N, which adds the capability to put in click stops at a range of useful angels of rotation from 5 degrees right up to 45 degrees.
To take panoramic images you also require a rail or other device to move the camera back on the base. This will allow the image to rotate around the nodal point of the lens, the point where the light rays converge in the lens, so that you avoid parallax issues in your images.
For this reason, dedicated panoramic heads like the Manfrotto 303SPH allow for this range of motion, and even allow for panoramas constructed from several rows of images to make very high resolution files.
For more detailed information on the principles of parlalax please check out this detailed article from Cambridge in Colour.