THE PHOTOGRAPHY EQUIPMENT
First of all you need a high quality Digital SLR Camera - Something like the Canon 550D would be perfect.
Next Step is to get a super wide angle lens known as a fish eye. Your looking for one with 180 degree diagonal field of view - A Sigma 8mm Fish Eye would work well.
Obviously a large memory card is needed for your camera as lots of photos need to be taken for each shot.
Next item is a tripod (although it is possible to shoot hand held, a tripod makes the whole process allot simpler. A tripod like this would be ideal Hahnel Triad 40 Lite. We modify our tripods so the legs only open about half as far as normal so less of the floor area is taken up by the legs but dont over do this as the whole lot could fall over and its allot of valuable kit thats going to hit the floor.
Unfortunately mounting a camera directly on the tripod will not work well for panoramic photography as the camera needs to be mounted such that the lenses focal point is the centre of rotation in both the horizontal and vertical axis. To achieve this we use the Nodal Ninja 4 VR Head.
And the last additions to the tripod are optional, a levelling plate makes leveling the panoramic head much easier and a rotator with click stops which can be set at 72 or 60 degrees just speeds up the process of positioning the camera between shots. The final setup looks like this.