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I think what's happening, when you don't set the timestamp is that the timestamp is 0. If you give an explicit time of 0 tf will transform using the latest transform available, the same probably works when it's the timestamp of the header. So this is actually a usable solution.

Although it might not make a big difference, depending on what you are willing to achieve it might be a bit more correct to set the timestamp when you compute the point as you tried. In that case you need to waitForTransform (not sure if there is a python equivalent) until the tf for the timestamp is available.

I think what's happening, when you don't set the timestamp timestamp, is that the timestamp is 0. If you give an explicit time of 0 tf will transform using the latest transform available, the same probably works when it's the timestamp of the header. So this is actually a usable solution.

Although it might not make a big difference, depending on what you are willing to achieve it might be a bit more correct to set the timestamp when you compute the point as you tried. In that case you need to waitForTransform (not sure if there is a python equivalent) until the tf for the timestamp is available.