View Full Version : Spirit Level

22-Dec-2007, 14:12
I am using a RRS ball head with a Linhof Technika. Can anyone recomend a good way to level the camera when I am in the field? Does any one have a small bubble level they like? thanks thomas broening- broening.com

Bob Salomon
22-Dec-2007, 14:19
Linhof has one as does Kaiser. They are 2-way levels with an accessory shoe. KAiser actually has two different ones.

22-Dec-2007, 16:33
My Zone VI lightweight tripod has a built-in bubble level and the Bogen 3047 head sitting on top has two levels. But, if I'm using one of my two other tripods (both without levels) I use an inexpensive bubble level I bought at Home Depot.

Michael Rosenberg
22-Dec-2007, 18:24
It depends on how critical you are - or what you are photographing - as to what type of level you are using. I found the levels that attach to the top of the Linhof MT camera are not very good, as the shoe is not square to the gg. For architectural photography I have found it critical to level the camera from the gg where the film will sit. I also find that you have to level the lens with tilt adjustment when using wide angle lenses with the MT2000 (or at least with mine); lenses on the internal focusing track are tilted by a few degrees.

Get a carpenters level that has double lines on the spirit glass to avoid parallax distortion when not looking straight on at the level.


22-Dec-2007, 19:23
There are really cheap two way bubble levels on ebay the slide into the hot shoe on the camera. Buy a few at a time.

Merg Ross
22-Dec-2007, 21:07
As mentioned, it really depends on your purpose. For field work I currently use a level in the accessory shoe. However, when the majority of my income was derived from architectural photography, I used grid lines on the ground glass.

Matt Blaze
22-Dec-2007, 21:12
I use a monorail, so your mileage may vary a bit, but for critical work I use a Starrett cross-test/plumb level held against the rear standard (I think it's a model #134). A proper level is MUCH more accurate than the little built-in levels on the camera (or hotshoe levels). I've also used a small machinist's level, but that seems to be overkill.

That still leaves the problem of getting the rear standard perfectly parallel to the subject (e.g., the side of a building), but once the camera is level, I do that by panning until lines are horizontal and vertical on the groundglass. (And if there's a better way to do this, I'd love to hear it).

22-Dec-2007, 21:59
I just use a torpedo level. (it may be called something different depending on where you live)
Looks like:
About 5 or 6 inches long

22-Dec-2007, 22:59
I have a two-way level that sits in a horseshoe and a torpedo level... my preference is definitely the torpedo unit that's approximately 6 inches long.

It works very well.


23-Dec-2007, 08:24
i use a post level and or a little keychain square level.
they can be found at a hardware store for almost nothing
or they give they give them away (keychain).

Alan Davenport
23-Dec-2007, 10:27
I also use a small torpedo level. It's quick, simple and (I think) more accurate than tiny bubbles attached to the camera.

23-Dec-2007, 11:04
Most of the time I do not have horizon lines not man-made vertical lines in my images -- so I get to decide what is "level". Dang redwoods don't always stand up straight!

When I do have such lines in my image, I use built-in bubble levels on the pod and camera to get close, then use the image and/or the grid on my GG for the final adjustments. When I was using a 5x7 with no built-in levels, I used a small 4" topedo level on the GG.

Sometimes what is perfectly level, looks "wrong". Vaughn

Leonard Evens
23-Dec-2007, 13:02
I used an inexpensive torpedo level for many years. But I got a couple of small "cubes" which are designed to fit in a flash shoe from B and H. I just checked their web site and they seem to offer several choices, one from Jobu Design which looks like mine and several other "double" units. I find these better for putting right on the ground glass. I still use the torpedo level for checking if the front standard is plumb by placing it across the front of the lens barrel.

Ernest Purdum
23-Dec-2007, 18:08
I like a gadget called an "angle finder". It serves as a level, but also can be adjusted to make one plane parallel with another. You can tilt the camera way up, bring the back parallel to the subject, then use the angle finder to zero out effective front tilt. Several internet tool or industrial supply companies carry them and some models are better made and more expensive than others.

Wilbur Wong
24-Dec-2007, 06:17
I use a credit card sized level made by Ebisu Diamond, from Lee Valley Tools $9 when I want to do any critical leveling, this was recommended by Jan Pietrzak at one of Per's workshops. http://www.leevalley.com/gifts/page.aspx?c=2&cat=4,104,53212,48816&p=48816

I do have a cube style level on my Master Technika shoe, but I use it for quick set ups only, note that I am also on a ball mount. The reason for critical level with the Ebisu Diamond is that the film plane is what I want to make sure is level, not the body which might be at a different angle due to back swing and tilt.

John Bartley
24-Dec-2007, 07:45
I use a bullseye level from Lee Valley to set the camera tilt head level for a starting position. My tripod (US Army Surplus) has two built in levels at right angles, same as I used when I was surveying, so setup is a breeze.

Here's the Lee Valley level I use on the camera bed : http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.aspx?c=1&p=51109&cat=1,43513

cheers eh?