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Hotshoe spirit levels............

Discussion in 'General Equipment Chat & Advice' started by swanseadave, Oct 16, 2017.

  1. swanseadave

    swanseadave Well-Known Member

    ...the kind with a round bubble in the centre of what is ,in effect,a replacement hot shoe cover.

    I`ve looked on ebay and they seen to be 99p to around £5,all looking pretty similar.

    Are they an accurate way of levelling a camera on a tripod?Said Mannfroto does not have a level built in,hence the question.
  2. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Dear Dave,

    T-type levels (two linear levels at right angles) are easier to use. With either T- or circular levels, you tend to get what you pay for. A good level (such as the one from Kaiser, almost £20) will work unless there's a problem with your camera. A cheap one may or may not. Many do. Some don't. Are you feeling lucky?


  3. swanseadave

    swanseadave Well-Known Member

    Thanks Roger,I`ll look for the T type you mention.What I forgot to mention is that it will need to be in Minolta/Sony iISO.
  4. Terrywoodenpic

    Terrywoodenpic Well-Known Member

    Very few spirit levels are exactly accurate, very very few offer any means of adjustment.
    Howeve almooyt all are consistant. In their inaccuracy.
    It is easy enough to re mark the limit lines on many spirit levels.
  5. RogerMac

    RogerMac Well-Known Member

    It is quite easy to check - select a surface that you know to be level and just place the camera (with its hot shoe gizmo on it ) and see if the level reads correctly. This will only work with a small lens attached.
    To check a level surface there are two ways:
    1. Roll a billiard ball gently on the surface in several different directions and check that no one direction is favoured.
    2. Borrow a camera with a built in level - both my Olympus cameras and also my Canon have them. I rather suspect that any camera with a self aligning display is similarly equipped, but you may have to delve into the menus to find the display
  6. Terrywoodenpic

    Terrywoodenpic Well-Known Member

    I have checked many spirit levels and only instrument grade ones have been anything like accurate.
    I have never checked electronic ones in cameras. And I wonder how well they are set up.
    Though the instruments them selves may be highly accurate, they may not all be be fitted or set up equally well.
    Most decent building ones have adjustable bubbles.
  7. Bazarchie

    Bazarchie Well-Known Member

    I have used the cheap hotshot bubble ones and they work, how accurate they are is a different matter. I don't need micron accuracy for photography.

    I do however prefer the inbuilt camera ones.
  8. Chester AP

    Chester AP Well-Known Member

    I tried one of the cheap hotshoe-fitting spirit levels, but still found that I still needed to use Photoshop Elements to rotate some images by 0.2 or 0.3 degrees if getting larger prints done (with marginal loss at the edges of the image). Also, yet one more thing to try and fit in the camera bag...
  9. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Well, the ones you've tried work, anyway. So do most of the cheap ones I've tried. But only most...

    The expensive ones may not be perfect, but they're more reliable. If the camera shoe is in the right place, that is. Bear in mind that Frances used to be the tripod expert for Shutterbug, so we've tried quite a lot.


  10. Roger_Provins

    Roger_Provins Well-Known Member

    If really want to do the job properly you could get an electronic inclinometer, though it might look a bit naff on the top of a camera.:)
  11. swanseadave

    swanseadave Well-Known Member

    Thank you all for your advice.
  12. Malcolm_Stewart

    Malcolm_Stewart Well-Known Member

    Off topic and very late to the party, I bought a precision level a short time ago for £25. It's ~ 150mm long, no use for photography, certainly not hot shoe usage, and it claims 1/10mm per metre and has very clear markings. I think it's Swiss made by BRUTSCH RUEGGER., and it's so sensitive that it easily detects daily expansion and contraction in timber etc. - well that's what I assume throws it out. On Youtube, I found a clip demonstrating how to get a reference surface plate "Level", and then you can continue and check whether your super sensitive level is accurate, or not. How the vial was ground to this sensitivity, I've no idea.
  13. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    I'd have thought you just need to form the tube against a suitable curved surface. The trick is then to mount it in the carrier so that the bubble is at the apex when the carrier is at a right angle to the radius of the Earth.
  14. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    radius as drawn from tbe centre of gravity that is.
  15. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    Yes. But does the centre of gravity differ from the origin of the numeric radius? Also, As the Earth is an oblate spheroid does the radius form a right angle with the tangent at all points?
  16. peterba

    peterba Well-Known Member

    But... the Earth is flat. ;) Remember? :)
  17. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    peterba likes this.
  18. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    Don't need the spirit level then.
    peterba likes this.
  19. peterba

    peterba Well-Known Member

    Now, that is good...! :)
    Andrew Flannigan likes this.
  20. Learning

    Learning Ethelred the Ill-Named

    Its about time AP gave one away with the magazine again.

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