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Old 23-01-2013, 03:07 PM
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AstralTraveller (David)
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Levelling a camera for landscapes

Inspired by some of the great shots I've seen on this site I ventured down to the beach at 4.30 the other morning to get some dawn shots. I particularly wanted long exposures - on a tripod of course - so the surf is smoothed out. Being my first attempt I naturally had some problems.

One problem I have is getting the camera level so the horizon line is flat. I'm normally OK at judging but in low light and kneeling in wet sand I found it very difficult to get right. Since I won't be getting a camera with a built-in level for some time I have been looking at add-on levels. My concern is how effective they are. Experience shows that even an error of 1 degree is visible and I'm wondering whether you can get this precision from these units. I've seen nice little cubes with three bubble levels, one each for x, y znd z planes. There are also electronic units that only work on the left/right horizontal axis (the most important axis) but that beep when you are right.

Has anyone used any of these units and how useful did you find them?
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Old 23-01-2013, 03:11 PM
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Sarge (Rod)
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David,
Most cameras have a grid overlay option in the viewfinder or lcd screen. If your camera has this option it will help immensely with getting your shot level.

Clear skies

Rod
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Old 23-01-2013, 05:56 PM
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AstralTraveller (David)
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Rod,

That would be a very useful feature. Unfortunately it appears that a 400D is not like most cameras.
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Old 23-01-2013, 06:15 PM
Honest_Gaza (Garry)
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Wouldn't bother. Fix it up in post processing. I'm assuming your 400D came with Canon's DPP software ?
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Old 23-01-2013, 06:39 PM
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You could get a hot shoe bubble level.

http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/3-Axis-Bu...ht_2833wt_1037
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Old 23-01-2013, 09:17 PM
Poita (Peter)
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Grab a KatzEye focus screen for your 400D with optional grid lines.
Well worth it for the lines and better focus, especially with manual lenses.

http://www.katzeyeoptics.com/page--C...gridlines.html

http://www.katzeyeoptics.com/cat--Ca...cat_canon.html
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Old 23-01-2013, 09:26 PM
Poita (Peter)
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Or grab one of these cheapies and score a line on it yourself. Might be worth a go for $15
http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Dual-45-S...item29ffcff5f5

Or a digital level:
http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/GGS-LED-S...item4aad00883b

or a standard level
http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Hot-Shoe-...item4ab6bffecb
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Old 23-01-2013, 09:59 PM
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Octane (Humayun)
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David,

I don't have to worry anymore as the 5D Mark III has a built-in digital inclinometer, however, I always pop on a hot-shoe 2-axis bubble level, just to be sure that my initial level is bang on before I finish off my composition.

This is the one I got: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc..._Hot_Shoe.html

H
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Old 24-01-2013, 06:10 AM
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I use the focus confirmation squares that you can see in the viewfinder and line the horizon up on a pair of them. In low light you can use the focus point select button to turn them all on. They're also useful for checking your tripod is level for panoramas by watching the horizon with respect to one of the focus squares as you move from one end to the other.

Steve.
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Old 26-01-2013, 04:43 PM
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Thanks for all the hints. The grid sounds like a good idea but it's also the most expensive option - and my fridge has just carked it . What I like about it is that it can be used hand-held or on a tripod. An electronic level can be used hand-held but the need for more batteries and more lights and buzzes doesn't appeal. The bubble level is nice in that it's simple and low-tech. But I really like the idea of using the focussing marks. I thinks I'm going to try that first and see how it goes.
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Old 28-01-2013, 05:37 PM
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Photoshop - ruler tool - drag it across horizon line from edge to edge (follow the angle) - hit straighten. Voila!

Unless you are SERIOUSLY tilted, it won't crop much.
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Old 29-01-2013, 03:51 PM
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Use the camera itself. Align the horizon with an edge of the viewfinder then tilt up/down to compose and shoot.
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Old 30-01-2013, 10:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LewisM View Post
Photoshop - ruler tool - drag it across horizon line from edge to edge (follow the angle) - hit straighten. Voila!

Unless you are SERIOUSLY tilted, it won't crop much.

I might add it took me a little while to find it.
You right click the eyedropper tool and then the Ruler Tool appears

Cheers Mark
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Old 30-01-2013, 11:32 PM
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Oops, yeah, forgot to say which icon it is appended to.

You'd be surprised how many photogs do NOT know about it! I saw one photog drag his photos into iPhoto, do the straighten routine, then put the photo into photoshop. I showed him, and he had one of those "D'Oh" facepalm moments
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