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Thread: Accuracy of Digital Horizon

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    Accuracy of Digital Horizon

    Hello :

    Till now, I have been using a 2-axis bubble levelers that slide into the camera's hot-shoe to level the camera - With many cameras offering Dual Axis Digital Levelers as part of the camera's electronics. I wish to learn 1. how accurate they are and 2. how easy or otherwise it is to use this feature shooting the camera hand-held ?

    Do kindly share your experiences.


    Thanks,

    Jai
    Jai Vora jaivora.com +91 982-136-0044

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    Re: Accuracy of Digital Horizon

    I've not used one on a MFDB but my 5D Mk3 has one, it is accurate but only usable on the rear display, so tripod based, rather than handheld.

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    Re: Accuracy of Digital Horizon

    Hello Mark :

    Would be great if indicators for both axis were incorporated in the viewfinder - The Nikon D3s has it in the viewfinder and on the lcd screen, but only for the x-axis - Hope the next Pro model will incorporate it for both the x & y axis - Then there is a chance of achieving a leveled image while shooting hand-held as well.

    The fact that the y-axis info is not programmed in the camera I use, I have not used this feature and am forced to use the 2-axis bubble leveler.


    Jai
    Jai Vora jaivora.com +91 982-136-0044

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    Re: Accuracy of Digital Horizon

    I used to fit gridded focussing screens to my 1 series bodies which were useful for levelling handheld shots.

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    Subscriber & Workshop Member GrahamWelland's Avatar
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    Re: Accuracy of Digital Horizon

    I have several cameras with electronic levels (Phase One, Nikon & multiple Fujis). Generally they are ok although they don't all necessarily agree with each other or my tripod head or hot shoe levels.

    The only one I really trust is the Phase One IQ level, although only after having calibrated it on my Alpa on a level measuring plate. Unlike the other cameras, the IQ level can be reset by the user.
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

    As Oscar Wilde said, "my tastes are simple, I only like the best"

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    Senior Member stephengilbert's Avatar
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    Re: Accuracy of Digital Horizon

    "Unlike the other cameras, the IQ level can be reset by the user."

    Sure: just take it to RRS in San Luis Obispo, . . . .

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    Subscriber & Workshop Member GrahamWelland's Avatar
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    Re: Accuracy of Digital Horizon

    Quote Originally Posted by stephengilbert View Post
    "Unlike the other cameras, the IQ level can be reset by the user."

    Sure: just take it to RRS in San Luis Obispo, . . . .
    Hey, whatever it takes I wasn't going to pass up that opportunity!

    As an alternative, you can also level it using anything else. Heck, if you want your MFDB and tripod head to match then that at least is an option. (If it's an Arca Swiss Cube then at least all of your horizons will be off - but they'll match!)
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

    As Oscar Wilde said, "my tastes are simple, I only like the best"

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    Re: Accuracy of Digital Horizon

    I thought all photographers are
    off at least half a bubble.
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    Re: Accuracy of Digital Horizon

    Thanks for the replies - Interesting to note that none of the cameras seem to match others, unfortunate


    Graham,

    Can you explain this part of our reply. " . . . after having calibrated it on my Alpa on a level measuring plate." - Did not quite understand.


    Thanks all,

    Jai
    Jai Vora jaivora.com +91 982-136-0044

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    Senior Member stephengilbert's Avatar
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    Re: Accuracy of Digital Horizon

    Really Right Stuff has granite topped level tables at their California facility, that they use to calibrate their products. We visited last winter, and they let Graham put his IQ back on one of the tables to calibrate the level.

    As Graham said, you could do the same thing by leveling your tripod with an accurate level, and then mounting a camera with an IQ back on the leveled tripod head or clamp.

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    Senior Member kdphotography's Avatar
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    Re: Accuracy of Digital Horizon

    Quote Originally Posted by stephengilbert View Post
    Really Right Stuff has granite topped level tables at their California facility, that they use to calibrate their products. We visited last winter, and they let Graham put his IQ back on one of the tables to calibrate the level.

    ....
    Fun tour and worthwhile to go back and visit the RRS facilities. Not sure if they'll let Don Libby back in again though...

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    Subscriber & Workshop Member GrahamWelland's Avatar
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    Re: Accuracy of Digital Horizon

    Btw, an important point about the leveling of the back is that you need to level the back ON THE BODY otherwise you just end up with another variable in the overall equation. I was pleased to find that the levels on my Alpa were exact which surprised me as I'd be fighting Alpa vs Arca Swiss vs Phase One levels. After the trip at least the Alpa and Phase One body matched.

    Now that I know that the Alpa is correct I can calibrate any IQ back to it.

    Of course, whilst 100% accuracy is a worthy goal, it doesn't always help with natural scenes where you sometimes have to frame and shoot for what looks best and that may not actually be a true level shot.
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

    As Oscar Wilde said, "my tastes are simple, I only like the best"
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    Re: Accuracy of Digital Horizon

    i found the pan axis on my cube was not square to the clamp. put a base in the clamp with a precison level sitting on it and level using the cube. rotating 180 degrees it should stay level. uh-uh.
    solved it by a tricky machining method

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    Re: Accuracy of Digital Horizon

    here's a sample pano, about 10-15 images (i forget), almost 180 degrees. was in a unique spot and just had to record the view. took some exposure fiddling to more or less match the shots
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    Re: Accuracy of Digital Horizon

    The best and easiest way to calibrate the Phase back on the camera is to find a sea or lake horizon. Position the camera so the horizon is either at the very top or bottom of the frame and parallel to it.

    If the IQ level indicator isn't 100% level you can adjust it until it is.

    I'm lucky to live on a lake with a wide view of clear water horizon, which is by definition, level. Tough for those who live inland, though!

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