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Is a Hotshoe Spirit Level actually useful...??

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by winnie123, Mar 7, 2012.

  1. winnie123

    winnie123 Mu-43 Regular

    95
    Feb 9, 2012
    London, U.K
    Marilyn
    I have noticed when viewing my photo's on the computer that although I thought I had the camera level at the time, some of them are not quite straight.
    I wondered if any of you use a hotshoe spirit level and find that it helps. I don't want to bother to get one if I will find it difficult to see when composing via the EVF. I know I can use the built in grid but don't like the lines on screen when taking the picture. :smile:
     
  2. alans

    alans Mu-43 Veteran

    340
    Feb 28, 2010
    My Hasselblad Xpan came with one and when I sold the camera I kept the level as it was useful on my other cameras. If you are using a shoe mounted EVF there will be no place to mount the level plus you can only see the level when using the LCD. Otherwise it is a useful tool especially on a tripod.
     
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  3. spangler

    spangler Mu-43 Rookie

    16
    Aug 12, 2011
    Buckinghamshire UK
    Andrew Heelis
    I have used one on my GF1 when doing street photography "from the hip". It did help.

    Andrew
     
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  4. ill_dawg

    ill_dawg Mu-43 Veteran

    201
    Aug 26, 2010
    the quick release plate that came with my Joby ballhead has a spirit level built in. I think I prefer having it on the bottom of the camera, rather than taking up space in the hotshoe. for reference:clicky
     
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  5. heedpantsnow

    heedpantsnow Mu-43 Veteran

    332
    Jul 24, 2011
    I used to use them on my EOS body, but now my E-P2 and upcoming OM-D have a level built-in! Huzzah!

    Do be careful if you use the hotshoe ones. They are easily lost! I went through 4 in a 8 year period (at that time they were $15-$25 each!).
     
    • Like Like x 1
  6. F1L1P

    F1L1P Mu-43 Veteran

    388
    Jan 2, 2010
    Europe
    I'm using this one:
    [​IMG]
    Works great and it protects my hotshoe contact.
    It costs only 2,50 USD or 1,75 GBP. Shipping is free.

    Bought it here:
    Universal Hot Shoe Bubble Spirit Level for Cameras - Free Shipping - DealExtreme

    try also:
    Resin Hot Shoe Double Axis Bubble Spirit Level for DSLR/SLR Cameras - Free Shipping - DealExtreme
    Triple 3 Axis Bubble Spirit Level on Camera Hot Shoe 3D - Free Shipping - DealExtreme
    Camera and Tripod Fluid Based Leveler - Free Shipping - DealExtreme

    they are all around 2-5 USD
     
    • Like Like x 1
  7. winnie123

    winnie123 Mu-43 Regular

    95
    Feb 9, 2012
    London, U.K
    Marilyn
    Thanks all...my camera is the G1 so has a built in EVF so I can use the hotshoe. As they are only a few quid on Ebay I will get one but am conscious of the fact that the list of 'essential' items I need is growing and I am trying to avoid becoming a walking cliche :wink:
     
  8. foto2021

    foto2021 Mu-43 Veteran

    301
    Nov 5, 2011
    SE England
    I would strongly recommend a one- or two-axis spirit level over the one shown in the image posted by F1L1P, which is a lot less sensitive and needs the camera to be held low so the bubble can be seen.

    I also have an electronic level that has a line of LEDs and a bleep indicating when the camera is off level. It's a nice toy but I find the one- or two-axis spirit levels more useful.

    It's a matter of personal preference and we won't all agree. :rolleyes:
     
    • Like Like x 1
  9. heedpantsnow

    heedpantsnow Mu-43 Veteran

    332
    Jul 24, 2011
    mine were this type I believe. A big box of clear plastic that stuck up 2-3cm from the hotshoe. Hope you can find one, was very useful!
     
    • Like Like x 1
  10. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 All-Pro

    Oct 1, 2010
    USA
    I have this one: Amazon.com: Jobu Design Double Bubble Spirit Level: Electronics 21XW85UGWbL._SL500_AA300_.

    It has two bullseye levels. One for horizontal and one for vertical format shots. IMHO the two-tube style levels are much more difficult to use.

    I do have one of the two-dollar Chinese levels that stays in the hot shoe for situations where I don't have the bulky Jobu with me. The bullseye is tiny and difficult to use but it is better than nothing. It's also useless for vertical format shots, of course.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  11. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    You guys just reminded me of a little project I was going to do. I have a very small, compact level which was taken off of a car headlight adjustment system, and I was going to glue it onto a hotshoe protector to make a hotshoe spirit level out of it. :) I have all the parts, so it'll cost me a penny in glue to make. Only problem is, I keep forgetting where I put my hotshoe protectors since I don't use them for anything.
     
  12. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 All-Pro

    Oct 1, 2010
    USA
    I should have asked: Are you displaying a grid on your lcd/viewfinder? Except in critical situations, I find that using the lines of the grid as a level or vertical reference works just fine. I wouldn't own a camera that didn't let me display a grid. I never turn it off.
     
  13. foto2021

    foto2021 Mu-43 Veteran

    301
    Nov 5, 2011
    SE England

    But they are many times more accurate. YMMV.
     
  14. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 All-Pro

    Oct 1, 2010
    USA
    I guess my mileage does vary. I checked the Jobu using my good German Stabila level and saw no significant difference in calibration or sensitivity. There is no question, though, that the $2 Chinese bullseye is not in the class of the Stabila.

    Both styles' sensitivities depend on the specific vessel curvature chosen by a designer so I don't think you can generalize. From a physics point of view, IMHO the two are equivalent.

    My objection to the two vials is that when hand holding you have to simultaneously look at two things. For use on a tripod I think either design is fine.
     
  15. foto2021

    foto2021 Mu-43 Veteran

    301
    Nov 5, 2011
    SE England

    That's where we differ. I am interested only in one plane so I only need to see one bubble.

    If you need the camera to be level in both planes, your choice is better for you.
     
  16. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 All-Pro

    Oct 1, 2010
    USA
    Yup. That's the difference. I bought the level to use with my 9-18mm primarily so I could better control converging and diverging verticals.