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Archive 2011 · Tripod Head Not Really Level?
  
 
StarNut
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p.1 #1 · Tripod Head Not Really Level?


Hi,

I like taking panoramas.

I have a fine tripod (Gitzo 3541LS), with a Gitzo GS5121LVL thingy to replace the standard top of the tripod. The LVL has its own bubble level, making it much easier to level the tripod head than having to monkey with the legs endlessly.

So, doing that carefully, I find that I have a random, but often (not always) significant "wander" in my panoramas, with the last frame being higher or lower than the first frame, causing me to lose a large portion of my scene.

Because the problem is random, both in direction and severity, I am quite sure it's not the tripod head causing the problems. If I spend some time carefully seeing if there is wander (which can only be done if I have a level horizon on my shot, which is not always the case), I can tilt the top, and minimize the problem.

Is it likely simply that the bubble level on the LVL isn't working properly?

Any diagnoses and cures would be gratefully received.

Mark




Nov 28, 2011 at 08:06 PM
howardm4
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p.1 #2 · Tripod Head Not Really Level?


I always sweep through the range of the pano watching the bubble level to make sure it doesn't wander before starting to take the image sequence. make sure the bubble actually stays well centered in the level. even w/ that, I get a small amount of 'wave'


Nov 28, 2011 at 08:35 PM
Mr Joe
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p.1 #3 · Tripod Head Not Really Level?


Are you using a nodal slide to place the lens at the no parallax point?


Nov 28, 2011 at 09:21 PM
StarNut
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p.1 #4 · Tripod Head Not Really Level?


Update....

I have always ignored the bubble level on the tripod head (a Vanguard ABH-230K), since it's only random that I might want the camera to be level (front-to-back, that is; I almost always want it level side-to-side). Now, I notice that, when I rotate the tripod head (it's designed to rotate, for ease of taking level panoramas), the bubble level on the tripod head doesn't stay level; it appears that the tripod head is wobbling as it rotates, which certainly is consistent with what I'm seeing.

Bummer; I'll bring it back to where I bought the whole rig from, and see what they have to say.

And, Mr. Joe, I'm sorry, but I have absolutely no idea what you're asking me.



Nov 28, 2011 at 09:55 PM
 

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Mr Joe
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p.1 #5 · Tripod Head Not Really Level?


@StarNut - here's a good explanation of what I'm talking about: http://reallyrightstuff.com/WebsiteInfo.aspx?fc=85


Nov 28, 2011 at 10:25 PM
gardenvalley
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p.1 #6 · Tripod Head Not Really Level?


There was a discussion on this forum a while back about levels and I think it was either Ellis Vener or sjms who stated that if you have 3 levels which agree then 2 of them are wrong. I never forgot those words of wisdom. So you are going to take back what is probably a perfectly good head because the mass produced, hastily glued-in level says so?

I tried 3 or 4 hot shoe levels before realising my hot shoe wasn`t perfectly levelled and even then none of those levels agreed with one another so now I don`t bother and just use my eyes. The problem is exacerbated by panos involving many shots as any error at the beginning is added to each successive shot with inevitable results.

I used to carry out photographic line-of-sight surveys in the telecoms industry and one of the requirements was a 360 degree panorama from whatever height on the tower was requested, up to about 300 feet. I got pretty good at it, sometimes shooting one-handed, to the point where the last shot at 330 degrees (the eleventh one) would line up almost exactly with the first one at 0/360 degrees.

My only suggestion would be to shoot a little wide and allow for these discrepancies and crop accordingly. HTH.










Nov 28, 2011 at 10:32 PM
sjms
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p.1 #7 · Tripod Head Not Really Level?


the well deserved credit goes to mr vener


Nov 28, 2011 at 10:58 PM
StarNut
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p.1 #8 · Tripod Head Not Really Level?


Thanks, guys.

A fair bit of playing with the two levels shows that the level on the tripod head is good, but the level on the LVL is not correct.

I have marked the correct "center" for the bubble on the LVL level; hopefully, that should be good enough not to lose so much of my panos. Several tests, moving and rotating the tripod, produced excellent results, so I'm a bit optimistic.

Mark



Nov 29, 2011 at 12:37 AM





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