Top positive review
26 people found this helpful
A good addition to any photography kit
on 7 August 2008
Landscape shooting is arguably my favourite kind of photography and, as I live close to the sea, shots of sunsets over the local bays are one of the more common, if not original, photos I take. Unfortunately, as I have found on numerous occasions, there are few things more frustrating than taking a dozen shots of a beautiful sunset over the beach, only to download the images to your PC and find that none are remotely close to being level. The point where the sea meets the horizon is perhaps the biggest problem area as any small discrepancies are greatly magnified on printed images or those viewed on screen. My camera has a small LCD screen and the viewfinder's crosshairs give only a rough idea as to whether or not it's level so photos that look flat on the LCD often turn out to be anything but.
This item from Hama comprises a plastic block housing two single-bubble spirit levels that fits onto your camera's hot-shoe to give you an idea if your camera is level when taking shots that depend on an even attitude. It has two mounting points, one on the bottom and one on the front, so it can be used when you're taking shots with a landscape perspective or with your camera tilted to take ones in portrait. The bottom mounting point also allows the block to be mounted sideways if you're taking (for example) shots looking downwards; in fact, there probably isn't a perspective that the levels can't be used with.
It fits fairly tightly to the hot-shoe and seems to give an accurate indication of when my camera is centred, although each level only has markings to indicate when plumb has been achieved and doesn't give separate markings for the angle of the camera in degrees, which would have been handy.
Whilst it has undoubtedly helped me to take more uniform photos, I have found that it works best with a tripod as it isn't always easy to keep sight of the image you want whilst watching to make sure the two bubbles stay between the indicator lines - you really need two pairs of eyes to keep track of everything. The front bubble is also a little obscured by the one at the back, whilst it's a pain that you can't use other hot-shoe accessories at the same time so rendering low-light photography impossible. However as long as you understand its limitations this is a useful and cheap addition to any photography kit, especially if you feel a desperate need to straighten up your slanting photos.