great little tool : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Those who use field or view cameras without built-in levels may be interested in a tool I found at Reid Tool Supply Co. (800 438 1145). It's like a little machinist's square. One leg is 3" long, the other, 2". It's 1/2" thick, with a very nice matte finish. Each leg contains an accurate bubble level visible from the side face of the tool. In addition, the shorter leg has a second bubble level visible on the end edge of the tool. It's made by Starrett, their #134. Reid's catalogue number is STR-26040. Cost $31.97, shipped. Aligning lens and film planes to each other in all three axes is quick and easy, as is making sure the film plane is level and plumb. fwiw, njb

-- Nacio Jan Brown (, September 04, 1999


Further back in their catalog they also have the round bullseye levels in several different styles. They seem like pretty helpful folks on the phone.

-- Tony Brent (, September 06, 1999.

How do you know if the the lens and film planes have zero swing relative to each other using this tool?

-- Carlos Co (, September 07, 1999.

To Carlos,

Simple! Using the tripod head, tilt the whole camera over 90 degrees (so that what was horizontal becomes vertical), adjust lens and film planes to plumb, and then restore camera to its original position. This is the first adjustment I make. With the camera again upright, I next check lens and film planes for plumb, and last, I check the film plane for level (it doesn't matter if the lens plane is rotated a bit). I'm using a Galvin on a Tiltall tripod which has separate adjustments for tilt in two directions at 90 degrees to each other. In adjusting, I use the tripod head to plumb the first plane and the camera controls to plumb the second. If you were using a ball head you would need to use only camera controls. I can imagine tripod interference problems with this procedure if you were using a very large camera as you tilted it over and down through 90 degrees. njb

-- Nacio Jan Brown (, September 07, 1999.

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