Bubble level for camera or tripod

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I have a Tachihara 4x5 and use the Bogen hex plate quick release. I would like to attach a bubble level to one of these. I've noticed that Adorama has inexpensive Hama bubble levels that seem to fit this purpose. They do appear to protude somewhat if attached to the top of the camera, and I have concerns about it being broken off as I pack the camera in a day pack with much jostling. I'm wondering if others have found a good method and style of bubble level for either the camera or tripod head? I've considered buying a cheap level at home depot and silconing the bubbles to tripod head? Don't know how this might work.

-- Roger Rouch (rrouch@msn.com), January 12, 2001


I use wisner cameras that have two bubbles on them, but none on the lens plane. So I glued a small piece of metal to the lens plane and a small magnet to the kind of bubble that Linhof markets for the Tecnikardan. The bubble is available from Brandeis Kalt and is inexpensive and accurate. That combination is quite good. I check the small piece of metal to insure its depth and cross check the metal + magnet + level for accuracy before gluing the metal to the camera. Thus far, 7 years and more images that I want to count or can print, I have had no problems.

-- Bob Moulton (bobmargaretm@home.com), January 12, 2001.

Roger, It will be much quicker to set your camera up with the level mounted to the camera. Go to your local off the wall ACE hardware store and buy a cheap bubble level and some double sided tape. Mount the level to the top of the body. I wouldn't think you will have spent $7 bucks and the tape probably cost the most. The accuracy of a cheap level is more than suffice. Regards, Steve

-- Steve Gilb (stevegilb@worldnet.att.net), January 12, 2001.

Actually, the local Ace I go to has buble level key chains - cost $1.25. Perfect sixe too! I glued mine to the camera with Krazy Glue but I like the magnet idea better.

-- Sean Yates (yatescats@yahoo.com), January 12, 2001.

Well I see that we all got similar results in different ways. I have a tachihara 8"x10" and have glued two bubble levels which I had bought at a camera store for a reasoneble price. I mounted(glued) a large one on the back and a tiny one on the front. It looks very nice and works perfect, however, pay attention to the fact that bubble levels are not as precise as they should be and that you should alline the two in a direction which is congruous. I mean when you turn such a level you will see that the bubble isn't always pointing the same direction so make sure that the two front and back are pointing to the same direction or being in the middle at the same time for front and back. Repeat this at several flange extensions to make sure that these are o.k. Should they not be o.k. (field cameras tend to have slight tollerance errors) alline them at the flange distance which you use the most. Regards

-- Andrea Milano (milandro@multiweb.nl), January 13, 2001.

I use a couple circular levels from Sears. One each for the lensboard holder and ground glass holder. Mine sit in an 1/8" deep recess in my 8x10 but double tape will work fine. My camera is homemade. Harry

-- Harry Martin (hmartin@tns.net), January 13, 2001.

Thanks for the help. Today I went to Home Depot and picked up a bubble level for about $3 and siliconed a bubble to the top of my camera body. I'll see how it works.

-- Roger Rouch (rrouch@msn.com), January 14, 2001.

Roger - As you no doubt have noticed, there isn't much room on the top of the rear standard to glue anything. The carrying strap tends to get in the way.I glued the Adorama level to the top of the rear standard of my Tachihara. Shortly after that I started getting light leaks. It drove me crazy until I realized that the level protruded ever so slightly over the top and was keeping the back from full closing when a holder was in place. The protrusion was so small that it was barely visible but it was enough to cause leaks. So you need to be careful when trying to fit the level into the small available space on the top of the rear standard.

-- Brian Ellis (bellis60@earthlink.net), January 15, 2001.

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