Monday, 22 June 2009

Another way to level things

For quite some time I had been using a levelling base for my tripod head - an Acratech levelling base with a Really Right Stuff BH-40 ballhead. Worked pretty well, and plenty of load capacity. I did find, however that it could get a fiddly to use at times as the base had to be levelled before levelling the quick release. And then I'd move the tripod and have to repeat. There is also no way to properly bolt down the ballhead on the levelling base, once in a while it would loosen.

Recently I finally succumbed to buying the Really Right Stuff panning clamp PCL-1 instead. This replaces the quick-release on top of the head and provides levelling and panning. This means a 1-step levelling process. Panning can be a little fiddly if the knobs aren't lined up nicely, the panning release can sometimes be a bit tucked under the camera. That said, I found using a large format camera quite OK, even with the very large camera base. It's a minor complaint and easily overcome. Switching between lenses with and without a lens plate means turning the quick-release through 90 degrees, which I find much easier with the panning head.

One thing to note, the new set-up is lower that the old one, which means I have to extend the tripod a couple more inches. No big deal as I rarely use full extension anyway. The lower profile is nicer for on the rucksack during hiking trips.

So far, after 2 trips using it, I'm pretty impressed.

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