September 30, 2014, 02:26:19 PM

Author Topic: Leveling bases- which one to choose?  (Read 2627 times)

sagittariansrock

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Leveling bases- which one to choose?
« on: January 26, 2014, 06:52:41 PM »
Hi all
I have decided to pick up a leveling base for my Gitzo, and I was trying to decide among the following bases on others experience, since there is no way for me to try them out (our local store doesn't carry any of these):

1. RRS TA-2-LB: I believe it is compatible with the Series 2 Mountaineers and the advantage is that I can connect this directly to my center column, so it doesn't have an additional part. Anyone used this one directly on a Gitzo, especially with the ground level set (no center column)?

2. FLM LB-15: This is an unknown brand so far to me. But it is German-made, and that means a lot! :) And it is cheaper and low-profile. Anyone used this one?

3. Sunwayfoto DYH-66i: Cheaper and some good reviews of the newer version leveling base. However, since I shall have this on all the time, ergonomics is really important to me, and I am not sure about this one. This is a distant third choice for me. I also heard something about tripod studs longer than 6mm being an issue, is that true?

I shall appreciate any input on the ones above or any I haven't mentioned. Thanks!
« Last Edit: January 26, 2014, 08:43:36 PM by sagittariansrock »
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Leveling bases- which one to choose?
« on: January 26, 2014, 06:52:41 PM »

Canon1

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Re: Leveling bases- which one to choose?
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2014, 07:35:32 PM »
http://www.reallyrightstuff.com/s.nl/it.A/id.7813/.f

I like this one.  Very easy to use.  Very quick to find level.  Compatible with my Gitzo Systematic Tripod. 

sagittariansrock

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Re: Leveling bases- which one to choose?
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2014, 07:53:34 PM »
http://www.reallyrightstuff.com/s.nl/it.A/id.7813/.f

I like this one.  Very easy to use.  Very quick to find level.  Compatible with my Gitzo Systematic Tripod.

Alas, it won't work with mine (it is a Mountaineer, and doesn't have the central gap that the one above fits into).
Thanks, though!
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Canon1

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Re: Leveling bases- which one to choose?
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2014, 08:18:47 PM »
http://www.reallyrightstuff.com/s.nl/it.A/id.7813/.f

I like this one.  Very easy to use.  Very quick to find level.  Compatible with my Gitzo Systematic Tripod.

Alas, it won't work with mine (it is a Mountaineer, and doesn't have the central gap that the one above fits into).
Thanks, though!

Ah... bummer.  I am a fan of RRS, although I have heard good things about Gitzo's leveling base....

sagittariansrock

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Re: Leveling bases- which one to choose?
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2014, 08:42:32 PM »
http://www.reallyrightstuff.com/s.nl/it.A/id.7813/.f

I like this one.  Very easy to use.  Very quick to find level.  Compatible with my Gitzo Systematic Tripod.

Alas, it won't work with mine (it is a Mountaineer, and doesn't have the central gap that the one above fits into).
Thanks, though!

Ah... bummer.  I am a fan of RRS, although I have heard good things about Gitzo's leveling base....

Neither does the Gitzo one work with the Mountaineer tripods, AFAIK :(
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Vern

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Re: Leveling bases- which one to choose?
« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2014, 08:49:37 PM »
I originally bought the Gitzo leveling base for my Gitzo tripod. Incredibly enough, the bubble level on the base was actually wrong - the one thing you should get right! I then got the RRS base and it has been great for panos etc....
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sagittariansrock

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Re: Leveling bases- which one to choose?
« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2014, 08:53:05 PM »
I originally bought the Gitzo leveling base for my Gitzo tripod. Incredibly enough, the bubble level on the base was actually wrong - the one thing you should get right! I then got the RRS base and it has been great for panos etc....

So I am guessing yours is also a Systematic or Leveling tripod?
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Re: Leveling bases- which one to choose?
« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2014, 08:53:05 PM »

jasonsim

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Re: Leveling bases- which one to choose?
« Reply #7 on: January 26, 2014, 09:30:33 PM »
Go with the RRS universal leveling base with quick release clamp ( TA-U-LC ). That way you can use it on you mountaineer or another tripod, if you decide to switch to a systematic or other type. 

http://www.reallyrightstuff.com/s.nl/it.A/id.7819/.f

Note that this one is rated for more weight than the other RRS leveling bases.  Makes a difference when using a full gimbal and a 600 or 800mm lens.

-Jason S.
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Support: Gitzo GT4542LS/G2258, RRS BH-55, Wimberley WH-200

quod

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Re: Leveling bases- which one to choose?
« Reply #8 on: January 26, 2014, 10:32:51 PM »
I have an Acratech leveling base that I use with the Gitzo 2542T.  It works fine with my ball head and my gimbal, which I use with my 500mm.  It's easy to level.  The bubble is big and clear.  It's solid and only weighs 1/2 lb.  Acratech makes several models:

http://www.acratech.net/leveling-products/

My only complaint this that there is no resistance on the movement of the leveling base, meaning that when you loosen the knob, the leveling base will just flop to the side.  Hence, if your camera and lens are mounted on your head, which is sitting on the leveling base, you need to hold the lens steady when adjusting the leveling base.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2014, 10:34:42 PM by quod »

eli452

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Re: Leveling bases- which one to choose?
« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2014, 12:05:11 PM »
Go with the RRS universal leveling base with quick release clamp ( TA-U-LC ). That way you can use it on you mountaineer or another tripod, if you decide to switch to a systematic or other type. 

http://www.reallyrightstuff.com/s.nl/it.A/id.7819/.f

Note that this one is rated for more weight than the other RRS leveling bases.  Makes a difference when using a full gimbal and a 600 or 800mm lens.

-Jason S.

Or use the TA-U-LB (no clamp) if you do not switch heads. A fine product I use on my Gitzo GT3541L Series 3 tripod with Markins ball head.
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sagittariansrock

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Re: Leveling bases- which one to choose?
« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2014, 01:02:53 PM »
Go with the RRS universal leveling base with quick release clamp ( TA-U-LC ). That way you can use it on you mountaineer or another tripod, if you decide to switch to a systematic or other type. 

http://www.reallyrightstuff.com/s.nl/it.A/id.7819/.f

Note that this one is rated for more weight than the other RRS leveling bases.  Makes a difference when using a full gimbal and a 600 or 800mm lens.

-Jason S.

Or use the TA-U-LB (no clamp) if you do not switch heads. A fine product I use on my Gitzo GT3541L Series 3 tripod with Markins ball head.

I might get the TA-U-LB (I don't use long lenses or Gimbal heads, but I do have a Manfrotto I wouldn't mind using as an alternative) but I am concerned about the raised center of gravity given this one is >1" taller than the other ones.
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Vern

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Re: Leveling bases- which one to choose?
« Reply #11 on: January 27, 2014, 05:40:37 PM »
I originally bought the Gitzo leveling base for my Gitzo tripod. Incredibly enough, the bubble level on the base was actually wrong - the one thing you should get right! I then got the RRS base and it has been great for panos etc....

So I am guessing yours is also a Systematic or Leveling tripod?

Yes, GT3530LS - sorry to not be more specific first time. I use it with the RRS TA-3-LC-HK: Series 3 Leveling Base with Clamp and Hook. I sometimes use the hook to hang another heavy lens if I'm planning on standing in the same spot for a while. I'm happy w the Gitzo tripod, but have been so pleased w RRS stuff that my next one (if I ever need one) will be RRS.
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jasonsim

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Re: Leveling bases- which one to choose?
« Reply #12 on: January 28, 2014, 07:59:44 PM »
Center of gravity?  Are you going to be putting wheels on your tripod? 

Really though, I would not be concerned with that.  I use the RRS universal leveling base with clamp and a Wimberley full gimbal on top and a 600mm with 1dx and it is super solid.  My legs are Gitzo GT4542LS systematic 4 series tripod.  Vibrations are really controlled with this setup. 
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Re: Leveling bases- which one to choose?
« Reply #12 on: January 28, 2014, 07:59:44 PM »

privatebydesign

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Re: Leveling bases- which one to choose?
« Reply #13 on: January 28, 2014, 08:13:51 PM »
Unless you are doing video I really believe the leveling plate has had its day. There are at least three manufacturers now with high quality photo orientated heads that do a better job than a leveling plate.
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sagittariansrock

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Re: Leveling bases- which one to choose?
« Reply #14 on: January 28, 2014, 09:19:28 PM »
Center of gravity?  Are you going to be putting wheels on your tripod? 
Really though, I would not be concerned with that.  I use the RRS universal leveling base with clamp and a Wimberley full gimbal on top and a 600mm with 1dx and it is super solid.  My legs are Gitzo GT4542LS systematic 4 series tripod.  Vibrations are really controlled with this setup. 

I think the 4 series is so sturdy that it wouldn't be an issue, but with my Z1 (1.5lbs) the tripod feels very top-heavy, and I would have preferred less of it stick out above the legs. Although proportionately my payload is nothing compared to a gimbal head with the 600mm!


Unless you are doing video I really believe the leveling plate has had its day. There are at least three manufacturers now with high quality photo orientated heads that do a better job than a leveling plate.

Can you please explain further? I was trying to figure out whether a double panning head will be better than a leveling base, and with my very little experience concluded that the former will only allow panning in a horizontal plane while the latter will allow a tilt while panning (I don't own a full panorama setup with horizontal and vertical rails).
What would be the advantages of getting a panning head instead and which do you recommend? I have a fairly new single-pan Z1 that I really like.
Thanks!

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Re: Leveling bases- which one to choose?
« Reply #14 on: January 28, 2014, 09:19:28 PM »