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jstraw
06-25-2008, 02:16 PM
Kerry, there are a few questions I have for which I can find no answers on either your site or the Feisol site.

First of all, can you explain what the leveling base is and how it works? It utterly eludes me. Does it go into a center column mount? Does it have some sort of release and lock mechanism? Is this something you put under the tripod head that allows you to level below the head? All I can see is that it has a knurled shaft and a level on the side other than that, it's a mystery to me.

ReallyBigCameras
06-25-2008, 10:04 PM
Michael,

Thanks for your questions about the Feisol leveling bases.

Basically, a leveling base provides a quick, easy way to provide a level shooting platform. This is especially handy when shooting multi-image panoramic images (Quicktime VR or stitched panoramas). While you can level your camera using a tripod head, that's not sufficient for these types of multi-image panoramas. For these types of images, the platform the camera rotates on (top surface of the tripod) must be level or you will end up with a tilted horizon.

When setting up a tripod on uneven ground, you can create a level platform by individually adjusting the length of the legs until the top surface of the tripod is level. However, this takes time and often requires multiple iterations of adjusting leg lengths until you get it just right. With a leveling base, it only takes a couple seconds to create a level platform. So, it's a nice convenience and it can be a real time saver for photographers who shoot a lot of multi-image panoramas.

To answer your questions specific to the Feisol leveling bases:

Does it go into a center column mount?

Yes, this is correct. It installs in place of the standard stock flat mounting plate, or the optional center column. It shares the same mounting mechanism as these other options. So, you can't install both a center column and a leveling base at the same time. It's either one, or the other (or the flat mounting plate).

The Feisol leveling bases are specific to certain tripod models, and not all Feisol tripods support this feature. Here's a list of which leveling bases work with which tripods:

CT-3301, CT-3401, CT-3402 Standard Class Tripods:
Leveling Base: Not Supported

CT-3441S Traveler Tripod
Leveling Base: Not Supported

CT-3342, CT-3442 Tournament Class Tripods:
Leveling Base: LBL-7567

CT-3371, CT-3471 Tripods:
Leveling Base: LBL-75100

CT-3372, CT-3472 Tripods:
Leveling Base: LBL-7572

Does it have some sort of release and lock mechanism?

Yes, it's a ball-and-socket arrangement, sort of like half a ballhead.

Is this something you put under the tripod head that allows you to level below the head?

No, you still mount your camera on top of the tripod. You can use the leveling base with, or without a tripod head. If you are shooting multi-image panoramas, you will need some way to rotate (pan) the camera. This can be accomplished with a tripod head with a built-in panning function or a panning base (such as the Feisol PB-70 or PB-90).

All I can see is that it has a knurled shaft and a level on the side other than that, it's a mystery to me.

The knurled shaft is actually the handle. You twist the handle to lock/unlock the leveling base. Once unlocked, you use the handle to level the platform using the built-in level as an indicator. Then, you twist the handle to lock it in place.

Here's a photo of the LB-75100 that may help you better visualize what I am describing:

http://reallybigcameras.com/Feisol/lbm.jpg

If you need further clarification, or have any additional questions, just let me know.

Kerry Thalmann
Really Big Cameras
http://reallybigcameras.com

Tom Hoskinson
06-25-2008, 10:55 PM
Thanks Kerry! You've just answered several of my questions as well!

jstraw
06-30-2008, 09:36 PM
Is this something you put under the tripod head that allows you to level below the head?

No, you still mount your camera on top of the tripod. You can use the leveling base with, or without a tripod head. If you are shooting multi-image panoramas, you will need some way to rotate (pan) the camera. This can be accomplished with a tripod head with a built-in panning function or a panning base (such as the Feisol PB-70 or PB-90).

Based on your full answer, I've decided that the answer to this question is actually "yes," since that's just what I meant!


All I can see is that it has a knurled shaft and a level on the side other than that, it's a mystery to me.

The knurled shaft is actually the handle. You twist the handle to lock/unlock the leveling base. Once unlocked, you use the handle to level the platform using the built-in level as an indicator. Then, you twist the handle to lock it in place.



That vertical shaft is a handle? I assumed that it went down inside the center column based on the screw holes around the platform. If that's the handle then I have no idea how that item is attached to the tripod. Can you clarify?

ReallyBigCameras
06-30-2008, 09:55 PM
Based on your full answer, I've decided that the answer to this question is actually "yes," since that's just what I meant!

Sorry, I must have misunderstood your question when I originally read it. For some reason I thought you were asking if the camera mounted upside down on the bottom end of the leveling base. I just re-read your question, and that's obviously not what you were asking. My mistake.


That vertical shaft is a handle? I assumed that it went down inside the center column based on the screw holes around the platform. If that's the handle then I have no idea how that item is attached to the tripod. Can you clarify?

The Feisol tripods that support the use of a leveling base all come standard with flat mounting plates. You can remove this flat plate and replace it with either a center column, or a leveling base (but not both at the same time). The center column, leveling base and flat plate all mount to the tripod in the same manner. The photo shows the LB-75100 leveling base for the CT-3371 and CT-3471 tripods. In this case, the leveling base (and other options) are attached to the tripod using three screws. You can see two of the three countersunk mounting holes in the photo. For the other models that support the use of a leveling base, the flat plate, center column and leveling base fit within a recess in the top of the tripod and are held in place from the side using three set screws.

I hope that answers your question. If not, please let me know.

Kerry Thalmann
Really Big Cameras
http://reallybigcameras.com

jstraw
06-30-2008, 10:05 PM
The Feisol tripods that support the use of a leveling base all come standard with flat mounting plates. You can remove this flat plate and replace it with either a center column, or a leveling base (but not both at the same time). The center column, leveling base and flat plate all mount to the tripod in the same manner. The photo shows the LB-75100 leveling base for the CT-3371 and CT-3471 tripods. In this case, the leveling base (and other options) are attached to the tripod using three screws. You can see two of the three countersunk mounting holes in the photo. For the other models that support the use of a leveling base, the flat plate, center column and leveling base fit within a recess in the top of the tripod and are held in place from the side using three set screws.

Ah, so the handle extends below the mounting base and you reach under the tripod legs to loosen and tighten it?

ReallyBigCameras
06-30-2008, 11:41 PM
Ah, so the handle extends below the mounting base and you reach under the tripod legs to loosen and tighten it?

Correct! It's like an inverted joystick. You loosen it with a twist, move the camera around with it until level, and then tighten it with a twist.

Kerry Thalmann
Really Big Cameras
http://reallybigcameras.com

jstraw
07-01-2008, 06:58 AM
Thanks Kerry. I get it now. FWIW, in my non-analog capacity I shoot a lot of stitched panoramas so the importance of a level platform is understood.

When I asked earlier about it going under a tripod head, I was alluding to mounting either a panning base or a ball head with an incorporated panning base to the leveling head.

Are the ballheads' balls marked in any way so that the neutral, vertical position can be found quickly?

ReallyBigCameras
07-02-2008, 08:04 PM
Are the ballheads' balls marked in any way so that the neutral, vertical position can be found quickly?

Michael,

If I understand your question correctly, the answer would be no. There is the usual notch on the side for flopping the camera from the horizontal to vertical orientation, but there are no marks to indicate when the ball is in the neutral position in either orientation.

A two-axis level, combined with a leveling base, would be my recommendation to insure you have both a level platform and a level camera.

Kerry Thalmann
Really Big Cameras
http://reallybigcameras.com

Mick Fagan
07-03-2008, 04:15 AM
Kerry, I finally understand, or at least I think I understand these heads.

Can you tell me the angle these heads allow, as in can you tilt the camera say 15 or is it closer to 30? I'm trying to get a handle on whether this type of head would generally be suitable for a view camera?

This arrangement appears to be quite compact for travelling with, which is one aspect that is a major concern for myself.

Mick.

ReallyBigCameras
07-03-2008, 10:59 AM
Kerry, I finally understand, or at least I think I understand these heads.

Can you tell me the angle these heads allow, as in can you tilt the camera say 15 or is it closer to 30? I'm trying to get a handle on whether this type of head would generally be suitable for a view camera?

This arrangement appears to be quite compact for travelling with, which is one aspect that is a major concern for myself.

Mick.

Mick,

The range of motion of the leveling bases is limited to about 10 - 15 degrees in any direction. I know some people use them as a replacement for a tripod head, but that's not really their intended use. Of course, I also know one or two large format photographers that don't even use a head at all and just adjust the length of the tripod legs combined with camera movements to get the composition they desire. Personally I find that a bit limiting.

In terms of weight and compactness, the leveling base is indeed low profile , very sturdy and weighs about 14 oz. If compactness is your main concern, The Feisol CB-50D ballhead will fit nested within the reverse folded legs of the CT-3342/CT-3442 and CT-3372/T-3472 models. Here's a photo of the CB-50D nested within a collapsed CT-3442 leg set:

http://reallybigcameras.com/Feisol/Tourna13.jpg

This ballhead is strong enough to handle most 4x5 cameras (field or monorail), a 5x7 field camera, and perhaps a very lightweight 8x10.

Kerry Thalmann
Really Big Cameras
http://reallybigcameras.com