Tripod leveling base (really right stuff)

Joined
Dec 3, 2012
Messages
6,360
Location
N Idaho
I’ve had my RRS 34l tripod for over 6 years, it and the BH-55 ballhead I bought with it are still working great. In that time I’ve struggled with leveling it, mostly when shooting landscape photos. It’s been a time consuming PIA process. I got home from a trip recently and called RRS, hoping they could offer some advice. They told me about the TA-3 leveling base, and suggested I give it a try. Fellow at RRS said I could send it back if I didn’t like it. Ordered the one with the short handle and no hook.
Easy to install, took me about 15 minutes as I’m seriously screw and bolt challenged. This thing should have angel wings on it, it turned a PIA time consuming project into a 10 second event. It works so well I called RRS back and suggested they don’t sell a tripod without one. I would highly recommend a leveling base for your tripods, it’s a small addition that helps. I’m sure other manufacturers have them available, not just RRS.
 
Joined
Oct 17, 2007
Messages
24,254
Location
Orland Park, Illinois
I’ve had my RRS 34l tripod for over 6 years, it and the BH-55 ballhead I bought with it are still working great. In that time I’ve struggled with leveling it, mostly when shooting landscape photos. It’s been a time consuming PIA process. I got home from a trip recently and called RRS, hoping they could offer some advice. They told me about the TA-3 leveling base, and suggested I give it a try. Fellow at RRS said I could send it back if I didn’t like it. Ordered the one with the short handle and no hook.
Easy to install, took me about 15 minutes as I’m seriously screw and bolt challenged. This thing should have angel wings on it, it turned a PIA time consuming project into a 10 second event. It works so well I called RRS back and suggested they don’t sell a tripod without one. I would highly recommend a leveling base for your tripods, it’s a small addition that helps. I’m sure other manufacturers have them available, not just RRS.
Unless I'm shooting panoramics, I don't concern myself with leveling the tripod. I use the leveling indicators inside the viewfinder of my D850. When the vertical and horizontal lines are level (per the camera indicators), I lock down my BH-55 ballhead--and the photo is perfectly aligned.

However, the tripod must be leveled when shooting panoramics, so I then attach a leveling base to my ballhead...or in a pinch I'll use the bubble level indicators on my Gitzo tripod.

Glenn
 
Joined
Nov 11, 2005
Messages
5,176
Location
Houston, TX
RRS have 2 other tools which can be added into the "God's gift to photographers". It involves buying a dovetail base plate
(TH-DVTL-55: DOVETAIL PLATE or TH-DVTL-40: ROUND DOVETAIL PLATE)
for each head (ball head [BH55], geared head[ARCA SWISS CUBE] or Gimbal head {WIMBERLEY] you have and mounting to the bottom of the head where the 3/8" thread socket is. Next attach this clamp
(B2-AS-II-M6: LEVER-RELEASE CLAMP) to the top of your leveling base.

Net result is QUICK CHANGE SUBSYSTEM that takes mere seconds to swap A head from tripod A to tripod B.
 
Joined
Feb 18, 2015
Messages
1,106
Location
New York State
If you use a Wimberley, a Levelling Base makes setting-up a breeze even if you have a lens collar but especially if you don't.

(I have never loved ball-heads.)
 
Joined
Sep 6, 2006
Messages
2,476
Location
Lompoc, CA
I have a RRS pano base on my tripod, only get serious about when doing panos or if I have time to kill. I mostly use a hot-shoe mounted bubble level.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Feb 11, 2016
Messages
638
Using a manfrotto one, 438 with my manfrotto 393 'gimbal'. It's indeed the ease and speed over fiddling with the legs, and an additional 5cm to the maximum height of my tripod.
 

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