I love spirit levels on tripods – but they are garbage!

Spirit level on Benro Rhino FRHN34CVX30
(Image credit: Rod Lawton/Digital Camera World)

Spirit levels on tripods? Who could argue with that? You want your photographs to be level, right? Of course you do – but the microscopic bubbles tripod makers mold into their tripods and heads are too small to see and, even if you can see them, too inaccurate to be any good even if you have macro lenses instead of eyes. And they’re usually in the wrong place too.

While we’re talking of eyes, you’re better off using these to check your camera is level, and it’s easy enough to do with mirrorless cameras and live views, especially since many of them have digital levels built in that are far easier to see and far more precise than the bubble levels on even the best tripods.

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Rod Lawton

Rod is an independent photography journalist and editor, and a long-standing Digital Camera World contributor, having previously worked as DCW's Group Reviews editor. Before that he has been technique editor on N-Photo, Head of Testing for the photography division and Camera Channel editor on TechRadar, as well as contributing to many other publications. He has been writing about photography technique, photo editing and digital cameras since they first appeared, and before that began his career writing about film photography. He has used and reviewed practically every interchangeable lens camera launched in the past 20 years, from entry-level DSLRs to medium format cameras, together with lenses, tripods, gimbals, light meters, camera bags and more. Rod has his own camera gear blog at fotovolo.com but also writes about photo-editing applications and techniques at lifeafterphotoshop.com