Introduction: $0 Camera Level

Picture of $0 Camera Level

A nikon SLR 3 way camera level out of things at home
that is sturdy enough to take on and off with out breaking off

if you are the minority who does not have a level at home check lowes or home deport .. there $4-6 ... still cheaper than the $30 camera level that only measures the horizon


(note: i apologize for my spelling and grammar ... forgive me on that)

Step 1: Parts

Picture of Parts

a 3 way lowes level (who does not have one somewhere?)
a big screw driver
a big hammer
a nikon (or otherwise) hot shoe cover(nikon model # BS-1 comes on most cameras)
super glue
hot glue (use with a hot glue gun or lighter)

Step 2: Open It Up!

Picture of Open It Up!

i held it vertical and placed the screw driver in the top and slowly hammered down removing the plastic level tubes as i go

Step 3: Putting It Togeather

Picture of Putting It Togeather

looking on top of the shoe it should have 2 bumps like this | | .. place super glue in this than center and place one of your level tubes on that and hold it down until it drys ... it will automatically be held horizontally perfectly

fill the bottom of one of the tubes and put superglue on it before the glue drys and smush (with lack of a better word) it on the shoe ON THE FRONT END AND CENTER (lining it up with the center lines on the vertical tube)

NOTE: it should be placed on the front side of the shoe facing where the lens would be

put hot glue on the top and super glue as before on the same tube and quickly place it on the table and carefully line the last tune up so its perfectly aline using the 2 striped on the horizontal tubes

NOTE: if you do the way shown you will still be able to use the built in flash

Step 4: Using

Picture of Using

shown here on my D90 it works both with the camera in horizontal and vertical positions

Step 5: Result

Picture of Result

i took this photo using it (i used the process of HDR ofcourse)


Step 6: Contact

Art page: (WATCH ME IF U HAVE A PAGE! :D )


beauwalker23 (author)2009-09-29


biozz (author)beauwalker232009-09-29

good for you? i don't see where that came from O_o

1up (author)biozz2009-09-30

He's saying that film cameras are still being used, even though most cameras these days are digital. I'm guessing that came about because your camera uses film? (I don't know if it does)

beauwalker23 (author)1up2009-09-30

his does not. i like film better. way better. a monkey could press a button and take a fantastic photo. any bum can use photoshop. apparently everyone is a photographer if they have money and can buy an expensive camera and software. film is real.

Cos film, film cameras and film processing equipment cost nothing..? :-s

You don't have to post process if you want to keep it as you caught it, and if you want to control aperture, shutter speed etc. you can get fully manual digital cameras (like you can get automatic P&S film cameras).

You can even set most to B&W or sepia. If you don't want to pay the extortionate price for PS, you could get the GIMP.

biozz (author)Frank Strudel2009-10-01

yes ... you can do far more with DSLRs than film cameras opening a gate way for people do do as they want with photography and no longer requires extensive thought to be put in to how you take the pic and you can focus on post processing

beauwalker23 (author)biozz2009-10-01

im arguing that there is in fact no such thing as a professional photographer anymore. there needs to be skill, for it to be a profession. other wise anyone can do it. point, click, edit. The camera is the Pro. Not the photographer.

phodgeit (author)beauwalker232014-06-17

Lies. is one outstanding example disproving your proposterous theory.

biozz (author)beauwalker232009-10-01

thats the evolution of photography ... now you don't need years of practice to express your self

phodgeit (author)beauwalker232014-06-17

yes. a monkey COULD press a button and take a fantastic photo...IF all the elements were already perfect. Photography, in the most simple of terms, is the capture of light. And I completely disagree, I have met many bums who didn't know they had a bum...much less how to use Photoshop. Film is real. Digital is just as real. The only difference is the output medium.

In the interest of being conservative, film isn't energy or environmentally friendly. I was trained in a wet-lab dark room developing and processing black&white FILM. I believe I have a more rounded understanding than your average DIGITAL ROCKS bloke. Photoshop is the wet-lab turned digital. It can be used the same way you would edit in the dark room.

I like digital better. Cheaper, faster, and more malleable. it is a matter of opinion of course.

but it doesn't make photography any easier

biozz (author)beauwalker232009-10-01

its called evolution dude ... we have evolved in to using faster easier to use digital photography ... i spend hours working on my photos and not any one can just do it ... so take your trolling else ware

biozz (author)1up2009-10-01

no its a D90 12mp digital SLR ... oh well XD

biozz (author)2009-10-12

well you can abtain a bs-1 hot shoe cover for 38c from a local camera store

lslonim (author)2009-10-02

Love the final photo. What do you mean by the phrase "(i used the process of HDR ofcourse) "

biozz (author)lslonim2009-10-02

exactly how tkjtkj described it .. it requites 3 exposures of the same image an hdr program ... i use photomatix photoshop and lightroom but there are free solutions out there

tkjtkj (author)biozz2009-10-03

Tnx for the comment .. I've never done HDR but am now putting together what i might find useful ... Do you have some links/etc to really useful tutorial stuff?? I've a 12mp Fuji S3, puts out about 25mb raw's .. and a 14" epson 2200 printer .. im quite excited to get started! ya ive PS 7 and CS4, but am not familiar with photomatix or lightroom .. do you need a few diff prog's to get the HDR effect? or does each of those, eg, have the ways to do it?

biozz (author)tkjtkj2009-10-03

its ur lucky day XD i just made one last night

tkjtkj (author)lslonim2009-10-02

"HDR" stands for 'High Dynamic Range' and is a way of photoshopping images to create really extraordinary prints .. Google on it ... " HDR photo "

biozz (author)tkjtkj2009-10-02

i have been using hdr for a year now and i love it

charge11595 (author)2009-10-02

How did you thing of this? You should enter this into the Digital Days contest.

biozz (author)charge115952009-10-02

i needed a camera level ... i thought about making a complex rig but i chose the simple way .. im also broke i am entered in fact im 34 most views in the contest featured once most popular still and featured in the October news letter XD i never expected it to go this far XD

ferrari484 (author)2009-10-02

Wow nice effect .

biozz (author)ferrari4842009-10-02

thank you :3 its high dynamic range photography ... i may make an instructable on it at some point

Gwon Chang (author)2009-09-30

Love the idea, not so much the editing (typos). Sorry!

biozz (author)Gwon Chang2009-10-01

i fixed it the best i can ... if u find anything feel free to tell me ill fix it

LDW (author)2009-10-01

Clearly not $0 as you have used an existing spirit level (and I for one do not have one 'some ware'). Your English is lamentable - use a spellchecker, maybe? - and you'll find the shift key just to the right (or the left) of the keyboard. Otherwise, a nice instructable.

biozz (author)LDW2009-10-01

your not the first to bring this up but in my experience most Americans have a level some ware in there house and i do apologize for my English ... i wrote this at work where had only IE ... ill double check it with firefox ... i know my grammar is almost none to ... thanks for the comment

snelpiller (author)2009-09-25

Sweet picture :) good instructable

biozz (author)snelpiller2009-09-25

thank you :3 ... many more of my pictures here if your interested

ScottSEA (author)2009-09-24

Just a quick note - you might want to be sure the camera is level before you attach your levels. If your camera isn't sitting flat, how will you know if your levels are accurate? You also want to be sure to attach the levels to a horizontal surface - if the camera isn't dead flat on top, your levels won't be true.

biozz (author)ScottSEA2009-09-25

I used the nikon hotshoe data sheet and the bs-1 data sheet and there both dead on even and parallel to the focal point and the so if you place them flat on its always dead on and i have used this with my telephoto lens with beach front night time low tide horizons so I'm sure its dead on with my NIKON camera ... i can not speak for other camera manufactures

Monty Fail (author)2009-09-23

Not to put too fine of a point on it, but if you don't have a level lying around, it's not a $0 hack. And, I have to ask, is English your first language?

biozz (author)Monty Fail2009-09-24

no it was russian and its easy to obtain a free level but if you dont have a $0 level around than this is not the instructable for you

jdege (author)Monty Fail2009-09-23

I've a couple of cheap levels lying around. A lot of folks do. If you don't, you can pick up a cheap torpedo level like he is using for next to nothing. (The Stanley's cost $6 - $8, the non-names are available for as little as $2 each.)

zincrox (author)2009-09-24

hmm.. its one of those "How did i not think of this" things ps.i love that camera

biozz (author)zincrox2009-09-24

XD yah i get that allot thanks, i had a D700 but it was stolen so i picked this one up ... i like it allot better

jatrophacostarica (author)2009-09-24

very inexpensive bubble levels can be found in many modern cars' headlamps. Junkyards are likely to give you a broken lamp for free, and it may have 2 or more levels in it (some disassembly required) hardware stores also sell little string levels that are inexpensive

biozz (author)jatrophacostarica2009-09-24

i also found a few in a dumpster out side of a construction site XD

bilham (author)2009-09-23

It's surprising, maddening, how many newspapers publish news photos that are off-level/plumb. A simple crop to plumb would solve my frequent seasick feeling. Not to mention stupid auto-focus screw-ups (In a press conference!) Yikes! Yes, a tiny bubble level tacked onto the top of your video camera will make all those "sinking Titanic" shots go away. I applaud your Instr. for furthering the evolution of modern photographic technique! Nice photo above too.

biozz (author)bilham2009-09-23

thank you! ... it was up on my blog for awhile but once i stumbled appon this contest i decided to share it ... my camera has a grid to help stableize the photo bust soemtimes it does not help me .. like in this photo (click to enlarge)

About This Instructable




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