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07-11-2014, 02:00 PM   #1
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Horizontal level

I have a k30 and I'm having a great deal of trouble holding the horizon level on seascapes. Is anyone else experiencing this?
Could my sensor be out of alignment?

07-11-2014, 02:09 PM   #2
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The K-30 has a built in Level. There is also an option to have it auto correct the level if you are close (it shuts off if you are more than a couple of degrees off of level). There is a little meter in the viewfinder at the bottom that tells you if you are level.
07-11-2014, 02:11 PM   #3
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Hey, welcome. Hm. Do you have a tripod? You can do a test by placing the camera on a tripod and aligning it to the best of your abilities through the viewfinder, take a photo. Then try aligning it through live view and take a photo. Is there a difference? And then also take a photo with 2 sec timer (which automatically disables shake reduction) to see if SR might be the cause.

Oh, and some more things.. seascapes.. the sea might not appear horizontal due to waves and earth curvature. If you are using an ultra wide lens, the horizon is not parallel, but curved.
07-11-2014, 02:41 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by robhau30 Quote
I have a k30 and I'm having a great deal of trouble holding the horizon level on seascapes. Is anyone else experiencing this?
Could my sensor be out of alignment?
If you have auto-correction enabled and the electronic level in the camera is off by a few degrees, your pictures will always come out crooked. Try testing the level against a surface that you know is perfectly flat.


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07-11-2014, 02:45 PM   #5
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Na Horuk,

I don't usually use shake reduction and I thought about the curvature of the horizon, but my images are tilted. I'm using the focus box in the viewfinder and the top and bottom edge
in the viewfinder to achieve level, but not having any success. Looking at the electronic level diagram in the LCD, the viewfinder appears to be tilted. I'll try your suggestions.

---------- Post added 07-11-14 at 04:49 PM ----------

Adam,

Thank you for the advice, I'll try it.
07-11-2014, 03:33 PM   #6
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Also, I have noticed that even a very small error produces a very noticeable result. e.g. horrible apparent error - fixed in PP by 0.5 degrees. That kind of error could be introduced just by movement in the button push action or other little things like that. The tripod test overcomes movement by you between setting up and exposure.
07-11-2014, 04:01 PM   #7
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Possible your focusing screen is not aligned properly. If so the grid you look at would not align with the sensor.
I do not think the sensor itself could be off.
07-11-2014, 06:47 PM   #8
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Are you on land (or a non-floating dock, etc.) or on something floating? If you are on something floating, your mind will play tricks on you. 'Level' will always seem to be based on your relation to the surface you are standing on/sitting in rather than the water. And if you are on land, various angles can throw you off - e.g. the beach, even when it looks level, slopes down toward the water. And if you can see all the way across a body of water to another shore, unless you are perpendicular to that shore (usually a rather dull view) the shore will run at an angle in the frame and distort your sense of level. Once on a sailboat with a large tilt I thought I was using the viewfinder top & bottom edge to shoot the oncoming shore level - I was still way off.

If the right-side is always lower than the left-side of the frame, tim60 is right, you need to practice your shutter release technique.

07-12-2014, 12:27 PM   #9
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I've noticed that if I tilt the camera slightly down to the right, I get level and the level graphic in the lcd screen seems to force me to do the same thing.
I'll test it out on the tripod and see what I get.
07-12-2014, 06:08 PM   #10
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Horizontal level

I went to the beach and took some shots with the horizontal level activated
and it was level, but I'm concerned about digital aberrations in the image.
Is the geometry of the pentaprism different in DSLR FROM film SLR'S?

---------- Post added 07-12-14 at 08:33 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by tim60 Quote
Also, I have noticed that even a very small error produces a very noticeable result. e.g. horrible apparent error - fixed in PP by 0.5 degrees. That kind of error could be introduced just by movement in the button push action or other little things like that. The tripod test overcomes movement by you between setting up and exposure.
I wondered about that.

---------- Post added 07-12-14 at 08:34 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
Possible your focusing screen is not aligned properly. If so the grid you look at would not align with the sensor.
I do not think the sensor itself could be off.
Is that a fixable problem?

---------- Post added 07-12-14 at 08:38 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by JimJohnson Quote
Are you on land (or a non-floating dock, etc.) or on something floating? If you are on something floating, your mind will play tricks on you. 'Level' will always seem to be based on your relation to the surface you are standing on/sitting in rather than the water. And if you are on land, various angles can throw you off - e.g. the beach, even when it looks level, slopes down toward the water. And if you can see all the way across a body of water to another shore, unless you are perpendicular to that shore (usually a rather dull view) the shore will run at an angle in the frame and distort your sense of level. Once on a sailboat with a large tilt I thought I was using the viewfinder top & bottom edge to shoot the oncoming shore level - I was still way off.

If the right-side is always lower than the left-side of the frame, tim60 is right, you need to practice your shutter release technique.
I depress the shutter half way to lock the E and F and take another view be actuating the shutter, but maybe I
should be more conscious of that.
07-12-2014, 06:48 PM   #11
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As the focusing screen on the K-30 can be swapped out for another screen, I suppose it could be out of align but I think that's stretching.

What focal length are you shooting at? Keep in mind that even though you have APS-C sized sensor, focal length artifacts will be the same as shooting that lens on a full-frame camera - the only difference is you are taking a crop of the middle 75% of the frame.

For previously explained reasons, whenever 'level' is important, I don't trust my eyes. I use a level - I even did this when I was shooting film. In fact, in addition to the electronic level, my hotshoe cap has a tiny bubble level.
07-12-2014, 08:27 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by JimJohnson Quote
As the focusing screen on the K-30 can be swapped out for another screen, I suppose it could be out of align but I think that's stretching.

What focal length are you shooting at? Keep in mind that even though you have APS-C sized sensor, focal length artifacts will be the same as shooting that lens on a full-frame camera - the only difference is you are taking a crop of the middle 75% of the frame.

For previously explained reasons, whenever 'level' is important, I don't trust my eyes. I use a level - I even did this when I was shooting film. In fact, in addition to the electronic level, my hotshoe cap has a tiny bubble level.
The bubble level is a good idea.
07-13-2014, 06:20 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by robhau30 Quote
I depress the shutter half way to lock the E and F and take another view be actuating the shutter, but maybe I
should be more conscious of that.
Are you activating the shutter with a remote? If not you may be creating movement no matter how sturdy your tripod is. When using a tripod I generally use live view and the 3 second delay on the remote, there's never any movement. The electronic level works well, your own sense of level can be off when you are on an uneven surface. The electronic level can also help you keep a level horizon even when you are pointing slightly up or down, where a bubble level won't help.
07-13-2014, 07:11 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by ramseybuckeye Quote
The electronic level can also help you keep a level horizon even when you are pointing slightly up or down, where a bubble level won't help.
I'll admit it isn't elegant, but you can read a bubble level and separately determine pitch and roll so long as you are in landscape mode. I do have a larger 2-axis cylinder level from my film days if I know in advance I will specifically be doing work calling for level - although I think the electronic level is actually more accurate for roll. The advantage of the little bubble level is it is always there on the hotshoe unless I have to mount other attachments - and I think I paid all of US$3 for it.

Your point of using a remote shutter release and/or delayed shutter is dead on. Even the most rigid tripod seems to have some 'give' when you directly trigger the shutter.
07-13-2014, 09:28 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by robhau30 Quote
Is that a fixable problem?
Yes, the screen can be swapped out, or just adjusted for alignment

QuoteOriginally posted by JimJohnson Quote
As the focusing screen on the K-30 can be swapped out for another screen, I suppose it could be out of align but I think that's stretching.
Agreed, the focusing screen being misaligned is possible but not particularly likely unless it was removed for some reason or the camera had a hard fall or impact. So while this is a possibility I think there are more likely causes.

I've never been very good at getting things aligned correctly so I always shoot just a tad wide and crop/adjust in post. That way I know the alignment is correct or at least looks correct to the viewer. Always better to get it right in the camera of course, I'm just not very good at that for some reason, maybe one leg is shorter or something
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