D800 Virtual Horizon Question

Started May 1, 2013 | Discussions
winnie
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D800 Virtual Horizon Question
May 1, 2013

Whilst shooting with the D800 tonight i had a hotshoe spirit level on the camera but also used the virtual horizon in liveview. Is there any reason why they didn't both find the same horizon? Level using the hotshoe and the other one was off and vice versa.

Thoughts?

Kind regards

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Nikon D800
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WIMorrison
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Re: D800 Virtual Horizon Question
In reply to winnie, May 1, 2013

I suspect that the hotshoe spirit level is the inaccurate one not the camera. I have had many spirit levels that are wrong

easy way to check is to place the spirit level on a flat surface (doesnt need to be level) and note the position of the bubble. Turn it around through 180 degrees and the bubble should be in exactly the same place, if it isn't then throw the level out.

even better to do it on the camera that way it will also show if the hotshots mount is off

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Iain Morrison LRPS CPAGB
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alpacas
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Re: D800 Virtual Horizon Question
In reply to winnie, May 1, 2013

I have found that my hot shoe level is not very accurate. You can try placing the camera on a level and then rotate it to see if it is off.

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davidstock
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Re: D800 Virtual Horizon Question
In reply to winnie, May 1, 2013

The camera's virtual horizon feature is not always that accurate, and may not be suitable for very critical use without some tweaking. It has a small amount of play in it, even when it is properly calibrated. Especially when the camera is tilted sharply up or down. If calibration is really bad, which I have heard of happening, Nikon should be willing to recalibrate it. Otherwise, you may need to make a small compensating adjustment.

On the other hand, hot shoe bubble levels can also be inaccurate. And so can the finder and its grid lines. (The finder image may not be lined up perfectly with the sensor.) The real question is how the final images turn out.

I would suggest testing all the possibilities, starting with the accuracy of the finder image. If your live view preview and your final files look exactly like the finder image, then I would move on to test the virtual horizon feature against a perfect, known target. It might be easiest to photograph a hanging string with a weight, centered in the finder. Although this would obviously be be a vertical subject, it would still work for testing purposes. And it would avoid the problems involved in finding a perfectly horizontal subject and getting it perfectly squared up to the camera. Test files can be judged using grid lines or guide lines in an image editing program.

On a tripod, live view with a grid is probably more accurate than the virtual horizon indicator. Hand held, I find that the virtual horizon feature works quite well as a guide, but I expect to have to straighten some of my images slightly.

Good luck!

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aldel
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Re: D800 Virtual Horizon Question
In reply to davidstock, May 1, 2013

Have you tried the viewfinder virtual horizon? Turn it on in the menu.

I find mine aligns perfectly with the viewfinder grid when looking for instance on a seascape horizon.

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Mark den Hartog
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Re: D800 Virtual Horizon Question
In reply to aldel, May 1, 2013

camera's horizon has quite some room.

if it says it's level I can still move it left or right and the camera will say it's still good.

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TOF guy
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Re: D800 Virtual Horizon Question
In reply to winnie, May 2, 2013

As others have stated the level on the camera may not be exactly right. The tolerances for the level have always been high.

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Thierry - posted as regular forum member

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olyflyer
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Re: D800 Virtual Horizon Question
In reply to winnie, May 2, 2013

winnie wrote:

Whilst shooting with the D800 tonight i had a hotshoe spirit level on the camera but also used the virtual horizon in liveview. Is there any reason why they didn't both find the same horizon? Level using the hotshoe and the other one was off and vice versa.

Thoughts?

Which one was more accurate? I know my Samsung GT-I9300 phone has extremely accurate sensors, much better than my traditional spirit levels I have at home, so how is the D800? I have never compared mine with any spirit levels, but would be interesting to know. Anyway, I actually think the camera is the better one because I am not sure that the hot shoe is accurately aligned with the sensor in every direction, and also the precision of those small plastic hot shoe spirit levels are just cheap gadgets which are not made with very high precision.

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