A patent-pending Leveling base solution

 

What am I looking at?

What you see in the images below is an ARCA plate that has been modified with a CNC mill  in order to allow it to be mounted to a tripod. 

 

Why do I want an ARCA plate mounted to my tripod?

The idea came to me when I bought an Acratech GP-ss ballhead (see my review). The ballhead was designed to be inverted when the photographer wanted to photograph a panorama.  I love that functionality. If you are not familiar with taking panorama images, suffice it to say that having a level horizon is of utmost importance. Therefore, most landscape photographers who do panoramas do one of two things: 1) Buy an expensive leveling base which is sandwiched between the tripod an ballhead or 2) just wing it and hope for the best. So, when I got the new ballhead I wanted a way to quickly invert it without using an allen key every time to switch the side that the quick-release clamp was mounted to. My solution was to mount a quick-release clamp on both sides of the ballhead and then mount an ARCA plate to the tripod.

 

What are the benefits?

  • It can be manufactured at the cost of any other ARCA plate. Compare that to the cost of  a leveling base...
  • The overall weight of adding one quick-release clamp  to the ballhead and one ARCA plate to the tripod is almost negligible
  • The degree of flexibility surpasses any other leveling base on the market.  The best leveling bases on the market allow you to level up to ~ 30 degrees.. Think of how many degrees of freedom your ballhead has...
  • Ease of use. You are using your own, familiar ballhead.
  • Easily remove the ballhead for travel