Self Leveling Tripod?

boojum

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In the category of "Do I Really Need This?" today's entrant is the self leveling tripod. There must be a need as they are way over what they are asking for on Kickstarter





There are a lot of a la carte add-ons. But it is interesting. $350 and $400, plus add-ons and shipping.
 
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I guess I’m not surprised. Another gadget that we don’t need. That’s like the automatic closing tailgate and auto closing doors on cars. I’m from the era of crank up windows an tripods we use our little hands to adjust the legs to level. Oh yeh, cameras that have to be wound with our thumb one frame at a time.

Excuse my sarcasm.
 
It says it's "intelligent" and "smart". Has AI come for our tripods, already? Maybe Pal K should get one of these for his sassy new AI camera. :rolleyes:
 
I don't think we need self-leveling tripods. Other aspects like solidity are more important to me.
 
I prefer to level with the levelling head with spirit. Seems unnecessary to do it with the tripod legs but a lot of things are unnecessary and we still use them.
 
You guys remind me of Leica in the 90’s. “We know what our customers want and they don’t need no stinkin’ autofocus. They can do everything manually just fine”.….after having invented autofocus.
 
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I see it as a useful tool. If you don't like the design tell their engineers. Leveling by legs is easier to implement than leveling the head to my way of understanding. I do not need one.
 
Maybe it's aimed at the newbie, but for over forty years I've managed without needing a self levelling tripod and I use a tripod 60% of the time. But the killer for me is the prospect of yet more batteries to charge or replace. It's already possible that a mule is needed just for carrying backup cards, batteries, camera, etc. and 'they' tell us photography is becoming easier.
 
Without doing any research I’m assuming that the self-leveling tripod is for youtubers and vloggers. You know, people that are standing in front of their own camera making videos.

All the best,
Mike
 
It's new so no one has used one. So we all have managed without one. No one needed desktop computers or cell phones when they showed up either. This could be a great thing. Could be.
 
This could be a great thing. Could be.
I’m curious how it might be a great thing? In my mind I just don’t know how it could be other than for handicapped people.

I’ll admit with arthritis in my hands now I sometimes have trouble loosening the leg locks on my Gitzo tripods but for the general public I just feel it’s another gadget with more stuff to break.
 
I can see this being useful for people with disabilities.

As someone who used to shoot lots of interiors for film locations this would have saved me a lot of time as well.
 
I did a lot of motion picture work years ago and cine tripods were leveled with a combination of adjusting each leg and then fine tuning with a leveling ball. I personally used a Gitzo 5 series aluminum tripod with a leveling cup and ball with an O’Connor 50 head on it. It just took a few seconds to level.

You roughed in your level with the legs, either wooden, metal or now carbon fiber, then fine tune with the ball. Simple and fast.
 
Every time I see things like this, I feel like the designers never heard the phrase "fewer moving parts means fewer broken pieces". Or, more to the point... "keep it simple, stupid."

Will this save you two seconds every time you set up a tripod? Sure.

Will it also be far more likely to break, go wrong, fail, and be difficult (if not impossible) to repair? Definitely.

There's already enough crap filling up landfills across the globe. We don't need to overcomplicate something as simple as a tripod to add to that pile in the long term.
 
Every time I see things like this, I feel like the designers never heard the phrase "fewer moving parts means fewer broken pieces". Or, more to the point... "keep it simple, stupid."

Will this save you two seconds every time you set up a tripod? Sure.

Will it also be far more likely to break, go wrong, fail, and be difficult (if not impossible) to repair? Definitely.

There's already enough crap filling up landfills across the globe. We don't need to overcomplicate something as simple as a tripod to add to that pile in the long term.
This is the same argument used against most new advances. Every advance is not a cure for cancer. Some advances are big, Nobel Prize winners, and some are not, like self leveling tripods. I can see the use. Digital cameras are also full of "auto" stuff and run on batteries. I do not know for a fact but I would not be surprised that similar arguments were voiced over digital by film users, and still are. Yeah, you can use film and a light meter but that is all but forgotten now.

Fortunately no one is obliged to buy one. But despite the distaste being voiced in this thread the gross oversubscription in KickStarter is an indication of interest.
 
Yeah, you can use film and a light meter but that is all but forgotten now.
Speak for yourself. 95% of the photography I've done in the last year - even factoring in phone usage - has been film and separate light meter. That ratio goes up even higher if you look at the last decade.

Almost all "improvements" I've seen in my lifetime can be boiled down to one thing: making something faster and easier to do. And while that seems like a net positive, the reality of it is that these "improvements" have also led to less critical engagement, lower skill levels, and more importantly, the increasing disposability of a lot of what we engage with - whether that's physical disposability (consumer electronics becoming disposable goods with less "right to repair", "fast fashion" leading to low-cost clothing ending up in landfill within three months of purchase, et. al.) or psychological/intellectual disposability (the lower value placed on art/culture and the ever-increasing "churn" of "content").

We don't need self-levelling tripods. And while the tripod I've owned since the 90s will likely be fully usable into *my* 90s many years from now, I sincerely doubt this over-engineered nonsense will be.
 
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