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  • Calibrating level gauge on EM-5 II

    Hello. Is this a good place for possibly dumb questions from someone who's still learning and getting to grips with new kit?

    I often use the dynamic green level indicators at the bottom and right of the viewfinder display to try to get level horizons, vertical buildings etc. However I seem to come out with too many shots which need rotating a bit in post. I have a feeling the level indicator may not be working well, or may need calibrating a bit.

    There is a "Level Adjust" feature, but I'm intrigued how you might use it in practice. Do you need to put the camera on a spirit level (trusting that the base-plate of the camera is perfectly flat and parallel to the sensor)?

    If I were in a Focus Group asked to design a user experience for levelling, I'd suggest giving the user the option in the menus to select level adjust, then using the next shot they make (which they can compose with viewfinder etc) as a definition of level. But this isn't how they've designed it. You need to set levelness first and then start pressing buttons and potentially moving the camera before you can calibrate the level meters.

    Am I missing something?

    How do people use this feature in practice?

    And how durable is this setting once calibrated? Does it survive the camera being switched off and on again?

  • #2
    Re: Calibrating level gauge on EM-5 II

    I've used that menu option on my E-M10. It does rely on the camera being on a level surface - front to back and side to side - the base plate on the E-M10 lets it sit flat with the usual smaller lenses.
    IIRC I used our kitchen worktop which I know is perfectly true according to a 1m level.
    I also have a small bubble level in the hotshoe which agrees with the internal level. I just use it because my E-PL5 doesn't have the feature and I got a pack of several for a couple of quid off eBay.
    Mine seemed to have gone out of synch after a flight but that might just be that I started taking a lot of landscape shots when I got there and noticed the horizon was on the wonk.
    The setting definitely survives the camera being switched off.

    I still end up making <1 degree level adjustments in post but I'm putting that down to user error as I'm never using a tripod.
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/amcuk/

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    • #3
      Re: Calibrating level gauge on EM-5 II

      I did mine by looking at the horizon out to sea when I was on the beach.
      Cameras: E-M5, E-PM2, OM40, OM4Ti
      Lenses (M.Zuiko Digital): 7-14mm/F2.8, 12-40mm/F2.8, 40-150mm/F2.8+TC1.4x, 12-50mm/F3.5-6.3, 14-42mm/F3.5-5.6 EZ, M.ZD 40-150 F4-5.6 R, 75-300mm/F4.8-6.7 Mk1, 12mm/F2, 17mm/F1.8
      Lenses (OM Zuiko): 50mm/F1.2, 24mm/F2, 35mm/F2.8 shift
      Lenses (OM Fit): Vivitar Series II 28-105mm/F2.8-3.8, Sigma 21-35mm/F3.4-4.2, Sigma 35-70mm/F2.8-4, Sigma 75-200mm/F2.8-3.5, Vivitar Series II 100-500mm/F5.6-8.0, Centon 500mm/F8 Mirror
      Learn something new every day

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      • #4
        Re: Calibrating level gauge on EM-5 II

        Not speaking from experience here, but - even if correctly calibrated, would it be sensitive to less than 1 degree anyway? Any more and it could end up flickering on and off all the time, even just from residual wobble on a tripod.

        I suppose a good way to calibrate would be to put it on a surface that is more or less level and press a button to store the reading. Turn it on the vertical axis through 180 degrees and press again for another reading, and it could take the average of the two. Of course that is purely speculative if the camera is not engineered that way, but why let the facts get in the way?

        John

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        • #5
          Re: Calibrating level gauge on EM-5 II

          I don't know how sensitive it is - it seems very sensitive- probably not to much less than 1 degree but I've now become stupidly fussy about wonky horizons.
          One of the perils of using the level is over obsessing about getting it perfectly flat then noticing some other glaring issue in the frame when you download the images to a PC and it's far too late to do anything about it .
          https://www.flickr.com/photos/amcuk/

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          • #6
            Re: Calibrating level gauge on EM-5 II

            Originally posted by OM USer View Post
            I did mine by looking at the horizon out to sea when I was on the beach.
            Must have had a very short lens on - usually when I look out to sea I can see the 'curve of the earth'

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            • #7
              Re: Calibrating level gauge on EM-5 II

              Originally posted by iso View Post
              Must have had a very short lens on - usually when I look out to sea I can see the 'curve of the earth'
              I think I had the 12-40 on at the time. I turned the grid lines on and just lined them up with what I could see.
              Cameras: E-M5, E-PM2, OM40, OM4Ti
              Lenses (M.Zuiko Digital): 7-14mm/F2.8, 12-40mm/F2.8, 40-150mm/F2.8+TC1.4x, 12-50mm/F3.5-6.3, 14-42mm/F3.5-5.6 EZ, M.ZD 40-150 F4-5.6 R, 75-300mm/F4.8-6.7 Mk1, 12mm/F2, 17mm/F1.8
              Lenses (OM Zuiko): 50mm/F1.2, 24mm/F2, 35mm/F2.8 shift
              Lenses (OM Fit): Vivitar Series II 28-105mm/F2.8-3.8, Sigma 21-35mm/F3.4-4.2, Sigma 35-70mm/F2.8-4, Sigma 75-200mm/F2.8-3.5, Vivitar Series II 100-500mm/F5.6-8.0, Centon 500mm/F8 Mirror
              Learn something new every day

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Calibrating level gauge on EM-5 II

                Originally posted by OM USer View Post
                I did mine by looking at the horizon out to sea when I was on the beach.
                I have used brick buildings in the past.....

                Yes have assumed the brickie used a spirit level.

                It could be argued that you should use a tripod................
                Mark Johnson

                My Sailing Page

                My Flickr

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                • #9
                  Re: Calibrating level gauge on EM-5 II

                  Am I missing something? Some of you seem to be viewing a horizon or other horizontal scene while making this adjustment, whereas it seems to me that once you're in the menus you need to make the adjustment with only the menus visible, not the view through the lens.

                  Or do you mean that you set the camera on e.g. a tripod, set it horizontal by composing a scene with known horizontals, and then - without disturbing the camera in any way, use the menus to calibrate the horizontal?

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                  • #10
                    Re: Calibrating level gauge on EM-5 II

                    I have to say I don't understand why people get upset if the horizon is off by 1˚ or so when they take the shot. Once the file is loaded on your computer it only takes a single click in post processing to get it back to perfectly level.
                    Dave

                    My Flickr

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                    • #11
                      Re: Calibrating level gauge on EM-5 II

                      Must admit its a while since I checked mine.

                      Would have to look up details on how to do it again, but I know it wasn't too difficult to re calibrate it.

                      As said, I used the brick line in my late mothers Australian house, so maybe I calibrated it up side down
                      Mark Johnson

                      My Sailing Page

                      My Flickr

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