The Acratech leveling base is designed to make leveling the top of your tripod extremely easy and quick. The base has a ball and socket mechanism so that you can tilt it several degrees in any direction to compensate for uneven ground without having to make minute adjustments to the tripod legs.
You might be wondering why you would need a leveling base, especially if you are using a ballhead where you can quickly point the camera in any direction. The main reason is that you may need to pan your camera horizontally such as when you are creating a stitched panoramic or tracking a moving object with a telephoto lens. Using a leveling base saves a tremendous amount of time compared with adjusting your tripod legs.
The Acratech leveling base works quite well. It’s quick to put on the tripod, and quick to level. There are only two things I don’t like about it:
- I can’t always set the base accurately enough so that I get an even horizon when panning. This may be user error on my part or it could be an inherent accuracy limitation of using a relatively small bubble. I haven’t used other leveling bases so I can’t say exactly where the fault lies.
- The top of the base is anodized metal without a protective layer of plastic or cork. Thus when I screw on my ballhead the two metal surfaces scrape against each other. If you look closely at the picture to the right you can see marks where the two rubbed against each other.
- weighs 256 grams or 9 oz
- ten degrees of tilt
- adds 1.77 inches of height
- costs about $150