A new Kickstarter project from New Zealand based entrepreneur Graham Manson makes it easy to level your camera before you shoot, no matter where you are, so that you don’t have to level your photo or video afterwards with the help of editing software. It may seem like a fairly minor problem, but speaking as someone who has an almost supernatural inability to get the horizon line level in photos, it’s a problem solver that many will find useful.
The OhSoh ELi (Electronic Levelling Intelligence) is a squat, vaguely mushroom-like base with a tripod mount built-in for affixing your camera. It can adjust the angle of your camera by up to 12.5 degrees, and levels automatically with the push of a single green button. There’s also a circular rotation plate that makes it possible for you to rotate the camera on an even plane in 15 degree increments left and right for snapping perfectly stitched panorama photos. Plus, the ELi lets you lock just the horizontal axis so that you can pan up and down to compose your shot differently.
The device is powered by four AA batteries, and features a rubber ‘foot’ to grab hold of surfaces so that it won’t slide off of fence posts, rocks or whatever else you have to set it on. The batteries provide it with 6 months of standby time, and a full month of active use, and it’s a fairly hefty little package at 521g, which is good because it’ll provide a decent amount of stability. It’ll support an 800g load with levelling intact, which is a decent sized lens and DSLR body.
Manson is an electronics engineer with 14 years experience, and also handles the software programming and circuit board design for the ELi. He’s already planning a professional version with greater weight tolerance, too, and says that they’ll be able to focus on that once they meet their goal for the consumer-focused ELi. The project is targeting $65,000 NZD for its funding goal, with nearly $12,000 NZD already pledged. Backers can pre-order one of the first units, which are targeting May 2014 as a ship date, starting at $230.
I’m basically incapable of taking a level photo, so I’m very interested to see if the ELi can cure me of that. Likely not: I think I’m doomed to induce mild vertigo with my photos for all eternity, but it’s nice to see someone trying to come up with an innovative solution to that chronic problem.