The 3 Legged Thing LevelHed significantly enhances a standard tripod’s functionality, offering a simple yet effective solution for achieving a level horizon. It’s particularly beneficial for videography, ensuring steady panning without the need for a separate video tripod. While it may require a bit of time to adjust perfectly, the LevelHed’s user-friendliness and compatibility with a wide range of tripods make it a valuable addition for many photographers or videographers.
Compatble with many standard tripods
Cheaper than buying a levelling base tripod
Well made and with smooth movements
3/8"-16 adapter isn't the retractable type
Can be fiddly to set to the correct level
What is the 3 Legged Thing LevelHed?
The 3 Legged Thing LevelHed is an upgrade to the original 3 Legged Thing Levelling Base, incorporating improvements inspired by user feedback. The LevelHed is designed to be universally compatible with any tripod featuring a 3/8″ -16 screw mount, effectively transforming standard tripods into levelling base tripods. It facilitates precise adjustments to the camera’s positioning, ensuring a level horizon during photography and videography and is especially beneficial for level panning shots.
Mounting Threads: 1/4″-20 with 3/8″-16 thread adapter
Load capacity: 30 Kg / 44 lbs
Tilt range: 10 degrees
Height: 7 cm / 2.7 inches
Maximum diameter: 9.1 cm / 3.5 inches
Base diameter: 30 mm / 1.18 inches
Weight: 375 g / 13.2 oz
As I’ve already mentioned, the 3 Legged Thing LevelHed attaches to any tripod with a 3/8″ -16 screw mount. It’s just a case of unscrewing the tripod head and mounting the LevelHed in its place. If you want, the tripod head can be remounted on top of the LevelHed, or the camera can be mounted directly on the levelling base.
Conveniently, 3 Legged Thing supplies a 3/8″-16 adapter that fits over the 1/4″-20 thread at the top of the LevelHed. This adapter is required for mounting most tripod heads while the bare 1/4″-20 thread fits most cameras. It would be nice if the 3/8″-16 adapter was the retractable type is this would mean it be left on the LevelHed, making it less likely to go missing.
The LevelHed is compatible with many tripod heads, but a fluid video head makes a great choice because, unlike a ball head, the horizon won’t be at risk of tilting when the camera is moved on it.
Once mounted, the levelling base allows the camera’s angle to be fine-tuned to achieve a perfectly level horizon without making any adjustments to the tripod leg length or angle. It’s particularly important to have the camera on a level base when panning because without it, the horizon will tilt as the camera moves.
3 Legged Thing has elevated the LevelHed’s mounting platform in comparision with the original Levelling Base to make it compatible with a wider range of clamps and tripod heads.
While the original Levelling Base has a bubble level in a fixed location, it’s mounted in a rotatable ring on the LevelHed. This means that the bubble level can be position for greater visibility when a camera is mounted.
The levelling mechanism of the LevelHed released and secured using ratcheted knob while there’s a knurled knob to control the 360-degree panning movement.
3 Legged Thing offers the LevelHed in two colourways: Metallic Slate Grey with Copper (orange) accents and Darkness (matte black).
Build and Handling
The 3 Legged Thing LevelHed is made from precision-engineered, anodised, aerospace-grade magnesium alloy. It feels reassuringly chunky and robust without being excessively heavy.
When their locks are released, the levelling and 360-degree panning mechanisms have beautifully smooth movements. I found that I generally only need to make around a quarter or a turn of the level-lock to release it, but the degree of adjutsment that’s required will vary depending upon the weight of the camera and lens in use.
The introduction of the rotating spirit level is a major bonus on the LevelHed. It means you can move the level to get a clear view when the camera is mounted.
As you’d expect, the aim when adjusting the LevelHed’s level is to get the bubble in the bubble level smack in the middle. 3 Legged Thing makes it easier to see whether this is acheived by marking the centre point and providing cirular outline. Nevertheless, it’s important to view the bubble level from as close to straight-on (above) as possible. With a camera mounted, this often means looking down the back of the camera from above, with the level posiition to one side of the viewfinder.
Levelling the base precisely can take some time. You may get lucky and do it quuickly while on other occasions you may find yourself fiddling around for several minutes. With the 3 Legged Thing LevelHed, I found the best approach is to lock the panning mechanism and loosen the levelling mechanism before making small, slow movements to the camera’s position while keeping an eye on the bubble level. It’s worth pausing between movements because the bubble is sometimes slow to respond and it’s easy to overshoot the adjustment.
Once the camera is completely level on the base, the panning mechanism can be unlocked and horizon stays level when the camera is moved through 360 degrees.
The 3 Legged Thing LevelHed is a versatile and user-friendly upgrade on the original 3 Legged Thing Levelling Base. It transforms a regular tripod into a levelling base tripod, and paired with a fluid video head, creates a video tripod without the expense of a second tripod.
It can take a few minutes to adjust the LevelHed into the perfect position, but it’s well-worth doing so if you plan to pan while recording video or you want to create a multi-shot panorama as it avoids the horizon becoming progressively off-kilter.