I am dabbling with some product photography and since camera angles are so important the natural question I've is how does one precisely measure the angle of tilt of the camera on a tripod.

Right now I am just eyeballing and guesstimating but I would like to precisely measure this. Is there a tripod out there that shows you this angle?

1 Answer 1


That's not a feature of tripods, generally, but of heads. Geared heads, in particular, such as the Arca C1 Cube and the Manfrotto 4xx series. You would need to separately level your tripod or camera stand in order to make use of the calibrated markings on the head. (You can also get tilt scales on lower-end video-oriented pan/tilt heads, but you usually have to give up a lot of "tripodness" to get them.)

Frankly, though, eyeballing is the usual strategy for product photography, unless for some reason you really need to exactly match shooting angles (in order to create composite images, for instance). "Close enough" usually is close enough, and camera movements (using a tilt/shift lens or a view camera body, both of which are almost necessary for higher-end product shots) mean that the orientation of the mounting point of the camera and the actual viewing angle on the subject are only distantly related. A draftman's bevel protractor with a 3-way spirit level glued to it would probably be of more use in getting the angles right than the scales on a tripod head (it would become the "moral equivalent" of a theodolite for about $20).

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