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Keeping Your World Straight:
How to Use A Double Bubble Level
Jim Doty, Jr.


It is always a bit disconcerting to open a photo on your computer, or get a slide back from the lab, only to discover that the horizon isn't straight. Of course you can straighten it up in Photoshop, but that is time you could have spent doing something else. Not only that, when you straighten an image, you then need to crop it so you have to throw away some of the original images. Sometimes the act of "straighten and crop" leaves out something important.

Double Bubble Level, used horizontally. Photo copyright Jim Doty Jr.
Double Bubble Level, camera horizontal.


The answer is to keep your horizon straight in the first place, but that isn't always easy to judge without a little help, especially in an uneven landscape. The solution is an inexpensive (about $9 - $15) double bubble level which slides into the hot shoe of your camera. The double bubble level has two "feet", one on the end, and one on the side.

Slide the "foot" on the end of the level (not the side foot) into the hot shoe on your camera as illustrated in the photo above and you are ready for both horizontal and vertical photos without moving the double bubble level from its orientation in the hot shoe. When the camera is in the horizontal position, use the lower level that is closest to the hot shoe (photo above). When the camera is in the vertical position, use the level farthest from the hot shoe (photo below).

Double Bubble Level, used vertically. Photo copyright Jim Doty Jr

Double Bubble Level, camera vertical.

Photographers using double and triple bubble levels.

You can order a double bubble level in the Misc Goodies section of my photography store.


December 13, 2010. Updated Dec. 4, 2017

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