Getting your camera on level while your tripod stands on uneven ground takes a lot of frustrating work, requiring you to invest considerable time adjusting knobs and levers. Designed to spare you from all that, the Acadalus CPS-AH1 is a self-leveling camera head that can handle the deed in just a few seconds.
Created by Dr. Carl Koch, the device automatically finds a level plane for your camera at the push of a button. Using one, you can accurately frame an image very quickly, aligning the perfect shot without having to fiddle with mechanical controls.
The Acadalus was modeled on technology used on airplane flight simulators, using an inclinometer to measure the head's position, then employing stepper motors to level the camera at an exact angle. Electronically-controlled, the onboard microprocessor determines all necessary adjustments, which you can also control using a five-button keypad along the side. It fastens onto your tripod using a locking lever designed to keep it tightly in place. For outdoor use, it can power using a 2,800 mAH 18.5 V lithium ion rechargeable battery pack (good for two hours); for indoors, it can plug right into the mains.
According to the inventor, he came up with the idea while trying to photograph an outdoor Christmas display, leaving him both freezing and frustrated. He sought out products that made the leveling work faster, but ran into dead ends every time, prompting him to spend the next four years building one himself.
Made from stainless steel, the Acadalus CPS-AH1 is a one-of-a-kind solution for photographers seeking out better ways to work with a tripod. It's likely to be more fitting for pros, however, at a current starting price of $5,000.