Horizon correction - what are the downsides?


Link Posted 26/08/2015 - 19:39
Up until now I've always run my K5 with Horizon Correction disabled. However, my camera club, in their infinite wisdom, have introduced a SOOTC competition. As I'm planning on taking a sea shot I want the horizon to be level. I'm also probably going to have to enable in-camera lens correction (yuk!) and use some Shadow Correction.

The electronic level in my camera appears to be well calibrated, so my question is, are there any downsides to having horizon correction enabled? Does it slow the camera down? Do you get any loss of sharpness? If the horizon is more than a few degrees out, does the camera give up and not attempt to apply any correction?

I'm planning a long exposure so does the correction factor set at the beginning of the shot and remain constant throughout the exposure, regardless of any camera shake?


Link Posted 26/08/2015 - 19:56
I would just level the camera up before you start.

You can also buy levels that fit in the hot-shoe. The sensitivity of the electronic one's such as the Seculine one's can be adjusted down to 0.2deg although they do need a not very simple calibration first.

Some tool stalls on markets sell vials for about 1. These are probably accurate to 0.2deg or 0.1deg.

This German firm have some really nice small levels.....

Half Man... Half Pentax ... Half Cucumber

Pentax K-1 + K-5 and some other stuff

Last Edited by Algernon on 26/08/2015 - 20:11


Link Posted 26/08/2015 - 20:02
IIRC - higher power consumption = lower battery life.
K-3 II, K-3 and a K-70 from SRS (having now relegated the K-30 /"K-50" to a backup body) , & some Sigma and Pentax lenses (and a lot of old 35mm gear!)


Link Posted 26/08/2015 - 20:38
with Shake Reduction on, Horizon Correction corrects up to 1 degree.
with Shake Reduction off, Horizon Correction corrects up to 2 degrees.
Last Edited by percy on 26/08/2015 - 20:38


Link Posted 26/08/2015 - 21:20

0.2 degree is actually quite a lot for a sea horizon - you can bet some picky competition judge would knock off a point for it! I can manage that by eye (and with the aid of the camera's level info display page). I'm hoping the camera's sensor adjustment is better than that. Just wondered if it can degrade sharpness as shake reduction can when using a tripod (not that I've ever noticed).

I'll give it a go next week and will report back.

BTW, when enabled I notice that the level info display gives you a helpful Horizon Correction range bar (below the horizonal level bar), and the available range is narrower when Shake Reduction is on. Pentax is so nice!
Last Edited by WaypointCharlie on 26/08/2015 - 21:23


Link Posted 26/08/2015 - 22:46
Personally I would leave it off. Use a tripod, level the shot first and then any fine adjustments in post processing. I found no useful reasons for having it switched on with my K-5 or any cameras since I sold it. It made my shots wonky rather than making them straighter and I spent weeks trying to figure out why I was rubbish until I realised it was turned on and was 'auto-correcting' my images. After turning it off, all was back to normal.

My Website http://imagesbydavidstorm.foliopic.com


Some cameras, some lenses, some bits 'n' bobs


Link Posted 27/08/2015 - 01:05
It's a straight out of camera competition though David.

Agree for normal post processing workflows, but Pentax has some cool aids if you're after straight out of camera (pre processed) shots.


Link Posted 27/08/2015 - 08:28
The sea isn't level and the earth is curved anyway

My moon shots never look level

Half Man... Half Pentax ... Half Cucumber

Pentax K-1 + K-5 and some other stuff



Link Posted 27/08/2015 - 08:38
Thanks David. Normally I'd be in full agreement about leaving it off, and certainly leaving off distortion correction. However, this is setting up for a straight out of the camera competition. Personally I find SOOTC a pain and it imposes unnecessary restrictions, but the vast majority of the club voted in favour of having it. Proof, if ever it were needed, that democracy is vastly overrated!


Link Posted 27/08/2015 - 08:41
Personally I find SOOTC a pain and it imposes unnecessary restrictions

It's an exercise in discipline and making the photographer work harder to get it right up front. Once in a while it can improve our photography and our club too took it overwhelmingly to their hearts.
Best regards, John

vic cross

Link Posted 27/08/2015 - 08:53
Why not just put the rule of thirds grid up on the screen then if your horizon is on either the top or bottom third you can keep it on the line and hey presto. Job done. Of course this only works in live view. CHEERS Vic.
Born again biker with lots of Pentax bits. Every day I wake up is a good day. I'm so old I don't even buy green bananas.


Link Posted 27/08/2015 - 09:17
A SOOTC competition raises other issues apart from the question of level horizons. For instance most experienced photographers shoot in RAW. What's the rule regarding converting the RAWS to JPEGS and resizing them? Camera clubs and international photo organisations such as the Royal Photographic Society and FIAP insist on entries of JPEG images not exceeding 1400x1050 in size. Full size RAWS and even full size JPEG images would mess up competitions at the projection stage.
I can't ever remember Durham PS running a SOOTC competition since digital photography became universal though we did it with slides in film days.
PPG: http://www.pentaxphotogallery.com/artists/davidtrout
Last Edited by davidtrout on 27/08/2015 - 09:21


Link Posted 27/08/2015 - 09:34
There are problems David, and it's one of those things where the more we think it the more complicated it becomes. I can only speak for ADAPS, and for internal competitions clubs can do whatever they want, so the rules is the rules, so to speak.

All shots must be in JPEG and straight from the camera, not even retitled. They come to me and I resize them for projection, having cast an eye over the files to make sure they qualify. As for the photographers, they are free to choose image style, etc., anything apart from in-camera HDR, and that's considered to be equivalent to choosing the slide film to be used. As near as possible, it's a slide competition, just as it might have been a couple of decades ago, and with all the demands regarding exposure and composition being right.

Over think it and it falls apart, accept it as it is and have a go and we get a lot of entries and people enjoy it. There's even a trophy, donated by the widow of the member who suggested the competition. He was very ill when he struggled to attend the first one and died shortly afterwards, and that in itself added something to the way we all viewed the competition.
Best regards, John


Link Posted 27/08/2015 - 10:02
In our case, we must submit the original JPEGs at full resolution but retitled to suit the club conventions. The competition sec. then resizes for projection. Yes, SOOTC has been a can of worms, particularly when it came to deciding whether or not in-camera post processing should be permitted. As it stands today, it has to be the JPEG produced by the camera immediately following the (single) shutter press. Potentially this means you could use Multi-exposure mode, but I think this is only possible with a single shutter press if you use burst mode, so it's not that useful really.

You can include camera processed effects (such as monochrome, even HDR), but they have to be produced at the time the shot was taken, not subsequently post-processed by the camera from the Raw file. So I've been experimenting to find the best monochrome settings for what I plan to do. At the moment I'm trying getting my head around the differences between Sharpness, Fine Sharpness and Extra Sharpness (any ideas?). Sure, it's been educational discovering the some of the features and effects the camera has to offer, but if it wasn't for the SOOTC constraint I really wouldn't find any need of them.


Link Posted 27/08/2015 - 10:27
For tripod mounting click the INFO button twice to get display options and pick electronic level. Otherwise handhold and use the levels display in the viewfinder. I haven't noticed any problems with horizon correction so tend to leave it activated. To take a sequence of panned shots for panorama stitching I use a video tripod mount and a little bubble level in the hotshoe to adjust the tripod.
Last Edited by RobL on 27/08/2015 - 10:31
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