Nelson inventor on funding drive for camera leveller OhSoh Eli

Nelson inventor on funding drive for camera leveller OhSoh Eli

Graham Manson is a serial ideas guy and one of his concepts, an alternative to tripods for quickly levelling cameras, is the first to become reality.

Now Manson, who heads Kia Rere Innovations, has reached nearly a third of his goal to raise $65,000 on Kickstarter.

Manson got into amateur photography while travelling in the UK with his wife. He found it frustrating setting up the tripods he was using there.

His device is OhSoh Eli (electronic levelling intelligence), a 521g dome shaped device that runs on four AA batteries. When the user presses the button, it levels the camera in seconds within a 12.5 degree range, thanks to motors that drive the x and y axis. It can either level on a dual axis for level photographs and panoramas, or just level on the horizontal axis to allow the photographer to point the camera down for high angle shots.

"The main thing I wanted to do is save time setting up gear. You can level a photo in Photoshop and many other photo editing programmes, but that's not really about getting a photo level. If you do that you crop out quite a bit of your image," says Manson.

"It's portability as well, it just sits in your backpack when you're travelling and it runs on four AA batteries, which you can get anywhere."

Manson began the project while still in the UK, and has worked with Cambridge-based Product Partners to develop the prototypes. It also uses UK-based electronic products manufacturer Bela.

Kia Rere will initially charge $285 for the gadget. The plastic components will be made in China, with Christchurch's Novatronics populating the circuit boards.

Manson's company will do the final assembly and he hopes to send units to Kickstarter supporters next April.