A.Clayton DeKorne responds: A lot depends on the speed of the vials and the thread of the leveling screws. Leveling a cheap instrument with slow vials and coarse leveling screws can be maddening. Even so, following this basic procedure each time can help:

Rough-level the tripod.If you’re setting up on a slope, place two legs of the tripod on the downhill side, and the remaining leg on the uphill side. The table of the tripod can quickly be "eyeballed" level by repositioning the uphill leg.

or Register to read the full article.