Leica NA320 Automatic Dumpy Level Review
Thinking of buying a new dumpy level? Not sure which one will serve you best? Well, you could do a lot worse than buying the Leica NA320 Level. Or any of the Leica NA300 Series of dumpy levels.
A while ago I was looking at the best dumpy levels to buy for under £200. And was surprised to find the Leica NA320 and the Leica NA324 were available for under £200 including VAT. I did not expect to find an automatic dumpy level from Leica available for under £200. When it comes to automatic dumpy levels, Leica is one of the top brands that are on the market. Every construction site engineer or surveyor will have used a Leica automatic dumpy level at some point in their career. Quite simple, Leica produce some of the best automatic dumpy levels on the market, past and present.
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Here is what I said about the Leica NA324 in the article Top 5 Best Dumpy Level to Buy in 2020 for under £200.
The surprise on this list is the Leica NA324 and would be the one that I would buy and recommend for anyone buying their first automatic (dumpy) level. Why am I surprised that it is on the list? Well it is priced under £200. The Leica NA324 is a very capable automatic (dumpy) level with a magnification of 24x, and certainly feels like an automatic (dumpy) level that is worth more than £200. The Leica NA324 is a very robust level that can cope with arduous conditions for a number of years.
The Leica NA324 would also be on my list for automatic (dumpy) levels for engineers looking for their first level, it’s that good for this price range. I would also consider the Leica NA320 automatic (dumpy) level with the 20x magnification.
First Impressions of the Leica NA320 dumpy level
My first impression with the Leica NA320 level is not all together positive. It is the carry case. I find it is awkward to open. It is a two-handed affair with the mechanism and the carry strap then gets in the way of opening the box lid. This is because the strap is just a bit too short for my liking regarding opening, but good for carrying across site. But this design of carry case does prevent the accidental opening of the carry case and ultimately the dumpy level falling out. If the dumpy level ever falls out of its box, then it most likely time for a new one. While the box maybe awkward to open, it does protect the dumpy level very well. And that is the job of the carry case. If you do have one of these levels, place the box on the floor or a good surface and then open the box. That is the easiest and safest way I find. But what about the dumpy level itself?
The Leica NA320 Automatic Dumpy Level.
The Leica NA300 series of automatic dumpy levels have all the features that you would expect to find on all automatic dumpy levels. The viewing image is upright, and the optics are clear. Looking through the telescope you can see the crosshairs and the stadia lines.
The Leica NA320 automatic level only weighs 1.5kg. This light weight is thanks to the use of plastic for any part of the possible. The top part of the main body is plastic and the bottom is cast metal. The yellow top has a textured finish to it, which allows you to hold the Leica NA320 easily without fear of it slipping out of your hand.
Attaching the Leica NA320 Automatic Dumpy Level to a Survey Tripod.
The Leica NA320 attaches to the survey tripod using the standard 5/8 screw adapter found on all survey tripods. The base of the Leica NA320 dumpy level has a curved underside to fit the domed survey tripods for quick setup of the automatic dumpy level. The base also has three flat feet to allow it to be setup on flat tripod heads.
Easily Level up the Leica NA320 Automatic Dumpy Level.
Levelling up the Leica NA320 is easily done using the three foot screws on the base. The circular vial on the body of the Leica NA320 dumpy level is clear to see. With the additional 45degree mirror above the circular vial levelling is also easily done when setup at your head height. The foot screws are easy to rotate and big enough for quick adjustment of level and then fine adjustment too.
Crosshair Adjustment on the Leica NA320 Automatic Dumpy Level.
If the crosshairs and stadia lines are not clear, then adjustment for clarity is done by twisting the eyepiece until the crosshairs and stadia lines are clear. This is adjusting for parallax. Focusing on the E-Grad Staff is straight forward and easy. The focusing knob is large enough to enable fine adjustment until the object is clearly visible and readings can be taken easily. Reading of the staff can be done well over 50m away from the Leica NA320, this is further than I would recommend for taking accurate readings.
Stadia Lines on the Leica NA320 Automatic Dumpy Level.
The stadia lines are set at the standard 1:100 ratio making distance measurement easy. If you want to know how to take distance measurements with a dumpy level then read this article on how to measure distances with a dumpy level.
Between the base and the foot screws is the adjustable horizontal circle that will allow basic angle measurements.
Easy Alignment of the Leica NA320 Automatic Dumpy Level.
Initial sighting of the Leica NA320 automatic level is easily done with the quick sighting scope on the top of the Leica NA320 dumpy level. There is a light triangle seen through the scope with the point of the triangle pointing upwards. This makes initial aiming for the main telescope easy.
Short Focusing Distance of the Leica NA320 Automatic Dumpy Level.
The focusing distance is short too. You can focus on the E-Grad staff at less than 1 metre away form the Leica NA320. At distances this close you should only be doing a two-peg check on the level.
The Accuracy of the Leica NA320 Automatic Dumpy Level.
The accuracy for the Leica NA320 is stated as 2.5mm for a 1km double run levelling operation. This compares to 2.0mm for the Leica NA324 and 1.8mm for the Leica NA332. For most of the work that you will be undertaking though, the accuracy for all three of the Leica Levels will be within 1mm sighting over 30m. This is for correctly adjusted instruments.
Tools for the Adjusting Leica NA320 Automatic Dumpy Level.
Included with all the Leica NA300 series automatic levels are tools to adjust the automatic level should it not be accurate. However, this adjustment is best left to professionals that have the checking tools required for accurate setup.
The Leica NA320 Automatic Dumpy Level Compensator.
The compensator has a working range of 15minutes (or ¼ of a degree). The compensator is the part of the automatic level that gives accurate levels. As long as the bubble is in the centre of the circular vial then the compensator will take care of the rest.
What do the last two numbers refer to in the Leica NA300 series.
The numbering system for the Leica NA300 series is based on the magnification strength of the level. The NA320 has a 20x magnification. The NA324 has a 24x magnification. The NA332 has a 32x magnification. The general rule as to which one is best for you depends on the distances you will be sighting to the E-Grad Staff. The higher the magnification the more accurate your staff readings can be at greater distances.
Is the Leica NA320 Automatic Dumpy Level Site Tough?
All the Leica NA300 series of automatic levels have an IP54 rating. This means that all the Leica NA300 series automatic levels offer partial protection from dust that might harm the level and protected from water splashes with limited ingress and no harmful effects. Like any survey equipment, if it gets wet out on site do not put it away in its box.
Which of the Leica NA300 series would I recommend?
As to which one you should go for, it is up to you. I would suggest either the NA320 or the NA324 for general site use, and only go for the NA332 if you need accuracy over 50m sighting distances.
What is the best price of the Leica NA320 Automatic Dumpy Level?
Pricing of the Leica NA320 Automatic Dumpy Level is very competitive. Check the price on Amazon or look at the links below for the price. Both the NA320 and the NA324 are available currently for under £200 including VAT. I would not spend a lot of time looking around for better prices because at these prices there is no room for discounts.
The Leica NA320 Automatic Dumpy Level, any of the NA300 series, will serve you well. Ideal as general site dumpy level or the first or spare dumpy level for an engineer.