Hitch Hiker Optical Mount
Lightweight Balanced Motion Tripod Head

Balanced Rotation Explained

Balanced rotation about the altitude (elevation) axis allows the Hitch Hiker to follow up and down motions without fighting gravity and to remain aimed on target without clamping. To accomplish this feat, the Hitch Hiker provides for shifting the payload up/down as well as fore/aft. The following diagrams explain. For simplicity, let's assume that the center of the rotating mass coincides with the center of the heavy stainless steel weight. We will ignore the masses of the saddle, payload platform, and guide-handle -- all of which also contribute slightly to the rotating mass. But the visualization is simpler if we just pretend that the center of the weight marks the center of the rotating mass.

For 2-axis balance, the payload platform adjusts fore/aft and the saddle adjusts up/down. Rotation axis is marked.
Fore/Aft balance is easily visualized. If the load is centered to one side, gravity induces a torque to that side.
Move the load to the opposite side, and gravity induces a torque in the opposite direction -- like on a playground seesaw.
Position the load over the axis of rotation and the load appears balanced. But this configuraton is unstable.
If the axis is rotated up, the payload's weight is shifted to the side -- and gravity no longer pulls it through the rotation axis.
Rotating in the opposite direction exposes the same imbalance. It's like standing in canoe. Lean either way and tip!
But the Hitch Hiker's saddle can shift (red arrow) to center the payload on the rotation axis. Now gravity pulls through the axis again.
With the payload's mass centered over the rotation axis, gravity has no "arm" to produce torque with the axis turned to any angle.

The Hitch Hiker Remains Balanced in Portrait Mode

The Hitch Hiker's camera rotation device was designed so that a typical DSLR camera can be rotated from landscape to portrait mode without disturbing the two-axis balancing of the load. Balance is also closely maintained for mirrorless cameras. This remarkable property is demonstrated in the following video. Note the smooth, low-resistance motions of the Hitch Hiker -- both before and after camera rotation. And note that the camera stays aimed without any clamping. And also note that the camera can be aimed straight-up and straight-down.