Which ballhead/gimball/pano equipment does HH replace?

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Christoffer Braathen
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Apr 11, 2017 8:05 pm

Which ballhead/gimball/pano equipment does HH replace?

Post by Christoffer Braathen » Tue Apr 11, 2017 8:15 pm

Dear HH and User Group.

I'm wondering what leveling base/ball head/gimball/panoramic equipment does the HH replace in a satisfactory or even improving way?

I currently have multiple leveling solutions, regular and geared ballheads, gimball setups, panorama packages, nodal solutions etc. I can probably solve every possible application I will ever need, but it's just too much gear and to many options. I mostly signed up on Kickstarter to see if HH could be my go gear for when you just want to grab your best transportable tripod with head attached and be ready for what ever situation might come up.

Christoffer Braathen
Oslo, Norway

Posts: 83
Joined: Wed Mar 22, 2017 2:12 pm

Re: Which ballhead/gimball/pano equipment does HH replace?

Post by alt-az-builder » Tue Apr 11, 2017 9:48 pm

Hi Christoffer,

As the name implies, the Hitch Hiker is meant to an "on the go" type of mount. It would be hard (probably impossible) for me to address all of the advantages or differences in a single post. But I would start by saying that we view it as an alternative to both ball-heads and pan-tilt heads -- and to a certain extent also as an alternative to fluid heads. Technically, you would classify the Hitch Hiker as a gimbal mount -- but it is much smaller and lighter than most gimbal mounts (which are primarily used for large telephotos lenses). The Hitch Hiker is slightly heavier than a typical ball-head -- but not heavier than many pan-tilt heads. By the time you add a panning stage to a ball-head, its weight will be about the same as the Hitch Hiker.

But adding a panning stage to a ball-head only yields controlled movement in one axis. You can get somewhat controlled two-axis movement with a pan-tilt head -- but the load is top-heavy and unstable. A pan-tilt head cannot match the smooth, balanced motion of the Hitch Hiker when asked to do simultaneous two-axis panning. The movements of the Hitch Hiker are so smooth (for two-axis panning) that most fluid heads would be hard-pressed to match the Hitch Hiker's motions. Not only are the bearings on the Hitch Hiker's axes quite good and slop-free, and not only are the motions balanced, but the lever-operated friction controls on the Hitch Hiker allow precise equalization of the rotations in azimuth and in altitude. With this equalization of turning resistance, the axes almost "disappear" -- and one can follow arcing or slanted paths without jerking back and forth between left/right and up/down movements. Certainly, this can be important for making videos -- but it is also important for following and framing moving targets. I have found that I can snap individual photos of birds in flight without using burst-mode.

Besides being smaller and lighter compared to other gimbal mounts, the Hitch Hiker will aim most of the targeted class of cameras/telephotos straight up or straight down. The Hitch Hiker is also good for small telephotos that lack mounting rings -- forcing one to attach the camera body directly to the mount. In this case, the Hitch Hiker allows rapid switching from landscape to portrait mode -- without disturbing the two-axis balance of the camera/lens. Although I do photography with the guide-handle retracted, I find that I can position the thumb of my right hand against its knurled grip while keeping my finger on the shutter release. I position my left hand under the lens -- ready to change zoom. This positioning of the hands creates "push-push" control of the aim -- really powerful and precise -- and extremely responsive. With my hands so position I can frame subjects -- even moving subjects -- instantly and with great ease. Overall, for photography, I would say that rapid, precise photo composition is the Hitch Hiker's greatest attribute.

Once we have production Hitch Hikers (instead of prototype mounts) in hand, we will make a major effort to show how the Hitch Hiker can be used effectively -- and how it can/should be used differently from conventional tripod heads.

I know this is not a complete answer -- but as I said, one post can't provide it.


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