NEW REWARD: THE ALL-NEW ASPEN TITANIUM BALLHEAD.
For the home stretch we have added two new rewards: the Aspen Titanium Ballhead and the Aspen-Centennial Titanium Set.
The Aspen features a huge range of motion and is CNC machined entirely from titanium - a material with incredible strength-to-weight properties and corrosion resistance. It comes equipped with the world's first ever titanium hollowball for maximized weight savings.
WE NEED YOUR FEEDBACK.
Our industrial designers and engineers have been hard at work. Currently we have two different designs that are in the CNC prototyping phase. We will move forward with one of these designs for full production. User feedback is extremely valuable to our process and we would love to get your insights on these two great options. Please leave comments letting us know if you prefer design A or B. We want to make the products that you want to use.
ULTRALIGHT. WIDER RANGE OF MOTION. INCREDIBLY STRONG.
Introducing the Highline ballhead – the world's first titanium ballhead. Also featuring the worlds first titanium hollowball – which reduces ball weight by 52%.
By re-engineering internal locking mechanisms, the Highline ballhead features an incredibly strong 54lb locking force – more than double the locking force of Manfrotto, Gitzo, Vanguard and many other industry leaders.
Optimized for left-handed operation, the Highline ballhead allows the photographer's right shooting hand to be free for compositional framing.
Although the process of extracting titanium from its ore is costly, designers consider it valuable enough for specialty applications such as aerospace, where its combination of strength-to-weight and corrosion resistance is unrivaled.
It is 40% lighter but as strong as high-strength steel. So titanium finds applications in things like aircraft, spacecraft and high-performance products.
FINALLY – LEFT-HANDED OPERATION.
For decades tripod companies have optimized ballheads for right-handed use relative to the drop location for vertical shooting.
Manfrotto, Gitzo, Really Right Stuff and the other industry leaders have designed without consideration for the user experience benefit of keeping the right shooting hand free.
Since cameras are right-handed, why don't ballhead companies optimize the ballhead knobs for the left hand?
With the enlarged window design and tension knob oriented for the left hand, the Highline ballhead solves this simple problem, resulting in a huge user experience benefit.
As of this Kickstarter (December 3rd, 2018) the following companies have not optimized their tripod heads for right handed shooting: Manfrotto, Gitzo, Really Right Stuff, Arca-Swiss, Feisol, FLM, Kirk, Induro, Joby and many more Chinese brands who also do not optimize their heads.
Acratech is a notable exception who does optimize for right-handed shooting. However companies who have considered the user experience and optimized the tension knob for right-handed use are few and far between.
THE 90-DEGREE PROBLEM.
Similar to how industry leading tripod companies forget to consider simple user experience problems, we found they also overlook traditional concepts for how ballheads function.
Aside from locking and unlocking, the primary function of a ballhead is to allow the photographer to drop a camera into a position to allow for vertical compositions.
For over 100 years, the drop window (the cutout area on the side of the ballhead) has been fixed to a 90-degree drop. Once the 90-degree limit has been reached, the photographer must adjust the tripod legs to go lower to achieve a level shot.
With decades and billions in revenue why haven't the tripod companies increased range of motion beyond 90-degrees?
The Highline ballhead has an all-new patent-pending enlarged opening design which increases range of motion so the photographer doesn't have to adjust the tripod legs as frequently.
To achieve our $99 retail price, our engineers analyzed over 25 ballheads, which include all the best sellers on the market today, as well as vintage ballheads dating back to the 1920s.
The goal was to make a product that was easy to repair and to reduce complexity in the manufacturing process. This simplicity lowers manufacturing cost and therefore the retail cost.
What our engineers discovered allowed us to eliminate 50% of internal part quantity.
Through numerous strength tests of all 25 ballheads, our engineers discovered how to re-design the locking mechanisms that translate into load capacity and, in turn, increased locking force to 54lbs - more than double industry leaders such as Manfrotto and Gitzo – while still maintaining a smaller size and weight.
WORLD'S FIRST TITANIUM HOLLOWBALL.
By machining the Highline ballhead from a solid block of titanium, the strength allowed us to produce an ultralight patent-pending hollowball which reduces the ball weight by 52%.
Perfect for the ultralight applications of outdoor photographers such as hiking, camping and backpacking.
Despite how difficult and time consuming it is to machine with titanium compared to aluminum, titanium's strength-to-weight and corrosion resistance is unrivaled, making it the best metal for ultralight outdoor photography. We have constructed our Highline ballhead entirely from titanium to maximize these properties- from hollowball to shell to the internal mechanisms.
RANGE OF MOTION DRAMATICALLY INCREASED.
The majority of ballheads on the market limit camera movement to a 90 degree cutout in the shell. The concept behind the Aspen ballhead was to completely re-think how a ballhead could work.
Shooting vertical compositions has never been easier or faster.
When shooting vertical compositions you're required to adjust the tripod legs once you've hit the maximum 90-degree range of motion. With the Aspen ballhead, we've solved this problem.
The Aspen ballhead is ultralight and is easy to use. We designed the Aspen for mirrorless or SLR cameras with smaller lenses in mind. But with a 25lb locking force, the Aspen ballhead still exceeds the locking force of industry leaders (Manfrotto 22.1lb, Gitzo 24lb, Really Right Stuff BH-40 18lb).
Each Aspen ballhead is CNC machined from a solid block of aluminum and its unique shape allows photographers to move the camera freely.
To get to the final product, our industrial designers and engineers went through numerous iterations. Our engineers worked closely with our industrial designers to integrate user experience with the mechanical engineering requirements that would make it possible.
During the development process we sent numerous functional prototypes to professional photographers to get their feedback, which we, in turn, incorporated back into the iterative design process.
A LOOK INTO OUR MANUFACTURING PROCESS.
INCLUDED FREE WITH EVERY BALLHEAD.
Our attention to user experience didn't stop at the ballhead.
Even the clamp went through many design iterations to determine which felt best to use.
We have eliminated excess metal without sacrificing strength and the result is a significant overall weight reduction when compared to traditional clamps.
Although a number of ballhead manufacturers (like Really Right Stuff and Manfrotto to name a few) make proprietary clamps to lock you into buying their overpriced plates, we designed our clamp to use the industry standard arca-style plate (38mm in diameter). We have included a standard plate, but with our Highline clamp, you can use any of your existing arca plates too.
Highline and Aspen ballheads include our free Highline aluminum clamp and 38 mm arca-style plate.
CLAMP A: FROM CONCEPT-TO-REALITY
It's a common myth that the more carbon layers equal more stability. But not all carbon is created equal.
The best carbon fiber is currently manufactured in Japan, South Korea, USA and France.
The differentiating factor in stability for a carbon fiber tripod is tensile strength of the individual carbon fiber layers in the tubing, not the quantity of fiber layers - quality over quantity.
Less stable carbon fiber tripods use inexpensive carbon fiber tubing typically made in China.
That's why Chinese carbon fiber found on Benro or Vanguard tripods – which have more carbon fiber layers – are actually less stable than Really Right Stuff or Gitzo tripods which have less carbon fiber layers.
Vanguard & Benro carbon fiber is made in China whereas Gitzo carbon is made in France by Epsilon Composite and Really Right Stuff carbon fiber is made in USA.
WHAT ABOUT BOTH HIGH QUALITY AND MORE LAYERS?
What if a tripod has a high quality carbon fiber and an increased quantity of carbon fiber layers? That's what we've done with the Centennial tripod, and it's more stable than its Gitzo Mountaineer peer.
Our all-new Centennial tripods are manufactured with high quality 10-layer carbon fiber manufactured in Japan.
READY FOR AIR TRAVEL.
A UNIQUE APPROACH TO TRIPOD DESIGN.
Magnesium casting has long been the favorite process for mass production of industry leaders such as Manfrotto, Gitzo, Induro, Vanguard and many others.
And it makes sense – compared to CNC machining, cast molding is significantly less expensive and the manufacturing time is greatly reduced.
But by CNC machining products from solid blocks of metal, we're able to get stronger and more precise parts with incredibly durable and beautiful finishes not possible with cast molding.
And by CNC machining our all-new Centennial design from a solid block of aluminum or titanium, we're able to create a product which would be structurally impossible with casting.
By cutting material in areas that would typically be required on a cast mold, we've been able to reduce weight without sacrificing any stability.
TWIST-LOCKS & SPRING-LOADED TOP-LOCKS.
The Centennial tripod features twist locks, which are much faster and easier to use than the flip-locks that are often reserved for lower end tripods.
Spring-loaded top-locks make swiveling the tripod legs in and out possible with one-handed operation.
Available in both CNC machined titanium and aluminum, the Centennial 4-section tripods are sleek, light, and compact enough to take anywhere – even on the airplane.
$299 CENTENNIAL IS MORE STABLE THAN A $700 GITZO.
Over the past two decades the raw material cost of carbon fiber has dropped dramatically, but the retail prices of carbon fiber tripods have not.
Tripod manufacturers have therefore seen their bottom lines significantly increase as material cost has dropped due to a large increase in supply.
Our $299 Centennial tripod 4-section may seem inexpensive and therefore inferior when compared with a $700 Gitzo 4-section, but it is, in fact, more rigid and stable.
HIGHLINE BALLHEAD AND CENTENNIAL TRIPOD.
GREAT GEAR FOR AN UNBELIEVABLE PRICE.
By backing our project, you will prove there is demand for affordable tripods and ballheads. We have made it through concept, design, CNC manufacturing and extensive field testing by professional photographers to confirm that our products work.
Your pledges will go directly to the many costs associated with manufacturing on a large scale. This includes tooling costs and creating the numerous molds necessary for components such as small internal parts in the ballheads, leg lock mechanisms, rubber feet for the tripods and much more!
Your reward for early adoption of the our tripods and ballheads is a discount on what are currently the lowest prices for tripods and ballheads of this quality.
Choose from the one or more of the rewards on the right to help us achieve our goal of making the best and most affordable tripod system for photographers around the world.
We charge you the lowest possible amount for shipping. Our discounted shipping costs are much lower than the rates you would get for products of this size and weight.
Our rates vary by country and we do not make any money off the shipping process.
Please take into account the shipping costs when submitting your reward pledges.
Every ballhead and tripod ships from our Colorado (USA) headquarters.
If you want multiple tripods or ballheads please include the shipping cost for each respective unit in your pledge, as all tripods and ballheads are large enough so that they need to be shipped separately. Here are some examples:
2x Highline Aluminum Ballheads Shipped to USA:
($79 + $5 shipping) + ($79 + $5 shipping) = $168 Total Pledge
2x Centennial Titanium Tripods Shipped to Europe or Asia:
($799 + $27 shipping) + ($799 + $27 shipping) = $1652 Total Pledge
This project is promoted by Jellop, the ad tech power behind the best Kickstarters with 600+ successful Kickstarter projects with over $280MM raised between them.
Risks and challenges
Shipping Risk: Global shipping and warehousing logistics are a serious challenge. Even the shipping couriers aren't immune to weather, port congestion and other uncontrollable factors. The unexpected might occur and shipping may be delayed, but we will do our best to keep you informed and get your products out as soon as possible.
Manufacturing Risk: Titanium is an amazing material but is difficult to machine as it is quite tough on CNC tools. Our factory is adept at titanium production but some delays may occur if tools need to be replaced frequently. Again, we will do our best to keep you informed and get your products out as soon as possible.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (31 days)