FAQ's

What is the deal with ball heads?

A ball head is used to precisely adjust the orientation of your camera 360 degrees, portrait or landscape.  The ball head is not included in the base price as many people have their own or prefer to buy elsewhere. A few hearty souls may not want the adjustability of a ballhead at all, but this is not recommended.

General recommendation is to use the standard duty ball head for cameras up to 1 kg/2.2 lbs and the heavy duty ball head for heavier cameras up to 2kg/4.4 lbs. You can get away with a larger camera on the smaller ball head. However, particularly in portrait mode you are going to have really tighten it up, and this is the edge of the capability of the ballhead. My experience is that using the standard duty ball head with a heavy camera will limit it's life as well.

What pole tips will work with Universal TrailPix?

All known trekking, ski, or tent poles work with Universal TrailPix.  The officially supported range of diameters is .220" to .550"

HOWEVER, Some poles come equipped with a soft-tip adapter/cover. These can almost always be removed to reveal a hard tip as shown with TrailPix.  Soft tips are not compatible with TrailPix.

 

How Stable is TrailPix?

I'm biased, but I think the stability of the TrailPix is pretty good - tough to beat unless you are spending over $100 on a tripod. Often, less expensive conventional tripods look stable, but they cheap out on connections and release plates and you end up with quite a bit of rocking/instability.  However, to get the most out of TrailPix you are going to want to use a shutter delay or remote trigger to avoid moving the camera when you press the shutter.  This is good practice with any tripod, really.  And, if you are expecting to take rock solid shots in 25 MPH winds, you might be disappointed.  But, for the vast majority of uses, I (and others) have found TrailPix to be very capable.

 

How much weight will TrailPix hold?

The short answer is that I think anything more than a 4 lb. camera is pushing it. But, for completeness, here is some more information:

Adding weight directly to the center of the ballhead, here are some approximate weight limits:

1) Universal TrailPix made with (3) trekking poles: 30+ lbs (Probably significantly higher)

2) Universal TrailPix made with (2) trekking poles and accessory pole: Approx 10-20 lbs. (limited by flex in the accessory pole)

 

Can you hang weight from the center of the tripod to improve stability?

Yes.

The ballhead is placed onto the unit with a 1/4"-20 screw. The head of the screw has a D-ring that folds flat to make it flush with the bottom of the TrailPix unit. (A common type of screw with photography accessories) When you "open" that screw up, the D-ring is large enough to fasten some light rope to, so you can indeed hang some weight. I hung 40 lbs. from the universal made with THREE trekking poles, and the screw seemed fine (The manufacturer doesn't rate it for this application, I asked).

However, I would limit the load to 5-10 lbs. for either the custom or the universal when made with the accessory pole as the pole is optimized for it's own weight, not stiffness.

Having said all that, I can't guarantee miracles for TrailPix in heavy winds. The torsional stiffness is not fantastic, a by-product of the way everything is hooked together. I find it perfectly usable, but someone used to a high-end tripod is going to notice a significant difference in stiffness.

Ultimately, a judgment call.

Will pole baskets be a problem?

Any pole baskets over 2.5" (63mm) in diameter (primarily these would be powder baskets for use in skiing fresh powder) may be problematic with the Universal TrailPix.  2.5" is pretty big, about the same diameter as the body of a coke can.  A conscious decision was made to optimize the unit on weight and size, and the powder basket limitation is a casualty of that trade-off.  It's not impossible to get larger baskets to work, particularly if you use something with a very small or no basket at all for the center hole. 

What is Capture and how does it work with TrailPix?

The Capture system from Peak Design is a wildly successful product that makes it extremely convenient to keep your photography gear at hand. If you are not familiar with the Capture product, please take a look here first: https://peakdesignltd.com/

The good news is that TrailPix and Capture can work perfectly together. Simply purchase the ARCA-style quick release base I offer as part of a package or as an add-on. Attach this adapter to the 1/4"-20 thread on the ballhead included in most of the TrailPix packages and you are ready to accept any of the capture clips.

Keep in mind, I am NOT selling the Capture system itself, just making it easy for you to use TrailPix with Capture.

 

I have fixed length poles, how do these work with TrailPix?

Until recently, most trekking poles have been collapsible and thus almost infinitely adjustable in length.  This adjustable type of pole works best with TrailPix.  In the past several years, some manufacturers such as Black Diamond have introduced poles of more-or-less fixed length.  Black Diamond calls these Z-poles.  If you are planning to use these with TrailPix, there are some limitations.

With the universal TrailPix, you have some better options.  You can push the accessory pole up through the center hole of the platform as shown in the picture below. 

The net effect is that you have some limitations on the angle that you can rotate the camera through, but it is still very usable.

What is the deal with ball heads?

A ball head is used to precisely adjust the orientation of your camera 360 degrees, portrait or landscape.  The ball head is not included in the base price as many people have their own or prefer to buy elsewhere.

General recommendation is to use the standard duty ball head for cameras up to 1 kg/2.2 lbs and the heavy duty ball head for heavier cameras up to 2kg/4.4 lbs. You can get away with a larger camera on the smaller ball head. However, particularly in portrait mode you are going to have really tighten it up, and this is the edge of the capability of the ballhead. My experience is that using the standard duty ball head with a heavy camera will limit it's life as well.

appreciate minimalist design.appreciate minimalist design.

 

Can I still get a Custom TrailPix?

For now, yes.  Sadly, I discontinued the custom due to relatively low demand, but I have a few left in stock.  Contact me at andy@nv8design.com for instruction on how to order.  But first, check below to make sure the custom design will work for you.

Custom vs. Universal TrailPix:

What pole tips will work with Custom TrailPix?

Only the pole tips shown below work with Custom TrailPix:

 These pole tips will NOT work with Custom TrailPix:

 

Custom and fixed length poles:

With the custom TrailPix and fixed length poles, a tripod becomes very problematic.  The accessory pole is a fixed length (1321 mm/52 inches), which is longer than most fixed length poles.  Because there is no means of adjustment in any of the three legs, it is difficult to make a flat platform.  If the accessory pole were trimmed to approximately the same length as the fixed length trekking (or ski) pole (Which is very possible by a motivated person), you would at best end up with a tripod that works on more or less level ground.

Custom and baskets:

Basket diameters over about 2" (51 mm) will be problematic with the Custom TrailPix, for the same reasons as above.  2" is still pretty big, about the diameter of the rim of a coke can.  The vast majority of hiking baskets are smaller than this.  If you have larger baskets, you can almost always take them completely off (I do) or replace them easily.