The Version 2 Free-Turn X gets some new features and options, but underneath it's the same rugged, reliable, easy-to-use FTX that has proven so successful. The overall dimensions have not changed, although the weight has increased slightly due to the new beefed-up saddle and the addition of slow-motion controls.
The Free-Turn X marries elegance and efficiency with pure brawn. At only 9.4 pounds, the Free-Turn X's optimized structure is designed to carry big loads without being a big load.
Go Small. Go Large. The Free-Turn X is nimble enough to be a good match to an 100 mm refractor -- but has the strength to solidly carry a 140 mm triplet. Some larger refractors are good candidates, too. The versatile FTX is perfect for refractors, Cassegrains, and large binoculars. It's the smallest and lightest mount that can solidly carry a C-11.
The Free-Turn X provides better manual "tracking" because it operates with low levels of friction. The engineered secret is two-axis balancing without counterweights. The FTX uses the weight of the scope itself to counter the average off-axis load created by the star-diagonal, eyepiece, finder, etc. Off-axis loading is responsible for "balance shifts" when aiming higher or lower with mounts lacking two-axis balancing. Free from gravity-induced torque, the FTX can optimize precise movement rather than staying-in-place.
New lever-operated "On-Demand" slow-motion controls provide fine position adjustments when you need them -- but fold neatly out of the way when you don't. Unlike fussy worm-drives, the clutchless lever-operated design never needs adjustment or maintenance, adds no drag or backlash, and does not create the vibrations issues associated with worm-drives. Arc-minute accurate. Pinky-finger light.
The Free-Turn X provides no-tool, adjust-on-the-fly friction control. Sometimes, a little friction be a good thing. The FTX does NOT force one to accept the worst-case level of friction for all of your observing. Forget using a wrench, removing covers, and making trial-and-error adjustments! With the FTX, add only the resistance you want by moving a lever. Most eyepiece changes require no compensation. Because of the FTX's integrated two-axis balancing, you only need to add the minimum friction necessary to null the variation in off-axis load -- not the entire off-axis load.
The Free-Turn X provides excellent zenith clearance as an integral feature. You don't need to buy a separate extension column that is essentially dead-weight with the sole purpose of solving clearance problems. Save weight and bulk with the efficient FTX. The optional Tripod Quick-Release adds 3.5 inches of clearance, but also adds a super-convenient quick-connect function that exceeds the firmness of a had-tightened knob.
The Free-Turn X keeps the load close to the tripod's centerline, improving load stability and reducing stress on the tripod. The FTX performs well on tripods that would be considerably undersized for mount designs that swing the load to the side. Save cost and weight on the tripod. The FTX provides a more comfortable observing position, too -- that doesn't squeeze you close to the tripod legs and move you in a big circle.
The Free-Turn X points accurately. Find anything quickly! Without noise. Without big batteries. Without meridian reversals. Without waiting on slow slews. Without mechanical breakdowns. The FTX is good to go for many years -- without hassles or failures.
The Free-Turn X is the EASY mount. Lightweight. Compact. Solid. Intuitive operation. Reliable.
NOTE: Prices subject to change without prior notice. Checks and money orders accepted for mail-in orders. Checks should be made to Half Hitch Telescope. The listed shipping charges are valid for the contiguous 48 states. Send a message to request a shipping quote elsewhere.
Return authorization required and must be initiated within ten days of receipt. Returns must be in original packaging and fully insured. Shipping charges and PayPal fees are not refundable. Minimum 15% restocking fee applies -- plus repair/replacement charges for any parts not returned in original condition, or for any servicing required to restore the items to original condition.
At only 2.1 pounds, the Hitch Hiker is a compact, ultra-lightweight gimbal mount designed for birding, Nature-watching, telephotography, video, and astronomy. The Hitch Hiker features the same silky-smooth motions made famous by the dedicated astronomy mounts. Typical loads would include instruments that you would take on a hike: Binoculars, spotting scopes, DSLR cameras with compact telephotos, small telescopes, and small video cameras. The payload platform is wide enough to accommodate 70 mm and 80 mm binoculars.
Not only is the Hitch Hiker lighter and more compact than competing gimbal mounts, it provides an unusually large range of vertical rotation. The retractable, adjustable-angle guide-handle is another unusual feature -- and is very important for convenient aiming of short instruments like spotting scopes, binoculars, telephoto lenses that aren't long enough to have a mounting foot, and small video cameras. Lever operated friction controls allow independent adjustment of the altitude and azimuth axes to fit the situation. The retractable payload platform will accommodate wide loads -- but will allow spotting scopes and telescopes to ride close the mount and tripod centerline for maximum stability.