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Reviews > Cameras > Photography Accessories > StickPic > Test Report by David Wilkes

Test series by David Wilkes

StickPic Camera Mount

Initial Report - Sep 12 2008
Long Term Report - Oct 25 2008

Mt Stuart from Ingals Pass

 

Tester Information


Name:

David Wilkes

E-Mail:

amatbrewer@yahoo.net

Age:

42

Location:

Yakima Washington USA

Gender:

M

Height:

5' 11" (1.80 m)

Weight:

197 lb (89.40 kg)

Biography:

I started backpacking in 1995 when I moved to Washington State. Since then, I have backpacked in all seasons and conditions. I have usually only managed time for 1-3 trips a year averaging 2-5 days, and as many day hikes as I can. I am currently getting into condition to summit some of the higher peaks in Washington, Oregon, and California. I prefer trips on rugged trails with plenty of elevation gain. While I continuously strive to lighten my load, comfort and safety are most important to me. My current pack is around 30 lbs (14 kg), not including consumables.

Product Information

Manufacturer:

Rodney Java & David Lopez

Year of Manufacture:

2008

Manufacturer’s Website:

www.thestickpic.com

MSRP:

US$14.99
Listed Weight: 10.8 g (0.38 0z)
Measured Weight: 11 g (0.4 oz)

Product Description:
The StickPic is a small plastic device used to attach a camera to the end of a standard trekking pole allowing the user to take a picture of him/herself without the need for a tri-pod, or surface suitable for setting the camera.
I received the "#1 REI Peak UL Kompredell" model.

Product Image

Image courtesy of TheStickPic.com

Initial Report

StickPic, packaging and instructions“A five ounce bird could not carry a one pound coconut” but even a European swallow should have no trouble carrying the StickPic around. This thing is TINY!

The StickPic arrived completely assembled in a small re-sealable plastic bag labeled with the model and the manufacturer’s web address. Inside the bag was the User Instructions printed on a small strip of paper along with illustrations.
In addition, there was a letter from Rodney Java (one of the inventors) addressed to me, containing product literature similar to what is available on the company’s web site, along with a note of thanks for testing the product, some advice on using the StickPic, and an invitation to contact the company for any reason. On the back of the 2nd page was a larger copy of the User Instructions that came with the StickPic.

When ordering the StickPic the web site asks the customer to choose your make/model of trekking pole from a list, or if it is not listed shows how to measure your pole for a custom version. Since my pole was not listed I described the make and manufacturer (REI "Thermogrip" poles manufactured by Komperdell) and that the diameter of the pole tip at the point described by the web site measured 0.5” (1.27 cm). The web site lists 40 models of trekking poles (including pictures of each) matching five sizes of StickPics along with two models listed as “coming soon” and two “n/a”. The site also offers a discount on production seconds. Seconds are described as units having minor printing flaws and they provide images showing examples of the flaws.
I found the web site very easy to navigate and to contain informative user reviews as well as user instructions, tips, and examples of pictures taken using the StickPic.
The company offers a 30-day-no-questions-asked refund policy, an offer to replace it if it breaks within 90 days, an offer to replace it if the wrong size was ordered, and even an offer to discuss the price if the asking price “does not motivate you to buy it”. They also offer a low cost replacement for the jam nut should it become lost. The overall tone of the web site is friendly - friendly enough to make me want to stop by and say hello next time I am in the San Francisco area.

StickPic on cameraThe StickPic is the sort of product that makes me ask “why didn’t someone think of this sooner?” It is simplicity at its best, nothing more than a wedge of plastic with a camera mount, and a hole that fits the tip of a trekking pole. The camera mount is attached with a slight back angle so that when properly mounted (with “The StickPic” facing the user) the camera tilts slightly back to help keep the pole out of the picture. The web site states that it was designed to match the focal length of most cameras so that little or none of the pole would be in the picture. With my camera (Panasonic Lumix) my first test pictures included almost the entire pole. But since I often crop the pictures I take, and since one of the things that attracted me to the StickPic was that it would be a conversation starter (e.g. “how did you take that picture?” or “how did you mount your camera on the end of your pole?”), this is not a problem for me. However, I will experiment with the cameras zoom settings to see if I can easily eliminate the pole without significantly affecting the pictures.

The first thing I noticed was that my Panasonic camera does not have the mounting hole in the middle of the camera as do most cameras. This made me wonder if would be a problem. However I had no trouble setting it up and taking a few pictures (before reading the well written but mostly unnecessary instructions). Attaching the camera was quite easy, simply screw it into the hole in the bottom of the camera and with the lettered side of the StickPic facing towards the front of the camera turn the “back jam nut" (hereafter referred to as the locking nut) until it is tight against the bottom of the camera and thereby locking it in place. I found it difficult to get the locking nut tight enough to prevent the camera from twisting when I moved the pole or pressed the buttons. I found that by turning the StickPic so that it faces just a bit to the left (when facing the camera), then tightening the lock nut and then twisting the StickPic to face the front it was much more secure. Since the lock nut, screw and mounting hole in my camera are all metal, it looks like it will be safe to tighten it up enough to make it quite secure.
Attaching the device to my pole was very easy. I simply slid it over the tip of the pole and while gave it a bit of a twist while pushing it on. It seems to hold in place quite nicely despite the fact that the tips of my poles are still rather dirty from the mud I encountered last week. One thing I am wondering is if the plastic of the StickPic or my pole might become worn down with use. While attaching the device to the end of my pole I wondered if my dirt/sand basket might get in the way of the lens, but it does not seem to. I do not have snow baskets for these poles, but have been considering getting some. I am concerned that these may be big enough to interfere with the camera. I might have to pick up a pair of snow baskets to see if the SitckPic will work on my poles with them.
Using StickPicThe instructions suggest that for additional security, attach the camera's lanyard to the pole. From my initial tests I doubt I will do this very often as the camera, even with all the weight to one side, seems to stay in place quite securely. I might utilize the lanyard if I end up holding the camera over a cliff or water or maybe in high winds.
Since seeing the StickPic for the first time I imagined that the camera, out on the end of my pole, would be a bit heavy and might be difficult to stabilize, but I have not found this to be the case. Even with an injured hand (don't ask, I was showing off and did something silly) I had no trouble taking pictures with either hand.
Taking the first few pictures were easy. My camera has two delay settings (2 or 10 seconds). I have tried taking pictures using both settings and found the 2-second setting to be long enough to take a quick self portrait, and the 10-second setting provides more than enough time to get the camera at the angle I want while not so long as to make my arm tired while waiting.

After using the StickPic a few times my biggest concern is that I might loose the tiny thing. The thing is very small and very light, and I have lost much bigger things while hiking. My camera does not fit into its case with the StickPic attached, and the StickPic cannot be left on the end of my pole, so I am going to have to remove it and find some place to carry it while not in use. If I could find a way to attach the StickPic to the camera's lanyard or if I could clip it to my pole or pack somehow I might be less likely to loose it. Or if it attached to my pole above the basket I could simply leave it in place.

Long Term Report


Field Use

Trail maintenance with the Cascadians – Pleasant Valley trail – Central Cascades, Washington
We spent half a day clearing brush and trees from the trail to ensure a ten-foot (three meter) wide path for cross-country skiing.
Work – various ridge tops in central Washington and Oregon
 I used the Stickpic while visiting various cellular towers.
Chinook Pass –  Washington Cascades
 Night hike with my daughter.
Mt Clemons – Naches, Washington
 Day hike exploring the SW side of the mountain.
Cowiche Canyon – Yakima, Washington
Day hike through the canyon where I found a new trail leading to the Wilridge winery tasting room. SCORE!
Ingalls Pass – Wenatchee  National Forest, Washintgon
Overnight trip over Ingalls pass (6500 ft / 2000 m) cut short due to poor conditions.


Lumberjack Trail maintenance with the Cascadians
Who wants to be a supermodel?

Trail maintenance with the Cascadians


Comments
This product is a narcissist’s dream. I have never had so many pictures of myself before, and after looking at them, I know why. I wonder if they will ever do a hiking edition of the show ‘What not to wear’?
Trail to winery
Trail to Wilridge winery
Chinook Pass at night
Chinook Pass

Cell Tower
MtClemens.jpg
Slopes of Mt Clemons

As noted in my initial report, my camera has the mounting hole off to one side. While this has been less of a problem for holding the camera out on the end of the pole than I expected, I have had a slight bit of difficulty with the camera twisting on the mount while I am extending the pole. I find I have to be sure to get the camera very snug on the mount to prevent it from twisting as I extend the pole. Since the threads on the camera are plastic, I worry that if I am not careful I may end up stripping them out. I will be sure to look for a metal mounting hole in the center of the camera body the next time I am in the market for a camera.
In the initial report I mentioned that the camera does not fit into its case with the StickPic attached. I tried clipping a small carabineer to my pack and through the hole of the StickPic. This worked well when I wanted quick access to the camera and did not mind it hanging like that (not something I would do if it were raining). After doing this on my last 3 trips (see field use above), I inspected the StickPic but could see no signs of damage from using it this way.
I purchased snow baskets for my poles to see if they would interfere with the usage of the StickPic. Since the size of cameras that would be suitable for the StickPic varies quite a bit, and since different brands of poles use different size baskets, I cannot say that this would work for every combination. Nevertheless, the REI brand snow baskets for my REI (Kompredell) poles did not interfere at all. I guess now I need to pick up some snowshoes!
Aside from helping me document product testing, one of the reasons I wanted to test this product was for the ‘WOW, what is that, and where can I get one?’ factor, and on that account the StickPic has not disappointed me. So far, everyone who has seen it has been quite intrigued and I have received many questions about how it works and where he or she can get one.
Groves on pole tipThe device is quite easy to attach to the camera as well as to my pole, however I have found it to be a bit difficult to remove sometimes. It appears that the relatively soft plastic on my pole tips can become compressed by the StickPic and bulge around it. When removing it I find I sometimes need to twist and work it back and forth some before getting it loose enough to remove. In looking closely at where it mounts, I see that there are grooves developing in my pole tip (see image to the left). I do not know how long it will take these to become deep enough to interfere with the use of the SticPic. I was surprised to see that the grit and dirt on my pole tips do not seem to affect attaching or removing the StickPic.
One of the things that continues to amaze me is how simple it is to point the camera while using the StickPic. At first, I was not sure how long it would take to get the hang of pointing the camera from the ‘wrong side’. However, I found it to be quite intuitive and have not had to retake any pictures due to the camera not pointing in the right direction.

Lunch on Mt Clemons
"I'm having spam, spam, chips and spam."
The manufacturer’s web page talks about adjusting the camera’s zoom setting in order to eliminate the pole from the picture. I have played with this a bit and while it is rather easy to do, for me it seems more trouble than it is worth. My camera dose not retain the zoom setting after it is turned off, so I would need to readjust this each time I used the camera. In addition, I find I like the image with the pole it in. If for some reason I decide later that I do not want the pole in the image, there are plenty of programs to crop the image. (Most digital cameras come with software to do this and there are many free programs available on the internet).




Likes
  • Small & light
  • Great conversation starter
  • Easy to use
  • Virtually nothing to break

Dislikes
  • Small & light – I am constantly afraid I might loose it
  • Cuts groves into the tip of my pole – not sure what this will do over time

Summary
I really like this product! It is small, light and simple! It works exactly as expected and seems to have very little that can go wrong with it. I anticipate using it quite a bit while gear testing, and I cannot wait to be able to use it on the summit of a few of the peaks in Washington and Oregon this summer!
If I were to change anything about it, it would be that would be maybe to attach some sort of lanyard so it could be attached to my pack or the camera lanyard when not in use. I would also love to see it in bright colors to make it easer to find when in a pack or when dropped.


This concludes my Long Term Report.  I would like to thank the friendly folks at TheStickPic.com, and of course BackpackGearTest.org, for the opportunity to test this product.

Addendum June 2009

Since publishing my final report, the SticPic has become item 11 of my ’10 essentials’ (in reality my ‘10’ is more like 20, but I tend to over pack). Due to its size and weight I bring it even when I don’t plan to use it. During the testing period I was concerned that I would lose the SticPic at some point, but it was the locking nut that I ended up losing.

On a few occasions I found the locking nut had backed almost entirely off, and finally one day I found it missing. I contacted the folks at SticPic about obtaining a replacement since on the warranty page of their web site it states that replacement nuts are available at a “low cost”. I received a reply to my inquiry the next day asking me to send them my address and they would send me a replacement at no charge. A subsequent message from them told me that due to this being their first year in business they are replacing the nuts at no charge and that mine would be in the mail the next day. I received this message on Sunday and I received the nut in the mail on Wednesday.

I have examined the product looking for a way to ensure I do not lose the nut again, but aside from trying to remember to tighten it each time I remove it from my camera, I have come up with no solution.
I have however found that the small size (#2) plastic ‘S-biner’ from Nite Ize inc. (at only 0.11 oz/3 g) works well for clipping the SticPic to my pack when not in use. So I might not lose the SticPic itself, I will need to keep a closer eye on the locking nut in the future.

 



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