The Highline ballhead is billed by its creators, Colorado Tripod Firm, as “ultralight,” with an “elevated vary of movement.”

However does the ballhead stay as much as the hype?

That’s what this Highline ballhead evaluation is all about. I lately acquired a ballhead of my very own, and I’ve been placing it by its paces.

Within the subsequent few sections, I’m going to take you thru my experiences with the Highline ballhead. And I’ll let you recognize if it’s one thing it is best to take into account buying.

(Spoiler alert: It’s a cut price price testing.)

Highline ballhead review

Two views of the Highline ballhead.

The Highline ballhead overview

First issues first:

The place does this new ballhead come from?

The Highline ballhead is produced by the Colorado Tripod Firm (CTC). The CTC caught the eye of photographers after they introduced on Kickstarter they might be producing the “world’s first titanium tripod system.”

For the needs of this text, I’ll give attention to the aluminum model of the Highline Ballhead, as that’s the product I acquired for evaluation. Nevertheless, a titanium model is accessible from CTC.

As for the specs:

The Highline ballhead is has a 70 lb (32 kg) load capability, although the ballhead itself weighs simply 16 oz (0.45 kg). The top is reduce out of aluminum. The ball itself is 1.89 in (4.Eight cm) in diameter.

My first impressions of the Highline ballhead

The Highline ballhead makes an incredible impression from the get-go.

Opening the field, I discovered a top quality neoprene drawstring bag with the Colorado Tripod Firm emblem printed on it. Contained in the bag was the ballhead, in addition to a plastic zip bag containing two Allen wrenches for working with the hex-head screws on the pinnacle. The bag additionally contained an adapter so the pinnacle might be mounted on tripods with 1/4-20 screws (with out the adapter, the pinnacle mounts on the bigger 3/8-16 screw utilized by most tripods).

highline ballhead out of boxhighline ballhead out of box

I used to be impressed with the standard proper out of the field.

I used to be instantly struck by the looks of the ballhead, each within the high quality of the elements and the attractive gunmetal-gray end. The design is clear and uncluttered, the knobs well-placed and sized for simple operation. All of the parts are metallic; you received’t discover a plastic piece on all the ballhead.

My first thought?

It is a well-designed and well-built piece of photograph gear.

The CTC describes the Highline as a standard ballhead however with some particular options. Placing is the massive 48mm hole ball and the flexibility of the locking mechanism to offer a 54-pound load capability, a lot better than most tripod heads of this measurement.

The CTC signifies the Highline head is made for photographers with massive digital camera gear. I mounted my Canon 6D and my Canon 70-200 lens, however the head had no drawback in any respect holding it proper the place I needed.

highline ballhead with camera and lenshighline ballhead with camera and lens

With a DSLR (the Canon 6D right here) and a big lens (the Canon 70-200), the Highline was greater than up for the job.

Photographers desire a tripod head that may lock in place with little droop or motion. The Highline satisfies this requirement, even with a full-sized DSLR and enormous lens.

That is how issues look when the digital camera is mounted from the photographers POV:

highline ballhead review

highline ballhead review

Be aware the clamp-lock knob on the high left, fundamental ball adjustment knob on the left aspect, and the pan-lock knob on the rear. The drag adjustment knob is on the entrance and isn’t seen on this shot.

Digicam mounting, knob placement, and efficiency

CTC engineers designed the Highline so the digital camera might be held and managed along with your proper hand and the tripod head knobs labored along with your left hand.

The biggest knob is used to launch and tighten the ball. Its massive measurement and knurled grip makes it simple to make use of, even with gloves.

On the rear of the pinnacle is the smaller pan-lock knob. This knob releases the pinnacle to be rotated round its vertical axis, resembling when doing panorama photographs. The bottom of the pinnacle can also be marked out in levels, which is useful for pano photographs.

On the other aspect of the pinnacle is the drag management. Adjusting this knob modifications how freely the ball might be moved. It is a nice support in establishing the texture and management of movement whereas compensating for the scale of the digital camera and lens used.

As soon as the digital camera is mounted and the drag knob is adjusted, you’re free to make use of the massive knob for transferring/locking the ball place.

On the high of the pinnacle is the clamp and digital camera mount plate. I used to be more than happy to see an Arca-Swiss kind mount getting used. This has turn out to be a regular mount within the photograph world, so that you don’t want to fret about mounting incompatibilities.

The mounting screw has a D-ring on it for tightening with out instruments. Open the clamp knob totally and tip the plate into the clamp, then tighten the knob many of the manner. The digital camera might be moved ahead and again, however won’t fall out of the clamp. Steadiness the digital camera after which totally tighten the clamp knob.

d-ring for tighteningd-ring for tightening

The monogramming was a pleasant contact. And notice the D-ring for tightening the mounting screw once you don’t have instruments.

What to love concerning the Highline ballhead

The Highline ballhead is a superb piece of photograph gear, so there’s lots to love.

As I’ve talked about above, the Highline ballhead options glorious construct high quality, match, and end.

The management knobs carry out easily, are simple to know and function, and the mechanism permits the ball to maneuver easily and lock precisely the place you need it with none droop.

drop slot on headdrop slot on head

Utilizing the massive drop slot, taking pictures straight up or straight down may be very simple.

For a head its measurement, the Highline can also be fairly gentle. Even the aluminum model is available in at 18 oz (510 g). And the titanium model of the ballhead shaves 40% off that weight, coming in at slightly below 12 oz (340 g).

portrait orientationportrait orientation

The Highline had no drawback locking and holding the digital camera simply the place I needed in portrait orientation.

The top additionally performs fantastically even with a good-sized DSLR and large lens. My present tripod is an aluminum MeFoto Globetrotter Basic, however whereas the MeFoto inventory head isn’t unhealthy for the cash, it feels slightly wimpy. Switching out the MeFoto head for the Highline made a world of distinction: The Highline head labored nice with the identical digital camera/lens combo and match very effectively on the Globetrotter tripod.

In reality, I will likely be utilizing this mixture as my new on a regular basis digital camera help system. (Or a minimum of till I take into account the CTC Centennial tripod!)

Lastly, the value is the perfect a part of the Highline ballhead.

Although I can’t say I’ve tried each comparable ballhead on the market, I’ve by no means discovered a greater ballhead at this value level. The aluminum model of the Highline sells for simply $129.00 USD. I take into account {that a} screaming deal for a product of this high quality.

Be aware that the titanium model of the Highline ballhead is $499.00 USD. If shaving six ounces off the load is vital to you and the fee is not any object, go for it.

As for me?

I’m gonna be fairly proud of my aluminum Highline!

What’s to not like concerning the Highline ballhead?

The Highline ballhead is sort of good, however falls quick in a few areas.

What don’t I like about it?

First, I choose a lever lock to the Highline’s twist-knob lock. Nevertheless, the twist-knob lock must be pretty simple to change out. And I spoke with Eric Ellwanger of CTC; Eric mentioned CTC is already engaged on their very own lever-lock clamps and may provide them as an choice for brand new ballhead consumers earlier than lengthy. If CTC makes one with the identical high quality proven within the Highline head and at a good value, signal me up!

(For individuals who have already bought a head, CTC will permit these customers to ship of their clamps for a rebate in the event that they’d like to change to the lever-lock model.)

One other small nit: CTC touts the massive elongated slot on the proper aspect of the Highline head as an incredible function, as a result of it permits the digital camera to be flipped over into portrait configuration and offers prolonged movement. However I, like many different photographers, have mounted an L-bracket to my digital camera to permit simple switching from panorama to portrait orientation. I like that the L-bracket permits me to maintain the middle mass of the digital camera over the middle of the tripod no matter orientation. It additionally higher helps panorama work, preserving the nodal level of the digital camera extra centered over the rotation axis.

ballhead in portrait orientationballhead in portrait orientation

I nonetheless choose utilizing an L-bracket, which retains my digital camera centered over the middle axis of the tripod. As a result of the Highline clamp is an Arca-Swiss kind, my L-bracket mounts with no drawback.

In different phrases, for photographers like myself, the elongated slot is a bit redundant. It’s not a giant challenge, however I believed I’d carry it up.

What’s the availability of the Highline tripod head?

The Highline was initially a Kickstarter product. Which means the primary orders go to Kickstarter backers, which probably limits availability for shoppers. Nevertheless, CTC says they’re about caught up with Kickstarter orders and at the moment are taking orders on their web site in addition to Adorama Digicam.

In case you test the CTC web site, you may even see that the Highline heads can be found to buy. Alternatively, the heads could also be on backorder. Regardless, CTC says their machines are working 24/7 now. So if you would like a Highline ballhead, place your order on Adorama or on the corporate web site, and you may be billed when it ships.

Highline ballhead evaluation: conclusion

There’s nothing I like higher than a top quality product at an incredible value, and the Highline tripod ballhead completely delivers.

Additionally, notice that CTC is engaged on two different variations of the Highline: a smaller model and a bigger model. I can see a smaller model being extra sensible for smaller mirrorless or bridge cameras. As for a bigger model, I’ve hassle imagining a digital camera that wants extra stability than what the present Highline ballhead can present!

So in case you’re out there for a superb ballhead at a cut price value, go take a look on the Highline tripod head.

It could be the proper product on your wants.

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