If I have learned something in my many years of photography, it is the case that good things often come in very small packages.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t big things that arrive in huge packages … but you have the idea.
When The Colorado Tripod Company sent me their Highline Mini Ballhead for review, I went into the task openly, although I largely chose my range of tripod support systems with a setting between “Does that fit in my backpack?” and “Can I use it to raise my car?”
So when this little guy arrived … you can understand how amazed I was at his size … or how little of it.
Yes, the Colorado Tripod Company produced what they call “crazy smallBall head.
During the months that I worked with the Highline Mini, I was impressed by its extremely compact size and weight, as well as its surprising versatility and build quality. For those of you who enjoy the compressed version for your equipment reviews, watch this video that outlines the key features of this little ball head.
However, if you are the type who prefers hard, cold information in print, read on.
Out of the box
If you haven’t guessed yet The Highline Mini is as small as the name suggests. The adjectives that come to mind include tiny, small, tiny and my personal favorite … teensy-weensy.
Here are the official specifications for the Highline mini from the Colorado Tripod Company website:
- material: 100% recycled aluminum
- Length from the top of the clamp to the base: 75 mm
- Width at the base: 37 mm (1.46 inches)
- Weight without base plate: 222 g (7.83 oz)
- Support capacity: 9.1 kg (20 lbs)
The box contained a 40 mm Arca base plate as well as a fastening screw, a mounting adapter from ¼ to ⅜ inches and the ball head itself.
After testing two of the other full-size Colorado Tripod Company ball heads (1st and 2nd generation Highline), I can happily report that the Highline Mini is following in the footsteps of its larger cousins.
This ball head feels exceptionally good and appears to be well machined. It is free of burrs and marks, all engravings are well made and clearly visible. Speaking of which, it is worth noting that the grade marks on the base are laser-etched and not painted.
There are two buttons for panning and positioning, both of which feel comfortable and are just big enough to be easily adjusted even with a gloved hand. The clamp itself has an equally handy tightening button, which also contains a super-bright spirit level.
My special model has a red and a silver color scheme for both the ball head and the base plate. However, four other colors are also available: green, silver, blue and black.
Highline mini ball head performance
In short, the Highline Mini ran exactly as it should. The ball head clamping mechanism locks the head exceptionally securely, although it lacks the secondary clamping lock on the larger models. I doubt there will be drift problems if used within the limits of its £ 20 support capacity.
I found the pan bottom particularly impressive in its smoothness. There seemed to be little difference in attenuation across its range. It offers practically the same resistance when fully unlocked as when it is only slightly released from its fully locked position.
The ball head movement is gentle and barely audible when manipulated. I am very happy to see that the same enlarged window has been integrated into this ball head, which offers considerably more range when shooting in a vertical orientation.
The Highline Mini is suitable for relatively smaller camera settings such as mirrorless cameras and smaller DSLR and SLR housings. In my tests, however, I had no problems with larger cameras, including my moderately strong Bronica GS-1 in medium format.
However, keep in mind that this ball head should keep the weight low and allow for better portability. This means that using larger camera settings or heavier tripods is counterproductive.
In these situations, heavier cameras should generally be combined with congruently strong support systems. Ball heads such as the Highline Mini are ideal for use with super compact tripods. It is an excellent choice to combine with your favorite travel or vlogging setup.
Simply put, I don’t think I could be more impressed with the performance of the Colorado Tripod Company’s Highline Mini Ball Head. It works wonderfully as a small camera support system in its intended purpose. It is solidly processed and offers a wide range of color options. The Colorado Tripod Company also offers a ten-year warranty and 24-hour customer service.
At the time of this review, the Highline Mini is selling for around $ 20 USDThis makes it an impressive option for those who need a small, light, yet incredibly sturdy option for travel or backpacking.