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    The Highline Ballhead Review: The Best Bargain Ballhead in 2019?

    The post The Highline Ballhead Review: The Best Bargain Ballhead in 2019? first appeared on Digital Photography School. It is written by Rick Ohnsman.

    The Highline ballhead is billed by the makers, Colorado Tripod Company, as ' ultralight ' with a ' greater range of movement & # 39 ;.

    But does the headset meet the hype?

    That is what this Highline ballhead review is about. I recently got my own headset, and I put it to the test.

    In the following sections I will take you through my experiences with the Highline ball head. And I will let you know if it is something that you should consider buying.

    (Spoiler alert: it is a bargain that is worth viewing.)

    Highline headset review

    Two views of the Highline ball head.

    The Highline headset overview

    First things first:

    Where does this new headset come from?

    The Highline ball head is produced by Colorado Tripod Company (CTC). The CTC caught the attention of photographers when they announced on Kickstarter that they were ' the first titanium tripod system in the world ' would produce.

    For the purposes of this article, I will focus on the aluminum version of the Highline Ballhead, as this is the product that I have received for review. However, a titanium version is available from CTC.

    Regarding the specifications:

    The Highline headset has a load capacity of 70 lb (32 kg), although the headset itself only weighs 0.45 kg. The head is cut from aluminum. The ball itself has a diameter of 1.89 in (4.8 cm).

    My first impressions of the Highline ball head

    The Highline ballhead makes a great impression right from the start.

    When I opened the box, I found a high-quality neoprene bag with the Colorado Tripod Company logo on it. In the bag was the ball head, as well as a plastic bag with zipper and two Allen keys for working with the hex screws on the head. The bag also included an adapter so that the head can be mounted on stands with 1 / 4-20 screws (without the adapter, the head is mounted on the larger 3 / 8-16 screw used by most stands).

    highline headset from box

    I was immediately impressed by the quality.

    I was immediately struck by the appearance of the ball head, both in the quality of the parts and in the beautiful gunmetal gray finish. The design is clean and well-arranged, the buttons are well placed and dimensioned for easy operation. All components are made of metal; you will not find a plastic piece on the entire ball.

    My first thought?

    This is a well-designed and well-built piece of photographic equipment.

    The CTC describes the Highline as a traditional ball head but with some special functions. Striking is the large 48 mm hollow ball and the ability of the locking mechanism to deliver a load of 54 pounds, much larger than most tripod heads of this size.

    The CTC indicates that the Highline head is made for photographers with large camera equipment. I mounted my Canon 6D and my Canon 70-200 lens, but the head had no problem at all keeping it exactly where I wanted.

    highline ball head with camera and lens

    With a DSLR (the Canon 6D here) and a large lens (the Canon 70-200), the Highline was more than ready for the job.

    Photographers want a tripod head that can lock into place with a small hang or movement. The Highline meets this requirement, even with a large SLR camera and large lens.

    This is how things look when the camera is mounted from the POV of photographers:

    highline headset review

    Note the clamp lock button on the top left, the main ball adjustment button on the left, and the pan lock button on the back. The drag control button is on the front and cannot be seen in this shot.

    Camera mount, button placement, and performance

    CTC engineers have designed the Highline so that the camera can be held and operated with your right hand and the tripod buttons can be operated with your left hand.

    The largest knob is used to loosen and tighten the ball. The large size and the serrated grip make it easy to use even with gloves.

    The smaller pan-lock button is located at the rear of the head. This button can be used to rotate the head around its vertical axis, for example for panorama photos ' s. The base of the head is also marked in degrees, which is useful for panorama pictures ' s.

    The drag control is located on the other side of the head. Adjusting this button changes how freely the ball can be moved. This is a great tool for setting the feel and control of motion, while compensating for the size of the camera and lens used.

    Once the camera has been mounted and the drag button has been adjusted, you can use the large button to move / lock the ball position.

    At the top of the head is the clamp and the camera plate. I was very happy to see an Arca-Swiss type mount being used. This has become a standard holder in the photo world, so you don't have to worry about mounting incompatibilities.

    The mounting screw has a D-ring for tightening without tools. Fully open the clamp knob and tilt the plate into the clamp and then fully tighten the knob. The camera can be moved forwards and backwards, but it does not fall out. Balance the camera and then fully tighten the clamp knob.

    d-ring for tightening

    The monogram was a nice touch. And pay attention to the D-ring for tightening the mounting screw when you do not have any tools.

    What do you like about the Highline ball head

    The Highline ballhead is a great piece of photo equipment, so there is a lot to like.

    As I mentioned above, the Highline ball head has excellent build quality, fit and finish.

    The control buttons work smoothly, are easy to grasp and operate, and the mechanism ensures that the ball can move smoothly and lock exactly where you want without hanging.

    let the end fall

    With the large slot it is very easy to shoot upright or straight down.

    The Highline is also fairly light for a head of its size. Even the aluminum version is available in 510 g (18 oz). And the titanium version of the ball head shaves 40% of that weight and comes in at just 340 grams.

    portrait orientation

    The Highline had no problem locking the camera and holding it exactly where I wanted in the portrait position.

    The head also performs beautifully, even with a good DSLR and large lens. My current tripod is an aluminum MeFoto Globetrotter Classic, but although the MeFoto storage head is not bad for the money, it feels a bit wimpy. Replacing the MeFoto head for the Highline made a world of difference: the Highline head worked great with the same camera / lens combination and fits very well on the Globetrotter tripod.

    I will even use this combination as my new daily camera system. (Or at least until I consider the CTC Centennial tripod!)

    Finally, the price is the best part of the Highline headset.

    Although I cannot say that I have tried every comparable headset, I have never found a better headset for this price. The aluminum version of the Highline sells for only $ 129.00 USD. I find that a screaming deal for a product of this quality.

    Note that the titanium version of the Highline ball head is $ 499.00 USD. If shaving six ounces of weight is important to you and the cost is not an object, go for it.

    For me?

    I'm going to be pretty happy with my aluminum highline!

    What is not nice about the Highline ball head?

    The Highline ballhead is almost perfect, but is lacking in a number of areas.

    What do I dislike about it?

    First I prefer a lever lock over the Highline rotary knob lock. However, the rotary knob lock must be relatively easy to switch off. And I spoke with Eric Ellwanger from CTC; Eric said that CTC is already working on their own lever-lock clamps and should offer this as an option for new buyers of ball heads. If CTC makes one with the same quality as in the Highline headline and for a decent price, sign me up!

    (For those who have already purchased a head, CTC allows those users to send in their clamps for a discount if they want to switch to the style with a lever lock.)

    Another small nit: CTC touts the large elongated slot on the right side of the Highline head as a great feature, because it can turn the camera around in portrait configuration and give extensive movement. But like many other photographers, I have mounted an L-bracket on my camera to easily switch from landscape to portrait orientation. I like that with the L-bracket I can keep the center mass of the camera above the center of the tripod, regardless of the orientation. It also supports better panorama work, keeping the camera node more centered about the axis of rotation.

    ball head in portrait orientation

    I still prefer to use an L-bracket, which keeps my camera centered on the center axis of the tripod. Because the Highline clamp is of the Arca-Swiss type, my L-bracket can be mounted without any problems.

    In other words, for photographers like me, the elongated slot is a bit unnecessary. It's not a big deal, but I thought I'd talk about it.

    What is the availability of the Highline tripod head?

    The Highline was originally a Kickstarter product. This means that the first orders go to Kickstarter backers, which may limit the availability for consumers. CTC says, however, that they are about caught up with Kickstarter orders and are now taking orders on their website and Adorama Camera.

    If you visit the CTC website, you may see that the Highline heads are for sale. Alternatively, the heads may be in reorder. Anyway, CTC says their machines are now running 24/7. So if you want a Highline headset, place your order on Adorama or on the company website and you will receive an invoice when it is sent.

    Highline ballhead review: conclusion

    There is nothing that I like more than a quality product at a great price, and the Highline tripod ball head delivers absolutely.

    Also note that CTC is working on two other versions of the Highline: a smaller version and a larger version. I see that a smaller version is more practical for smaller mirrorless cameras ' s or bridge cameras ' s. Regarding a larger version, I am having trouble imagining a camera that needs more stability than what the current Highline headset can offer!

    So if you are looking for an excellent ball head at a bargain price, take a look at the Highline tripod head.

    It might be the right product for your needs.

    The post The Highline Ballhead Review: The Best Bargain Ballhead in 2019? first appeared on Digital Photography School. It is written by Rick Ohnsman.

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