Insanely good mini tripod - Cullmann Carvao 816TCS

Are you also looking for a mini tripod? After looking at and trying out many mini tripods from all kinds of different brands, we ended up with the Cullmann Carvao 816TCS carbon tripod. As soon as you pick up this mini tripod, you immediately feel that this is promising. And this first impression is soon confirmed, and it turns out to be a surprisingly handy tripod that we think more people should know about!

What makes the Carvao 816TCS the best mini tripod?

From the cardboard packaging comes a nylon pouch containing the smallest carbon tripod you might have ever seen. You are not the first if this little tripod makes you smile spontaneously. It is a full-fledged carbon tripod, but in miniature format.

The tripod reaches a maximum height without a centre column of 40cm. That is not very high, but that is also not the purpose of this tripod. With the centre column, you can possibly make the tripod 30.5cm higher to a maximum of 70.5cm. You can theoretically use the supplied centre column as a monopod, but in practice that doesn't seem very handy. In fact, with the tripod you end up higher. The minimum working height is 11cm, which is nice and low to the ground. For a tripod that weighs less than a packet of sugar, a maximum carrying capacity of 3kg is pretty hefty.

Technical specifications

  • Max. working height with column: 70.5 cm
  • Max. working height w/o column: 40 cm
  • Minimum working height: 11 cm
  • Length folded: 27 cm
  • Max. load capacity: 3 kg
  • Weight: 445 grams
  • Price range: 80 to 90 GBP
tiltable legs
full-length Carvao tripod 40cm

Construction of the tripod

The Cullmann brand may not be familiar to you, it is mainly known in Germany. It is a German brand with solid products. What Cullmann offers: quality for a good price. The Cullmann Carvao 816TCS mini tripod therefore impresses with its use of materials and solid construction. No cheap paint or no smelly plastic has been used.

"After all, carbon is known for its excellent strength-to-weight ratio."

The tripod legs are made of 8-layer carbon, making it both lightweight and more resistant to wear and tear with prolonged use. After all, carbon is known for its excellent strength-to-weight ratio. The construction feels solid and is well-designed, with sturdy joints made of anodised aluminium. Even the ball head is made of anodised aluminium. This is perfection you otherwise only see on much more expensive products.

Tripod leg locks
Tilt angle of Cullmann tripod

Beautiful carbon legs

The twist locks allow you to easily extend the legs of the tripod. This reliable mechanism is often used on solid tripods in the higher price range tripods, and it works just as well with this compact model. The carbon legs can be tilted in three steps by pulling out the purple-blue clip. If tilting is difficult, you can lightly depress the leg before pulling out the clip.

For larger cameras with a slightly longer lens, it is recommended to tilt the legs a little, it will be more stable. The whole thing looks very elegant and is pleasant to use.

Camera on mini tripod
Mini quick release plate cullmann

Solid mini ball head

The ball head is a great addition to this set. It is compact, yet sturdy and can carry a surprising amount. You cannot adjust the friction of the ball so you have to hold your camera when you unlock the ball. The supplied quick-release plate is on the small side, but it is Arca-Swiss compatible, so you can also use your own plate or L-bracket. The plate does have two handy safety pins at the bottom so your camera can't accidentally slip out of the Arca-Swiss mount if you haven't tightened the clamp sufficiently. And you basically don't need a coin to attach the plate to your camera.

"It is Arca-Swiss compatible, so you can also use your own plate or L-bracket."

For the test, a Canon 850D with 80-400mm telephoto lens was put on this tripod as the heaviest camera combination (2.5 kg). Because you lock the ball with a lever instead of a dial, you can secure it much more firmly. It is somewhat surprising how this small ball head can still carry this combination. What you often see with small ball heads that are overloaded is that the head will sag. This head does not, even if you leave it for a few days. Because the lens has a nacelle, the tripod stays balanced. This does require the legs to be partially tilted, to prevent the camera from falling over. It is hard to say whether this result can still be achieved after years of use.

degree scale on steering head
metal spikes


Metal spikes are hidden under the rubber feet, providing extra stability on soft surfaces. When you press the rubber foot back into place, you will hear a reassuring plop sound. In addition, the degree scale on the head helps you take accurate panoramic shots. Depending on your lens, you can shoot every so many degrees, creating seamless and perfectly aligned panorama images. This is also a very useful tripod for macro photography


With its compact size and light weight, the Cullmann Carvao 816TCS mini tripod is very portable and handy. Despite its small size, the tripod offers excellent performance. The tripod's construction is solid and of high quality. Carbon and anodised aluminium have been used, ensuring durability and an elegant look. Even the ball head is sturdy and can carry a surprising amount of weight.

This makes this mini tripod an excellent choice for those looking for a compact, yet high-quality tripod. The Cullmann Carvao 816TCS offers excellent carrying capacity, ease of use and an attractive design.


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