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Vanguard SBH-30 Ballhead

B&H # VASBH30 MFR # SBH-30
In Stock
Free Expedited Shipping
You Pay: $69.79
Product Highlights
  • 11 lb (5kg) Load Capacity
  • 2 Bubble Levels
  • Single Knob Locking Mechanism
  • Safety Locking System for Quick Shoe
  • Compact 3.12" (7.3cm)
  • Lightweight 9.6 oz (272g)
  • Manufacturer's Lifetime Warranty

Vanguard's SBH-30 Ballhead is compact 3.12" (7.3cm), lightweight 9.6 oz (272g), and features 2 bubble levels for precision attitude adjustment. It also has a safety locking system for quick release, and a single knob locking mechanism. It will support cameras, lenses and camcorders up to 11 lb (5kg). The ballhead, when placed upon a tripod, will increase camera stability and provide faster, more accurate camera positioning.

Load Capacity 11 lb (5kg)
Ball Sphere Diameter Not Specified by Manufacturer
Quick Release QS-39 with 1/4"-20 thread
QS-40 with 3/8"-16 thread
Spirit Level 2
Tension Control Single knob locking mechanism
Separate Panning Lock No
Tilt -35° ~ +90°
Swivel 360°
Tripod Mount Thread Size 1/4"-20
Height 3.12" (7.3cm)
Weight 9.6 oz (272g)
Vanguard SBH-30 Ballhead
  • Manufacturer's Lifetime Warranty
  • REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

    by PowerReviews
    VanguardSBH-30 Ballhead
     
    3.9

    (based on 17 reviews)

    Ratings Distribution

    • 5 Stars

       

      (7)

    • 4 Stars

       

      (6)

    • 3 Stars

       

      (2)

    • 2 Stars

       

      (0)

    • 1 Stars

       

      (2)

    81%

    of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

    Pros

    • Attaches firmly (15)
    • Large range of motion (14)
    • Stable (12)
    • Strong clamp (11)

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Landscape/scenery (8)
      • Night shots (6)
      • Wildlife (6)
      • Home (5)
      • Portraits (5)
        • Reviewer Profile:
        • Photo enthusiast (10), Semi-pro photographer (4)
        • Was this a gift?:
        • No (10)

      Most Liked Positive Review

       

      Nice ballhead

      I use this ballhead on a smaller travel tripod (a manfrotto series) for landscapes and macro with short to medium lenses mounted on a canon 10d, 40d, or Ftb, the former with...Read complete review

      I use this ballhead on a smaller travel tripod (a manfrotto series) for landscapes and macro with short to medium lenses mounted on a canon 10d, 40d, or Ftb, the former with vertical grips. The ballhead is more than adequate at handling the weight of these setups. For the price you cannot beat this ballhead for a medium weight setup.

      Positives:
      1. Lightweight
      2. Solid
      3. Smooth adjustments
      4. Comes with two quick-release plates
      5. Price

      Negatives (I'm going into detail on these because they might be make-or-break for some potential buyers):
      1. By lifting the quick-release plate vertically off of the platform (when the ballhead is set straight up and down), you can easily slip the plate off with the release safety switch still engaged. Basically, what I'm saying is that the release safety switch is not as nice as what you get on more expensive ballheads. But, because I know this, I'm extra careful not to trust the safety. The first thing I do when I get a ballhead is loosen the quick-release tightening knob, put a plate in with the safety on, and shake the apparatus and see if the plate comes off. The plate comes off this ballhead almost immediately. This is something that I hope Vanguard fixed in their more expensive heads and new generation of heads. If not, I would not buy any other vanguard head besides this one. There are much better alternatives at the higher price range if this safety issue is not resolved. But for this price range, and all of the nice features of this head, I half expected something to not work properly. I did try to tighten the screw under the safety bar to see if it would move the bar up to prevent the slippage, but this did nothing, as the screw was already as tight as it could go. Also, even if the bar were capable of being raised, you can also get the quick-release plate off by wiggling it around a little bit and pulling up without sliding it.
      2. While the horizontal leveler is quite visible with a camera attached, it is almost impossible to view the vertical leveler.
      3. You have to use a coin or the flimsy tool provided to tighten the quick release plate to your camera. I would suggest not using the flimsy tool provided because if you break it, you will not have a tool to adjust the mount fitting for different tripods.
      4. No matter how tight you tighten all the knobs, when you tighten the head on your tripod you will start panning the head instead of tighten the head immediately when the head gets snug on the tripod. I like to have things really tight, and even though the head feels firmly attached, I want it tighter. Basically, I want to feel resistance when I'm tightening the head so that I know it's on there and its not coming off or loosening without my help. Unfortunately, there's no place to grab on the base of the head to torque the head any tighter.

      Hope this helps!

      VS

      Most Liked Negative Review

       

      Doesn't support advertised capacity

      Purchased to use on light weight aluminum tripod. I wanted a Vanguard head as I also have a larger Vanguard tripod and I wanted the quick release plates to be common. The advertised weight...Read complete review

      Purchased to use on light weight aluminum tripod. I wanted a Vanguard head as I also have a larger Vanguard tripod and I wanted the quick release plates to be common. The advertised weight capacity of the SBH-30 is 11 lbs. In use, the ball head would not support my Nikon D7000 with Nikon 18-200mm VR lens. Further, the ball adjustment knob is wrapped with a rubber strip to make gripping the knob easier. The problem is the rubber strip slips on the knob when tightening. I'm going to return the head for a larger size which will add more weight to my backpacking tripod.

      Reviewed by 17 customers

      Sort by

      Displaying reviews 1-17

      Back to top

       
      3.0

      Just ok

      By Krystal

      from Redmond, OR

      About Me Photo Enthusiast

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

        Cons

          Best Uses

            Comments about Vanguard SBH-30 Ballhead:

            I bought this for use with the Benro Monopod that has three feet on the bottom for stabilizing. I otherwise have a vanguard tripod with an SBH-100 Ball head. This SBH-30 has the same quick release plate which is why I purchased it for the monopod. I can quickly go between the two with ease.
            I didn't realize that this had one less very important knob. The panning and ball head movement are tied into the one knob. I don't like that. I should have either sprung for the SBH100 or given up the convenience of the quick plate matching.
            Also, on both heads, I have a really hard time keeping this quick place secure on my camera. I am worried of over tightening and stripping it out. I seem to have to retighten and futz with it often.
            I have a new D7100.

            • Was this a gift?:
            • No

            Share this review

             
            4.0

            Great for the price

            By MJ

            from Minneapolis, MN

            About Me Photo Enthusiast

            Verified Buyer

            Pros

            • Attaches Firmly
            • Large Range of Motion

            Cons

              Best Uses

              • Macro

              Comments about Vanguard SBH-30 Ballhead:

              The ballhead is easy to handle and move around. I like the idea of the levels, but haven't really put them to use as of yet.

              • Was this a gift?:
              • No

              Share this review

               
              4.0

              PERFECT FOR MONOPOD

              By DOA

              from SAINT LOUIS, MISSOURI

              About Me Casual Photographer

              Verified Buyer

              Pros

              • Attaches Firmly
              • Good Stability
              • Large Range of Motion
              • Strong Clamp

              Cons

                Best Uses

                  Comments about Vanguard SBH-30 Ballhead:

                  SIZE, WEIGHT AND EASE OF USE IS JUST WHAT
                  I NEEDED FOR MY MONOPOD...

                  • Was this a gift?:
                  • No

                  Share this review

                   
                  5.0

                  Good solid item

                  By Dave H

                  from Matawan, NJ

                  About Me Photo Enthusiast

                  Verified Buyer

                  Pros

                  • Attaches Firmly
                  • Good Stability
                  • Large Range of Motion
                  • Strong Clamp

                  Cons

                    Best Uses

                    • Home
                    • Sports/Action
                    • Travel
                    • Wildlife

                    Comments about Vanguard SBH-30 Ballhead:

                    Well made and dependable, I use it on a monopod more for the quick release that is compatible with my tripod than any other reason, but it still is a fine replaccement for the swivel head that came with the monopod. The knobs are easy to lock, and the levels convenient.

                    • Was this a gift?:
                    • No

                    Share this review

                     
                    5.0

                    Ballhead works great with monopod

                    By Slim Jim

                    from Marlton, NJ

                    About Me Photo Enthusiast

                    Verified Buyer

                    Pros

                    • Attaches Firmly
                    • Good Stability
                    • Large Range of Motion
                    • Strong Clamp

                    Cons

                      Best Uses

                      • Sports/Action
                      • Travel
                      • Weddings/Events
                      • Wildlife

                      Comments about Vanguard SBH-30 Ballhead:

                      Matches great with the Alta Pro Tracker AP 284 monopod. Comes with two quick release plates. The quick release plates are the same ones that I use with my Alta Pro 264 AT tripod. I therefore can switch my camera from tripod to monopod with ease. I mainly use the ballhead and monopod for photographing birds. Cons: The plates sometimes slip. An easy fix is to fold a small piece of fine grit sandpaper in half, punch a hold for the screw and place it between the camera and plate and/or telephoto lens mount and plate. The sandpaper will keep the plate from slipping. I also use threadlock on the screw.

                      • Was this a gift?:
                      • No

                      Share this review

                       
                      5.0

                      Very good small-med ballhead

                      By himarv

                      from Reno, NV

                      About Me Photo Enthusiast

                      Verified Buyer

                      Pros

                      • Attaches Firmly
                      • Good Stability
                      • Large Range of Motion
                      • Strong Clamp

                      Cons

                        Best Uses

                          Comments about Vanguard SBH-30 Ballhead:

                          Really a good buy for the money, I also have the larger Vanguard ballhead and the plates are interchangeable.

                          • Was this a gift?:
                          • No

                          Share this review

                           
                          1.0

                          Doesn't support advertised capacity

                          By Lee74C3

                          from Lake Orion, MI

                          About Me Semi-pro Photographer

                          Verified Buyer

                          Pros

                          • Attaches Firmly
                          • Large Range of Motion
                          • Light weight

                          Cons

                          • Doesn't hold 3 lbs
                          • Unstable

                          Best Uses

                          • Home
                          • Landscape/Scenery
                          • Night Shots
                          • Point Shoot only
                          • Travel

                          Comments about Vanguard SBH-30 Ballhead:

                          Purchased to use on light weight aluminum tripod. I wanted a Vanguard head as I also have a larger Vanguard tripod and I wanted the quick release plates to be common. The advertised weight capacity of the SBH-30 is 11 lbs. In use, the ball head would not support my Nikon D7000 with Nikon 18-200mm VR lens. Further, the ball adjustment knob is wrapped with a rubber strip to make gripping the knob easier. The problem is the rubber strip slips on the knob when tightening. I'm going to return the head for a larger size which will add more weight to my backpacking tripod.

                          • Was this a gift?:
                          • No

                          Share this review

                           
                          5.0

                          Just what I was looking for.

                          By Maxairedale

                          from South Central Kentucky

                          About Me Photo Enthusiast

                          Verified Buyer

                          Pros

                          • Attaches Firmly
                          • Good Stability
                          • Large Range of Motion
                          • Strong Clamp
                          • Very easy to adjust

                          Cons

                            Best Uses

                            • Home
                            • Landscape/Scenery
                            • Long Exposures
                            • Night Shots
                            • Portraits
                            • To get razor sharp photos
                            • Wildlife

                            Comments about Vanguard SBH-30 Ballhead:

                            Wanted to change my old (but good) tripod from a pan head to a ball head. For the price this was the best solution for me. It came with 2 shoes (both 1/4 inch)and the unit will fit onto both 1/4 and 3/8 inch mounts. I would buy another if needed. The one thing that I have found to be a small problem is that the clamp adjustment knob, on the platform, gets in the way when putting the camera in vertical plain if it is on the side you are tilting the camera towards, simple fix is to flip to the other side or plan ahead when mounting the camera so that the knob is not on the side you normally tilt the camera. The shoes will attach to the platform from either end.

                            • Was this a gift?:
                            • No

                            Share this review

                            (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                             
                            5.0

                            Great Ballhead for Monopods

                            By Claw

                            from San Antonio, TX

                            About Me Semi-pro Photographer

                            Verified Buyer

                            Pros

                            • Attaches Firmly
                            • Good Stability
                            • Large Range of Motion
                            • Strong Clamp

                            Cons

                              Best Uses

                              • Night Shots
                              • Sports/Action
                              • Theatrical Productions

                              Comments about Vanguard SBH-30 Ballhead:

                              The SBH-30 was purchased to replace a single axis head that came on a Manfroto 682 monopod. This head had added the flexibility that I wanted for sports and theatrical photography in available light. I also use and like the detachable mounting plates.

                              Really can't comment on the levels as they are not of much use on a monopod.

                              • Was this a gift?:
                              • No

                              Share this review

                               
                              5.0

                              good.

                              By Brett B

                              from Denver,co

                              About Me Pro Photographer

                              Verified Buyer

                              Pros

                              • Attaches Firmly
                              • Good Stability
                              • Large Range of Motion
                              • Strong Clamp

                              Cons

                                Best Uses

                                • Landscape/Scenery
                                • Portraits
                                • Video

                                Comments about Vanguard SBH-30 Ballhead:

                                good for my use, holds canon 40D with 24-70L, not the greatest but you cant expect too much from it. does a good job.

                                • Was this a gift?:
                                • No

                                Share this review

                                (2 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

                                 
                                1.0

                                Unacceptable Shift

                                By Bill

                                from New Brighton, MN

                                About Me Photo Enthusiast

                                Verified Buyer

                                Pros

                                • Attaches Firmly
                                • Strong Clamp

                                Cons

                                  Best Uses

                                    Comments about Vanguard SBH-30 Ballhead:

                                    When I tightened the ball, the platform (and camera) shifted in the direction of the knob. I can't say if this is a defect in this particular head, or a design flaw. I do know that my larger Vanguard SBH-200 does not shift one iota. A friend thought the shift was subtle, and that I should just compensate for it. I disagreed, and returned it.

                                    Share this review

                                    (8 of 9 customers found this review helpful)

                                     
                                    4.0

                                    Nice ballhead

                                    By Siegs5151

                                    from St. Louis, MO

                                    About Me Photo Enthusiast

                                    Verified Reviewer

                                    Pros

                                    • Attaches Firmly
                                    • Good Stability
                                    • Large Range of Motion
                                    • Strong Clamp

                                    Cons

                                    • See comments

                                    Best Uses

                                    • Home
                                    • Landscape/Scenery
                                    • Travel

                                    Comments about Vanguard SBH-30 Ballhead:

                                    I use this ballhead on a smaller travel tripod (a manfrotto series) for landscapes and macro with short to medium lenses mounted on a canon 10d, 40d, or Ftb, the former with vertical grips. The ballhead is more than adequate at handling the weight of these setups. For the price you cannot beat this ballhead for a medium weight setup.

                                    Positives:
                                    1. Lightweight
                                    2. Solid
                                    3. Smooth adjustments
                                    4. Comes with two quick-release plates
                                    5. Price

                                    Negatives (I'm going into detail on these because they might be make-or-break for some potential buyers):
                                    1. By lifting the quick-release plate vertically off of the platform (when the ballhead is set straight up and down), you can easily slip the plate off with the release safety switch still engaged. Basically, what I'm saying is that the release safety switch is not as nice as what you get on more expensive ballheads. But, because I know this, I'm extra careful not to trust the safety. The first thing I do when I get a ballhead is loosen the quick-release tightening knob, put a plate in with the safety on, and shake the apparatus and see if the plate comes off. The plate comes off this ballhead almost immediately. This is something that I hope Vanguard fixed in their more expensive heads and new generation of heads. If not, I would not buy any other vanguard head besides this one. There are much better alternatives at the higher price range if this safety issue is not resolved. But for this price range, and all of the nice features of this head, I half expected something to not work properly. I did try to tighten the screw under the safety bar to see if it would move the bar up to prevent the slippage, but this did nothing, as the screw was already as tight as it could go. Also, even if the bar were capable of being raised, you can also get the quick-release plate off by wiggling it around a little bit and pulling up without sliding it.
                                    2. While the horizontal leveler is quite visible with a camera attached, it is almost impossible to view the vertical leveler.
                                    3. You have to use a coin or the flimsy tool provided to tighten the quick release plate to your camera. I would suggest not using the flimsy tool provided because if you break it, you will not have a tool to adjust the mount fitting for different tripods.
                                    4. No matter how tight you tighten all the knobs, when you tighten the head on your tripod you will start panning the head instead of tighten the head immediately when the head gets snug on the tripod. I like to have things really tight, and even though the head feels firmly attached, I want it tighter. Basically, I want to feel resistance when I'm tightening the head so that I know it's on there and its not coming off or loosening without my help. Unfortunately, there's no place to grab on the base of the head to torque the head any tighter.

                                    Hope this helps!

                                    Share this review

                                    (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                                     
                                    4.0

                                    Great Value

                                    By GRT

                                    from Paducah, KY

                                    About Me Photo Enthusiast

                                    Verified Buyer

                                    Pros

                                    • Attaches Firmly
                                    • Good Stability
                                    • The price is right

                                    Cons

                                      Best Uses

                                      • Landscape/Scenery
                                      • Night Shots
                                      • Sports/Action
                                      • Wildlife

                                      Comments about Vanguard SBH-30 Ballhead:

                                      Excellent bargain. I purchsed this for use on a monopod. Small and compact, but still works with a T2i and 100-400L combo. It also uses the same QR plates as the SBH200 head on my tripod, which is a plus.

                                      Share this review

                                       
                                      4.0

                                      Good Products

                                      By BD

                                      from Kalamazoo, Mi

                                      About Me Photo Enthusiast

                                      Verified Buyer

                                      Pros

                                      • Attaches Firmly
                                      • Good Stability
                                      • Large Range of Motion
                                      • Strong Clamp

                                      Cons

                                        Best Uses

                                        • Landscape/Scenery
                                        • Sports/Action
                                        • Travel
                                        • Wildlife

                                        Comments about Vanguard SBH-30 Ballhead:

                                        Bought this BallHead for my 30 year old Monopod, finally wore out the Original cheap one I bought in 1980 I have a "Vanguard Tracker" Tripod with the 250 Ballhead and I am more than pleased with it, when it became nessary to get one for my Monopod I checked out ALL brands of Ballheads and deceided to go with Vanguard for the $ they can't be Beat.

                                        Share this review

                                         
                                        5.0

                                        i will recomend this product

                                        By gshayeb

                                        from Albany, GA

                                        About Me Semi-pro Photographer

                                        Verified Buyer

                                        Pros

                                        • Attaches Firmly
                                        • Good Stability
                                        • Large Range of Motion

                                        Cons

                                          Best Uses

                                          • Portraits
                                          • Video
                                          • Weddings/Events

                                          Comments about Vanguard SBH-30 Ballhead:

                                          I use this product with custom pracket for DSLR camera and monopod, it's great i can twist it as i like and it locks in place when i need to, it's light weight makes it easy to hold. it's one screw lock easy to access and very good for my appliucation.

                                          Share this review

                                          (0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                                           
                                          3.0

                                          Good but adjustment could be finer

                                          By Rangdale

                                          from Maine

                                          About Me Semi-pro Photographer

                                          Verified Buyer

                                          Pros

                                          • Good Stability
                                          • Large Range of Motion
                                          • Strong Clamp

                                          Cons

                                            Best Uses

                                            • Landscape/Scenery
                                            • Night Shots
                                            • Portraits
                                            • Wildlife

                                            Comments about Vanguard SBH-30 Ballhead:

                                            Not bad but the leveling is a little tricky.

                                            Share this review

                                             
                                            4.0

                                            Great for a smaller camera

                                            By Momoe

                                            from St Louis

                                            About Me Pro Photographer

                                            Verified Buyer

                                            Pros

                                            • Attaches Firmly
                                            • Large Range of Motion

                                            Cons

                                            • Weak Clamp

                                            Best Uses

                                            • Home
                                            • Landscape/Scenery
                                            • Night Shots
                                            • Portraits
                                            • Weddings/Events

                                            Comments about Vanguard SBH-30 Ballhead:

                                            I have an xsi and when I have a telephoto lens with a flash on the camera, the head slips. It is rated to 14lbs but I can't see it holding that at 90degrees out

                                            Share this review

                                            Quick Release Plates

                                            Vanguard -  QS-39 Quick Release Plate
                                            • You Pay: $12.95
                                             
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