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Vanguard SBH-250 Ball Head

B&H # VASBH250 Mfr # SBH-250
In Stock
Free Expedited Shipping
You Pay: $99.99
Product Highlights
  • 44 lb (19.6 kg) Load Capacity
  • Two Bubble Levels
  • Includes Two QS-39 Quick Release Plates
  • Dual Knob Locking Mechanisms
  • Dual Safety Locking for Quick Shoe
  • Compact - 4.7" (11cm)
  • Lightweight - 20.5 oz (581g)
  • Manufacturer's Lifetime Warranty

Vanguard's SBH-250 Ball Head is a compact 4.7" (11cm), lightweight 20.5 oz (581g), fluid head that features 2 bubble levels for precision attitude adjustment. It also has a dual safety locking system for quick release, and dual knob locking mechanisms (one for general positioning, one for fine tuning). It will support cameras, lenses and camcorders up to 44 lb (19.6kg). When the SBH-250 is mounted to a tripod, camera stability is greatly increased and allows smooth, fast, and precision camera positioning.

Load Capacity 44 lb (19.6kg)
Ball Sphere Diameter Not Specified by Manufacturer
Quick Release QS-39 plate with 1/4"-20 thread
Spirit Level 2
Tension Control Dual knob locking mechanisms
Tilt -35° ~ +90°
Swivel 360°
Tripod Mount Thread Size Dual 1/4"-20 & 3/8"
Height 4.7" (11.1cm)
Weight 20.5 oz (581g)
Vanguard SBH-250 Ball Head
  • 2 x QS-39 Quick Release Plates
  • 1/4"-20 to 3/8" Reducer Bushing
  • Manufacturer's Lifetime Warranty
  • REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

    by PowerReviews
    VanguardSBH-250 Ball Head
     
    4.6

    (based on 95 reviews)

    Ratings Distribution

    • 5 Stars

       

      (59)

    • 4 Stars

       

      (32)

    • 3 Stars

       

      (2)

    • 2 Stars

       

      (2)

    • 1 Stars

       

      (0)

    96%

    of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

    Pros

    • Stable (81)
    • Attaches firmly (69)
    • Large range of motion (63)
    • Strong clamp (60)
    • Lightweight (5)

    Cons

    • Heavy (14)
    • Unstable (3)

    Best Uses

    • Landscape/scenery (74)
    • Night shots (59)
    • Portraits (57)
    • Wildlife (39)
    • Travel (36)
      • Reviewer Profile:
      • Photo enthusiast (51), Semi-pro photographer (23), Pro photographer (11), Casual photographer (5)
      • Was this a gift?:
      • No (81)

    Most Liked Positive Review

     

    Great value, greater product

    I was looking at replacing my basic ballhead with a more sturdy one that do not creep with my typical setup, which is a Canon 50D with 70-300mm.

    I was considering...Read complete review

    I was looking at replacing my basic ballhead with a more sturdy one that do not creep with my typical setup, which is a Canon 50D with 70-300mm.

    I was considering the Manfrotto 488RC2, and was introduced to Vanguard SBH-100 instead. With that I researched further and found that the Vanguard SBH-250 provides more features compared to the 488RC2. The additional features include:
    1. Tension control
    2. Sliding mount plate
    3. Dual bubble-level
    4. Magnesium alloy (much lighter than aluminium alloy)

    To top it off, these additional features at a price that is lower than the Manfrotto 488RC2.

    I have used the Vanguard SBH-250 in several awkward angles, and it had did not creep at all. Once tightened, it stays that way. Now my tripod leg seems to need an upgrade, as the flaws of the tripod leg becomes more apparent.

    Even though the ballhead is made in China, the quality control is very good. If you are not told that it is not made in China, you would not be able to tell.

    BTW, the ballhead comes with 2 mount plates, so you can have your backup camera ready to be mounted too.

    VS

    Most Liked Negative Review

     

    "It was great until....."

    Purchased this head for use with Nikon D700's and Mamiya M645. The head seems really well made; solid and finished very nicely. It is a bit on the heavy side but that's...Read complete review

    Purchased this head for use with Nikon D700's and Mamiya M645. The head seems really well made; solid and finished very nicely. It is a bit on the heavy side but that's not an altogether bad thing in terms of stability. Movement was a bit stiff but that's probably a function of newness and getting used finding the friction points. The real problem surfaced when I attached a Nikon D700 with a heavy lens. Used the lens as the attachment point and when trying to position the camera for a shot, the camera and lens twisted on the mount. In part, I think, because the screw that goes through the mounting plate is very short; only showing a few threads. It looks like there's not enough screw to really get any purchase and you only can tighten so much before you start risking stripping threads. Also, there is nothing on the underside of the plate (like one of those swiveling "D" rings) to prevent the screw from turning. This was a surprising oversight in engineering for an otherwise very well made product. I was really looking forward to using this head for some time, but if the camera is going to twist, what's the point of using a tripod at all?[...]

    Reviewed by 95 customers

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    5.0

    Vanguard is Incredible!

    By Rob

    from Fort Worth, TX

    About Me Semi-pro Photographer

    Pros

    • Durable
    • Easy to Use
    • Lightweight

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Family Photos
      • Landscape/Scenery
      • Travel
      • Video
      • Wildlife Photos

      Comments about Vanguard SBH-250 Ball Head:

      Back on 6/18/2014 I made a review here of the SBH-250 and I stand behind it still. But even more, having a recent issue develop with the Head, Vanguard was more than quick to help out. It had developed a leak at the base of the main body. Fluid was coming out all over the place. I was ready to have to buy a new one, except after contacting Vanguard directly ( I spoke with Michelle ) and they informed me of the Limited Lifetime Warranty and suggested I send it in to them. So since I had nothing to lose on this, why not? I did what was asked, sent it in and they sent me brand new one back in the box. Keep in mind I've had this head for almost 2 years but was in studio use primarily, only outdoor use very few times.

      All I can say is, the product is sound, anything man-made can develop a problem. But when a company backs up their products even after this long of a period, all I can say is that Vanguard has not only earned my business on future purchases but I don't feel you could go wrong with them at all. They are a great company and I haven't had the pleasure of dealing with such in a very long time. Cudos to Vanguard!

      • Was this a gift?:
      • No

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      5.0

      Great Ball Head

      By fricelfd

      from SW Florida

      About Me Semi-pro Photographer

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Compact
      • Durable
      • Easy to Use
      • Lightweight

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Family Photos
        • Landscape/Scenery
        • Sports/Action
        • Travel
        • Video
        • Weddings/Events
        • Wildlife Photos

        Comments about Vanguard SBH-250 Ball Head:

        I am using this Ball Head on a FEISOL Tournament CT-3442 Rapid Tripod Legs and it works perfect on my Mark III and T3I.

        • Was this a gift?:
        • No

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        5.0

        High Quality at a Great Price!

        By Rob

        from Fort Worth, TX

        About Me Semi-pro Photographer

        Pros

        • Build
        • Compact
        • Durable
        • Easy to Use
        • Lightweight
        • Price

        Cons

        • None

        Best Uses

        • Family Photos
        • Landscape/Scenery
        • Sports/Action
        • Travel
        • Video
        • Weddings/Events
        • Wildlife Photos

        Comments about Vanguard SBH-250 Ball Head:

        I've had mine now for over a year. When I started looking at Ball Heads seriously, the cost of a good one was just way out of my reach for certain known brands. Then I discovered Vanguard, thought the price was too good to be true for something that looked so well built. In my year of ownership, there have been no regrets, I've used it for everything I do.I shoot products for a company as well do some freelance jobs here and there. Also do a lot of carrying around to locations for outdoor and event jobs. It's rugged, light and has everything I wanted. Including the markings on the base dial for doing specific step rotations for Panoramics.The build is sturdy, light weight and the plate you use to lock your camera in place has the two level bulbs which I find extremely useful. There may be other brands that use better build materials, but they cost you two to three times the price. I'm a firm believer you get what you pay for, here I got more than I expected for the price and I highly recommend it to anyone.It works super smoth, the dials are very fluid and have not lost grip in my time with it at all. The tension setting seems to be the only part I feel could have been a little better, but it works fine without a hitch.I use a Nikon D80 that has the battery grip and I use a 300mm Lens at times and it supports this weight with ease. When I decide to get another to replace this one, I will definitely be looking at Vanguard first!

        • Was this a gift?:
        • No

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        5.0

        Excellent Ball Head

        By studio-937

        from Dayton, OH

        About Me Semi-pro Photographer

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Attaches Firmly
        • Good Stability
        • Strong Clamp

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Home
          • Landscape/Scenery
          • Night Shots
          • Portraits
          • Travel

          Comments about Vanguard SBH-250 Ball Head:

          I don't think there is a better product on the market for the price. This Ball Head is a great compliment to my Vanguard Alta + 264 Tripod.

          • Was this a gift?:
          • No

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          4.0

          Great 2 level head

          By Alex the photographer

          from Brooklyn, NY

          Verified Buyer

          Comments about Vanguard SBH-250 Ball Head:

          I use the product for interiors and 360 panos and it's very helpful for that. The levels are perfect for my purpose and the fact that the head comes with 2 plates is great.

          Some of the knobs can be a little unresponsive at times and it's peculiar why there are two tension knobs. It's also annoying that you have to rotate the entire head in a certain way to tilt the plate down 90 degrees but otherwise it's a fine head.

          Share this review

           
          5.0

          Very pleased

          By JR

          from NYC

          About Me Photography Student

          Verified Reviewer

          Pros

          • Attaches Firmly
          • Good Stability
          • Strong Clamp

          Cons

            Best Uses

            • Landscape/Scenery
            • Night Shots
            • Portraits
            • Wildlife

            Comments about Vanguard SBH-250 Ball Head:

            Did a lot of research regarding ball heads, new to this in the world of heads and tripods, but it was time for one.
            Without spending a lot of money, and some will say you need to spend more then you are willing, which is not true, you just need to know what your needs are and what the equipment can actually do.
            I eventually went with the Vanguard SBH-250, there were several others in a similar price range that are just as good, but i chose this one, overkill for my X-E1 with the 18-55mm, but this head works like a dream, very smooth operation and adjustments, some will say it's stiff, and it is for good reason, but IMHO, you can't go wrong for the price, good solid head and i've got it sitting on an Induro AT214 set of sticks, great combination, very happy with both pieces.

            • Was this a gift?:
            • No

            Share this review

             
            5.0

            Price is irrelevant. QUALITY IS GREAT

            By RTuttlePhotography

            from Seattle, WA

            About Me Semi-pro Photographer

            Pros

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

            Cons

              Best Uses

              • Landscape/Scenery
              • Night Shots
              • Portraits

              Comments about Vanguard SBH-250 Ball Head:

              Does everything you expect and need out of a Ball Head Camera Mount. I like how you control the tension adjustments. The panning on this is SMOOOOOTH. Excellent investment.

              • Was this a gift?:
              • No

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              5.0

              Great solid ballhead

              By shba

              from US

              Comments about Vanguard SBH-250 Ball Head:

              Works great with my Nikon D7100 and a 70-300 lens extended at any angle without any creep whatsoever. It claims to be able to handle up to 44 lbs.

              Share this review

               
              4.0

              Surprisingly Nice

              By Robin

              from Dallas, Tx

              About Me Photo Enthusiast

              Verified Reviewer

              Pros

              • Attaches Firmly
              • Good Stability
              • Strong Clamp

              Cons

                Best Uses

                • Home
                • Landscape/Scenery
                • Night Shots

                Comments about Vanguard SBH-250 Ball Head:

                I bought the GH-300T, and there was a rebate with it. Not money, but this SBH-250 head free. I sent the rebate off, not expecting much.

                What a pleasant surprise, not only did it come quickly, but even better, at about the price of the little Manfroto I have, this is a really nice and robust ball head with far more features.

                My only complaint with both of these heads is with the camera mount plate. It requires a tool of some nature to attach it to the camera, and there isn't a Manfroto-style loop to hook my BlackRapid strap to. If that's not an issue with you, bump my rating up to five stars.

                • Was this a gift?:
                • No

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                (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                5.0

                Excellent Ball Head

                By TM

                from Pennsylvania

                About Me Photo Enthusiast

                Verified Reviewer

                Pros

                • Good Stability
                • Large Range of Motion
                • Strong Clamp

                Cons

                • Tool Needed To Mount Qr

                Best Uses

                • Home
                • Landscape/Scenery
                • Night Shots
                • Portraits
                • Sports/Action
                • Travel
                • Weddings/Events
                • Wildlife

                Comments about Vanguard SBH-250 Ball Head:

                I shoot wildlife and needed a good Ball Head that was affordable. The heaviest combination I have is a Canon 50D with a Canon 300mm f4L and a 1.4 extender. (5-lbs total)
                This ball head carries this combo like it wasn't even there. Always over mount your equipment! Very smooth and easy to track birds in flight with. Adjustments are great.
                The bottom of the ball head has a slight crown to it. This can make it difficult to mount on other manufacturers tripods. I ran into this with a Cullmann 528 Magnesit. A washer and some 1/16" rubber mated the two perfectly.

                • Was this a gift?:
                • No

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                5.0

                Great for Canon 5D MkII and 24-70 2.8L

                By Arun

                from Fremont, CA

                About Me Photo Enthusiast

                Pros

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

                Cons

                  Best Uses

                  • Home
                  • Landscape/Scenery
                  • Night Shots
                  • Portraits
                  • Travel
                  • Video

                  Comments about Vanguard SBH-250 Ball Head:

                  Replaced a terrible stock Sunpak head (620 CPG) that came with a Sunpak 423PX.

                  Has worked great so far (used it only a couple of days). Very stable with a Canon 5DMkII + 24-70 2.8L. No slippage in portrait mode as well.

                  Very solid construction and feel. The rubber grips on the knobs are well designed. Both the tilt and rotation knobs are smooth and don't need over-tightening to lock in position.

                  Makes it a bit top-heavy on the Sunpak 423PX, but, can't complain.

                  The only (relatively minor) con is that the side bubble level is hard to read with an SLR mounted.

                  Overall, a great ballhead for a reasonably heavy setup like a 5DMkII + a heavy lens like 24-70 2.8L.

                  • Was this a gift?:
                  • No

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                  4.0

                  Works like a charm

                  By 137 Nick

                  from Manhattan, NY

                  About Me Semi-pro Photographer

                  Verified Buyer

                  Pros

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

                  Cons

                    Best Uses

                    • Landscape/Scenery
                    • Night Shots
                    • Portraits

                    Comments about Vanguard SBH-250 Ball Head:

                    When out to take some landscape shots of NYC skyline. SBH worked smoothly and got several shots from Brooklyn looking into Manhattan. The price was great and will recommend to friends.

                    • Was this a gift?:
                    • No

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                    (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                     
                    5.0

                    Excellent product

                    By Uncle Mike

                    from Fort Atkinson, WI

                    About Me Semi-pro Photographer

                    Verified Buyer

                    Pros

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

                    Cons

                      Best Uses

                      • Landscape/Scenery
                      • Sports/Action

                      Comments about Vanguard SBH-250 Ball Head:

                      This was purchased for field work by an experienced photographer using a Manfrotto tripod and a Canon 5D Mark II with a large telephoto lens. The SBH-250 can easily manage the weight of this gear and the locks adequately stabilize it. Coupled with a remote shutter release, otherwise difficult shots are more manageable.

                      • Was this a gift?:
                      • Yes

                      Share this review

                      (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                       
                      5.0

                      Smooooth

                      By Jrb

                      from Georgia

                      About Me Photo Enthusiast

                      Verified Buyer

                      Pros

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

                      Cons

                        Best Uses

                        • Long Exposure
                        • Macro
                        • Photo Stacking
                        • Portraits
                        • Wildlife

                        Comments about Vanguard SBH-250 Ball Head:

                        I bought this for my Manfrotto tripod and could not be happier. Combining the price point and quality there is no better deal out there.

                        • Was this a gift?:
                        • No

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                        5.0

                        Complete set-up

                        By dqshelly

                        from Winnsboro, TX

                        About Me Photo Enthusiast

                        Verified Buyer

                        Pros

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

                        Cons

                          Best Uses

                          • Landscape/Scenery
                          • Night Shots

                          Comments about Vanguard SBH-250 Ball Head:

                          Needed this addition to my collection--it meets all requirements--simplicity of use, sturdy, functional, and well made. Nothing negative to say about this product!

                          • Was this a gift?:
                          • No

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                          5.0

                          Great Ball Head

                          By Paul

                          from Halifax, Nova Scotia, CA

                          About Me Photo Enthusiast

                          Verified Buyer

                          Pros

                          • Attaches Firmly
                          • Good Stability
                          • Large Range of Motion

                          Cons

                            Best Uses

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

                            Comments about Vanguard SBH-250 Ball Head:

                            I've only had this ball head for a couple of weeks but it works like a charm. So easy to use and the micro adjustment knob is great to have. The independent pan is also an excellent feature. The weight this ball head can carry is excellent. So far I think this is an excellent purchase at an excellent price.

                            • Was this a gift?:
                            • No

                            Share this review

                             
                            5.0

                            Best bang for buck

                            By bcgroove

                            from Seattle, Wa.

                            About Me Casual Photographer

                            Verified Buyer

                            Pros

                              Cons

                                Best Uses

                                  Comments about Vanguard SBH-250 Ball Head:

                                  Solid ball head easily supports (maybe a little overkill) my Sony Nex with old Minolta lenses. It's a joy to use with my large 5 pound binoculars. Very smooth action, no binding or sticky spots. Tension adjusts nicely for different loads. Locks down solid. Very slight movement when you lock it down, may be an issue with very long lenses or critical macro framing but the motion is slight and predictable. Pan motion is very smooth though a little stiffer than I would like. The 2 quick release plates included are a nice bonus. At this price and performance the SBH-250 has got to be the best bang for buck value currently available.

                                  • Was this a gift?:
                                  • No

                                  Share this review

                                   
                                  4.0

                                  So far so good

                                  By derek_ec

                                  from Brooklyn, NY

                                  About Me Photo Enthusiast

                                  Verified Buyer

                                  Pros

                                  • Attaches Firmly
                                  • Good Stability
                                  • Large Range of Motion

                                  Cons

                                    Best Uses

                                    • Landscape/Scenery
                                    • Night Shots
                                    • Portraits

                                    Comments about Vanguard SBH-250 Ball Head:

                                    Don't judge by me as I'm new to ballheads. Used it on a moderately heavy set up of Nikon D800 and 180mm macro prime. It takes a bit of torque on the friction and lock knobs I find to get it to hold well but since I haven't owned any other heads I can't compare - need to revisit that so won't deduct any stars for my initial impression. What I will deduct the one for is that I can't get a really smooth motion with the friction knob - it's either too loose or more tight than I'd care causing jittery motion. But since I believe it's use is for repositioning, at least how I use it, it does the job. The pan axis is smooth. I use on night sky and so need large ROM requiring the pan axis to reposition. It's ok. Valuewise was good including the 2 quick mounts and dual bubble levels.

                                    • Was this a gift?:
                                    • No

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                                    4.0

                                    Good Head for the money

                                    By Winner

                                    from San Jose, CA

                                    About Me Photo Enthusiast

                                    Verified Buyer

                                    Pros

                                    • Attaches Firmly
                                    • Good Stability
                                    • Strong Clamp

                                    Cons

                                    • Knobs Built Quality

                                    Best Uses

                                    • Landscape/Scenery
                                    • Night Shots
                                    • Portraits
                                    • Wildlife

                                    Comments about Vanguard SBH-250 Ball Head:

                                    Good stable ball head for long / heavy telephoto lens setup, especially cheaper than other ball head for the same loading capacity. This product includes 1 more additional plate in the package.
                                    The circular rubber strip on adjustment knobs are loose and slipping during the tight turn to stable the ball head position. The manufacturer needs to improve to the next level on the tripod knobs in this product. So, I deduct 1 star from 5 stars rating.

                                    Share this review

                                     
                                    5.0

                                    GREAT STUFF

                                    By Larry

                                    from Langley B.C.

                                    About Me Photo Enthusiast

                                    Verified Buyer

                                    Pros

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

                                    Cons

                                    • A Littel Heavy

                                    Best Uses

                                    • Home
                                    • Landscape/Scenery
                                    • Night Shots
                                    • Portraits
                                    • Sports/Action
                                    • Travel
                                    • Wildlife

                                    Comments about Vanguard SBH-250 Ball Head:

                                    Takes on my long glass with no problembs good and solid

                                    • Was this a gift?:
                                    • No

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                                    Quick Release Plates

                                    Vanguard -  QS-39 Quick Release Plate
                                    • You Pay: $12.89
                                     
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