REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

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VanguardGH-100 Pistol-Grip Ballhead
 
4.4

(based on 55 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (35)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (12)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (6)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (2)

96%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Stable (44)
  • Attaches firmly (42)
  • Large range of motion (40)
  • Strong clamp (36)

Cons

  • Heavy (6)
  • Small range (3)

Best Uses

  • Landscape/scenery (44)
  • Night shots (32)
  • Portraits (30)
  • Home (22)
  • Wildlife (22)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Photo enthusiast (24), Semi-pro photographer (16), Pro photographer (10), Casual photographer (3)
    • Was this a gift?:
    • No (49)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

Shooting straight up is easy

Several reviewers state they were unable to aim the camera up very much or unable to shoot straight up. This is not difficult IF you use this head's unique combination of three key...Read complete review

Several reviewers state they were unable to aim the camera up very much or unable to shoot straight up. This is not difficult IF you use this head's unique combination of three key features:

1. the quick release shoe/plate is square, so the camera can easily be mounted in four different directions, as required for the shot.
2. the head can pan 360 deg and lock at any angle
3. the pistol-grip handle can be rotated independently of the head, locking every 45 degrees for eight different positions.

If you use these three features in combination, there are several different ways to shoot at any angle of elevation including straight up.

Want to shoot straight up? Rotate the ballhead to vertical portrait orientation but instead of attaching the QR plate with lens pointing forward and level, put the square plate into the quick release so the lens points straight up! Now do you want the pistol grip pointing down instead of horizontal? Pull back on the release collar, rotate the pistol-grip 90 deg so it points straight down and the collar clicks back in, locking the pistol grip in the new position.

Want to shoot at 45 degrees up? One way is simply hold the pistol-grip release and rotate the head back towards the landscape position. Alternatively, hold camera body & lens securely, unlock the panorama lever, rotate the camera to whatever vertical angle you want, and re-lock the lever (important!!). A third way is to clamp the quick release in with the lens pointing the same direction as the pistol-grip (180 deg from the way you usually put the plate into the quick release clamp), and rotate the camera up with the pistol grip at the front, below the lens.

So there you have it, three different ways to use this head's unique combination of three features to shoot up at any angle you want. Vanguard should have described & illustrated these in the manual rather than have us figure it out.

I do not use the head with anything over a 15-85mm zoom, so I can not comment about long, heavy telephoto lenses hanging out front, attached to the tripod via the camera body. Nor am I a professional using it every day, so I can not comment on long term heavy use.

I do wish the versatile square quick release plate was a commonly used QR plate width so that it could be used in some other quick release clamps, but not even Vanguard makes another head using this size plate. However, an earlier reviewer just mounted a different quick release clamp on top of the stock plate and used the plate and quick release system he wanted. This retains the ability to clamp the stock square plate in four different directions, as needed for the angle you want to shoot up, down, or horizontally.

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

Good but not for me

It seemed like a very good built ballhead for the money. I tried to like it but couldn't get use to it. The main issue I had is that I take nature photo's....Read complete review

It seemed like a very good built ballhead for the money. I tried to like it but couldn't get use to it. The main issue I had is that I take nature photo's. Sometimes you need to tilt backwards to shoot something in the sky or trees. The tilt backwards is only about 8 degrees and I tried to figure a way around it but couldn't.

Reviewed by 55 customers

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3.0

....Ok, not great

By Zach

from Minneapolis

About Me Semi-pro Photographer

Verified Reviewer

Pros

    Cons

    • Difficult To Adjust
    • Slips Out Of Position

    Best Uses

    • Landscape/Scenery
    • Outdoors
    • Portraits

    Comments about Vanguard GH-100 Pistol-Grip Ballhead:

    So this is a well made product, and I have used it for over 30 shoots, but it is not the head for me. I use it when I shoot with my Mamiya C330 or Mamiya Rz67, both heavy and big cameras.But my problem is that the pistol grip is hard and awkward to use in actual use. What I end up doing is loosening the tighten adjustment on the back, adjusting the camera for the shot, and then tightening the screw down.so the pistol grip is just in the way for me. I would recommend a standard ballhead instead, and in the future I will be getting a ball head to replace this with.The other problem that I have, is the base-plate loosens itself on me while I shoot, so every ten minutes I am pulling the camera off of the tripod to tighten the base-plate.

    • Was this a gift?:
    • No

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    5.0

    Game Changer

    By RJEphoto

    from Summit, NJ

    About Me Pro Photographer

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

    • Compact
    • Easily Adjusted
    • Lightweight
    • Locks In Tight
    • Smooth Movement

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Home
      • Landscape/Scenery
      • Outdoors
      • Portraits
      • Sports/Action
      • Travel
      • Video
      • Wildlife

      Comments about Vanguard GH-100 Pistol-Grip Ballhead:

      This tripod head really unleashes what you can do while 'stuck' on three legs. Works great for photos, video, lighting equipment, almost anything you can think of. nJoy!

      • Was this a gift?:
      • No

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      1.0

      Great design except...

      By fhayes

      from madison, Tennessee

      About Me Photo Enthusiast

      Verified Reviewer

      Pros

      • Easily Adjusted
      • Lightweight

      Cons

      • Flimsy
      • Unstable
      • Wears Easily

      Best Uses

      • Home
      • Landscape/Scenery
      • Outdoors
      • Wildlife

      Comments about Vanguard GH-100 Pistol-Grip Ballhead:

      After about 6 months, the camera started to wobble. I thought it was loose, but it turns out that where the quick connect sits starts to wear a bit and there is no fix other than to hot glue a thin slice of suede in there. Once the wobble starts, it will never lock in tight.
      The tilt can be corrected by turning the handle 90 or 180 degrees which takes a few tries to get used to.
      Other than the wobble, a major concern to everyone that has tried mine, it's a great tripod head, especially for panoramas, 5 degree clicks at a time for a full 360!

      • Was this a gift?:
      • No

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      5.0

      great ballhead

      By hoff32

      from Shamokin, Pa.

      About Me Photo Enthusiast

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Attaches Firmly
      • Good Stability
      • Large Range of Motion
      • Panoramic Click Stops
      • Strong Clamp

      Cons

      • Heavy

      Best Uses

      • Landscape/Scenery
      • Night Shots

      Comments about Vanguard GH-100 Pistol-Grip Ballhead:

      Great ballhead. easy to use positive locking. Haveremote for Nikon camera so I didn't need trigger model. Supports camera and long lens. Will use mainly for landscape photography.

      • Was this a gift?:
      • No

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      (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

       
      3.0

      Looks Like a Water hose

      By C0123 (CORE) Photography

      from North Texas

      About Me Photo Enthusiast

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Attaches Firmly
      • Good Stability
      • Strong Clamp

      Cons

      • Small Upward Tilt Range

      Best Uses

      • Landscape/Scenery
      • Portraits
      • Weddings/Events

      Comments about Vanguard GH-100 Pistol-Grip Ballhead:

      I get that quite often from family and friends! I thought I could use this easily for astrohphotography but there is complications with the 8 degree backward tilt...You can rotate the camera with the panoramic feature and lock it to the "reverse" position and use the handle backwards for pointing high up? Kind of meticulous but I like the feel of it. It fits in your hand well. Mainly great for stills and portratis! I also love the quick plate that just snaps in!!! MUST have with any ball head!

      • Was this a gift?:
      • No

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      5.0

      Pistol grip

      By Alwin

      from Oklahoma

      Comments about Vanguard GH-100 Pistol-Grip Ballhead:

      After some research found this is the one for me, strong yet versatile. Perfect!

      Share this review

       
      5.0

      Excelent product, i recomended a lot

      By Lupeto

      from México D.F.

      About Me Pro Photographer

      See all my reviews

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

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

      Cons

        Best Uses

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

        Comments about Vanguard GH-100 Pistol-Grip Ballhead:

        Excelent to film and take pictures, you have all the angles and alternatives you want and need.

        • Was this a gift?:
        • Yes

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        5.0

        Makes things a lot easier .

        By ilia

        from Brooklyn, NY

        About Me Photo Enthusiast

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

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

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Home
          • Landscape/Scenery
          • Literally Any Application
          • Night Shots
          • Portraits
          • Sports/Action
          • Travel
          • Video
          • Weddings/Events
          • Wildlife

          Comments about Vanguard GH-100 Pistol-Grip Ballhead:

          Flexibility is this thingie's middle name.
          Horizon has never been that straight before.

          • Was this a gift?:
          • No

          Share this review

           
          5.0

          I would recommend this product

          By Mr. A

          from CA.

          About Me Casual Photographer

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

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

          Cons

            Best Uses

            • Home
            • Portraits
            • Video

            Comments about Vanguard GH-100 Pistol-Grip Ballhead:

            Great product, you able to use this pistal grip in many useful positions. I am able to take the exact pictures I need with out any problems.

            • Was this a gift?:
            • No

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            5.0

            Terrific for still or video

            By Sila

            from Orlando, Florida

            About Me Semi-pro Photographer

            Verified Buyer

            Pros

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

            Cons

              Best Uses

              • Home
              • Landscape/Scenery
              • Video

              Comments about Vanguard GH-100 Pistol-Grip Ballhead:

              This ballhead is ideal for providing the versatility needed when using DSLR to shoot video. It's incredibly smooth and allows for pans and tilts, but it's also very strong and sturdy for heavier lenses and shooting stills at creative angles.

              • Was this a gift?:
              • No

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              (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

               
              4.0

              Almost perfect

              By bigdog

              from Molschbach, Germany

              About Me Photo Enthusiast

              Pros

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

              Cons

              • Complicated Controls

              Best Uses

                Comments about Vanguard GH-100 Pistol-Grip Ballhead:

                This ball head has been great. Takes a little time and some fiddeling around to figure out how everything works. If folks would do that one thing. they wouldn't ding it for lack of vert capability. Which it can do. The one thing I don't like is the tension adjuster does not have a positive lock. More than once. I have set up my tripod and this head. And upon mounting the camera I have had it fall over because the tension adjuster had been nudged to the loose setting during transport. I now always double check this.

                • Was this a gift?:
                • No

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                4.0

                Built to last...

                By Dale D

                from Vienna VA

                About Me Photo Enthusiast

                Verified Buyer

                Pros

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

                Cons

                  Best Uses

                  • Landscape/Scenery
                  • Portraits

                  Comments about Vanguard GH-100 Pistol-Grip Ballhead:

                  Certainly has a quality feel and sturdy - no question as to the function of this kit - works perfectly although the handle is quite firm to squeeze and repositioning x50 would give a good workout! Still - very robust, professional and will hold without question your precious camera and lenses. Very happy with purchase.

                  • Was this a gift?:
                  • No

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                  4.0

                  Strong and Solid

                  By delete delete

                  from Eugene, Or

                  About Me Photo Enthusiast

                  Verified Buyer

                  Pros

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

                  Cons

                    Best Uses

                    • Landscape/Scenery
                    • Night Shots
                    • Portraits
                    • Wildlife

                    Comments about Vanguard GH-100 Pistol-Grip Ballhead:

                    Grips well, moves smoothly, very nice for panorama shots.
                    Requires a strong hand and is a little stiff. I haven't had it long enough to see it it will break in and be a little easier to squeeze.

                    • Was this a gift?:
                    • No

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                    (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                     
                    3.0

                    Nice product.... But not what I need

                    By Mike K

                    from Montreal, Canada

                    About Me Photo Enthusiast

                    Verified Buyer

                    Pros

                    • Attaches Firmly
                    • Good Stability
                    • Large Range of Motion

                    Cons

                    • Not smooth

                    Best Uses

                    • Landscape/Scenery

                    Comments about Vanguard GH-100 Pistol-Grip Ballhead:

                    The product is firm and holds well in place. It doesn't run smooth and accurate. It is hard to move it by a few degrees at a time, especially if you are using a heavy lens like a Canon 70-200 2.8 is. I would suggest you try it out with the equipment you want to use before buying it. I bought it and returned it the same day. Like I said its a good piece of equipment, depending on your needs. I would not recommend it with the use of a video camera.

                    • Was this a gift?:
                    • No

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                    5.0

                    pistol grip ballhead

                    By kokire

                    from seattle WA

                    About Me Photo Enthusiast

                    Verified Buyer

                    Pros

                    • Attaches Firmly
                    • Good Stability

                    Cons

                    • Heavy

                    Best Uses

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

                    Comments about Vanguard GH-100 Pistol-Grip Ballhead:

                    very new for me pistol grip. like it. adds more fun when taking the photo....

                    • Was this a gift?:
                    • No

                    Share this review

                     
                    5.0

                    Love it!

                    By Amber

                    from Lafayette, IN

                    About Me Photo Enthusiast

                    Pros

                    • Good Stability
                    • Large Range of Motion

                    Cons

                      Best Uses

                      • Home
                      • Night Shots
                      • Sports/Action

                      Comments about Vanguard GH-100 Pistol-Grip Ballhead:

                      Purchased this head a few months ago for hobby use. Love the flexibility of being able to move it in many different directions with the trigger handle. The click panoramic feature has been great too. Very stable. Would recommend!

                      • Was this a gift?:
                      • Yes

                      Share this review

                       
                      5.0

                      I would buy this product again and again

                      By Gellermam

                      from Rio de Janeiro - Brazil

                      About Me Pro Photographer

                      Verified Buyer

                      Pros

                      • Good Stability

                      Cons

                      • Heavy

                      Best Uses

                      • Landscape/Scenery
                      • Travel

                      Comments about Vanguard GH-100 Pistol-Grip Ballhead:

                      This is a incredible product!

                      • Was this a gift?:
                      • No

                      Share this review

                       
                      5.0

                      Outstanding piece of equipment

                      By Exquisite Foto Inc.

                      from Miami, Fl

                      About Me Semi-pro Photographer

                      Verified Buyer

                      Pros

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

                      Cons

                        Best Uses

                          Comments about Vanguard GH-100 Pistol-Grip Ballhead:

                          This the best tripod I have ever used very versatile.

                          • Was this a gift?:
                          • No

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                          (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                           
                          5.0

                          All that glitters is gold - in this case

                          By Micki

                          from Goa, India

                          About Me Photo Enthusiast

                          Verified Buyer

                          Pros

                          • Attaches Firmly
                          • Fast and predictable
                          • Good Stability
                          • Large Range of Motion
                          • Strong Clamp

                          Cons

                            Best Uses

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

                            Comments about Vanguard GH-100 Pistol-Grip Ballhead:

                            After trying at least 4 different ball heads, I think I have finally found the "Real McCoy".
                            Quick, easy and functional.
                            Great product. Thank you!

                            • Was this a gift?:
                            • No

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                            (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                             
                            5.0

                            Fantastic!

                            By Bill_in_WA

                            from Anacortes, WA

                            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
                              • Sports/Action
                              • Travel
                              • Video
                              • Wildlife

                              Comments about Vanguard GH-100 Pistol-Grip Ballhead:

                              I use a Canon 5D MKII and 7D for scenic, water, and wildlife. Aside from the normal shorter lenses I also use a 100/400, 70/200 f2.8, and 70/300L. I have used a competitors "pistol grip" in the past but found that it lacked the ability to lock into different "planes". With the GH-100 I am now able to take some nice video "pans" as well as follow wildlife in all axis. The usit is very stable with the heav1er telephotos mounted. Much faster to use than the conventional 2 axis ball. Lightweight and compact. A great unit!

                              • Was this a gift?:
                              • No

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