REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

by PowerReviews
VanguardGH-100 Pistol-Grip Ballhead
 
4.3

(based on 62 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (38)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (13)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (7)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (4)

93%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Stable (44)
  • Attaches firmly (42)
  • Large range of motion (40)
  • Strong clamp (36)
  • Easily adjusted (5)

Cons

  • Heavy (7)
  • Difficult to adjust (3)
  • Small range (3)
  • Unstable (3)

Best Uses

  • Landscape/scenery (45)
  • Night shots (32)
  • Portraits (31)
  • Wildlife (24)
  • Home (23)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Photo enthusiast (28), Semi-pro photographer (17), Pro photographer (11), Casual photographer (3)
    • Was this a gift?:
    • No (55)

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 for light/medium weight.

Functions very well with a pro-level camera and low/medium weight lens & other attachments (flash etc). However, I found that the screw-in connector plate (at the bottom of the camera)...Read complete review

Functions very well with a pro-level camera and low/medium weight lens & other attachments (flash etc). However, I found that the screw-in connector plate (at the bottom of the camera) did not secure the weight of a heavier lens (Canon 70-200 f2.8 L)& same accessories in portait orientation. Even after tightening the screw by a fair amount (so as not to break the ring), I still needed to keep tightening every so often.

Reviewed by 62 customers

Displaying reviews 1-20

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(2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

My GH-100 Pistol Grip is perfect for me.

By Dot

from Shreveport, Louisiana

About Me Photo Enthusiast

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Compact
  • Dot Rambin
  • Easily Adjusted
  • Good Footing
  • Lightweight
  • Locks In Tight
  • Smooth Movement

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Dot Rambin
    • Outdoors
    • Weddings/Events
    • Wildlife

    Comments about Vanguard GH-100 Pistol-Grip Ballhead:

    I am 67 and have had chemo. I am not strong enough to hold a camera and a 400 mm lens. I put the GH-100 on a monopod and I am good to go. I worried that I would not be strong enough to use it but that is not the case. I go birding almost everyday and could not do it without the GH-100.

    Dot Rambin

    • Was this a gift?:
    • No
     
    1.0

    Not Good

    By Gonzalo Madrazo

    from Houston, TX

    About Me Pro Photographer

    Pros

      Cons

      • Difficult To Adjust
      • Flimsy
      • Jerky Movement
      • Unstable
      • Wears Easily

      Best Uses

        Comments about Vanguard GH-100 Pistol-Grip Ballhead:

        Too stiff when you want to make small adjustments and the ball head is too hard when you tighten it up for stiffness even if you make pressure on the grip. It is not a good head and there are many more better options for very similar prices. Would definitely would not recommend it to anyone.

        • Was this a gift?:
        • No
         
        4.0

        This grip ballhead is great!

        By Sheila

        from NY

        About Me Photo Enthusiast

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Ease Of Use
        • Easily Adjusted
        • Locks In Tight
        • Smooth Movement

        Cons

          Best Uses

            Comments about Vanguard GH-100 Pistol-Grip Ballhead:

            I brought this grip ballhead with my lightweight tripod on vacation and I actually used it. (Too often, I would bring my tripod with me and not use it, as it was too heavy) Panoramas were so easy. The ballhead is heavy but it makes up for it, with ease of use. I love it and the price was right.

            • Was this a gift?:
            • No

            (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

             
            1.0

            Too stiff for fine adjustments

            By Brooks

            from Washington

            About Me Photo Enthusiast

            Verified Buyer

            Pros

            • Locks In Tight

            Cons

            • Jerky Movement

            Best Uses

              Comments about Vanguard GH-100 Pistol-Grip Ballhead:

              I returned this item immediately. It was too "sticky" for fine adjustments or critical positioning, even with the tension knob loosened to the maximum. A ball head needs to find that fine line between being smooth in movement and firm when locked down. This one locked down just fine, but was not smooth at all.

              • Was this a gift?:
              • No

              (1 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

               
              3.0

              Hard to use trigger, bubble level hidden

              By Sarah

              from Maine

              About Me Photo Enthusiast

              Verified Reviewer

              Pros

                Cons

                • Difficult To Adjust
                • Heavy

                Best Uses

                  Comments about Vanguard GH-100 Pistol-Grip Ballhead:

                  Feels very sturdy and may work for some people, but not for me. First off, the bubble level is hidden under the camera mount, so you have to take the camera off to see the level. just plain dumb!

                  More importantly, the trigger grip is VERY STIFF. I have arthritis in my hands/wrists, and not only could I barely squeeze the trigger grip, it hurt simply trying to move the head without the camera even on it.

                  Also quite heavy.

                  Returning it for a more expensive Manfrotto, but one that I tried in a shop and know I can use.

                  • Was this a gift?:
                  • No
                   
                  5.0

                  A MUST HAVE for photographers and film makers

                  By Joe

                  from Irvine, CA

                  About Me Semi-pro Photographer

                  Verified Buyer

                  Pros

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

                  Cons

                    Best Uses

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

                    Comments about Vanguard GH-100 Pistol-Grip Ballhead:

                    Im loving this mount, the way you can re adjust the grip to however you want is excellent! Its biggest use is probably in photography though, because if you want to make tilt shots it wont be as straight since it is afterall a ball head mount. Buy it, you wont regret having it! I use it on my alta pro tripod and its great

                    • Was this a gift?:
                    • No
                     
                    5.0

                    Completely Satisfied

                    By Anthony C.

                    from Riverside, CA

                    Comments about Vanguard GH-100 Pistol-Grip Ballhead:

                    After much research and two weeks of use, I am happy to report that I am completely satisfied with this product. I highly recommend it for those of you seeking a pistol grip type ball head that is solidly built, reliable, and reasonably priced.

                     
                    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
                       
                      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

                        (2 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

                         
                        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

                        (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                         
                        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

                        (1 of 4 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
                         
                        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!

                         
                        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

                          (0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                           
                          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
                             
                            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

                              (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                               
                              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

                                (3 of 3 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
                                   
                                  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
                                     
                                    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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