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REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

by PowerReviews
VanguardBBH-100 Ballhead
 
4.4

(based on 22 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (14)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (6)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (1)

90%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Strong clamp (18)
  • Stable (17)
  • Attaches firmly (16)
  • Large range of motion (15)

Cons

No Cons

Best Uses

  • Landscape/scenery (18)
  • Night shots (12)
  • Travel (11)
  • Portraits (10)
  • Home (6)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Photo enthusiast (12), Semi-pro photographer (5)
    • Was this a gift?:
    • No (21)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

Excellent head - smooth, locks tight

I use this head on my Gitzo 1541 CF travel tripod. The BBH-100 is light, but very strong.

Previously, I was using a small Linhof Universal Ballhead 1 on...Read complete review

I use this head on my Gitzo 1541 CF travel tripod. The BBH-100 is light, but very strong.

Previously, I was using a small Linhof Universal Ballhead 1 on this tripod. The flaw with the Linhof was that the pan rotation lock screw is weak, and it compromises the stability of the entire setup. This is reflected in the load rating of only 7.7 lbs for the Linhof. Not with this BBH-100 head - once locked down, the camera is not going anywhere. I think the actual rating is probably higher than the 22 lbs claimed by Vanguard. I don't have anything that heavy to test it with, but that's my impression. The pan base does overhang my Gitzo tripod column platform by a few millimeters, but it still looks very nice. I was debating between this buying this one, or the BBH-200 for a few more dollars, but I think that the 200 would have been too large for my slim Gitzto tripod.

The beauty of the BBH series ballheads it their ability to instantly center the ball (you can switch this feature on and off). In conjunction with the bubble level built into this head, you can level the tripod very quickly.

This ballhead even comes with a nice Arca-Swiss compatible camera QR plate. It interacts with a projecting sprung pin in the head clamp to prevent the camera plate from sliding out accidentally if you didn't fully tighten the clamp. While some may find this feature beneficial, I found it somewhat annoying to use, especially with my other plates made by Kirk, RRS, Wimberley, etc. The projecting pin is easily removed by flopping the platform to its 90 degree position (for portrait orientation), and using a slot head screwdriver to unscrew the pin cap screw, spring, and piston with projecting pin. I've kept these pieces in a small zip-lock bag in case I ever want to reconstitute this feature.

The locks have nice large levers that can apply considerable locking force. You can even change the orientation of the main locking lever by pulling it out against spring pressure and rotating it in 90 degree increments.

In keeping with my intended use on a travel tripod, the skeletonized design of the head keeps the weight of the head to a minimum.

Overall, I'm very happy with this purchase.

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

Not up to expectation

After using Gitzo GH1780QR for 4 years and had to send it back once for repair, the same problem occured again, I decided to give Vanguard a try. The unit arrived and looked...Read complete review

After using Gitzo GH1780QR for 4 years and had to send it back once for repair, the same problem occured again, I decided to give Vanguard a try. The unit arrived and looked sturdy enough for my use but there are two problem:
1. The quick release plate is not really quick release. You have to turn the knob conpletely open before you can release the plate.
2. The center post screw is not perpendicular to the base. The base ends up touching the tripod base at one side and there is a gap on the other side.
I am in the process of trying to exchange it but not sure how to do it since I live in Chile and bought it in the USA when I visited there.

Reviewed by 22 customers

Displaying reviews 1-20

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(2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Great Ballhead

By poolpeople

from Orange Park, Fl

About Me Photography Student

Verified Buyer

Pros

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

Cons

  • None

Best Uses

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

Comments about Vanguard BBH-100 Ballhead:

This is my first good tripod head. What a great choice. Very smooth and easy to adjust. I use it with a Nikon D-3200 and the 55-300 zoom lens. There is no flopping forward with the camera and heavy lens - it is secure. Very good quality and no plastic junk.

  • Was this a gift?:
  • No
 
4.0

My favorite ball head

By Mission Control

from Jackson Heights, NY

About Me Semi-pro Photographer

Verified Buyer

Pros

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

Cons

    Best Uses

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

    Comments about Vanguard BBH-100 Ballhead:

    I use the BBH 100 ballhead with along with the ProGearMedia L Bracket...very stable camera support.

    My only desire is for quicker camera dismount. Also, as a safety feature I would to be able to unscrew the plate to loosen it, then pull back on the screw to remove the plate entirely. Nevertheless, this is still my favorite ballhead.

    • Was this a gift?:
    • No

    (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

     
    4.0

    Vanguard BBH 100 Ballhead

    By Captain Photo

    from Chapain, SC

    About Me Photo Enthusiast

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

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

    Cons

      Best Uses

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

      Comments about Vanguard BBH-100 Ballhead:

      This is a great ball head. I did have a problem with the first one I received. One of the bubble vials was not working, so B&H shipped me a new one. The second one I received the Rapid Level System did not work as it was discripbed. I contacted B&H and again they understood and shipped me a new one. Both times they paid for the return of the defective one. I have a Vanguard tripod so I wanted the two systems to be compatable. I had read and heard nothing but good things about Vanguard products so I watned to stay with their system. I am very happy with the tripod and the ballhead.

      • Was this a gift?:
      • No
       
      5.0

      BBH-100 Ball head

      By Jack

      from Ohio

      About Me Photography Student

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

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

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Landscape/Scenery
        • Sports/Action
        • Wildlife

        Comments about Vanguard BBH-100 Ballhead:

        Meets our needs completely.

        • Was this a gift?:
        • No
         
        4.0

        Satisfied overall

        By Jay

        from Wisconsin, USA

        Comments about Vanguard BBH-100 Ballhead:

        I purchased this while Vanguard was running a $40 rebate so it fit my limited budget I had to spend on my smaller DX Nikon. The head does produce a tiny bit of creep sometimes while tightening down the levers. To me it's not a big deal for the price I paid. Locked down it's solid as rock. Keep in mind I'm only holding up 4.5 lbs of equipment. Overall I'm happy with it.

         
        4.0

        Excellent piece of equipment

        By PGRO

        from Morganvill, NJ

        About Me Semi-pro Photographer

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Easily Adjusted
        • Locks In Tight
        • Smooth Movement

        Cons

        • None

        Best Uses

        • Landscape/Scenery
        • Travel

        Comments about Vanguard BBH-100 Ballhead:

        I needed a ball head for my Kirk L-bracket that had an Arca Swiss plate. Looking through reviews and prices I chose this one and I am very happy with it. Just did a panorama up un Portland Maine this weekend and the stability and ease of use lived up to the hype and the description in the BH catalogue.

        • Was this a gift?:
        • No
         
        4.0

        Decent Ballhead, with One Concern

        By Sean S

        from Trenton, NJ

        About Me Photo Enthusiast

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Arca-swiss Compatible
        • Attaches Firmly
        • Good Stability
        • Strong Clamp

        Cons

        • Self Centering Finicky

        Best Uses

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

        Comments about Vanguard BBH-100 Ballhead:

        I recently purchased the BBH-100 to replace an earlier Vanguard SBH-100 that came with my tripod. I wanted the ability to utilize Arca-Swiss compatible plates and L brackets, and the BBH-100 gives me that option. Overall, this ballhead follows in the Vanguard reputation of providing quality equipment at affordable prices. Unlike the SBH, which uses knobs for the pan and ballhead adjustments, the BBH series uses levers that require only a short turn to loosen or tigthen them. One definite plus, is the ability to rotate the ballhead lever to a location that is more convenient for you. The Arca-Swiss style mount holds both the included plate, and a third party L bracket that I own, securely. Some have stated they don't like the safety stop Vangaurd includes, but I don't find it to be intrusive. I would much rather my camera and lens be secure, rather than come tumbling out accidentally. There is no noticeable creep on the ballhead, even with a heavier lens mounted to my camera. The head includes two bubble levels, but they are difficult to see, and largely unusable, once your camera is mounted on the tripod.

        The only drawback on my particular BBH-100, was that the advertised "self centering" feature seemed a bit hit or miss. Sometimes it works, other times it doesn't want to engage. While I do believe such a feature should be reliable if they are going to include and advertise it, I don't see myself using it very often. To me, it wasn't worth returning an otherwise outstanding head over something I won't use. Your mileage may vary. The self centering feature may work better on the bigger SBH models, or it could just be that my particular unit didn't meet QC standards.

        Overall, the BBH-100 is smaller and lighter than the SBH-100 that I replaced, it works well, and I would not hesitate to recommend it.

        • Was this a gift?:
        • No
         
        5.0

        Solid and Versatile

        By Mr. Stick

        from Oakland, CA

        About Me Semi-pro Photographer

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

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

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Sports/Action
          • Weddings/Events
          • Wildlife

          Comments about Vanguard BBH-100 Ballhead:

          Mounted on monopod to support 70-200 lens. Strong and flexible, well made. Good fit for monopod - small yet strong.

          • Was this a gift?:
          • No

          (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

           
          1.0

          Disposable ballhead

          By MNphotog

          from Minneapolis, MN

          About Me Photo Enthusiast

          Verified Reviewer

          Pros

          • Great While It Lasts

          Cons

          • Short Life

          Best Uses

          • Landscape/Scenery
          • Night Shots
          • Travel

          Comments about Vanguard BBH-100 Ballhead:

          I purchased the product 2 years ago from B&H and have had to go through Vanguard's warranty claims center each year. The problem was the same both times. The screw that applies pressure to the ball isn't designed for even hobbiest use. I don't hulk out on tightening the screw, just enough to keep the 5d mkII with a 24-70 stable. But after a year of use the unit fails. I would advise everyone to look elsewhere for a ballhead. I now have zero faith in Vanguard products. Nothing like being in a national park wanting to take pictures and having crucial equipment fail on you. Hopefully this helps someone avoid the same frustration.

          • Was this a gift?:
          • No

          (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

           
          5.0

          Excellent value for the money!

          By Greg the Traveler

          from Ft. Myers, FL

          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
            • Sports/Action
            • Travel
            • Video

            Comments about Vanguard BBH-100 Ballhead:

            I wanted a ball head to add to my traditional 3-way and found Vanguard after an extensive search. The self-leveling feature is a wonderful innovation and works as advertised. This feature makes it very easy to adjust the head rapidly when shooting conditions change and it is what I like most about the head. I also have found it to be very sturdy and it has no movement when locked down. The arca-swiss compatible plate fits into the clamp snugly and I am fully confident that my gear won't come toppling off the head. The head has some heft to it and feels well-made, but it isn't too large to travel with. I gladly recommend this Vanguard ball head!As a quick clarification, the self-leveling feature requires you to slide a switch and then guide the head towards the center. When you approach a perfectly centered position the head automatically snaps into place and remains there.

            • Was this a gift?:
            • No

            (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

             
            5.0

            Good Solid Ballhead

            By Take 45

            from Lake Hopatcong, NJ

            About Me Pro Photographer

            Verified Buyer

            Pros

            • Attaches Firmly
            • Large Range of Motion
            • Strong Clamp

            Cons

              Best Uses

                Comments about Vanguard BBH-100 Ballhead:

                Just used this to shoot glass Coke bottles. Very secure and easy to adjust.

                • Was this a gift?:
                • No

                (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                5.0

                Great Ballhead!!!!!!!!

                By Steve R.

                from Weatherford, TX

                About Me Photo Enthusiast

                Verified Buyer

                Pros

                • Attaches Firmly
                • Good Stability
                • Large Range of Motion
                • Strong Clamp
                • Very smooth movement

                Cons

                • None

                Best Uses

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

                Comments about Vanguard BBH-100 Ballhead:

                This Ballhead is just great. It is very smooth in its movements and is so easy to use. The feature that locks it back to level is a great feature and I have relied on it many times. All knobs feel very strong and the side to side (x axis) is very smooth. It is also very nice to adjust the knobs if required to allow clearance if needed. I would highly recommend this Ballhead for all setups under 20 lbs. I can find no faults in this item.

                Steve R.

                • Was this a gift?:
                • No
                 
                5.0

                Compact precise and versatile

                By Higherfly

                from San José, Costa Rica

                About Me Pro Photographer

                Verified Buyer

                Pros

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

                Cons

                  Best Uses

                  • Anywhere
                  • Landscape/Scenery
                  • Portraits

                  Comments about Vanguard BBH-100 Ballhead:

                  I use it in my professional work mainly for architecture pictures.
                  It is strong, very compact and rapid to set in any position. I'm using it either with a Nikon D7100 and D800, both stay firm.
                  The locking knob is a bit intrusive , could be shorter in my opinion.

                  • Was this a gift?:
                  • No

                  (2 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

                   
                  2.0

                  Not up to expectation

                  By Ninh

                  from Santiago, Chile

                  About Me Semi-pro Photographer

                  Verified Buyer

                  Pros

                    Cons

                    • 1 Not Quick Release
                    • 2 Workmanship

                    Best Uses

                    • All

                    Comments about Vanguard BBH-100 Ballhead:

                    After using Gitzo GH1780QR for 4 years and had to send it back once for repair, the same problem occured again, I decided to give Vanguard a try. The unit arrived and looked sturdy enough for my use but there are two problem:
                    1. The quick release plate is not really quick release. You have to turn the knob conpletely open before you can release the plate.
                    2. The center post screw is not perpendicular to the base. The base ends up touching the tripod base at one side and there is a gap on the other side.
                    I am in the process of trying to exchange it but not sure how to do it since I live in Chile and bought it in the USA when I visited there.

                    • Was this a gift?:
                    • No
                     
                    5.0

                    Just what I was looking for!

                    By krag851

                    from Tampa

                    About Me Photo Enthusiast

                    See all my reviews

                    Verified Buyer

                    Pros

                    • Good Stability
                    • Large Range of Motion
                    • Strong Clamp

                    Cons

                      Best Uses

                      • Landscape/Scenery
                      • Night Shots
                      • Wildlife

                      Comments about Vanguard BBH-100 Ballhead:

                      Simple to use, easy movement, solid support, great price - can't ask for anything more than that.

                      • Was this a gift?:
                      • No
                       
                      5.0

                      Works!

                      By outtheresomewhere

                      from Idaho

                      About Me Photo Enthusiast

                      Verified Buyer

                      Pros

                      • Attaches Firmly
                      • Good Stability
                      • Strong Clamp

                      Cons

                        Best Uses

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

                        Comments about Vanguard BBH-100 Ballhead:

                        I use this with a Vanguard carbon fiber tripod and find it works perfectly. The clamps work easily and securely, and the centering feature also works as claimed. The centering assumes a flat surface so is useful mostly for urban or studio settings, but it is nice for shooting indoors, for example. The head is light, works smoothly and precisely, and basically delivers everything it promises.

                        • Was this a gift?:
                        • No

                        (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                         
                        4.0

                        A functional work of art

                        By Two Many Toys

                        from Gatineau, Quebec, Canada

                        About Me Photo Enthusiast

                        Verified Buyer

                        Pros

                        • Attaches Firmly
                        • Good Stability
                        • Strong Clamp

                        Cons

                          Best Uses

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

                          Comments about Vanguard BBH-100 Ballhead:

                          I picked up a used Benbo Trekker MKI tripod without head and started looking for a ball head. I was going to need something to hold a gripped 7D and 70-200 f2.8L.... not an easy task on the Benbo when set up in unusual positions!

                          I considered a few models in the sub $200 range and decided on the Vanguard BBH-100. Fairly lightweight for the size of the head and well made. Smooth controls which lock into place with little effort and zero movement. The only flex I get is through the grip itself. Vanguard did a great job with this ball head. The ultimate sign of a good product is that I'm actually looking forward to using my new tripod setup and will be carrying it around on my outings and leaving the monster Manfrotto for indoors!

                          The BBH range from Vanguard is definitely worth considering if you are in the market for a ball head. The bonus is you can just buy it to display on your mantle, it's that good looking!

                          • Was this a gift?:
                          • No
                           
                          5.0

                          BBH-100 will not disappointed you

                          By Reidar Murken

                          from Sweden

                          About Me Photo Enthusiast

                          Pros

                          • Good Stability
                          • Large Range of Motion
                          • Strong Clamp

                          Cons

                          • Complicated Controls

                          Best Uses

                          • Landscape/Scenery
                          • Portraits

                          Comments about Vanguard BBH-100 Ballhead:

                          I have used this head for landscape and macro photograph and it very stable and easy to adjust
                          worth every dollar

                          • Was this a gift?:
                          • No

                          (6 of 6 customers found this review helpful)

                           
                          5.0

                          Excellent head - smooth, locks tight

                          By Rob L

                          from Chicago, IL

                          About Me Photo Enthusiast

                          Verified Buyer

                          Pros

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

                          Cons

                            Best Uses

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

                            Comments about Vanguard BBH-100 Ballhead:

                            I use this head on my Gitzo 1541 CF travel tripod. The BBH-100 is light, but very strong.

                            Previously, I was using a small Linhof Universal Ballhead 1 on this tripod. The flaw with the Linhof was that the pan rotation lock screw is weak, and it compromises the stability of the entire setup. This is reflected in the load rating of only 7.7 lbs for the Linhof. Not with this BBH-100 head - once locked down, the camera is not going anywhere. I think the actual rating is probably higher than the 22 lbs claimed by Vanguard. I don't have anything that heavy to test it with, but that's my impression. The pan base does overhang my Gitzo tripod column platform by a few millimeters, but it still looks very nice. I was debating between this buying this one, or the BBH-200 for a few more dollars, but I think that the 200 would have been too large for my slim Gitzto tripod.

                            The beauty of the BBH series ballheads it their ability to instantly center the ball (you can switch this feature on and off). In conjunction with the bubble level built into this head, you can level the tripod very quickly.

                            This ballhead even comes with a nice Arca-Swiss compatible camera QR plate. It interacts with a projecting sprung pin in the head clamp to prevent the camera plate from sliding out accidentally if you didn't fully tighten the clamp. While some may find this feature beneficial, I found it somewhat annoying to use, especially with my other plates made by Kirk, RRS, Wimberley, etc. The projecting pin is easily removed by flopping the platform to its 90 degree position (for portrait orientation), and using a slot head screwdriver to unscrew the pin cap screw, spring, and piston with projecting pin. I've kept these pieces in a small zip-lock bag in case I ever want to reconstitute this feature.

                            The locks have nice large levers that can apply considerable locking force. You can even change the orientation of the main locking lever by pulling it out against spring pressure and rotating it in 90 degree increments.

                            In keeping with my intended use on a travel tripod, the skeletonized design of the head keeps the weight of the head to a minimum.

                            Overall, I'm very happy with this purchase.

                            • Was this a gift?:
                            • No

                            (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                             
                            5.0

                            Extraordinary Value

                            By Jesse

                            from Anchorage, AK

                            About Me Semi-pro Photographer

                            Verified Buyer

                            Pros

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

                            Cons

                              Best Uses

                              • Landscape/Scenery
                              • Travel

                              Comments about Vanguard BBH-100 Ballhead:

                              I have used this head for macro and landscape photography. It simply works perfectly for what I need. Very high quality construction -- smooth movements and robust build.

                              • Was this a gift?:
                              • No

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