When it comes to heads for your tripod, I believe in having both a regular ball head and also a pistol grip.
I have used a variety of other brands of heads to go along with my Bogen 3020/3021 tripods for use with my DSLR and other video cameras and so, I hope with that experience, I can help those curious if product is worth your while.
In this review, I take a look at the Vanguard BBH-200 Tripod Head.
I. WHAT IT COMES WITH:
The Vanguard BBH-200 Tripod Ballhead comes with:
– BBH-200 magnesium ballhead
– A 1/4 to 1/8 screw adapter
– Quick shoe (where you attach the DSLR)
It’s important to note that the GH-200 comes with a limited lifetime warranty.
II. TESTING THE PISTOL GRIP:
Having used the Manfrotto MH054 ballhead, I was quite interested in seeing how the award-winning Vanguard BBH-200 would do while testing it on my DSLR, video camera and spotting scope.
First, attaching the ballhead to a tripod is easy. I was so thrilled to see that a 1/4 to 1/8 screw adapter was included. I have a few Vanguard tripods that use a 1/8 screw adapter, but it’s easy to remove from the base of the head and right away, I was able to place it on my Bogen tripod.
I also was thrilled to see that two bubble levels are included with the BBH-200.
I did a quick test with my DSLR and video camera. Panning was easy with the BBH-200. The designated bottom lever allows for quick 360 degree panning and you can lock the lever.
You pretty much have easy to control to tilt or make the head go in a variety of angles, aim up or down. Great tension thanks to the ball head and its main lock lever.
The next test was to use a heavier spotting scope as the BBH-200 has a friction control system which allows for DSLR’s with bigger lenses. In this case, I wanted to make sure that the device was strong enough to hold the spotting scope to the head and tightening and the head worked perfectly and held it perfectly with no tilting.
Also, BBH-200 has a safety pin, so you don’t have to worry about the quickshoe/DSLR falling off the head.
Is the BBH-200 strong enough to hold a DSLR with a huge lens or spotting scope? I did test it on my spotting scope and it held up quite well (the BBH-200 can hold up to 66 lbs), but I have not tried it on a huge zoom lens. Personally, I would recommend the GH-200 Vanguard Pistol Head for its sturdiness and friction control which is very good for heavier lenses and spotting scopes.
The BBH-200 also features a Rapid Level system which allows users to quickly position their camera level with the base of the head. It takes some time to learn this but once you figure it out, it makes it easy to go from portrait to landscape in no time. Also works well with panoramic shooting.
The Vanguard BBH-200 is a wonderful ballhead and cheaper than the Manfrotto ballhead MH054 and it’s able to hold up to 66 lbs, where the MH054 only holds up to 22lbs. While I own several Manfrotto heads, Vanguard is really doing a magnificent job with the release of the BBH ballheads (and also their GH-200 Pistol Ballhead).
The BBH-200 definitely gives great freedom in panning and rotating various directions and for the head to be locked in place, no problems whatsoever.
I think the caveat for some people is the price of the tripod head. Personally, I feel one should own a very good ballhead that allows for fluid movement and able to tilt immediately with no problems and allowing one to get a great shot! The BBH-200 passed all the tests that I ran with efficacy, no tension problems. You do get what you pay for and if you are going to use an expensive camera and expensive lens, then a very good ballhead is worth the investment.
The BBH-200 ballhead also looks and feels sturdy, comes with two bubble levels and another positive is that an adapter is included, so you can use it on tripods with a 1/8 or 1/4.
But I know for some people, what it will come down to is price. Photography is never easy and I know a lot of people tend to want to save that money for better glass or a better full-frame camera and that’s understandable. But I also believe that having a solid tripod and a solid ballhead is also important.
For one looking for a ballhead that gives you better movement but is also sturdy and does the job remarkably well, then the Vanguard BBH-200 is highly recommended!