Review: Vanguard GH-200 Pistol Grip Ballhead
I have tried so many different types of ball heads over the years but I always find them to be more trouble to use than they are worth. This changes two years ago when I started using the Vanguard GH-100 Pistol Grip Ballhead. While I really liked the GH-100, I had one of the early versions and while it worked well, I always found it a little stiff and not as easy to adjust as I would like. The hidden bubble level didn’t make things any better. This year Vanguard has released an improved version called the GH-200.
The very first thing that I noticed about the GH-200 was the new quickmount plate. The GH-100 had a proprietary round plate which worked, but was not interchangeable with any other product. The new GH-200 now has a new quick-mount plate that is compatible with Swiss Arca style mounts. This is a very welcome change. Along with the new plate, bubble levels adorn the front and side to help get your gear level.
Apart from these two changes the rest of the GH-200 looks the same as before but is actually improved under the hood. The lock mechanism feels more secure and the tilt adjustment ring is easier to pull back and rotate the handle.
With the GH-200 you can position the handle at any angle for maximum comfort and control. Squeezing the handle allows 360-degrees of panning movement and -32 to +90-degrees of side-to-side tilt and -8 to +90-degree back to front tilt movement. To lock the head into position, simply release the handle. For panoramic shooter, the GH-200 features 72-click point indents positioned 5 degrees apart.
- Universal quick shoe system
- Supports large zoom lenses
- Extremely ergonomic handle
- Enables more exact panoramic photography
- Friction Control System
- Weight: 1.7 lbs
- Maximum loading capacity: 13.2 lbs
- Bubble level(pcs):2
- Quick shoe included:QS-60
- Tilt: -8°~90°,-32°~90°
As much as I liked the GH-100, I definitely like the GH-200 even more. The universal mounting plate means I don’t have to swap out plates on my camera if I am moving from the studio tripod to the field tripod if they have different heads on them. The improvements in the adjustment ring and locking mechanisms make the GH-200 easier to use and more secure. Overall, the GH-200 is a really nice upgrade to the GH-100. If you already have a GH-100 and are happy with it then there probably aren’t enough improvements to warrant a re-purchase. If you are coming from some other other type of head, the GH-200 warrants taking a look at.
At $169.00 [Amazon Link] the GH-200 certainly isn’t the cheapest type of head available but given the features and usability the GH-200 is worth every penny. I have said it before, a photographer’s tripod equipment is not one of the things you should skimp on as good quality equipment will last for many years. I would rather not have to replace poor quality gear all the time, instead I would rather make a good investment once.