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Vanguard Aluminum Alloy Ball Head

SBH-250
by Vanguard See the Amazon Page for this brand
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (176 customer reviews) 7 answered questions

List Price: $109.99
Price: $99.99 and eligible for FREE Two-Day Shipping Details
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Style
 
  • Precision-cut with safety lock and 360
  • Extremely lightweight
  • Strong aluminum alloy
  • 40 mm plate to support various sized equipment
  • Great for use with monopods and tripods

Frequently Bought Together

Vanguard SBH-250 Magnesium Ballhead with Sliding Quick Shoe + Vanguard Alta Pro 263AT Aluminum Alloy Tripod Legs with Multi-Angle Central Column System + Vanguard SB-100 Stone Bag
Price for all three: $238.17

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Style: SBH-250
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  • Buy Used and Save: Buy a Used "Vanguard SBH-250 Magnesium Ballhead with Sliding Q..." and save 31% off the $109.99 list price. Buy with confidence as the condition of this item and its timely delivery are guaranteed under the "Amazon A-to-z Guarantee". See all Used offers.

Product Details

  • Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 5 x 3.5 inches ; 1.5 pounds
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Shipping: This item is also available for shipping to select countries outside the U.S.
  • ASIN: B003BQ71MA
  • Item model number: SBH-250
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (176 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
  • Date first available at Amazon.com: March 10, 2010

Product Description

Best-selling SBH-250 precision-cut ball head moves swiftly and steadily so you won’t miss the action.  Constructed of solid, strong magnesium alloy, it's durable and yet lighter in weight than the industry standard. Unlike other ball heads, SBH ball heads are designed with molded body parts, not assembled cut parts, like the competition. Its smooth locking knobs allow you to move the ball head swiftly and securely into the perfect position, even with the heaviest lenses and cameras.  It includes two bubble levels, 360-degree scale, fine-tuning knob and a safety lock for extra stability. A special universal VANGUARD quick shoe for body/lens is also included so you can upgrade your system to quick-release immediately.

Customer Questions & Answers

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
40 of 40 people found the following review helpful
Style Name:SBH300|Verified Purchase
Have had this item for several months now. Use with a Slik 700DX tripod. Combo is very sturdy but longer and heavier than what i am comfortable carrying around town. (I live in Seoul South Korea). Head is smooth, controls work fine--no issues. I especially like the addition of the knob that allows you to set the ball head tension so that when you unlock the fixing knob the head does just flop over. The system works well to support a 7D w/ ef 300 f/2.8 II lens. (No vibrations during exposures.)

Only issue is with the little orange button that you must push to lower a pin that allows you to slide the the clamp plate off the ballhead. (You can see the button in the photos.) A few days ago i was removing the clamp plate to attach it to the camera. I had a bad angle and my thumb slipped off the button while i was pushing it in. the little orange button part shot out of the head. fortunately i was in the house so was able to find the pin. The pin mechanism is made up of three parts: 1-the pin itself; 2- a tensioning spring and 3-a very small philips head screw that has two functions--to hold the spring on the pin and to hold the whole assembly in the ballhead. I was able to reassemble the thing and get it back in the ball head. the problem is that the screw has a flat to slightly rounded head. this does not provide 100% positive retention of the pin when it is screwed flush into the pin. When i reassembled the whole thing i put the screw head flush w/ the pin shaft then backed it out a couple turns. this provided 100% positive retention of the mechanism in the ball head. i do not have any lock tight but i will get some to put on the threads of the problem screw--since the screw is now not tightened in the pin and can back itself out over time and use.
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51 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rock solid! More than enough to hold your set-up! June 22, 2010
Style Name:SBH-250
*** UPDATE after 1 year of use ***

The SBH-250 is still perfect after a year of use! Here's the deal...I own the Manfrotto 496RC2, and while it's a nice head with general ball head control, it doesn't match the Vanguard. The holding strength of the Manfrotto isn't an issue...it's solid, but not as solid as the Vanguard! The SBH-250 is just a work horse of a tripod head, that's smooth, solid, and offers flexible panning. The build construction of the SBH-250 is as good, if not better than Manfrotto heads. But, if I were to get one Manfrotto head, it would be the older 488RC2 or perhaps the newer 498RC2. BTW, I also have the Manfrotto 234RC2 monopod head now. Overall, I still prefer both Vanguard SBH-250 (tripod) and SBH-30 (monopod), rather than Manfrotto's 496RC2 (tripod) and 234RC2 (monopod). Consider this however. The Manfrotto RC2 quick release mechanism is great to work with and speedier than Vanguard's system. In my opinion, it's not a quality issue when deciding between the two brands, but design features (panning, friction, knob design, quick release plates, etc). Also consider that Manfrotto uses a resin ball material with joined metal post. The Vanguard ball and post is of all metal construction and one solid piece.

*** UPDATE after 6 months of use ***

Now I'm looking at monopod heads and wanting matching quick release plates for both tripod with SBH-250 and my new monopod. Well, if I go with a Manfrotto monopod head with RC2 plate, I have to switch between that plate and the Vanguard SBH-250 QS-39 plate. I don't want to do that, so unbelievably, I started my shopping for a replacement for the SBH-250. I was considering a Manfrotto tripod head with RC2 release and getting the nifty little Manfrotto 234RC monopod head.
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Tripod Head May 10, 2009
By T&D
Style Name:SBH100
I have owned the Vanguard SBH-100 for several months now and am very pleased.

The product literature is somewhat lacking in details. This head has a 3/8-16 tripod mount but comes with a 1/4-20 adapter so it should fit most tripods/monopods. It also comes with two quick release camera mounting plates - one is for 1/4-20 camera socket and the other for a 3/8-20.

I tried the Manfrotto 056 head before I purchased the Vanguard. With one hand on the camera, it took both left and right hands to adjust the 056 so I was continually shifting hands to loosen and tighten knobs on the 056. The 056 took a long time to get adjusted while the SBH-100 quickly locks where you want it.

I have the SBH-100 mounted on a Manfrotto 190XPROB. This tripod/head combination easily handles my Nikon D60 with a 18-200 zoom. I wanted a head that could rotate for panoramic shots without loosening the ball and this head does that. The other ball heads I found with this feature were more than twice the cost of the SBH-100.

After having used a $25 tripod for several years, I finally bit the bullet and purchased a "real" tripod/head. I am amazed at the difference and wonder why I put up with that cheapo for so long.

If you're looking at Manfrotto heads, you should consider the Vanguard line as a less expensive alternative. It is certainly impressive for the price!
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, High-Quality Product at a Great Price January 20, 2009
Style Name:SBH100|Verified Purchase
I just received my Vanguard SBH-100 head, and I have to say I'm very impressed. Although lightweight, it has a high-quality feel to it. It's rated at 22lbs, but it feels as if it would hold twice that weight. It holds my Canon XTI with battery pack and 70-300mm lens with no trouble at all, even when I lean on it. The adjustment knobs work smoothly and easily, and the locking knob has a nice drag adjustment. It has a separate knob to allow you to pan horizontally without unlocking the head completely. This is very useful if you plan on stitching shots together to create panoramas. I noticed that this feature is not present on some of the more-expensive ball heads. This was a must-have feature for me, and the reason I took a chance on the Vanguard. This particular model is listed as their "small" head, but at 4 inches high and 2 inches in diameter, it doesn't seem very small to me. Unless you're mounting a telescope or something, I can't see needing a larger head than this.

All-in-all, I'd say Vanguard hit it out of the park with this one. I've seen tripod heads that run $300-$400 or more, and I can't imagine what they can offer that would make them worth the added dough. This head is rock solid when locked, has buttery-smooth movement when unlocked, and offers features (panning control, bubble levels) that the others don't. Money well spent!

UPDATE: It's April of 2014 now, and I've just bought my second SBH-100. Not that the first one broke or anything. In fact, I'm sure whoever stole it (and my tripod) is still getting great service from it (thanks, you bunghole). I did a lot of research and pondered quite a long time before deciding on a new tripod (finally bought the Manfrotto 190CXPRO 3), but never even considered a different ball head.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Works well with my tripod--well made
Published 8 days ago by S. Kading
3.0 out of 5 stars I liked this ballhead unfortunately it did not work with my ...
I liked this ballhead unfortunately it did not work with my Peak Design Capture Pro Arca-swiss compatible plates. The Peak design Capture Pro Arca plates size is 30. Read more
Published 18 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Very hearty and nice tripod head for the price
Used to hold my BMCC and lens for exterior car shots. Very hearty and nice tripod head for the price.
Published 26 days ago by R. Rey
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Works well
Published 27 days ago by D. S. Poteet
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a seriously sturdy ballhead, I use it for a Canon 7D ...
This is a seriously sturdy ballhead , I use it for a Canon 7D with a 100-400 lens attached and I can walk around with it over my shoulder without the camera moving, adjustments are... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Cornelis Van Es
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
This is overkill for my DSLR but it's smooth and silky when not locked down.
Published 1 month ago by Michael
2.0 out of 5 stars Creep
Doesn't matter how much I torque this thing down, it creeps with a rig on it that weighs less than the load capacity suggests. Ballhead is not fluid with weight on it. Read more
Published 2 months ago by KB
5.0 out of 5 stars Quality ball head with all the features you'll need
The SBH-250 is a great ball head. It's got three wheel tighteners that get each movement point, such as the pan (which has intervals - great for timelapses) and ball head itself,... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Cody
5.0 out of 5 stars Solid
This thing is huge and well built. It weighs approximately 1.5 lbs. It could easily support full and medium frame format cameras.
Published 3 months ago by Al
1.0 out of 5 stars Broke after just a few uses.
There are two knobs on the side of the head. One sets the ball tension and the other locks it in place. Read more
Published 3 months ago by STUART K FRANCIS
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