Phil Hall takes a look at Vanguard’s top-of-the-line BBH-series ball head

Vanguard-BBH-200-ball-headVanguard BBH-200 ball head at a glance:

  • Rapid Level System
  • 360° panning
  • Two bubble levels
  • Weight 530g
  • Load capacity 20kg
  • Price: £149.99
  • Website: www.vanguardworld.co.uk

Sitting in the middle of Vanguard’s top-of-the-line range of BBH ball heads is the BBH-200, which offers an impressive load capacity of 20kg despite being a good compact size and tipping the scales at only 530g. This relatively lightweight design has been achieved by stripping down the body to reveal more of the single-piece magnesium ball.

The look of the BBH-200 is very pleasing thanks to the matt-black finish complemented by touches of orange, while the magnesium construction provides a quality feel. The oversized levers deliver a good level of grip even if you’re wearing gloves.

Dual spirit levels for quick adjustment on location ensure a level position, while there’s a 38mm universal quick-release plate that’s Arca compatible and features a large locking lever that makes the BBH-200 a doddle to operate.

However, perhaps the cleverest thing about the BBH-200 is the Rapid Level System. Simply slide the switch on the side and an internal guide fixes the ball into place once the level position has been achieved. If you’re shooting in portrait format, the head rests at 90°. It’s a smart system and one that works well.

There’s really nothing to fault the BBH-200 in use. Loaded with a full-frame DSLR and pro-spec f/2.8 zoom, it was easy to position and lock into place with no noticeable creep or movement in action. All in all, this is an innovative and precise tripod head.

Vanguard-BBH-200-ball-head

Vanguard BBH-200 ball head – Key features

Quick-release plate

This is an Arca-compatible 38mm quick release with a large locking knob

Base thread

The BBH-200 has a 3/8in thread for attachment to a tripod and comes with a 1/4in adapter

Angle scale

The BBH-200’s scale is laser-engraved for precise panoramic shooting

SCORE: 5 out of 5

You may wish to consider:

Manfrotto-MH057MO-RC4

Manfrotto MH057M0-RC4

Price: £159

Website: www.manfrotto.co.uk

Another magnesium ball head that’s packed with a range of features, although it can’t quite cope with the same loads as the BBH-200.

Arca-Swiss-Monoball-Z1-SP-quickset-classic

Arca Swiss Monoball Z1 SP Quickset Classic

Price: £321

Website: www.arca-shop.de

This premium monoball head is capable of supporting a load up to 60kg, and with the Quickset operation securing the plate it is quick and easy.

GitzoGH1780QD-Series-1-QD

Gitzo GH1780QD Series 1 QD

Price: £295

Website: www.gitzo.co.uk

With its hybrid quick-release system the Gitzo fits Arca Swiss-style plates and traditional Gitzo C-profile plates that can be snapped into the head from above.