1. Reminder: Please use our affiliate links to get to your favorite stores for holiday shopping!

Vanguard GH-100 pistol-grip ballhead with OMD/HLD-6

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by Ozludo, Feb 18, 2014.

  1. Ozludo

    Ozludo New to Mu-43

    7
    Feb 17, 2014
    Melbourne, Australia
    Greetings- first post, so apologies if I manage some faux pas.

    Query: does anyone here have some advice re Vanguard GH tripod heads?

    I have an OMD5 and use the HLD-5 grip with additional battery 100% of the time. In addition to the Oly 14-42 and 40-150 zooms I have a collection of Canon FD and Nikon F-mount lenses with adaptors. It's wonderful being able to freely use this legacy gear on the same body.

    For the last 20 years I have used a Manfrotto 3-way tripod head. It has served well, but it is a pain to try tracking moving animals or sport photography. So I have been looking at the Vanguard GH ball heads. The adjustable pistol-grips look more user friendly than the Manfrotto 322RC2, and I can get the GH-100 at less than $80 Australian (bargain!).

    I have two concerns. The first is specific to GH heads: how secure are they against the camera rotating when in portrait orientation? Unlike Manfrotto, Vanguard rely on a single mounting screw and the ridged rubber on the plate to prevent the camera twisting. There is no secondary nut to tighten the attachment. The heaviest lens I am likely to attach is ~400g (100mm FD). I am worried that the lens will turn on the mounting screw, or I will risk over-tightening it in the first place.

    Which leads to the second question: how much weight can safely "hang" off the HLD-5's tripod attachment? I have a couple of 135mm lenses that weigh far too much (Soligor = 530g!) but I have niggling doubts about the 100mm. It is surprisingly difficult to find non-contradictory advice on this topic.

    Many thanks.
     
  2. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    If you plan to do fast tracking or sports photography, you will be far better off with a monopod, Arca Swiss style mount and an L bracket for the camera or tilt attachment for the head. Ball heads are not well suited to these sorts of tasks.
     
  3. speedandstyle

    speedandstyle Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    As for Vanguard's quality it is very good. I would say on par with Manfrotto. I have not used their pistol grip heads however.
    Here is one of their videos for the GH100 and it has a lot more weight on it than you are talking about so I think it could handle your requirements.
    [video=youtube;HxFHMCFgSE8]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HxFHMCFgSE8[/video]


    Another option is to use a video type fluid head, they are designed for action and very smooth. They also can handle any weight you add to them although they do not tilt for portrait.
     
  4. Ozludo

    Ozludo New to Mu-43

    7
    Feb 17, 2014
    Melbourne, Australia
    Thank you both. I have a monopod and agree that for *very* fluid situations it is probably the best option, but I need something that can be hands free for longer telephoto. I should have explained that a lot of use will be with a 100-300 and a 400mm. Both these have collars on the balance point: I am not concerned about their weight or twisting, but they are brutes to hold still. The heaviest lens with significant weight off-axis weighs 400g.

    Another solution might be "shaping" the mount-plate with sugru!? Not sure I want to go there...

    I have not considered a fluid head, but lack of portrait mode is a big negative. Also the only ones I have used were for video and seem heavy.
     
  5. speedandstyle

    speedandstyle Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    All fluid heads are for video{primarily} but there are some that are not that heavy but they are heavier due to the design.

    Not sure sugru is strong enough for a mount - I know I wouldn't trust it to hold my camera and/or lens. Epoxy on the other hand might work, something like PC7.
     
  6. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    If you want really fluid and versatile movement, you could also consider a gimbal head.
     
  7. speedandstyle

    speedandstyle Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    They are very expensive though and also do not allow side tilt/portrait angle.
     
  8. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    They aren't all that cheap, but can use them in portrait mode with adjustable mounts.
     
  9. speedandstyle

    speedandstyle Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    The OP wants the ability to swing from landscape to portrait angle on the fly and a gimbal head can't do that, neither can a fluid head. For that a ball or pistol grip would be his best options.
     
  10. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    But the reality is that ball heads are shocking for action/sports photography and will ultimately become very frustrating, they virtually need three hands to operate. A gimbal head can go from landscape to portrait mode as fast as you can undo and redo your Arca Swiss mount and can effectively be used with virtually just one hand (the one on the camera). The OP said that his lenses have a swivel mount, so going from one to the other is faster than a ball head. But still, I can't see anyone doing action that wants to go from landscape to portrait in a sec or so.
     
  11. Ozludo

    Ozludo New to Mu-43

    7
    Feb 17, 2014
    Melbourne, Australia
    That sounds rather disappointing. The GH-100 is attractive because it is possible to reposition the camera quickly with one hand (or so I thought). Certainly there are any number of videos on YouTube that give this impression. Accurate one handed control of the camera (including orientation) remains my primary concern. That leaves the other hand free to operate a remote shutter. I prefocus and shoot hyperfocal, so I hoped this would work.

    In any case, I'm fat and in my forties - gimbal heads and fluid heads would kill me. There is no point in getting a head that weighs too much, as it will limit my opportunities.

    I think my best bet is to try and find one of them and play with it. Anyone in Melbourne got one?
     
  12. speedandstyle

    speedandstyle Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I say go ahead and get one, although if you can find one to test first - go ahead. The first panning video shot I ever did was with a Manfrotto pistol grip and it came out OK so it should work good for stills as long as you don't try too slow of a shutter speed.
     
  13. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    Remember, if you want a quality tripod and head that will work properly, they can't be cheap, nasty and light weight. Typically, a good setup will weight at least 1.5x that of the heaviest setup you intend to put on the tripod.

    I have a gimbal head and it's not that heavy and I bought it specifically because I found the ball head woeful when shooting wildlife that moved about. The first time I went to a local bird sanctuary with my tripod and ball head, I felt like tossing the lot into the lake because it was so frustrating to use. Ball heads are really designed for static objects, unless you have the patience of a corpse.

    If the option doesn't appeal to you, then get a normal panning head that allows the camera mount to flip up. The normal pan head will be far more effective for what you want to achieve. The Vanguard tripod shown here has that flip head: http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/VANGUARD...722?pt=AU_TripodsMonopods&hash=item338a9d8382. Also, always measure the maximum height from where the legs meet the base, not the full extension of the centre post. You want a tripod that when fully open meets the height you need without raising the centre post. But seriously, don't buy rubbish, as you'll soon be buying again.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  14. Ozludo

    Ozludo New to Mu-43

    7
    Feb 17, 2014
    Melbourne, Australia
    :smile:

    If I replace my Manfrotto tripod as well as getting a new head, my preferred option is the Vanguard Alta Pro 264AT - from exactly the seller you recommended! The fully extended height is ~100mm less than the, 233, but it can carry 7kg and is extremely versatile. For instance, the GH-100 only allows the camera to be raised 10ยบ above horizontal, but that can be solved by rotating the 264's centre column into a horizontal position. The 264 also has attachment points for weights if additional stability is needed. It is a really attractive combination for just over $200.
     
  15. speedandstyle

    speedandstyle Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I have the 263AT legs and they are great! Same as the 264AT but with 3 section legs instead of 4. I highly recommend them.
     
    • Like Like x 1