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Vanguard GH-100 Pistol Grip ~ Review



Price at time of review: £82.00
Website for product:
Product Type: ,
Design / Features



Total Score

User Rating
469 total ratings


Plus Points

+ One handed operation + Rock sold support + Fast & accurate control

Minus Points

- Not well suited to portrait formats - Some may find trigger can be hard to squeeze

Posted January 16, 2013 by

Full Article

The GH-100 is a pistol grip style of tripod head which fortunately describes its looks rather then its use. Over the years I’ve seen the popularity of pistol grip heads come and go and my own experience with them hasn’t been great, so I was a little sceptical when Vanguard sent me one to test.

Coming from a simple ball head, the first thing I noticed was the size of the GH-100. It’s not huge but it’s certainly bigger then most ball heads you’re likely to come across. That extra size doesn’t mean extra weight however, as it tipped my scales at just over 0.7kg


GH-100-infoThe GH-100 has an impressive feature list. It has a quick release plate which once removed reveals a bubble level below. It’s an odd place to put it but there it is. The top of the head can be rotated a full 360 degrees which is a great feature if you shoot panoramas.

On the back of the GH-100 is the friction lock lever. Twist it to the left and the head will turn freely but turn it to the right and it freezes solid.

The standout feature of the GH-100 is the pistol grip itself. The idea is this. With the fiction lock on nothing moves but squeeze the trigger and you can twist and turn the handle as much as you want. Letting go of the trigger locks everything back in place once again. It’s as simple to use as squeeze twist, lock. It’s worth mentioning that the handle can rotate around so you can twist the trigger to the sides or even upside-down if you really wanted to.

At it’s heart the GH-100 is a ball head and with both 1/4” and 3/8” threads it can be used with whatever set of tripod legs you wish.


I really gave the GH-100 a thorough workout, testing it on location, in the studio for still photography and for video. On the whole it surpassed my expectations.

Although I don’t have the heaviest camera gear around the GH-100 coped with anything I threw at it. It was rock solid, even with my Canon 5D2 and Canon 70-200 f/2.8. The small, round quick release plate doesn’t have a particularly large surface area so I’d recommend tightening the thread with a coin rather then the built in D-ring which needs super strong and very thin fingers to operate anyway.

GH-100-2When shooting in landscape format the pistol grip worked flawlessly. I could use one hand then release and turn the tripod head whilst the other hand controlled the camera. I needed to exert a fair amount of force to squeeze the trigger so if your a little weak in the hand department, you should try before you buy.

My only big gripe was shooting in portrait format. Tipping over the GH-100 90 degrees is easy enough but once turned there’s no way to tilt the camera up and down with the trigger. This is done by releasing the rotate lock on the side which is a bit of an annoyance until you get used to it. As a result, if you shoot mostly in portrait format I really wouldn’t recommend this to you.


To be honest I started out a little sceptical about the GH-100. I’ve tried pistol grips before and found them awkward to use but the GH-100 has won me over with its sold build, sturdy support and ease of use. Most of my photos are shot in landscape format which just happens to suit the design of the GH-100 perfectly.

Gavin Hoey




    Hey Gav Nice review nice bit of kit I got the bigger Brother the other week GH-200 it has a slightly bigger mounting plate with an extra spirit level, comes in a little taller as well, great quality bit more pricey but well worth it for easy one hand operation. 🙂


    Nice review Gav. I’ve been looking around for a new head and to be honest I was looking at the Manfrotto Midi Ball Head with RC2. I’ll take a look at the GH-100 at Focus if it’s there

    David Martin

    This costs more than my tripod! Like too many things in photography overpriced for the small benefit they give.


    Nice review Gavin! Thanks!


    is this tripod and head ideal for landscape photography?


    Simple and very Useful.

    I shoot landscapes on funny angles and i think this suits me for that.
    but i also shoot portraits as well.
    Could you explain a bit more on Rotate lock?

    and if you know manfrotto 324rc2 as well that would be great to compare too.

    jon leonard

    I have this head with the Vanguard Altra pro, is the head suitable for long expsosures over a minute long. Also when I put in portrait mode the lens tilts all the time and is not stable??


    I love this pistol grip head on my Vanguard Alta Pro 263AT tripod, a super combo. I got a job shooting interior and exterior of homes and commercial properties for a builder and I was able to get all kinds of shots with interesting tripod/pistol grip configurations. Helped me work fast, was noticed by the client, and the combo was very sturdy unless the tripod center shaft is extended past 1/2 way point. I can get the lens very low right above the ground, virtually on the ground, for great detail shots of Italian marble floors and brass inlays. Highly recommend – I think I bought the combo for just over $US200 and I never looked back. There are plenty of adjustments to square up the shot. I never use the bubble level, I use the camera viewfinder to get squared up.

    Ryan Miller

    Great review Gavin I have the vanguard alta pro 284ct with gh-300t head and I must say what a great bit of kit and my main reason for buying it was your bohek tutorial
    Thanks again for all your clear straight forward tips keep up the good work

    Dick Pascoe

    Liked the revue so bought one. not disappointed at all and very happy with this grip. Very easy to use too and rock solid with my D90 & 18-200.


    Nice review.


    Hi Gav,

    Great review. I’m tempted by this, but I have a question; does it creep!?

    I’ve owned a Manfrotto Manfrotto 322RC2 heavy duty grip for a while now, but it does tend to creep quite a bit. I do like the ease of use and functionality, so I’ve been looking for something similar for a while.

    So, creep or no creep? 🙂

    Chayan Dutta

    Hi Gavin, Thanks for the review. I want to buy a ballhead to shoot for my travel blog. Please tell me whether it will be good for that videography purpose.

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