Vanguard Alta BH-250 ball head review

Separate lock and friction controls add to the appeal of this strong ball head

Vanguard Alta BH-250 review
(Image: © Angela Nicholson/Digital Camera World)

Digital Camera World Verdict

The Vanguard Alta BH-250 looks and feels great but its ball movement isn’t quite as fluid-feeling as that of some other tripod heads and the D-ring on the quick release plate needs to be better attached. Nevertheless, it’s capable of holding heavy lens and camera set-ups still without and drooping.


  • +

    Wing-style locking knobs

  • +

    Separate lock and friction controls

  • +

    Robust construction


  • -

    No safety catch (but a safety pin)

  • -

    Poorly attached quick release plate D-ring

  • -

    Over 0.5kg in weight

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Vanguard’s Alta BH-250 ball head is made from aircraft-grade aluminum and weighs just over 577g (20oz) but it can support loads of up to 20kg (44lb) as it’s designed with larger cameras and long lenses like a 70-200mm in mind.

It also has three knobs to enable separate control over the panning, ball lock and friction. Unlike the Vanguard Veo BH-160S, however, it has just the one panning control and, as with most ball heads, that’s at the base.

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Angela Nicholson

Angela has been testing camera gear from all the major manufacturers since January 2004 and has been Amateur Photographer’s Technical Editor and Head of Testing for Future Publishing’s photography portfolio (Digital Camera MagazinePhotoPlus: The Canon MagazineN-PhotoPractical PhotoshopPhotography Week and Professional Photography magazines, as well as the Digital Camera World and TechRadar websites). She is the founder of SheClicks - a community group that encourages and supports female photographers.