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Vanguard PH-242 Pan Head Clamp/Mount Review

Not only do Vanguard manufacture sporting optics (binoculars and spotting scopes), but they are one of the leading manufacturers of high-end photo and video accessories (tripods, monopods, ball heads, camera bags and cases) and recently I was given the opportunity to try out one of their Vehicle Window Clamps – the PH-242 Pan Head Mount.

I was immediately impressed with the solidness of the construction, the down side to this for travelling with is that it is a little on the heavy side (1.56lbs – 0.7kg), but then on the plus side for travel, it is far more compact than a full sized tripod.

Vanguard PH-242 Pan Head Clamp/MountVersatile
Whilst it is called “window clamp”, it is far more versatile than that as the clamp extends to 1.6in (42 mm) meaning that it can be mounted onto many objects including fences, tree branches, deck rails and more. I just wish I had one at the last safari lodge I was working at as it could have easily be used on the balcony overlooking the waterhole where loads of wildlife would congregate.

For walks in the bush it also works well as you can clamp it to branches for example and is a lot easier to carry around than a tripod.

The “non-slip” hard rubber material on the clamp faces work well and I had no problem in feeling that my expensive camera and telephoto lens was be safe to most things I attached it to.

As I have already discussed in my article on window clamps/mounts, they can be an ideal travelling companion, especially for those thinking of going on self drive safaris or even traditional vehicle safaris if you can organise with the lodge that you are staying at to attach the mount to their vehicle, which I am sure will not be a problem.

Two-Way Pan Head
The PH-242 comes with a two-way fluid Pan Head which means it can pan left and right a full 360° and move up and down or tilt it from +90° to about -60° which makes it ideal for spotting scope, binocular and video use.

You can of course also use it with your camera although it will not tilt the 90° to enable you to shoot portrait photos. If you are planning to use it mostly for photography and often shoot in portrait, I would suggest using one of Vanguard’s ball heads (PH-230, PH-250) or their three-way pan heads (PH-304, PH-222)

The movement on my sample was very smooth and locking or unlocking it to move is very simply done by twisting the pan handle.

Quick Release Platform
One thing to mention is that the PH-242 comes with a large platform ideal for heavy and large equipment. Vanguard say that the maximum loading capacity is 6.6lbs or 3kg’s and it had no problem holding a spotting scope, binoculars or my Panasonic DMC Lumix Digital Camera with attached Telephoto Conversion Lens that I used during my tests for this review.

Attaching your equipment is as simple and just like most other tripods using the included QS-52 Quick release shoe. The thread that screws into whatever you are attaching to the mount can be moved about a centimetre forwards or backwards to help with weight balancing.

Keeping your equipment level is simple enough as it comes with one bubble level located just behind the quick release platform.

Cost & Where to Buy

The Vanguard PH-242 Pan Head Clamp/Mount costs around $70 in the US and about £80 in the UK. This means that it sits at the mid to top of the range. Vanguard as well as other manufacturers make cheaper as well as more expensive models:

Window Clamps For Sale On-Line

Vanguard PH-242 Window Clamp

Amazon have a wide range of window clamps available including many of the Vanguard range:

Buy this shirt in the UK Window Clamps on

Buy this shirt in the USA Window Mounts on

Further Reading


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