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Markins Ball Heads

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Mike126, Sep 5, 2008.

  1. Mike126


    Aug 14, 2008
    Herndon, Va
    I did not want to hijack the thread that Cajun started on ball heads so I thought I start a new one. I'm also looking at ball heads. After reading the Markins review this looks like a nice head. There was a comment in the write up that the head should support 3 times the weight of the heaviest lens/camera set up. If using something in the range of a 70-200 2.8 w/D80 I'm guessing that's around 5 - 6 pounds. That would put it well within the range of the Markins Q3. Would the Q3 be a good option given it is rated at 65 pounds?

    Personally, I'm trying to keep my set up light since I do a lot of hiking. Unfortunately I'm still saving the pennies for a nice set of graphite legs. I'm currently using an older Bogen 3021 with a heavy pan head.
  2. Markins makes some of the best heads ever

    the M20 is really worth the money and will be the last head you'll likely ever have to buy
    good luckc
  3. Unless you want to put a big and heavy 400+ lens on the Q3 it would be sufficient.

    I own the M10 and haven't had any problems with lenses 10mm to 300mm, TC's and a D200. I picked the M10 instead of the Q3 just to be on the safe side. If there is a need for something heavier (like 200-400 or maybe 500) it shouldn't be a problem but for those lenses I would probably look for a Wimberley style head.
  4. I have the Q3 Emille and love it. No dissapointments with this one........


  5. using the M10 with d300 and 70-300 vr with no creep and no overtightening. I too picked the m10 over the Q3 to err on the plus side.

  6. I also have the M10 and use it with my D300 with grip (8AA batteries), 300mm VR f2.8, and a TC. Never has any creep and requires very little pressure to tighten and hold.
  7. yendikeno


    Mar 31, 2008
    I opted for the M20, only because a large telephoto is in my future. It is a joy to use! Very well made with superb function.
  8. ubetcha


    Nov 12, 2006
    San Diego, Ca
    One more vote for the M10
  9. M20. I sold my Acratech. I love the Markins. It's so smooooth.
  10. jaymc

    jaymc Guest

    Another vote for the M20. Have had mine for over a year with no problems at all!
  11. Mike126


    Aug 14, 2008
    Herndon, Va
    Thanks for everyone's feedback.

    Compared to a Kirk are they about the same regarding performance and ease of use etc?

    Based on the specs for the Kirk it looks like the M10 and Q3 have a higher load capacity unless they Kirk is stating their load capacities based on 1/3 the total load limit of the head.
  12. jaysinnva


    Nov 1, 2007
    I had the Kirk BH-1 for awhile, but sold it due to size, and now have the Markins M10. The Kirk was excellent, but the Markins seems to have a better "sweet spot", and the controls feel a bit more refined. Don't get me wrong though, the Kirk was still very good.
  13. Not at all. I have been able to test a Q3 vs. a BH-1 (though I suppose comparing it to an M10 is more accurate).

    BH-1 advantages:

    - Much better stock clamp. The camera doesn't usually cover up the spirit level (if you care about using the spirit level). The Kirk clamp is better machined, with no exposed springs or voids when the jaw opens. Very nice design. Quite a few Markins buyers don't get the stock clamp.

    - The pan lock locks much tighter with less effort and is more progressive. Markins heads tend to be an on/off affair and you can often budge the pan after it's locked if you exert enough force (some will say excessive force). Sometimes you have to hurt your fingers a bit to really lock the Markins.

    Q3 advantages:

    - Much smoother throughout a much wider range of motion. The Kirk becomes fairly jerky in movement if you tighten the tension to a point where it doesn't droop in a 45 degree position, but then move the head back up to 0 degrees. Markins heads are smoooooth.

    - Much smoother pan action. I tried three different, brand new BH-1's and one older-gen used one -- their panning is not particularly smooth.

    - Much more compact and lighter.


    I wouldn't characterize the following as advantages because they are based on how one prefers to work with a head.

    The Kirk is basically a "two-brake, two-knob" design. The tension control is with a separate knob, and applies force to the ball with a separate brake than what the main control knob uses.

    The Markins (and Arca Swiss) are basically a "single-brake, tension limiter" design. That is, the tension control knob simply limits how far you can "open up" the main control knob to unlock it. E.g. you can set it so that you can't loosen the ball enough to cause your gear to flop.

    Most Markins and Arca Swiss users obviously prefer the tension-limiter design. Some people think that having a separate tension knob has the risk of "knob confusion" and letting your gear flop by turning the wrong knob. Some people like separate tension controls and actually use the tension knob as a lock-down knob.

    The BH-1 and Q3 I tried do creep somewhat on lockdown. The BH-1 creeps a bit less if you follow the prescribed order in setting tension (it's a bit unintuitive at first).
  14. I use the M20 and my wife has the Q3. Both are great to use, very smooth to operate and are very reliable. These are the only pro level ballhead we have had, so can't compare, but it's hard to imagine how others could be signifcantly better. We are happy with Markins.
  15. rogerj


    Mar 4, 2008
    I use both, and the markins with a sidekick. I am happy to use both, but when push comes to shove, I.ll go with the Markins M20

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