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Old Sep 20, 2004, 10:43 AM   #1
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I have owned a Markins M10 ball for several months and I think it is a terrifc ballhead. I traded in my Kirk BH-3 for the M10 and use it on my lighterweight Gitzo 1227 legs. I use an Arca Swiss B1 on my Gitzo 1325 legs.

I did notice one big problem though when I recently used the head. The clamp that comes with the Markins ball is just not up to snuff. I will try to explain the problem - the dovetails in the jaws of the clamp are too shallow to hold the plates securely once the jaws are loosened.



I am not speaking about front to back motion within the clamp. I have found that if you loosen the control knob on the clamp even just a little bit, the camera and lens will come out of the clamp vertically. It will just topple out of the clamp. This is in direct contrast to the Arca Swiss clamp (or any of the Kirk or Really Right Stuff replacement clamps) which allow you to loosen the clamp a bit to slide the plate forward or backwards for macro focusing or to remove the plate from the clamp by sliding the rig forward or backwards through the jaws (assuming there is no safety stop on the plate). Imagine my surprise when I just barely loosened the knob and the gear just flopped out. Luckily, I cought it, but the potential for disaster is there.



I compared the Markins clamp to my Really Right Stuff and my Arca Swiss clamps and the dovetail cuts on the Markins are definitely shallower than on the other clamps. Too shallow to allow the clamp to remain on the otherwise fabulous head.



I contacted Markins and their guy told me that he knew of the potential problem and said that they are working to correct it. I sent him my head back with an old Arca Swiss clamp and he graciously removed the Markinsclamp and mounted the other clamp for me at no charge. The reason you need him to do the swap is because Markins does not use a bolt to affix the clamp - they use a threaded rod which is "loctited" into the ballhead. You can do it yourself if you are comfortable using a heat source to melt the loctite seal, but he advised me that there are plastic parts inside that can melt as well, so I decided to let him do it for me.

The head now performs flawlessly with the Arca Swiss clamp attached. Just thought I would give those with this head a "heads up" about this issue. It has the potential to be serious.
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Old Sep 21, 2004, 10:58 PM   #2
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I am the guy who is in charge of North American operation of Markins. I just want to clarify the "problem" described by EricW.

The2004 models ofMarkins camera/lens plates and QR clamps will come out vertically if the clamp knob is turned (loosened) about 2-full turns. I understand that other brands can take up to 3-full turns or more fora plate to be released vertically from a clamp. In this regard, EricW is correct that Markins clamps release earlier than others. However, this is the result of Markins design not of defect. I sincerely believe that this is an advantage not a problem.

I think "2-full turns" are well-balanced between safety and easy of operation. However, everybodyof Markinswill be always open to our valued users' suggestions and healthy criticism.

Thank you.
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Old Sep 23, 2004, 3:27 PM   #3
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I accept Steve Yoon's clarification of my "problem" with the Markins clamp. Allow me to point out that it was Steve who so graciously came to my aid when I inquired about swapping out the clamps and it was he who actually did the work in disconecting the old clamp so I couls fasten on a new one. He did this at no cost to me - a sure sign of excellent customer relations. I have nothing but the highest regard for Markins and Steve in particular.

My intention was not to slam the Markins design; rather I was just making folks aware of my experience with this head. As I said in my original post - I think this is one terrific ballhead overall, but I like it even better with the new clamp attached.
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