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Old Aug 11, 2003, 8:16 PM   #1
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Default Not Just Another Ball Head- Markins

last week i took a little gamble. a few people on another site kept on recommending a ball head that i had heard of but dismissed due to it being rather difficult to acquire in the US. actually its not available at all.

markins ball heads are a product of South Korea. they are produced by group of extremely dedicated individuals who are photographers who happen to also be excellent machinists. the designer is a gentlemen named Bi Mah.
now in asia the concept of copying something is a form of flattery. well i'll tell you that this ball head is extremely similar to a certain very well known european ball head. but there are differences.

i purchased a model M10 ball in anodized forest green for my gitzo 2228. the total cost with shipping was $347. $310 for the head, $20 for shipping (that is a story in itself), and $17 for the intl bank transfer(fee from my bank).

markins received my order on Aug 6 along with a intl bank transfer of $330 converted to Korean Won (thats right no credit cards or checks i have dealt with this issue before in various parts in asia). on Aug 7 i was emailed back it would take 4-5 business days door to door. i was emailed later that it was shipped out that day at 15:35K using a Korean service along with a tracking number that would carry through the USPS system too. well it didn't take 4-business days. it was in my hands on Mon Aug 11 at 09:15 Eastern time. i can't even get a package out to NYC overnight for $20. this was just whipped around from SK in what i believe was record time.

now the head. i open the box and pull it out. its about 25-30% smaller then its european counterpart. also about 300gms lighter too. the finish on it was a beautiful bead blasted anodized flat grey/green that matched the 2228 like it was made for it. the action is on all the knobs are fluid and the base rotation is too. the ball is round, not eliptical and is as smooth as glass operation that will lock up like a vise when needed and still allows needed adjustments. it will hold the stated 40 kgs. the controls very familiar. no numbers on the big knob though. not a real biggie. i'm about to go off and beat it up in Maine for 10 days. my initial impression is that this head has taken up permenant residence on the 2228 and isn't coming off for a long time.

http://www.markins.com/2.0/eng/index.html

to be continued...
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Old Sep 4, 2003, 11:46 PM   #2
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I assume by the lack of the eliptical ball means it does not have progressive tensioning?

I thought you had had a Kirk ball head?! Am I remembering wrong? How does this compare?

Eric
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Old Sep 5, 2003, 12:10 AM   #3
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no i have a Arca. i am very familiar with the kirk. used them. i wanted something ia little less bulky for th 2228 traveler tripod. the markins is now married to it. the concept of the "progressive tension" has turned out to me to be a non issue. in every way it acts pretty much as the arca swiss. set the tension for the lens, lock it, and then adjust as necessary w/o loosening.

i'm shooting my sister in laws wedding this saturday with it. what fun.
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Old Sep 5, 2003, 10:47 AM   #4
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Interesting. A quck look at their web site shows that the Q-Ball had:
Progressive friction control Bi-Axial Mechanism.

But with a round ball, I don't see how they could achieve that (unless they did it in another way than the others.)

From what I've read the progressive tensioning and the number of nobs seem the only reason to go with the Arca (maybe the Markins has the same number?) But the downside is that they are mostly large. My quest for awhile has been to find a smaller arca swiss head (maybe the Kirk BH-3?)

I got a spotting scope that I will eventually hook camera equipment. So I want something which can take the weight and deal with the change of center of gravity (the pod & head would do double duty with my camera/100-400L.) The scope is fairly long (longer than the 100-400L.) I borrowed a smaller bogen ball head and I could find no good tension setting that could handle weight and shifting center of balance. It was one similar to 3413QR (but a more open ball.) I assumed the progressive tensioning would help, but maybe it's just that the cheaper system used in that head couldn't do as good a job as a better made, more expensive head? I had the tension to what I thought was right and after about 5 minutes of it sitting there (alone on the porch) the scope to a header into the left of my Carbon One. I was not pleased. So I never really trusted the tension control again, and just always locked it down hard when I left it.

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Old Sep 5, 2003, 11:27 AM   #5
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"progressive friction" is in that the clamping is constant to hold the lens and camera combo even outside the c/g balance point w/o having to readjust the friction knob for off balance loading such as a 500mm lens moved nose down (though at that size i'd get a M20 though) increased loading + no creep= progressive friction. words are fun.

they have a Media player demo with a big gun lens on it. a 800mm f 5.6 nikon /body

http://www.markins.com/2.0/eng/ballhead.html

so far the only thing i didn't really like was the plate stopper screw which now resides in the box the head came in. my rrs plates have that feature so i can adjust a longer plate in the dovetail slot.

addendum: there was one other minor irritant. i have a bottle bag i put over the ball head to protect it traveling. when i roll the plate over into the 90 deg slot and have the lock knob down vertically for travel the knob comes in contact with the baseplate. this can scratch both baseplate and knob. my wife immediately, and i mean immediately, rescued the situation by instantly crocheting a cover (version beta 0.9) over the offending knob with string and saved my sanity plus the ball head from any damage. if i'm real nice to her version 1 of the cover will be in some real neat colors.

http://www.pbase.com/image/21029166

being that i have 2 tripods they now complement each other without having to swap parts around.
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Old Sep 5, 2003, 2:28 PM   #6
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I like that picture. This reminds me of a friend who likes to knit to help relieve stress/tension. She has taken to knit what she calls "a cell phone cozy". How we have QR head handle cozies.

Interesting, my definition of "progressive friction" is that the amount of movement (i.e. how much movement the friction setting allows) is basically constant (and definitely no less) no matter what angle the lens/scope/whatever is at. This means that the friction would increase when the head is tilted at further down angles.

But you know… that definition doesn’t make sense. That would have to take into account the amount of weight being put on it (which it doesn’t do.) The definition you gave says that if I adjust the tension so that it doesn’t tip over, and then tilt the head so its CG has shifted, the head still won’t flop over. The amount of effort to move the camera could change as you tilt it?

I was going to ask what you do about leveling the head, but in that picture its clear that you have something (a leveling base?) that helps there. What is that? Part of the tripod or something you added on?

Eric
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Old Sep 5, 2003, 2:48 PM   #7
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well eric to make it short in definition- it works pretty darn well and with seems somewhat identical to the AS head so i am happy.

the leveling head is a manfrotto 555B leveling ctr post which fits the g2228 and the manfrotto 3021/3021pro cost about $100 and added about 6 or so ounces to the tripod. 15 deg adjustment. precludes me trying to level the legs. design just like a bowl used to level movie and vid cams. another "cheap" investment that was worth it.

http://www.reallyrightstuff.com/tripods/index.html
second item from the bottom

the effort to move the camera is fairly consistant
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Old Sep 5, 2003, 5:54 PM   #8
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I like that leveling center post. Very nice. I wish it was shorter... but maybe they make a short one. I had heard of such things, but never seen one.

It sounds like that head works as I'd like, and is small. Have to add it to my list of potential future heads. Thanks for the info!

Eric
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Old Oct 7, 2003, 5:53 PM   #9
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further on the markins head- the day after tomorrow i will be trying out a Wimberly Sidekick in the markins M10. i was told by the people at wimberly it will work just fine. they wanted to sell them here but there are issues that prevent that at this point.

daughters soccer game this saturday for the some motion study. canon 70-200 2.8 IS with the 1.4x teleconvert and the 1Ds
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Old Oct 23, 2003, 11:17 AM   #10
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Default Sidkick

well for me on a tripod with a zoom and extender the sidekick didn't quite work out. i move and zoom too much and the SK arm itself tends to get in the way. when i get my 300 2.8 and hit maui again for the surfers t will revisit this device. i did use it with a 400 2.8 and it performed outstanding.
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