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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon Accessories 
Thread started 01 Sep 2011 (Thursday) 18:08
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Markins Q20 or Acratech GP or (RRS...and yes, I searched a bit)

 
dgsphoto
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Sep 01, 2011 18:08 |  #1

* Assume a Canon/Nikon 35mm Pro DSLR Body.
* Longest lens today 300/4 on a 1.4x. May get a 400/5.6 with a 1.4x someday. I don't see myself getting the wider aperture versions of these lenses so they should not be a factor.
* I am already invested in RRS/Wimberly Plates and a RRS Lever Clamp (although I might swap it for the Acratech version that comes with the GP ball head)
* This will mount on a Gitzo GT3541LS Carbon Fiber tripod without the center column.
* I also see myself switching the ball head between a monopod (GM3551) and a tripod. I know, not a smart choice, but I need to personally experience how bad it is in order to justify the cost of a dedicated single axis monopod head and clamp setup.
* I am looking for functional, compatibility and maintenance comparisons. I don't care about the aesthetics as much.
* Landscapes and people with a new found appreciation for architecture and abstracts.

So, with that background, I ask:

Markins Q20 versus Acratech GP - Which one would you chose and why?

Also what changed from the Markins M20 to the Q20?

At the moment I am inclined towards the Acratech GP with a lever release, but I have not come across much information on the experiences.

I was tempted to throw in the RRS BH-55 also in the mix for the question (it is very much a consideration in the purchase process), but I have already read this thread and it appears that other than the weight difference, there's no material difference between the BH-55 and the Q20 for my application. People have reported droop on both heads just as people have swore about no droop on both the heads. So I take it that it is either a user error OR an issue with that specific copy of the ball head as far as the droop goes.

I have also read this thread. The first 3 or so pages make a very interesting read but I don't understand why the OP drops the Acratech GP from the running on the 3rd or 4th page without any reasoning. I have no clue why it was eliminated.

I did come across a few other threads but couldn't draw much from those. Most become a fight between weight or some other non-functional aspects of the head like brand loyalty, aesthetics or just plain preferences without any specific reasoning.

Thanks in advance for your time on this, especially when it might seem like this post is like beating a dead horse over and over (as clearly, I'm still lost)!




  
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hombre ­ complicado
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Sep 01, 2011 20:35 |  #2

My own set-up is

Gitzo GT 5541ls + Wimberley wh-200 II
Gitzo GT 3541ls + Markins M20
Gitzo GM 5540 + Markins M20

I use all of these with a few Nikon pro bodies and a Nikkor 200-400 f/4, which brings my load to 5kg..never had any problems with the M20. i started out like you, switching the M20 between monopod and tripod, buying a second M20 after a while, cause I was annoyed by the switching.

I'd go with the Q20, my Markins ballheads have never let me down :)


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dgsphoto
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Sep 01, 2011 22:07 |  #3

^^ Thanks.

How'z the drag control on the M20? Is it identical between both your copies?

How long have you used the M20 on the monopod?




  
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Fricks
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Sep 01, 2011 22:15 |  #4

I just got a gitzo 3541ls as was figuring out what calluses to get and I decided on the q20 it really is amazing!! I have heard good things about the arca Swiss z1




  
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minh2pac
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Sep 01, 2011 22:47 as a reply to  @ Fricks's post |  #5

I have q10 for 2531 and just bought q20 for 3541. I LOVE markins ballhead. I also use Wimberley sidekick on markins ballhead and it work flawlessly.


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butterfly2937
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Sep 01, 2011 22:55 as a reply to  @ minh2pac's post |  #6

I love my Markins head with the sidekick or using it as just a ballhead! The Markins head is a joy to use! I have the lever clamp and I really like it.


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rick_reno
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Sep 02, 2011 10:12 |  #7

My Q20 drooped a hair after framing the shot.




  
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DisrupTer911
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Sep 02, 2011 10:46 |  #8

I've got an Acratech GV2 and I absolutely love it.
after about 4 different ballheads, this one is the perfect solution for me.


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dgsphoto
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Sep 02, 2011 11:16 |  #9

Thanks everyone.

DisrupTer911 wrote in post #13040903 (external link)
I've got an Acratech GV2 and I absolutely love it.
after about 4 different ballheads, this one is the perfect solution for me.

Thanks.

If I may, ca I ask you to share (either on this thread or via PM as you are comfortable) some insights into why it's perfect for you. It's the discussion of functional advantages/limitations of one vs the other that will help me understand what makes it work for someone and not for others which will then allow me to relate my needs to theirs and draw a decision thereon.




  
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Sep 05, 2011 11:52 |  #10

About what makes a ballhead right or wrong for any particular person:

Consider exactly HOW YOU work...

  • what hand manipulates the camera during changes in the camera attitude in space;
  • what hand needs to release/tighten the ballhead locking knob;
  • what hand needs to release/tighten the pan locking knob
  • do you like/dislike any of the knobs located on the far side of the ballhead from your standing position?
  • the size (small/medium/large) and shape of the knobs (round vs. oblong knob)
  • the aspect ratio of the ballhead (relative height:diameter)
  • the weight of the ballhead vs. tripod (when you carry on a shoulder strap, is it top heavy?)

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JohnJ80
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Sep 05, 2011 16:35 |  #11

Markins Q20.

Wonderful ballhead. There isn't anything smoother or stronger. And it's dang tough.

J.


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Todd ­ Lambert
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Sep 05, 2011 16:39 |  #12

I have the Acratech GV2 on my Gitzo 3531 legs. It's a wonderful setup and allows me to never worry/think about my setup in the field.

I chose the GV2 because it was the lightest ballhead available and I really like the design of it. Not having to ever worry about cleaning it, was the biggest plus for me. I put my tripod in places that would make most people cringe. I've never had any issues with it, it just works and works well.

I liken the ballhead to a Glock, it's very similar. I like that you can toss the thing into a sandbox, then pick it up and use it.. try that with another ballhead and you'll be sorry.




  
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dgsphoto
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Sep 06, 2011 01:51 |  #13

Thanks everyone for the posts. Keep them coming.

Todd Lambert wrote in post #13055165 (external link)
I like that you can toss the thing into a sandbox, then pick it up and use it.. try that with another ballhead and you'll be sorry.

One of the reasons I am inclined to get an Acratech! The only concern was the drag traction control and overall load capacity (especially for longer lenses like 300mm or maybe even 400mm later....not weight wise, but frame stability at that range).

One of the things I keep hearing about Markins is it's drag control being much better due to a more finely polished ball and overall load capacity being higher.

Anyway, the more I think about the options, it seems I am hearing that apart from the self service option with the Acratech when it comes to cleanup, it's really splitting hairs between these.

I almost went with RRS but I don't like it how their stems have notches and are a 1/4" size prohibiting them from being inverse mounted (to mimic what the Acratech does) and the fact that you have to buy different clamps for their ball heads and the monoheads. They also seem to not include very basic hardware to ensure compatibility (certain options like a reducer is extra and quite a bit extra for what it actually is). I think their design model is way too proprietary..sometimes even within their product lines.

I kinda like it that Acratech is a 3/8 at both ends. All I would need is a reducer for my monopod.




  
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DisrupTer911
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Sep 06, 2011 09:14 |  #14

dgsphoto wrote in post #13041071 (external link)
Thanks everyone.

Thanks.

If I may, ca I ask you to share (either on this thread or via PM as you are comfortable) some insights into why it's perfect for you. It's the discussion of functional advantages/limitations of one vs the other that will help me understand what makes it work for someone and not for others which will then allow me to relate my needs to theirs and draw a decision thereon.

Sorry I didn't get back to you sooner.

So I've had the following heads.

  • Cullman Magnesit 35nm. Went through 4 of them on warranty exchanges b/c the large ball knob would dethread internally and be useless.
  • Manfrotto RC2 - didn't like the proprietary lens plate or attaching method. also didn't like the one knob for everything.
  • Induro DM23(IIRC) got me into arca style plates. however it would droop under a 1D + 70-200/2.8 weight so it was fairly useless when I would use the heavier Rubinar 1000/10 mirror lens I use for astrophotography stuff
The Acratech GV2 has been perfect for me, no droop no sag. 3 control knobs. 1 ball tension, 2, drag tension, 3 panning base.

I also like arca compatible Screw clamps, I don't like levers at all. to risky IMO.
also I use the tripod and head in some adverse conditions at times, like shooting at the beach and cleaning the Acratech is a dream with its open design.

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Markins Q20 or Acratech GP or (RRS...and yes, I searched a bit)
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