M10/M20 Ball Head Review
by Darrell Young
a friend about this Markins Ball Heads article
Markins Ball head Should I Consider Buying?
use a Markins M10 ball head myself, because my biggest
lens currently is the AF Nikkor 80-400mm VR. If you have
a larger camera, like the D2X/D2Xs or newer, and use
a big lens like the 300mm f/2.8 or larger Nikkor, you
the Markins M20 instead.
M10 supporting a Nikon D2X with the 80-400mm
AF VR Nikkor
It is not so much a matter of weight, since the M10 will
support up to 88 pounds (40 kg), and I don't think
many of us have a camera or lens that weighs that much.
The problem is that the tension required for a very
heavy camera lens combo makes it harder to find a sweet
spot as smooth as with smaller lenses. The heavier
weight of the large lenses causes such a tight tension
to be set to prevent movement, that it is hard to move
the camera as smoothly without loosening the knob.
my experience with the D2X camera and the medium sized
80-400mm Nikkor, the M10 works just fine.
If you are using anything smaller than a D2X, like a D200,
D80 or comparable camera, and normal lenses, you will not
need anything bigger than the M10. The only time I'd consider
the M20 is if you have a D2X/H camera and a really big fast
telephoto lens. Or, you might just like to own the M20 in
case you ever buy a big lens and pro camera in the future.
That is a consideration, because I can't imagine wearing
of the Markins ball heads in a lifetime or two of use.
Camera and Lens Plates
Another feature of the Markins system that I really appreciate
is the design of the camera and lens attachment plates.
the Markins heads have the rare "sweet spot" feature
of the truly professional ball heads, you'll find yourself
moving the camera around a lot. There is a little bit
of torque involved in moving the camera, and so the
are designed to wrap around the body to prevent any
twist between the camera and the plate and the plates unscrewing
themselves when you move the camera.
often in the past have you moved your camera on another
type of tripod head, and had the blasted plate turn on
the bottom of the camera? Then you have to remove the
camera from the tripod, and over-tighten the plate to
keep it from coming loose again. This is not good for
your camera, since all that extra tension of over-tightening
the mounting plate is pulling against the threads in
the camera's bottom side. It is only a matter of time
until something breaks.
Markins plates solve that problem by extending the plate
with a lip or flange around the bottom of the camera in
at least one, and often in two directions, so that they
securely fastened and will not rotate loose when moving
other ball heads, I have often left my plate on the
bottom of the camera, but it was an aggravation
they were thick, and cause the camera to not sit on its
bottom very well. That can't be avoided completely, but
plates are much nicer in that respect. They are very
thin plates, and fasten to the bottom of your camera
with an Allen head screw. They are very attractive looking,
blend in well with the camera body. If anything, they
add to the coolness of the camera with their distinctive
about the Markins ball head system speaks quality! When
someone sees this ball head and camera plates, along
with your Nikon and Nikkors, they'll know without a doubt
that you are a serious photographer.