It then took a year, from April 2001 to October 2002, when I finally had my own Markins ballhead in my hands and then into the tripod. I have been most happy ever since. But more importantly, we then began serious conversations with the inventor/manufacturer so we could share them with Nikonians.
Markins M10 Titanium Limited Edition
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These are the controls in detail, shown on a M20 ball head:
The Markins quick release shoe or clamp is of the pro ball heads industry standard dove-tail style, beautifully finished and now with and even rounder contour. The quick release clamp knob requires just half a turn to release the plate to slide in or out again.
The friction limit adjust dial is easy and smooth to turn with the tip of a finger.
To set the ballhead for a given set of gear, start by mounting it into the quick release shoe (clamp); then, holding the gear in your hand so it won't drop, loose both the progressive friction control knob and the friction limit adjust dial. Then turn the progressive (big) knob clockwise only enough so one can move the mounted gear but will stay put if untouched. Then turn the friction limit adjust dial clockwise -with the tip of the finger- as far as it can go (without forcing it) to lock the ball in place and still able to move the camera into any position without having to touch the controls. With the friction limit adjust dial (small) turned in. It is now impossible to turn accidentally the clamp knob back to a position where the gear will fall. That's it. You have found its "sweet spot"
If you still want to fully lock the gear, just turn clockwise the progressive friction control knob a little, until you cannot move your camera at all. It will take a small fraction of a turn to remain fixed and you are all set. But this is not necessary and will just slow you down when making changes in composition. This is a pro ball head, not a vise.
When mounting the ball head on a Bogen/Manfrotto tripod, it has been advised by previous users of other ball heads and the manufacturer to be careful not to over tighten the three screws under the tripod head mounting plate, to avoid excessive pressure on the bottom of the panoramic base, inhibiting its designed smooth glide. Others might prefer to use a "lock tite" type of semi permanent (blue, not red) plumbing glue instead of the screws.
Some users with not excessively heavy setups find unnecessary to do either and opt for simple nail polish on the threads or nothing at all; others, resort to tightening it with a rubber strap wrench.
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