The need to use a manufacturers plate with the same manufacturer's lever release is largely a Markins thing now. Acratech's, Sunwayfoto's, Acra-Swiss' and RRS' levers will work with all popular plates including Markins. The exception is RRS which will not support Novaflex but it does support all others now.
Enjoy the Markins! I will be purchasing a new tripod and ballhead very soon myself and appreciate the info presented in this thread.