Sat 18-Aug-12 12:53 AM | edited Sat 18-Aug-12 02:30 PM by jacsr
Now this is a topic I believe I can comment on.
I have owned a Photoclam PC-48NS (little over 3 years) and a Markins M20 for 4 years. I have used them both extensively in all types of environments and they are both great heads. Both are of excellent quality and workmanship. I saw little difference in the quality of the coating or operational functionality. Both lock down tight and as Neil commented you would rip the lens foot off before the heads would move. The PhotoClam’s pan base did lock down a little tighter, but as was explained the Markins base is designed not to do so. The Markins performed slightly better in the sweet spot but not by much. These are my personal hands on, over 3 years of use, experience with the two heads.
I bought my PhotoClam when they were substantially less expensive ($100+ less) than the comparable Markins. At that price point the PhotoClam was a GREAT value, 90-95% of the quality and functionality for a little less than 2/3 the cost. That was then, this is now. The PC48-NS now sells for $364 at B&H and the Q20 sells for $390 a $26 dollar difference. I do not know about you but I do not consider $26 a substantial savings.
As for the pro who switched from Markins to PhotoClam, all I have to say is if it works for him then great. Opinions like that are subjective, as are mine above. It is all based on the individual’s own bias based on what they like or dislike about a particular product.
I have also used and tested an AS Z1 and also found it to be a great head. The elliptical head has it advantages but many find it difficult to adjust to. I for one like how the head functions once you move past 20% from horizontal, if you have used a ball head you know what I am referring. At $389 it is right in the mix.
It is fortunate for us as consumers that we have so many excellent options to choose from. At this price point one would have to nit pick to really find major differences and that nit picking would be totally subjective. For what may be important to one means nothing to another.
Note: The PC48 and Feisol 3471 have been given to my son. Not due to performance or quality issues but because I was not going to give him the more expensive Markins/Gitzo combination.
Edit: I was curious so I checked, I purchased the Markins and PhotoClam 4 years ago (within months) and used them both for a little over 3 before "note" above. I have corrected the post.
As always these are my opinions and as such do with them, as you will.