I presently own a Manfrotto 055xb tripod with the 498 ball head and RC4 quick release. I realize that this is not a high-end setup, but it is not totally hopeless. The 055xb is pretty heavy, but I can tolerate that for now. I have a D90 and the largest lens I use is a Tamron 70-300 zoom.
While I can work with the 055xb, I'm pretty frustrated with the 498/rc4 combo. It's big and clunky and I can't keep the camera body from sliding on the plate. I really don't want to spend the money on a more expensive tripod at this time, I am thinking seriously about buying a Markins ball head on the theory that it would solve the worst of my problems and I can always upgrade the tripod later without losing the investment in the ball head.
My question (actually 2 questions) :
1) Does this make any sense or am I trying to apply "lipstick to a pig"?
2) If the answer to question 1 is Yes...it makes sense, which Markins head should I consider and what would be the best plate for the D90?
I'd appreciate any feedback that I can get....Thanks.
#1. "RE: Ball head question" | In response to Reply # 0davidd1833 Nikonian since 26th Feb 2006Fri 16-Mar-12 10:13 PM
I would say 'yes'..
I had a Velbon Sherpa tripod, with a 3 way head. The head was the worst part of it, so I bought a Markins M10 (now Q10) and replaced the Velbon head. I used this for about 18 months before finally upgrading the legs to Gitzo. This spread the cost out a bit, and the Markins was a big improvement over the 3 way head. The Velbon legs were, as you say, not totally hopeless...
As far as the plate goes, I would recommend you bite the bullet and get a Kirk or RRS L-Plate for your D90. You'll never be bothered with a sliding or rotating camera body again.
Good luck with your decision.
Visit my Nikonians gallery.
#2. "RE: Ball head question" | In response to Reply # 0rbaskin Nikonian since 05th Feb 2007Sat 17-Mar-12 11:17 AM
I say go for the Markins now. I did the upgrade the other way around because I came across a tremendous deal on a Gitzo and I remained frustrated until I could upgrade the head (I had the predecessor 488 from Manfrotto).
You'll love the difference in handling, not to mention the option of an A-S L-bracket for easy switching to portrait orientation.
I don't think you'll regret the decision.
Ralph in CT
#3. "RE: Ball head question" | In response to Reply # 0jacsr Registered since 08th Apr 2006Sat 17-Mar-12 02:03 PM | edited Sat 17-Mar-12 03:15 PM by jacsr
Based on the equipment listed in your profile a Q10 would be more than adequate. Depending on your budget and if you would like to future proof your decision a Q20 is not much more and you would never have to worry about upgrading.
Now to a matter that you did not ask about but I feel compelled to mention. You will need to make a decision on whether you will choose a knob clamp or a lever clamp. I mention this because if you decide on a lever, you will need to make a decision on your plate manufacturer and stick to it. It is highly recommended that when using a lever clamp that all subsequent plate purchases and that includes, L-Brackets, tripod replacement foot for lenses that can use them, camera/lens plates all be purchased from the same manufacturer. Markins heads have an adjustable lever; you can adjust the tension to fit the plate thickness and width. However, this does not eliminate the need to stay with one plate manufacturer. A knob clamp does not share this issue. With a knob clamp you manually adjust tension to fit the plate being used. In actual use unless you plan on changing lenses or camera orientation a lot during a field session you will likely not notice the 1-2 second speed difference obtained by using a lever clamp.
#4. "RE: Ball head question" | In response to Reply # 0MEMcD Nikonian since 24th Dec 2007Sat 17-Mar-12 04:17 PM
The Tamron SP 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di VC USD is a relatively heavy lens that does not have a tripod foot so it is front heavy when it is used on a tripod.
If you want to futureproof your investment in a quality Ball head, I would recommend getting a Markins Q20. While a even a Q3 has more than enough capacity to support your camera and heaviest lens, the Q20 is about $50.00 more than the Q10, has more capacity, and most importantly it has a larger "Sweet Spot" which is very helpful when using a front heavy lens. The additional weight of the Q20 is negledgable and you will never feel you need to upgrade.
Keep in mind that you will need a camera plate or L-Bracket to attach the camera to the Arca-Swiss clamp on the Markins head.
Good Luck and Enjoy your Nikons!
#5. "RE: Ball head question" | In response to Reply # 0schollmp Registered since 20th Feb 2010Sat 17-Mar-12 05:56 PM
Thank you all for your input.
I now feel comfortable with buying the ball head first and upgrading the legs later. As always, the Nikonians are a great help in answering my questions.