I have just purchased a Manfrotto 055 cxpro3 tripod and am looking to invest in a matching ball head. The largest lenses I own are the 300mm f4 sometimes used with TCII 1.4, and the 80-200 f2.8. Would the Markins Q10 be suitable or would you recommend the Q20? The latter may well prove to be outside my financial range yet I don't want to make a mistake. Does anyone have experience of the Kirk BH 1 and 3. If the larger ball-head is necessary the Kirk BH1 would cost £100 less than the Markins. Many thanks for your advice, Keith.
Even a Q3 will work. I use my Q3 on a monopod with my 400mm f/2.8. That said, consider: The larger capacity of the Q20 over the Q10 will futureproof your investment. In addition, the Q20 has a larger "sweet spot" than the Q10 which will provide a wider range of motion when using front heavy lenses like the 17-55mm, 24-70mm, etc.... Since the Q20 is only $40.00 US more than the Q10 and the difference in weight is .11 pounds it makes sense to get the Q20 as you will never feel the need to upgrade. Good Luck and Enjoy your Nikons!
The differences between the Q20 and Q10 are far less than most other ballhead offerings. You can see this in the specs- the weight, size, payload and torque ratings. And Markins payload and torque ratings are based on disclosed test regimens.
The Q20 weighs maybe an ounce less than the BH-3, at 1.22 LB. The BH-1 weighs a full 2 LB.
Your tripod is on the light end for 420mm. Considering that, I would stay away from a 2 LB ball head, especially if your objective there is looking for some cost savings. Could be counterproductive.
The advantage of the Markins high payload to weight ratio is the ability of the Q20 (and Q10) to work well with tripods that are already pushed a bit with the camera payload. The head is part of the tripod's payload.
For the extra $40 I think the Q20 is a bargain. Although the differences are subtle, any time you can future proof yourself in an expensive and important item for $40 or about 10% that is a good value.
I have owned the M10 and M20, the current Q10 and Q20 predecessors, for many years. They are both good heads; either will do the job well. Also own the Q3. I highly recommend them for their smooth performance, ability to handle large loads, and light weight.
Marsel van Oosten has recently reviewed his Q20, which he takes places I would probably never take my own camera
Thanks everybody. Really helpful and consistent replies. I think I will go for the higher capacity ball head and will choose one of the 4 mentioned. May be I will have to take price into account. I originally thought that the price differential between the Q10 and Q20 was higher than in the US, the prices certainly are, but on checking I find it is pretty much the same. I now have all the information I need to make a decision!