i am on the early stage of my amature photography hobby. i plan on taking it easy and developing my skills concurrently with the equipment that i aquire. i have recently purchased the D70 with the kit lens, there is no doubt that i am loveing it and learning a lot. i have had a piont and shoot digital that i compleatly outgrew, and mucked about with an slr years ago, gave it up due to being a poor student and not able to pay for processing.
currently my plan is not succumb to lens lust by geting numerous lenses (no matter how shiney they are), i firstly want to learn the capabilities of the kit lens and body. as such, many people have mentioned the the most important aid for a photographer is the tripod, so this is my next goal. as i am taking the long view, i want something that will last decades, not years.
i plan to explore some night time photography, and panarama's first, maybe a few bracketed tricks with photoshop.
so now to the question at hand, there is no doubt that the Markins M10 is brilliant(40kg load), it is also almost half again as expensive as the similar (with respect to size and wieght)Kirk BH-3(10kg load).
at this stage it is hard enough imagining getting the 70-200 VR 2.8 let alone anything bigger than 300mm F4. so to me at this stage i just don't see a justification for the M10.
one thing i am very curious about is their reative ability to tension the ball, allowing you to move it but for it to stay where you leave it. is the M10 better than the BH-3, if so by how much?
if i get the kirk will i regret not getting markins?
i want to get this investment right, i can explore the legs localy (i live in new zealand) but i am unable to get a hands on impression about these two ball heads so any comments would be greatly appretiated.
my list after the tripod, goes SB-800, a compromise macro-telephoto like a sigma 70-300mm, i am keen on exploring macro and with a good tripod and flash i think things sould turn out well.
at that stage i will start thinking about some more serious glass, a real macro, fast telephoto, faster walk around, mabey get something for the wide end. the thing is i am in no hurry.
I sold my BH-3 for a M10 due to the price/weight/load ratio. Does it matter that it hols more load that you think you need. No. In fact, the more load it can support the better. Specially as you are not paying a premium for it.
so think about it and more feedback on the feel for these ballhead. I don't think either is perfect but it makes much more sence to pick a Ferrary over a BMW when they both costs the same
I've never used an M10, but I have a BH-3 and have used it under many and varied conditions. There is not one single thing to detract from it. Nothing. You can't go wrong with a Markins but there would be absolutely no cause, no matter how good the Markins is, to regret the BH-3. I respect the notion that the higher the load rating the better it will handle lighter loads, but this really can't mean much with loads less than an F5 and 300 2.8.
I'm not taking anything away from the Markins, but unless you are the type that has to have the higher priced (fill in the blank) everytime, then you won't have anything to regret.
I had to make the same decision and I chose the BH-3. But I'm pretty tight with my cash and that was a factor. However, having had the BH-3 for a while, using it with a set-up that exceeds 7 pounds, I can assure you that it will not limit you in any way.
As far as tension control, the BH-3 is superb. With a very light touch of the easily accessible tension knob I can set it so that no matter what the weight of the set-up you can move it about and then let it go and it remains in position firmly enough to take the shot without touching the main knob.
I'd like to subscribe to the above. My sentiments exactly. Unless you have medium format in mind. But then, Kirk makes a ballhead for that too. + the people @ Kirk are super nice, accomodating and helpful. And in my case, cash is never a factor...
I have no idea how the BH-3 stacks up, but I have used Arca Swiss B1 and I find the M10 easier to use. I know the B1 was the classic choice in the past, but I believe you will be thouroghly satisfied with the M10. I did, however, opt to go with Really Right Stuff mounting plates, which seem to have a closer fit for my D2H.
NurglesP, another thing of note when it comes to getting the BH-3, which I have, is that the ballhead comes with a generic camera plate and a 5 year warranty. The generic camera plate is a cost factor, IMHO, bringing the difference to a little more than a $100.
On the other hand, if money were no object I'd pick the M10 over an Arca Swiss, M20 or over that new $400 plus RRS head and possibly over the Kirk BH-1 for the weight difference alone.
well i now have my tripod and thanks to you guys i am very happy with what i have.
Head, Kirk BH-3, including a universal plate and postage to New Zealand US$273.76
legs Feisol 3301, includes foam leg protectors, variable length centre post and tripod bag and postage, US$205
for a total of US$478.76 (or NZ$705.41)
vital statistics. total wieght, 1.865 kg, 4lbs 1 and 3/4 oz (shortened centre post) height to eyepiece (shortened centre post extended ~2cm) 150cm
after putting it all together, i am pretty certain that this was the best decision for me at this time and i hope that i will get 5-10years good use out of it.
with the underlying impossible goal of a good, light wieght, stable and cheap tripod. i think that i compromised (but not sacrificed) cheap, then stablity but got a quite a light weight combination. the maximum height with the central column not extended may be a little low but with the little bit of playing so far, i think i can be quite comfortable. the minimum height for macro shots seems quite workable.
>>after putting it all together, i am pretty certain that this >>was the best decision for me at this time and i hope that i >>will get 5-10years good use out of it. > >There is no reason that set-up shouldn't last you a lifetime >unless you get some big glass.
George, lately I've read about and seen 300 and 400mm plus prime lenses on Bogen ballheads and starting to come to the conclusion that most any decent ballhead can handle any combination of 35mm lens and body and last you a lifetime.
For sure a gimble arm will be easier to work with, just like a ballhead is easier to work with than a convential tripod head. Don't most of these ballheads all by their lonesomes accomodate the max weight we can muster with 35mm equipment and that it simply comes down to fit and finish and ultimately how you feel about the equipment. Some guys and gals need to have a Mercedes, others are happy with an Toyota and still others get by with a Chevy. Each to his own perhaps, as long as the ballhead doesn't fail you when needed.