The vendor Markins is a long-time friend of Nikonians and has supported the community in various ways throughout the years. They are a manufacturer of top class camera support systems and accessories and its ball head models cover the needs for use on a monopod (Q3i), on a traveler tripod (Q3i-Tr) and on a tripod for medium sized focal lengths (M10i for up to 200mm) and for longer lenses (Q20i for over 300mm).
Four sizes of ball heads are available, with two types of clamps, the Quick Turn Knob Clamp (shown above) and for the Quick Release Lever Clamp (shown below).
BIRDS AND VIDEO MODULE
Now, Markins introduced a clever module attachment that can be used on the Q10i and Q10i-Q, the BV-12, and the BV-22 for the Q20i and Q20i-Q. These modules mount on the ball head clamp (dropped on the open channel) and serve to constrain all camera-lens movements except for up and down tilt, allowing for use of the ball head pan capability. This makes Birds in Flight (BIF) photography and Video (hence the denomination BV) an efficient delight. In fact, the BV module replaces the need for an obtrusive Gimbal head or a Sidekick for BIF and for another head for video.
The BV-12 and BV-22 can only be used on i-Type ball heads, M10Qi, M10Q1-Q, M20Qi and M20Qi-Q.
To take care of the needs for panorama photography, Markins has added another very special clamp for the purpose: the QR-70P Panorama Clamp.
Advantages of this panorama clamp:
- There is no need to first level the tripod legs.
- There is no need to level the ball head.
- There is no need to use the panning base of the ball head.
- It has its own integrated panning base for smooth panning.
- It has its own bubble level.
- With its accessory plate (included) it can be used as a module attachment on top of any ball head of any brand, with an Arca-Swiss type clamp.
You can also buy a Markins ball head with this clamp already installed.
If you already own a Markins i-Type ball head with the knob clamp or the lever clamp, you can either:
a) Use the Pano Clamp as a module attachment atop your existing clamp, or
b) Switch the existing clamp for this pano one
Clamp switching has been made easy on the Markins i-Type ball heads, by simply unscrewing the clamp and replace it as shown in the image below:
To complement the QR-70P clamp, a panning rail is offered, the RP-90. The rail has its own integrated clamp to securely hold the camera for both horizontal and vertical panoramas by its plate or L-Bracket. The rail allows for balancing the camera-lens load on top of the clamp and for adjustments for the non-parallax point from 17 to ~90mm.
My choice was to have:
- A Q20i ball head, for complete ease of mind to shoot with any camera body and with any lens, from ultra-wide angles to the super big guns.
- With a Knob type clamp that allows me the flexibility to use any brand of Arca-Swiss type plates and L-brackets (often with variations in width and retention slope angle), although I now use all-Markins plates and L-brackets.
- The BV-22 module attachment for birding, designed for Q10i and Q20i ball heads, unobtrusive module easy to carry in my bag.
- The Panorama Clamp attached by its own (included) plate to the ball head clamp, because this pano clamp doesn’t take the BV attachment.
By choosing these options and easy to carry modules, I am ready for any and all kinds of photography.
In the above shown first three configurations (left to right), to switch from “normal” typical photography to Birding, Video or to Panorama can be accomplished in less than a minute. I only choose the fourth one (switching clamps) before departure, only when on that trip I am not shooting birds, using the pano clamp for all other types of photography.
I’ve been using Markins products since 2002.
I’ve been most happy ever since.
Have a great time!
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