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Markins Q-Ball M10

1817
Review Date: Apr 21, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $340.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: light weight, strength, craftsmanship, controls, size
Cons:
pano lock doesn't quite lock

I replaced an acratech ultimate head with this. I read several reviews which raved about the M10, unfortunately learning only after I purchased the head that the authors were markin's retailers. However, the head is still very impressive. The controls feel very nice and the rubber on the knobs feels great. I don't have anything heavy to put on it (a D200 + 80-200), but it handles my gear nicely.

My one gripe, and it is a big one, is that you almost have to use vice grips to lock the panning base. It is maddening. I like to pan with the ball so the controls (ball tension and panning base knob) stay in the same place. However, if you don't tighten the base enough and try to rotate the camera counter clockwise, the base will slip a little as you pan. Supposedly this is built in by markins, but it is a TERRIBLE design.

The head works and if it wasn't for the one issue I would say it's perfect for me. I am heavily considering switching to a Z1 or BH40.


 
Gitzo 2220 Aluminum Explorer


Review Date: Jan 28, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $250.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Ease of use - I can set it up completely in 30 seconds with camera mounted, solid with everything I've put on it (D200 + 70-200VR), low cost, the legs can be locked individually at any angle, the center post can be rotated 90* to the legs
Cons:
metal legs are quite cold to handle when it's below freezing out (i've heard CF legs are nicer to handle in cold or hot climates), pod is not near as stable with the center column extended, just a tad heavy even with a light acratech head, folded length is long if you use it for travel

This was my first real tripod and I have really enjoyed it. When I bought it I was not ready to spend 500 on a CF pod, but now this pod is just getting too long to travel with (I have to take my biggest suitcase in order to fit the pod inside). I have used up to a 70-200 lens on the beach (so quite windy) and it had no issues. The legs are quick to setup and extend.. I can get the tripod out and fully setup with the camera mounted in less than 30 seconds (I'm not sure why people complain about the rotating leg locks.. I like them). Like I said, my main reason for upgrading is that the pod does not fit easily into my luggage when I travel.

This is a fine tripod for those just getting into the hobby and perhaps can't justify over $500 for a full blown CF rig. I have thought about selling mine, but it has just been too good to kick out on the street.