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  Reviews by: bander  

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Markins Q-Ball M10

Review Date: Aug 20, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $389.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: The Markins is well made, looks great, functions very smoothly and when you lock it down it is locked - no slipping! It has the traditional Arca-Swiss/Kirk knob layout that I prefer. I tried the RRS BH-55, but didn't like the controls being on both sides of the head and the RRS didn't operate as smoothly. I also prefer the tension control of the Markins (I actually use the M20) and my gear feels secure when I have everything loose as I often frame shots with both the panning and ball knobs loosened. It is also relatively light and has a low profile.
Speaking from pure vanity, the M20 looks rather small on my G1325. The RRS ballhead looked great, but I couldn't abide its personality.

Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM

Review Date: Dec 22, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $399.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp images - IS - No zoom creap so far
No wide angle with 1.6X crop cameras

This lens has been a pleasant surprise and my copy is sharp! I'm wondering if Canon has quietly upgraded it. Possibly, improvements in lens technology are being passed along. I noticed the same sharp performance in a 24-85mm Canon lens that I tested a few months back. This lens is very close in sharpness to my 50mm f/1.8 and it is also very close to my Tamron 28-75. At the wide end it blows away the Tamron and a similar Sigma 24-70mm. It is sharp wide open, something I have only seen in various L zooms. I don't understand the negative reviews that I read here, and possibly there is a good deal of sample variation.