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Thread: which is a better ballhead? markins or arca-swiss?

  1. #21
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    Default Re: which is a better ballhead? markins or arca-swiss?

    Hi Maxtheevil,

    Arca swiss were the original producers of quality ball heads and their standards have been followed by subsequent manufacturers. Unfortunately Arca Swiss does not have a website, although details of their products can be seen at the the following link (US dealer for Arca Swiss Products).

    http://www.precisioncameraworks.com/...arca_core.html

    The best known ball head in the Arca Swiss lineup was the Monoball B1. This ball head was the favourite of all professionals. Some users did report occasional lock up when used in cold weather. Arca swiss introduced the Z1 in 2007. This was plauged by reports of Arca Swiss using a two part stem making it prone to breakage (http://www.tripodhead.com/arca-swiss-warning.cfm). This was corrected by Arca Swiss in ball heads manufactured after June 15, 2008. Arca Swiss introduced the P1 ball head in 2009. The design is interesting as they made the ball head upside down and took away the knobs used to tighten the ball head.

    The other manufacturers of ball heads are as follows.

    1. Acratech: This is an American company (http://acratech.net/). The main difference is the open design of the ball head and it allows the ball head to be cleaned easily.

    2. Really right stuff: Another American company (http://reallyrightstuff.com/). These ball heads are amongst the most popular and are quite well made. The major advantage of this maker is that their ball heads have the lowest height (and therefore are more stable). However their dovetail clamp design differs slightly from the Arca Swiss and one has to use proprietary RRS clamps.

    3. Kirk Photo: American company (http://www.kirkphoto.com/) with a product lineup similar to RRS. Lot of people favour the appearance of the RRS ballheads, but Kirk allows the use of Arca Swiss plates (unlike RRS).

    4. Novoflex: This is a German firm (http://www.novoflex.com/en/products/...ms/ball-heads/). They have a wide range of ball heads, but are more expensive compared to the American made ball heads. They have two design lines.One is like the standard ball head and is called classic ball. The advantage of the Novoflex ballhead vs the American ball heads is that it allows the tension is marked on the ball head, and so depending on the weight of the lens-camera combo, one can predetermine the tension and subsequently easily set the tension during use in the field. The other design line is called Magic ball. This uses the inverted ball head concept (like the Arca Swiss P1) and allows the use the move the camera and set the position more easily.

    5. Linhof: German firm (http://www.linhof.de/accessories.html). Looks similar to the standard ball heads. No distinctive features

    5. Burzynski: I thnk it is German, although I am not sure. It is supposedly the most stable and sturdiest ball head. It is best used with long lenses (300mm onwards). It is also quite short making it very stable. It does not have a drop slot so one cannot drop the camera vertical. However with long lenses, there is usually a lens tripod collar which would allow the user to do so. The Burzynski is available only at a German store (www.isarfoto.com) or from a French camera store (cheaper here-Photo & Nature, 10, Rue Parmentier, 06100 Nice, France, Tel. : 04.93.98.24.36, Fax : 04.93.98.54.35). A good review of this ballhead has been done by Bjorn Rorslett (http://www.naturfotograf.com/burzynski.html)

    6. Markins: This is a Korean manufacturer and became popular in early 2000's. The quality was equal to the American ball heads and they soon became one of the most popular ball heads in the market.

    7. Photoclam: Another Korean manufacturer. (http://www.tripodballhead.com/). This has come to prominence recently (2007-8). Quite similar to Markins. Not much user experience, but the available reviews have been positive. Like the Novoflex ball head, they have a marking for determining amount of tension. In addition, they also have a spirit level in the camera clamp. In addition, they are cheaper compared to the Markins.

    8. Feisol: Taiwanese origin. (www.feisol.com). The only advantage is that they have a carbon fibre ball head and look reasonably well made.

    The above just lists the better known manufacturers of ball heads. Lot of other companies also make ball heads, which are cheaper, and meet demands of users with limited budgets. They include Gitzo (http://www.gitzo.com/cms/site/gitzo/...EF16.worker1); Manfrotto (http://www.manfrotto.com/Jahia/site/...f=81&child=2); Slik (http://www.slik.com/e/p4.jpg); Giottos (http://www.giottos.com/); Benro (http://www.benro.com/products_Heads.html); Kangringpoche (http://www.kangrinpoche.com); Berlebach (http://www.berlebach.de/?bereich=pro...ache=english); FLM (http://www.flm-gmbh.de/EN/products_photographie.html); Foba (http://www.foba.ch/eng/kopf/kopf.htm).

    I am sure I missed some manufacturers. A good place to compare and read user reviews of ball heads is the B&H website. (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/buy/Tr...0/N/4289936038). Another good review can be seen at http://www.websiteoptimization.com/s...weak/ballhead/. Photo.net forums also has some good discussions on ballheads (http://photo.net/filters-bags-tripod...ssories-forum/)

    I have experience with the Kirk BH 3, Markins M20 and the Photoclam PC33NS. All were excellent. My suggestion is to determine the maximum weight you plan to put the ball head and then look for any specific design features you like. If none, then go for the cheapest ball head from any of the top seven manufacturers.

    Good luck with your decision.

    Cheers,
    Gorby

  2. #22
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    Default Re: which is a better ballhead? markins or arca-swiss?

    Good grief Gorby that is a fantastically thorough post. Thank you on behalf of the community!

    I think most web reviews have it as a toss up between the Arca, the Kirk and the RRS, with some users preferring one rather than the other but it coming down to preference at the end of the day.

    I *think*, although stand ready to be corrected, that the Markins does not share an elliptical ball unllike the Arca, and that was the main reason I went back to the Arca at the end of the day.

    Well, that and the knowledge that I knew what I was getting.

  3. #23
    maxtheevil
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    Default Re: which is a better ballhead? markins or arca-swiss?

    Quote Originally Posted by knpan View Post
    Most probably Thread starter do not know much about Markin or arca swiss yet.

    In simple terms, Markins is a brand,
    &
    Arca swiss is the term for the type of mount, clamp, that many brands use like Really right stuff, kangripochi, Wimbery, jobu,kirk and many others.

    So u cant compare Markins & arca swiss, it does not make sense.
    hi there, thanks for clarifying

    i always thought why did they use a brand name arca swiss-type to name a particular mount.

    other than that its the pioneer.

    so i guess, it's an informal industry standard.

    thanks again.

    again, i surfed and did not get the idea from the internet nor... the salespeople from the camera shops that i visited.

  4. #24
    maxtheevil
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    Default Re: which is a better ballhead? markins or arca-swiss?

    Quote Originally Posted by gorby View Post
    Hi Maxtheevil,

    Arca swiss were the original producers of quality ball heads and their standards have been followed by subsequent manufacturers. Unfortunately Arca Swiss does not have a website, although details of their products can be seen at the the following link (US dealer for Arca Swiss Products).

    http://www.precisioncameraworks.com/...arca_core.html

    The best known ball head in the Arca Swiss lineup was the Monoball B1. This ball head was the favourite of all professionals. Some users did report occasional lock up when used in cold weather. Arca swiss introduced the Z1 in 2007. This was plauged by reports of Arca Swiss using a two part stem making it prone to breakage (http://www.tripodhead.com/arca-swiss-warning.cfm). This was corrected by Arca Swiss in ball heads manufactured after June 15, 2008. Arca Swiss introduced the P1 ball head in 2009. The design is interesting as they made the ball head upside down and took away the knobs used to tighten the ball head.

    The other manufacturers of ball heads are as follows.

    1. Acratech: This is an American company (http://acratech.net/). The main difference is the open design of the ball head and it allows the ball head to be cleaned easily.

    2. Really right stuff: Another American company (http://reallyrightstuff.com/). These ball heads are amongst the most popular and are quite well made. The major advantage of this maker is that their ball heads have the lowest height (and therefore are more stable). However their dovetail clamp design differs slightly from the Arca Swiss and one has to use proprietary RRS clamps.

    3. Kirk Photo: American company (http://www.kirkphoto.com/) with a product lineup similar to RRS. Lot of people favour the appearance of the RRS ballheads, but Kirk allows the use of Arca Swiss plates (unlike RRS).

    4. Novoflex: This is a German firm (http://www.novoflex.com/en/products/...ms/ball-heads/). They have a wide range of ball heads, but are more expensive compared to the American made ball heads. They have two design lines.One is like the standard ball head and is called classic ball. The advantage of the Novoflex ballhead vs the American ball heads is that it allows the tension is marked on the ball head, and so depending on the weight of the lens-camera combo, one can predetermine the tension and subsequently easily set the tension during use in the field. The other design line is called Magic ball. This uses the inverted ball head concept (like the Arca Swiss P1) and allows the use the move the camera and set the position more easily.

    5. Linhof: German firm (http://www.linhof.de/accessories.html). Looks similar to the standard ball heads. No distinctive features

    5. Burzynski: I thnk it is German, although I am not sure. It is supposedly the most stable and sturdiest ball head. It is best used with long lenses (300mm onwards). It is also quite short making it very stable. It does not have a drop slot so one cannot drop the camera vertical. However with long lenses, there is usually a lens tripod collar which would allow the user to do so. The Burzynski is available only at a German store (www.isarfoto.com) or from a French camera store (cheaper here-Photo & Nature, 10, Rue Parmentier, 06100 Nice, France, Tel. : 04.93.98.24.36, Fax : 04.93.98.54.35). A good review of this ballhead has been done by Bjorn Rorslett (http://www.naturfotograf.com/burzynski.html)

    6. Markins: This is a Korean manufacturer and became popular in early 2000's. The quality was equal to the American ball heads and they soon became one of the most popular ball heads in the market.

    7. Photoclam: Another Korean manufacturer. (http://www.tripodballhead.com/). This has come to prominence recently (2007-8). Quite similar to Markins. Not much user experience, but the available reviews have been positive. Like the Novoflex ball head, they have a marking for determining amount of tension. In addition, they also have a spirit level in the camera clamp. In addition, they are cheaper compared to the Markins.

    8. Feisol: Taiwanese origin. (www.feisol.com). The only advantage is that they have a carbon fibre ball head and look reasonably well made.

    The above just lists the better known manufacturers of ball heads. Lot of other companies also make ball heads, which are cheaper, and meet demands of users with limited budgets. They include Gitzo (http://www.gitzo.com/cms/site/gitzo/...EF16.worker1); Manfrotto (http://www.manfrotto.com/Jahia/site/...f=81&child=2); Slik (http://www.slik.com/e/p4.jpg); Giottos (http://www.giottos.com/); Benro (http://www.benro.com/products_Heads.html); Kangringpoche (http://www.kangrinpoche.com); Berlebach (http://www.berlebach.de/?bereich=pro...ache=english); FLM (http://www.flm-gmbh.de/EN/products_photographie.html); Foba (http://www.foba.ch/eng/kopf/kopf.htm).

    I am sure I missed some manufacturers. A good place to compare and read user reviews of ball heads is the B&H website. (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/buy/Tr...0/N/4289936038). Another good review can be seen at http://www.websiteoptimization.com/s...weak/ballhead/. Photo.net forums also has some good discussions on ballheads (http://photo.net/filters-bags-tripod...ssories-forum/)

    I have experience with the Kirk BH 3, Markins M20 and the Photoclam PC33NS. All were excellent. My suggestion is to determine the maximum weight you plan to put the ball head and then look for any specific design features you like. If none, then go for the cheapest ball head from any of the top seven manufacturers.

    Good luck with your decision.

    Cheers,
    Gorby
    hi Gorby,

    thanks for your indepth review.

    again, i have been flipping reviews from online sources and only went away with the idea that markins, arca swiss and RSS are the popular ballheads, where there are some cross reviews that feedbacks otherwise.

    thanks again for sharing.

    thanks to all users who feedback on this thread.

    keep your feedback coming, so we can built a local data bank (which is really useful)

    otherwise, i would have to rely on the salesperson's pitch, which i am reluctant, as they are not as thorough as users, nor do i want to risk buying the wrong item only to upgrade later.

  5. #25
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    Jun 2009
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    Default Re: which is a better ballhead? markins or arca-swiss?

    Quote Originally Posted by gorby View Post
    2. Really right stuff: Another American company (http://reallyrightstuff.com/). These ball heads are amongst the most popular and are quite well made. The major advantage of this maker is that their ball heads have the lowest height (and therefore are more stable). However their dovetail clamp design differs slightly from the Arca Swiss and one has to use proprietary RRS clamps.
    this part is a bit misleading. none has to use RRS clamps if bought RRS plates, RRS plates could be used on all Arca Swiss standards clamps. Only if one bought RRS Lever Release then would require the use of either RRS or Wimberley plates for the Lever Release clamps. RRS is also having the traditional Arca Swiss clamps which would take in all Arca Swiss Standard plates without any problem...

    also, RRS is having laser engraved markings for tension control...

    hope this thelps...

  6. #26
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    Default Re: which is a better ballhead? markins or arca-swiss?

    Hi jaRv1s,

    Thank you for the clarifications. You are correct on both accounts. I am sorry for the misinformation.

    1. One needs to be careful only if you are planning to purchase the lever lock type RRS clamps.

    2. RRS has laser engraved markings for tension control. (In my defence, none of the ball head images at the RRS website show this feature. I was able to see it only at the outback photo website (http://www.outbackphoto.com/the_bag/...tuff_no1.5.jpg).

    Cheers,
    Gorby

  7. #27
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    Default Re: which is a better ballhead? markins or arca-swiss?

    Quote Originally Posted by gorby View Post
    Hi jaRv1s,

    Thank you for the clarifications. You are correct on both accounts. I am sorry for the misinformation.

    1. One needs to be careful only if you are planning to purchase the lever lock type RRS clamps.

    2. RRS has laser engraved markings for tension control. (In my defence, none of the ball head images at the RRS website show this feature. I was able to see it only at the outback photo website (http://www.outbackphoto.com/the_bag/...tuff_no1.5.jpg).

    Cheers,
    Gorby
    you're welcome bro... there's no need for the sorry... cheers...

    agree with you on point number 1. although RRS offer plates trade in (22.50 usd rebate) for Arca Swiss Standard plates... still don't quite worth the hassle if you already got a lot of plates...

    for point number 2. actually i should had stated that only BH-55 & BH-40 got laser engraved tension control markings (RRS called it Drag Set Control)... it's written in their website in words... not quite obvious... their BH-30 and BH-25 don't have this feature...

    hope this helps...

  8. #28
    Member thenomad's Avatar
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    Default Re: which is a better ballhead? markins or arca-swiss?

    don't rely on the salesperson's comments, especially if he's saying things in favour of something that he's trying to sell

    you can't go wrong with markins, they are excellent ballheads, don't creep (as long as you don't exceed their weight limit of course), and have smooth control knobs. you'll love them as soon as you use them

    not to sure about arca-swiss though, although i think they are a very good brand too

    if you're not sure which one to pick, then have a look at their specifications and see which one suit your requirements better, also taking into account their prices

  9. #29

    Default Re: which is a better ballhead? markins or arca-swiss?

    I am using an old Arca-Swiss B1 and have used Markins, Kangrinpoche, Kirk, Manfrotto and Benro before.

    The best ballheads are from RRS, Arca-Swiss and Markins. I think the difference in performance between an Arca-Swiss and a same-size Markins is negligible. However I prefer the external markings on the Arca-Swiss as the Markins is little bland and without much markings.

    The older Arca-Swiss can lock-up if not handled properly. This does not sem to be a problem with Markins.

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