October 24, 2014, 03:17:46 AM

Author Topic: RRS or Markins?  (Read 3009 times)

scottburgess

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Re: RRS or Markins?
« Reply #15 on: June 14, 2014, 03:31:47 PM »
I've owned a Q10 for several years and researched it heavily beforehand, and this is the first I've heard of those incompatibility criticisms. I use a mix of Markins, RRS, and Kirk camera and lens plates and all of them mount easily and tightly on the Q10 with the screw clamp. Lever clamp bases are always tricky to mix/match plates on, so perhaps that's what the fit comments you report are based on. However, Markins answered that by making their lever clamp tension adjustable, unlike RRS which I have heard is very picky about fit with other AS plates.

I see that RRS has lessened their warnings on compatibility, so perhaps recent Markins gear is not so far off now.  Most of my support gear is 5-15 years old, so new generations from everyone are out.  There certainly used to be problems of cross-compatibility due to variations in the cant of the dovetails and size--this meant that there was less surface contact between plates and clamps and some Markins plates reportedly didn't fit in the other clamps right.  I still wouldn't buy their products without having an opportunity to check them against all of mine.

There are other issues with the RRS lever clamps besides their lack of adjustability/compatibility.  The first I bought would not move smoothly.  After they redesigned the mechanism, I replaced the bad one with another that worked fine at first, but eventually became difficult to close even on RRS plates.  Hence why I suggest avoiding that product.  Pity, because I would prefer the lever if it worked properly and was durable, but I've been bitten by two bad purchases on that so I won't buy another from them unless they replace the current one as a straight trade (they gave me a 50% discount trading in the first used one even though they knew of the design flaw--effectively I've paid for 1.5 lever clamps and have 0 working).  The product needs to be significantly re-engineered.  Their ball heads are marvelous, but their lever clamp is the fly in the ointment.

Kirk builds clamps with a larger screw thread, making the jaws open and close faster than most (earlier?) screw threads.  I appreciate that improvement on theirs.

I replaced the second RRS lever clamp with a 4-inch Hejnar clamp on the Acratech--it permits me to loosen the jaws and slide something forward a few millimeters for 3x + macro shots without having to reposition or grab a macro rail.  Surprisingly handy to have the long jaws if you do macro at that scale.

Funny thing: in Great Basin National Park I once passed someone on the trail with the same Manfrotto carbon fiber legs, Acratech Ultimate head, and RRS lever clamp as I had at that time.  I was struck by how those exact configurations could wind up in the same remote location.  Very amusing how we photographers peruse the gear others carry--kinda like dogs sniffing each others butts in passing!  lol


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Re: RRS or Markins?
« Reply #15 on: June 14, 2014, 03:31:47 PM »

YuengLinger

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Re: RRS or Markins?
« Reply #16 on: June 14, 2014, 05:42:45 PM »
Two years with the RRS BH-55 and clamp for my 5DIII, my heaviest lens being a 70-200mm f2.8 IS II.  No problems whatsoever with fine adjustments, smoothness, or the clamps.  I have the L-plates.

It is so intuitive to use, so quick, almost like not using a tripod at times.  Anytime equipment seems to become invisible, I'm happy.

Only complaint is when I want to shoot pointing upwards, I have to turn the head around so that I can get a steeper angle with one of the two slots, but that seems to be an issue on many heads.  And of course the same happens if I want to point downwards--I have to use a slot, which reminds me that I'm using a tripod.

Customer service is superb.

Kestrel

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Re: RRS or Markins?
« Reply #17 on: June 14, 2014, 09:02:19 PM »
I have had a RRS BH-55 with lever release for nearly a decade and it is fabulous. No problems whatsoever with the lever release clamp. I far prefer the lever release to the traditional knob, and have never, ever, had one come open accidentally. I think if you use it with RRS plates you will have no trouble.

Bennymiata

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Re: RRS or Markins?
« Reply #18 on: June 14, 2014, 09:59:41 PM »
I do a lot of work at big building sites with lots of dust and dirt, and I use an Acratech GP ballhead.
If it gets covered in mud, which does happen occasionally, I just run it under a water tap to clean it. No need to lubricate it at all.
Had it for a few years and it has never let me down once.
It locks on really well and the gimball feature comes in handy for my fun photography.
It's very light in weight, yet holds my gripped 5D3 with 100-400 lens and even a converter sometimes, and it's steady as a rock, yet easy to adjust.
To me, it's a real work of design art too and I've had many comments about it from other photographers who may not have ever seen one in Australia.
You can also turn it into a levelling head which is really handy for panos. Saves carrying around an extra leveller.

winglet

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Re: RRS or Markins?
« Reply #19 on: June 15, 2014, 08:19:31 AM »

Funny thing: in Great Basin National Park I once passed someone on the trail with the same Manfrotto carbon fiber legs, Acratech Ultimate head, and RRS lever clamp as I had at that time.  I was struck by how those exact configurations could wind up in the same remote location.  Very amusing how we photographers peruse the gear others carry--kinda like dogs sniffing each others butts in passing!  lol

Ha! So true!

I've held off the lever clamps so far, although it seems most people that have them, rave about them and have had no issues. When I ordered the RRS PG-02 L Pano-Gimbal, I actually specified it with the screw clamp over the lever. That's partly because getting gear overseas is a little trickier so I tend to order whatever is the most conservative option.

From the RRS site:

Quote
Traditional screw-knob clamps are tried & true and can deliver slightly greater clamping force than our Lever Release clamps.

For something that holds my 1DX + 200-400, I'll take all the clamping force I can get!  :o But it's really personal preference more than anything.

Sorry for the slight thread drift.
Canon 1DX, 5DII | 50 f/1.2 | 85 f/1.2II | 100 f/2.8 Macro | 135 f/2 | 16-35 f/2.8 | 24-70 f/2.8II | 70-200 f/2.8II | 200-400 f/4 1.4X | 8-15 f/4 Fisheye | 24 f/3.5TS | 4X 600EX-RT, ST-E3-RT | Fuji X100s

shining example

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Re: RRS or Markins?
« Reply #20 on: June 15, 2014, 03:38:56 PM »
Thank you all very much for taking the time to reply - there's an awful lot of useful info here.  :)

The ball head is the most important component of a support system.  There are better places (eg: lens and body plates, clamps, flash brackets, macro rails...) where one can save money.  I recommend investing in a top ball head, then saving elsewhere.
Yes, absolutely. I can't quite stretch to Linhof, but that aside, I'm willing to pay what it takes. I just want something that really works for me. (I already have a ballhead that doesn't...)

I've read the thread carefully several times now, and what I keep coming back to are the recommendations for Acratech. Strong but lightweight and easy to keep clean are excellent points in favour, and I like the gimbal/leveling base trick, although I don't know how much I'd actually use it.

I'm willing to carry as much as I have to, weight-wise, to be sure it'll hold my gear properly, but once that's given, the lighter the better. And the place I'm most likely to use it is on beaches, so while I'm rather hoping I wouldn't drop it in the drink or mud, having something that will forgive that if it does happen also appeals. (Also, I can be a bit of a klutz, so.)

I'm specifically considering the Acratech GP, which btw does have a tensioning knob (re: scottburgess's caveat about having to "crank on the tightening knob to really lock it down", which would be an issue because I don't have particularly strong hands).

Acratech don't however do custom L-plates, and Hejnar Photo don't seem to do them for Canon. My local bricks-and-mortar camera shop could order me one, but I didn't quite catch which brand it would be - Kirk, I think.

Would the Acratech GP be a good choice, do you think? And if so, where would I best go for my L-plate?

Thanks again!

brad-man

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Re: RRS or Markins?
« Reply #21 on: June 15, 2014, 06:04:53 PM »
Thank you all very much for taking the time to reply - there's an awful lot of useful info here.  :)

The ball head is the most important component of a support system.  There are better places (eg: lens and body plates, clamps, flash brackets, macro rails...) where one can save money.  I recommend investing in a top ball head, then saving elsewhere.
Yes, absolutely. I can't quite stretch to Linhof, but that aside, I'm willing to pay what it takes. I just want something that really works for me. (I already have a ballhead that doesn't...)

I've read the thread carefully several times now, and what I keep coming back to are the recommendations for Acratech. Strong but lightweight and easy to keep clean are excellent points in favour, and I like the gimbal/leveling base trick, although I don't know how much I'd actually use it.

I'm willing to carry as much as I have to, weight-wise, to be sure it'll hold my gear properly, but once that's given, the lighter the better. And the place I'm most likely to use it is on beaches, so while I'm rather hoping I wouldn't drop it in the drink or mud, having something that will forgive that if it does happen also appeals. (Also, I can be a bit of a klutz, so.)

I'm specifically considering the Acratech GP, which btw does have a tensioning knob (re: scottburgess's caveat about having to "crank on the tightening knob to really lock it down", which would be an issue because I don't have particularly strong hands).

Acratech don't however do custom L-plates, and Hejnar Photo don't seem to do them for Canon. My local bricks-and-mortar camera shop could order me one, but I didn't quite catch which brand it would be - Kirk, I think.

Would the Acratech GP be a good choice, do you think? And if so, where would I best go for my L-plate?

Thanks again!

The Acratech GP is an excellent head, you will not be disappointed. One of the major points of the arca-swiss system is compatibility. Any arca compatible plate will fit with any arca ballhead that uses a screw type clamp. Lever clamps are a little more picky. Kirk and RRS make the best L brackets that are custom fitted for your model of camera. Lens plates can be bought from any source as they are generic.

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Re: RRS or Markins?
« Reply #21 on: June 15, 2014, 06:04:53 PM »

scottburgess

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Re: RRS or Markins?
« Reply #22 on: June 15, 2014, 06:47:26 PM »
Would the Acratech GP be a good choice, do you think? And if so, where would I best go for my L-plate?

Thanks again!

You're welcome, glad to hear all our ramblings are of use.

The Acratech GP should be able to support your lenses and should be reasonably durable.  Whether it is best for your style of photography only you can really say.  Part of using gear is liking the feel of it, feeling like it is an extension of yourself.  I appreciate the texture of the RRS clamp knobs, the fast closing action on some Kirk clamps, the smooth control of the BH-55 head, the huge variety and mounting options of the Hejnar macro rails, and how much easier life is with ring mounts on telephoto and macro lenses.  If you're like most of us, you'll have your own likes and dislikes after using something heavily for years, and you'll appreciate minute improvements in the newer gear.  Then maybe you'll try something else.  Camera gear is not "...'til death do us part," after all.

Note that you might be able to order an Acratech head without a clamp, meaning you could buy the clamp of your choice from somewhere else.  For example, a RRS panning clamp might be more practical than their "upside down" posture for frequent pano-stitching.  The clamp-free versions used to be common from Acratech--contact the company via email if that's an option you'd like and see what they will do pricing-wise.  It never hurts to ask.  I notice they now have lever clamps and bubble levels available, so maybe this option doesn't matter much to you.

Both Kirk and RRS make great L-plates for camera bodies.  Usually I check weight and whether I have full access to the controls, but Kirk and RRS are both good about making ports available.  Sometimes Kirk is a little cheaper.  With respect to your 7D, however, the prices are the same, so I personally would choose the RRS since it is a half ounce lighter (unless you need the new sensor center line on the Kirk).

Hejnar really doesn't make L-plates.  They're costly to design, as designers must buy all the camera models and accessories to test out prototypes.   Hejnar carries a couple for a few odd Nikon and Sony models, but doesn't appear to customize them well to the camera bodies.  I think he mainly fills a niche in L-plates for camera bodies that the bigger companies don't want to bother with.




shining example

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Re: RRS or Markins?
« Reply #23 on: July 28, 2014, 04:09:51 PM »
Just to follow up, I got my Acratech GP a few days ago.

Even just taking it out of the box, it's a thing of joy and beauty, but having now given it a quick try-out, I must say it feels pretty marvellous to use too. The difference between it and my previous ballhead is astounding, especially considering that said previous ballhead was an older, non-Arca-Swiss-compatible Gitzo, so not exactly bargain-bin either. (It was awful though. Perhaps it was a particularly bad copy of an already not brilliant design.)

Part of using gear is liking the feel of it, feeling like it is an extension of yourself.

Absolutely. And unfortunately you can't always tell until you've been using something for a while whether it really works for you. But while I may need a little while to get used to the screw clamp (I just went with it, as I'm not experienced enough to have a preference and the consensus seems to be that screw clamps are a tiny bit safer than quick release), I think we're going to get along just fine.

Thanks again to everyone who took the time to reply!

privatebydesign

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Re: RRS or Markins?
« Reply #24 on: July 28, 2014, 04:20:51 PM »
Just to follow up, I got my Acratech GP a few days ago.

Welcome to the club. I can't recommend it any more than I did, if I lost mine today I'd order another one immediately.

There are a couple of things I actually spoke to Scott at Acratech about, when the clamp is mounted on the bottom there should be a detent to stop the whole clamp rotating on the base, when it is the "right" way up it has positive locks, when reversed it doesn't, not a biggie but if you are cold and wet, or hot and sweaty you can move the clamp unintentionally, though this is not a dropping hazard. And the pan and clamp knobs come close to each other when it is inverted.

Mine doesn't look pristine anymore either!
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eli452

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Re: RRS or Markins?
« Reply #25 on: July 28, 2014, 04:38:01 PM »

Markins generally is thought of as not playing well with other gear. 

I have the Markins Q3 on Gitzo monopod and the Q10 on Gitzo tripod. 7D with RRS L-Plate and 2 lens with collars and RRS lens plates, 2 RRS rails and Wimberley Arca Sidekick Ball to Gimbal Head Adapter and never had an issue with compatibility.
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brad-man

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Re: RRS or Markins?
« Reply #26 on: July 28, 2014, 04:55:18 PM »

Markins generally is thought of as not playing well with other gear. 

I have the Markins Q3 on Gitzo monopod and the Q10 on Gitzo tripod. 7D with RRS L-Plate and 2 lens with collars and RRS lens plates and never had an issue with compatibility.

That quote is completely unfounded and undoubtedly came from someone who has never used a Markins...

docsmith

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Re: RRS or Markins?
« Reply #27 on: July 28, 2014, 05:03:37 PM »

Markins generally is thought of as not playing well with other gear. 

I have the Markins Q3 on Gitzo monopod and the Q10 on Gitzo tripod. 7D with RRS L-Plate and 2 lens with collars and RRS lens plates, 2 RRS rails and Wimberley Arca Sidekick Ball to Gimbal Head Adapter and never had an issue with compatibility.

Very similarly, I have a Markins Q3T mounted on a Gitzo tripod and connect with RRS L- and lens plates.  No compatibility issues.  If anything, the Markins plays better with others as it has an adjustment screw that lets me adjust the quick release to other manufacturer's plates.

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Re: RRS or Markins?
« Reply #27 on: July 28, 2014, 05:03:37 PM »

tolusina

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Re: RRS or Markins?
« Reply #28 on: July 28, 2014, 08:56:13 PM »
..... I keep coming back to are the recommendations for Acratech. ......

Acratech don't however do custom L-plates,.....

Would the Acratech GP be a good choice, do you think? And if so, where would I best go for my L-plate? ....
Here's another Acratech recommendation.
I'm using an Ultimate GP Ballhead on a Gitzo GT2531LVL with a Really Right Stuff angle plate.
This Gitzo has a leveling post so I've no need for a leveling head feature.
I compared photos as that's what's possible on this internet thingy between Kirk and RRS angle plates, liked the look of the RRS a bit more than I liked the look of the Kirk.
 
10s on the 1 - 10 scale for Acratech and RRS.
One of these days I'ma rant on Gitzo though, grumble grumble, I did keep it though, actually, I kept the second even though it had the same issues as the first.
 
 

  .
40 on 6

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Re: RRS or Markins?
« Reply #28 on: July 28, 2014, 08:56:13 PM »