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Tim has been interested in photography for many years. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Biology and a Master's in Environmental Science. Writing nature articles allows him to combine his interest in photography and nature into one medium.

Markins Q3 Emille Ballhead Mount

Overview

In my search for a ballhead mount, I ran across many brands that were highly respected and recommended.  However, some of them were very expensive.  I did find one brand that received very good reviews, but was moderatley priced (although not inexpensive) – that was the Markins brand.

While researching Markins, it seemed like it was frequently overlooked, but Markins owners seemed to like their purchases.  So, I took the plunge and bought the Markins Q3 Emille.

Features

The main feature that sold me on the Markins was it’s purported maximum load, which is listed at 65 pounds.  Now, I’m assuming that this is probably an exaggeration, but if it’s only half of that, it would still have a maximum load of over 30 pounds – more than enough for my equipment.

The Q3 is definitely a rugged piece of equipment, so the maximum load numbers may not be far off.  It has a very solid feel to it, but only weights a little over 13 ounces.  It has a panning knob, panorama index, and a ball diameter of 1.5 inches.  Available colors are black, red, and blue (mine’s black).

What I like

My favorite thing about this ballhead is it’s low weight, yet very solid feel.  It doesn’t add much weight to my setup, but I don’t worry about it malfunctioning.  The knobs are solid and easy to adjust.  I’ve also had it at all different angles and it’s always held solid with no creep or play.  I haven’t tried putting the maximum weight on it, but have had a Custom Bracket, Canon T1i, and a 80-400 mm Tokina lens with no problem.

What I don’t like

On the Markins website, the company recommends that if you are going to use different camera plates, to not get the quick release shoe.  They are absolutely correct on this.  My Markins has the quick release and that was a mistake.  I thought if I needed more camera plates, I would just purchase them from Markins;  however, as I acquired more photography stuff, I also accumulated various camera plates from different manufacturers.  Unfortunately, the quick release is extremely difficult to close with these other plates – I’m assuming because the other camera plates are slightly wider.  If I could go back in time, I would purchase the knob style release instead of the lever style (although the lever style is great if you stick with the Markins plates).

The friction knob wasn’t intuitive to me at first.  It’s a small inset dial in the main tightening knob.  I had to play around with it to figure it out and sometimes I’m still not sure what I’m doing with it.  Luckily, it hasn’t needed to be readjusted lately.

The only other problem I’ve experienced is my own fault;  I thought the panning knob wasn’t tightening properly – I even e-mailed the company about it.  I was quite embarrassed when I realized I was turning it the wrong direction.  For some reason, I always wanted to tighten the panning knob in the wrong direction, but I’m fine with it now and it works great.

Conclusions

I highly recommend the Markins Q3, but if I were to buy one today, I wouldn’t get the quick release.  Also, I would take a few moments to make sure I understand how the panning knob and friction knob work before taking it out in the field.

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