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Author Topic: Arca Swiss Z1 or Markins Q20  (Read 13653 times)
pjtn
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« on: May 04, 2012, 09:01:02 AM »
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Both the Arca Swiss Z1 and Markins Q20 look awfully similar. Is one really better than the other? They're rated at similar weight tolerances and they cost almost the same. I'm looking at getting one or the other for my new Hasselblad setup.
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Ellis Vener
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« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2012, 09:31:54 AM »
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The Markins uses a spherically shaped ball. The Arca-Swiss Z1 (as the B1 Monoball before it) uses an aspherical shaped ball. This means in practice as well as in theory that with the Z1  when the ball is neither fully unlocked or fully locked down the resistance on the ball increases as  the camera tilts away from the vertical. This makes for fewer pinched fingers when big cameras and/or  lenses are mounted, fewer unexpected flops of unbalanced loads, and more precise control over framing and leveling a camera wit ha slightly loosened main control.

Both have tension setting functions (the thumbscrews in the main control). This function sets drag on the ball based on the weight and balance of the camera and lens being mounted.

The Markins, like several others, is externally a cosmetic copycat of the Arca-Swiss B1 which is why they appear to be similar.

The one thing I really dislike about the Arca-Swiss heads is their lever clamp. For this reason, and because having a rotating platform directly underneath the camera is a better idea, I replaced the clamp on my Arca-Swiss B1 Monoball  with a Really Right Stuff PCL-1 clamp.

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Ellis Vener
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Rod.Klukas
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« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2012, 10:31:29 AM »
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The Z1 heads are available with top pan as well as the traditional bottom pan for positioning.
The flip lock is not the only QR available either.  We now offer the aforementioned, fliplock lever, the classic, now smaller knob QR, and the newer, more compact 'Monoball Fix.
The Fliplock has it's issues, mostly due to the third party plate manufacturers with non standard dimensions on their plates.  RRS uses 2mm wider dove tails for instance.

Anyway the Z heads and many of our other heads do offer top-pan at this time.
Rod Klukas
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Rod Klukas
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Arca-Swiss International
480-755-3364
rod.klukas@arca-swiss.com



Arca-Swiss Digital Camera Solutions including R-series Technical Cameras, Large Format View Cameras, and Ballheads D4, D4m, P1, P0, Z1 & Z2.
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« Reply #3 on: May 04, 2012, 12:06:45 PM »
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The Fliplock has it's issues, mostly due to the third party plate manufacturers with non standard dimensions on their plates.  RRS uses 2mm wider dove tails for instance.

My experience in the field is that the fliplock design major  issue is with the non-captive design of the nut on the screw. That Arca-Swiss recognizes that people do not like to be forced to use only one brand of plate is laudable and something I wish RRS and others recognized.
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Ellis Vener
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tsjanik
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« Reply #4 on: May 07, 2012, 07:05:26 AM »
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I've had a Z1 for several years and find it wonderful.  When I used a Pentax 67II, the aspherical ball allowed me to adjust tension such that the camera could be repositioned and yet not have any flop issues.  The clamp is a bit fussy and seems a little over-engineered, but works fine, unless I'm wearing gloves.  I much prefer it to the traditional screw clamp on my Acratech head, where I'm never quite sure if the camera is secure.
My only real criticism of the Z1 is that it should have two cut outs in the base to allow the camera to point down.  As it is, to shot down, the tightening knob must be on the right side of the camera, requiring you to reach over with your left hand to tighten since your right hand is holding the camera - very awkward.
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pjtn
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« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2012, 07:21:19 AM »
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I'm very much leaning towards the Arca Swiss Z1, it should sit nicely on my new Gitzo GT3532LS tripod. I'm hoping the new tripod will be sturdy enough to do long exposures (~5 mins) with the Hasselblad mounted on top.
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Ellis Vener
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« Reply #6 on: May 07, 2012, 11:05:27 AM »
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ballast hanging from the center column or on the legs helps kill  shutter, photographer or wind induced vibration.
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Ellis Vener
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JohnBrew
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« Reply #7 on: May 07, 2012, 11:41:19 AM »
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A satisfied Markins user here.
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CatOne
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« Reply #8 on: May 09, 2012, 07:39:15 PM »
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My personal vote would be for the RRS BH-55; I moved to it from the Arca Swiss and much prefer the handling of the tension mechanism.  It's more compact with the same weight capacity too.
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Robert DeCandido PhD
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« Reply #9 on: May 10, 2012, 09:01:18 AM »
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We had the BH-55. In the field (Nepal) while a 500mm F4 lens was mounted on it, the knob for lock-down came undone - it simply became loose and then fell out of the socket!...Fortunately one of us caught the lens before it hit the ground.

When we returned to NYC we contacted RRS - they told us that was a known problem to them. The glue that holds the knob in place can disintegrate...or was not applied correctly in some cases.

Given their political stance on certain issues in California and the problem we had with their equipment, we do our best to purchase from other manufacturers now.

Deborah Allen and Robert DeCandido PhD
NYC

Do a google search for: Really Right Stuff Prop 8 California (the anti-gay marriage bill)

http://www.flickr.com/groups/865962@N20/discuss/72157612473243424/





« Last Edit: May 10, 2012, 09:32:42 AM by Robert DeCandido PhD » Logged
pjtn
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« Reply #10 on: May 10, 2012, 09:10:54 AM »
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I've ordered the Arca Swiss Z1 from BH Photo, quite excited to see what it's like.

Personally I don't like the RRS equipment, I feel like it's overhyped. My last ball head was a BH-40 and while it was an ok head, it was not worth the money paid. The ball is not terribly smooth and the tension setting was awful. The looks are a little on the ordinary side too.
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Ellis Vener
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« Reply #11 on: May 10, 2012, 09:15:57 AM »
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That is a shame that your BH-55 failed while in the field. I take it the  head became completely unusable? I had two Graf Studioballs seperately from the panning base while on assignment. Graf's dealer replaced the first one and the second is buried in the Mississippi river's mud offshore of Davenport, Iowa. This was in the mid 1990s. I had an Arca-Swiss B1 Monoball FedEx'd to me so I could complete the assignment. It is still in use.

You might want to explain the comment about the Johnson's politics, but I am more concerned about catastrophic equipment failure.
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Ellis Vener
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« Reply #12 on: May 10, 2012, 09:40:48 AM »
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When you get your Z1, here is how to use the drag or tension control; mount a camera and lens combination on the head with main control fully locked. Now use your thumbe to set the drag o nthe head to full position now loosen the main control a bit  about a half turn and try moving the camera/lens combination. now start backing off the drag/tension setting you want to find a combination of main control and drag setting where you can loosen the head but it takes a little effort to actually move the camera/lens combination. The further over you push camera/lens combo the greater drag you'll feel because of the aspherical shape of the ball. Different loads will require different drag/tension settings.
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Ellis Vener
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Creating photographs for advertising, corporate and industrial clients since 1984.
pjtn
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« Reply #13 on: May 10, 2012, 06:40:42 PM »
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Thanks for that Ellis. It sounds a lot like a video I watched on setting the tension on the Markins Q20 ball head.
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Ellis Vener
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« Reply #14 on: May 10, 2012, 06:58:01 PM »
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Markins "copied" (I am being polite) Arca-Swiss in this and other regards. If a head looks like an Arca-Swiss B 1 or Z1 there is a reason for it. thart doesn't mean the guts are the same.
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Ellis Vener
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Creating photographs for advertising, corporate and industrial clients since 1984.
pjtn
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« Reply #15 on: May 10, 2012, 07:00:21 PM »
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It's a pity Markins didn't copy the Z2 and make it half the price. That would be a ball head to consider Smiley
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Ellis Vener
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« Reply #16 on: May 10, 2012, 07:39:01 PM »
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The Arca-Swiss Z2, like the B2 it replaces,  isn't a ballhead at all; rather it is a dual tilt head, one limited in angle tilt mechanism, an asperical shell, inside another aspherical shaped shell. The twin shells provide more surface area for the clamping action than all but the heaviest duty (FOBA ASMIA) non-geared tilt head. The shared center of tilt for both movements shares a common center point which helps with keeping a camera, especially a view camera ( don't forget, Arca-Swiss is at its fundamental core a designer and builder of large format view cameras) balanced when making small movements.
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Ellis Vener
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pjtn
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« Reply #17 on: May 10, 2012, 07:43:23 PM »
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You certainly know your stuff when it comes to ball heads. I've had the chance to use one very briefly and was very impressed by the way it had limited movements. I always find it a pain having to recompose fine compositions with a ball head, you always end up changing something unintentionally. Hopefully the Z1 will be better in this regard.
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Ellis Vener
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« Reply #18 on: May 10, 2012, 08:26:57 PM »
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I've gone through a lot of tripod heads in my years. I used to use view cameras (Sinar C, Sinar P & P2, Arca-Swiss F & FC, Canham DLC, a 5x7 Linhof Technika, and V-Pan 617 Mk.III, along with an occasional Horseman, Toyo and Calumet) quite a lot and one of the things I really, really hated was thinking I'd locked the camera down only to see it slowly settle into it's true locked (and off level) position. Very frustrating. The list of the tripod heaDs I've owned or tried is long but the list of leg sets is short: I've had my two aluminum Gitzos (a 323 and 410C)  since the mid 1980s.

Until I tried and later bought (on eBay) a Foba ASMIA and added a really Right Stuff PCL-1 clamp on top, the best head I've ever owned was the Arca-Swiss B2 monoball. The only problem the ASMIA has is it's weight: about 4 lbs. It feels like it is machined out of the steel they used to make M1 tanks out of but is amazingly smooth and precise.

The ballhead I always wanted to try but never have is the The Burzynski "Protec" ballhead, which you can read about here: http://www.naturfotograf.com/burzynski.html
« Last Edit: May 10, 2012, 08:58:16 PM by Ellis Vener » Logged

Ellis Vener
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NancyP
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« Reply #19 on: May 16, 2012, 07:55:36 PM »
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Robert, I have to say that although there are some attractive items in the RRS catalogue, I am inclined to avoid RRS stuff due to the owners' Prop 8 support. There are several other good US-based manufacturers of plates, clamps, rails, brackets, and so on. An RRS item has to be absolutely unique to earn my business.
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