The Markins Q20i BV-20 head is a compact, heavy duty tripod head option for supporting large super telephoto lenses. While you typically have to resort to using large, cumbersome gimbal heads to support these type of lenses, the BV-20 kit allows a much more manageable setup. Rather than having to take along both a standard ball head and large gimbal head, you only need take the standard-sized Q20i ball head and compact BV-20. Not using the supertele at the moment? Just slide off the BV-20 and use the fully-functional Q20i ball head with a standard arca-swiss type plate (not included).
So what exactly is the BV-20? It’s essentially an accessory plate that’s been specifically designed to work with the Q20i. It slides into the quick-release of the Q20i when in the vertical position, and has a locking pin on the opposite side to ensure stability. We’re comfortable saying the head can support any of our super telephoto lenses, but you’ll need to make sure you’ve got it mounted to a sturdy tripod. We’d recommend either the Induro CT313 Heavy Duty or Gitzo 3531S Heavy Duty.
Please Note: This item does not include an arca-swiss type plate, which is required to use this tripod head. We do rent the plates separately, but the size plate you’ll need will vary depending on what size lens you’re using. We rent 4 different sizes to give you the most flexibility.
I’m an unabashed Markins fanboy — I’ve been using Markins ballheads for years. This is a very cool addition. Basically, it gives you the heavy-duty Markins Q20 head, but with a quick add on you’ve changed that to a gimbal head giving you quick rotation, vertical elevation, and any combination of the two. Perfect for birders, airshows, or other situations where you’d want a gimbal head.
Is it a replacement for a full Wimberley type II head? No, it’s not quite that smooth, although it can handle a lot of weight. How much weight? Well, we were able to put the 35 pound, 3 foot long Sigma 200-500 f/2.8 zoom on it. I’m not saying it was stable, but it worked. And that makes a measly 600 f/4 lens look like a playtoy.
It is, though, every bit as useful as a ballhead with a Sidekick or similar gimbal add-on, but a lot smaller, more convenient, and quicker to set up. I love it.
- Markins Q20i ball head
- Markins BV-20 head
Arca-swiss plate not included.
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