The new MK
Panohead by Marc Kairies is a recent entry into to the panoramic
scene. It is made in Germany.
A brief history
of Marc Kairies; he worked from 1996 to 1998 at Kamera Werke Noble
in Dresden that was well known for the Noblex cameras. In 1998 he
started with the distribution of the Roundshot cameras in Germany.
Panorama systems such as the
MK Panomachine .
MK Panoramas Systeme was borm.
It’s clear that Marc Kairies
has entered competition with the rest of
the panoramic head manufacturers.
First impression of
the MK Panohead was that it has a clean and professional look;
almost too simple. At the same time it’s almost like a “work of
art”. I love the red accent colors added to the rotators and camera
plate. But underneath all the simplicity and beauty is precision
aligns and assembles together without any play that may compromise a
panorama. As you’ve seen above no corners were cut with the
demarcations on the rails and upper rotator, 90° alignment and
levelness assuring a consistent panorama each time.
It is solid and
weighs 2.3 lbs. It does not feel “light-weight” or “cheap”. With
its solid rails this panohead can easily handle various heavy camera
body and lens combination. I tested the load capacity with a
70-200mm lens. This head can handle pro bodies such as the Nikon
D3, Canon 1Ds MkIII and medium format cameras with digital backs.
key feature of the MK Panohead is the bundled Manfrotto 300N.
A proven panoramic rotator head. It's selectable "on the fly"
click stops is nice to have. The click stops can also be
disabled for manual rotations.
One thing I should
point out are the corners of the rails. It does not have sharp
edges. They’ve been rounded off for safe handling of the
On my initial
panoramic test I already knew the panohead can shoot panos without a
problem. Most heads at this level can without too much “glitch”.
What I was mostly concerned about can the panohead be configured for
my nadir long exposure technique? I was delighted to realize that
Another test that I
was pleased about was the rotation-level test. As shown with the
image above you can clearly see the head stayed leveled through the
360° rotation. This may seem unimportant to most as most rely on
software for image correction. My personal belief is why have extra
There is no bubble level on
either the panohead or the 300N. So I had to use the Manfrotto
Another feature I was
looking for was a rail-stop or position-marker on the rails. The MK
Panohead does not have any.
Currently there is
no manual for the MK Panohead; none also on their web site. They
are working on it as this review was being written.
accessory with the panohead such as spare parts, tools, etc.
Leather hand made cases are currently being made. I'm not sure
if it will be bundled.
There are no
recommended camera and lens settings available for the panohead.
Assuming that it’s for the experienced panographer, camera settings
would not be necessary. So it is wise to know how to find the
entrance pupil for your specific camera body and lens combination.
Given the variety of camera bodies and lens it is very difficult for
a panohead manufacturer to provide such overwhelming information.
In closing the MK
Panohead comes with a two year manufacturer’s warranty. On their
web site accessories for the MK Panohead are available such as a hot
shoe bubble, quick release plates, remote camera triggers, motorized
base, etc. just to name a few.
New rotators are currently being developed for their MK panohead line
I gave the MK
Panohead an overall score of 9 out of 10. Definitely a
The rest of its
shortcomings are minor and a remedy can easily be implemented by the