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MK Panohead


MK Panohead

VR Head Type:

Multi-Row Spherical Panoramic Tripod Mount


2.3 lbs (1.05 kg)


(HxWxD)240mm x 195mm x 209mm

Load Capacity:

Approximately 20 lbs


Black / Red



Large Bodied DSLRs / Medium Format Compatibility:




Numerical Demarcations:

On lower & upper rails. (metric), upper rotator

Bottom Thread Attachment

3/8" female thread

Rotator head adjustments:

Manfrotto 300N

Vertical Arm Rotation:


Panoramic Rotation:


Camera Quick Release:

No (optional)

Upper arm detent stop:

Yes - 15°

Landscape Mode:


Tools Required For Assembly:

No.  Only required for changing parts.


2 years warranty

Tools Supplied:


Spare Parts Supplied:


Case Supplied:


Accessories Available:




Customer Support:





(US) $670.00 approx

Web site:






First impression of the MK Panohead had a professional look and clean design.  The red rotator base, upper rotator and camera plate complimented its overall look.


Shipment of the unit came surprisingly quick considering being shipped from Germany.


The size of the panohead is comparable to its counterparts. 

The MK Panohead comes with the Manfrotto 300N panoramic head rotator.


The 300N have selectable click-stops that ranges from 4,6,8,10,12,15,18,24,36 and 72.

The rotator comes with a standard 3/8 bottom thread.


The base of the MK Panohead.

The bottom of the base uses a standard 3/8" thread.  Various MK rotators may be used with this head as an option.


Lower rail has demarcations for simple adjustments of the vertical rail.

The vertical rail knob is nice and huge to easily tighten the entire assembly. 


The vertical rail has two guides underneath that inserts within the canal of the lower rail.


Notice the length of the vertical knob's screw.


The upper rotator uses a small handle to tighten and easily loosened by flipping the arm.


The upper rotator has demaracations marked every 15° -/+.



The upper rotator uses three ball bearings, supported by springs, that presses against the other half of the assembly.


The click stops are every 15°.



The camera plate has a rubber base where the camera would sit.   The red area is a "raised" area that matches the height of the rubber base.


Behind the upper rail there are demarcations.  There is a white line behind the camera plate for alignment with the upper rail.




"Simply...  Precise."


The following techniques used to measure precision are simple using ordinary measuring tools.  Meant for the non-engineer types like myself to perform.


How accurate are the markings?.  Well I just had to find out. 


Demarcations of the upper rotator was transferred to a sheet of paper and marked out every 45°.

Lines were then drawn from each mark and extended to the opposite mark.


Used a protractor to test - Perfect.

Lower Rail - Perfect.

Upper rotator demarcations - Perfect.

Vertical arm 90° alignment - Perfect.


(Yellow tape was used for visibility.)


Upper rail level test - Perfect.



Lower rail level and Rotation level test - Perfect.


The rotation level test is probably what many photographers look for.  Although not necessary with today's software it's still good to have.





A small detail I noticed was with the camera plate at it's furthest position.  The camera plate knob would hit the bottom assembly of the vertical rail.  Of course this would only occur if you needed to set your camera at the furthest upper rail position.


Although the lower rail's demarcation starts at 30mm it's actually 50mm from the axis.


The upper rail's start of 60mm is actual distance from the upper rotator's axis.


There is currently no bubble level on the MK Panohead.  With the setup shown I'm using the Manfrotto 338 leveler.


The MK Panohead was designed with the vertical rail to the right (if you were facing the camera lens).


Depending what you're use to you can switch it over to the other side.  The only draw back is everything is upside down.


That's including the demarcations on the upper rail.




Accommodates various sizes of lenses.


Shown in order: 10.5mm Fisheye, 12-24mm, 17-55mm and 70-200mm.





My long exposure nadir technique is possible with the MK Panohead. 


This is always one of the key features I look for in a pan head.  It's also why I do not use a quick release plate.  You need the ability to slide the camera a bit further up the rail.




This is the nadir from a 1273x1273 cubic image.  (4000x2000 equirectangular)


Depending what combination you use will determine your footprint.  But even with a large leveler, like Manfrotto's 338 leveler, the footprint is still very small.





Size comparison with other pan heads.


Left to right:  Kaidan's QuickPan Pro, Manfrotto's 303SPH, MK's Panohead and Nodal Ninja's NN5 w/ RD12.


These pano heads can be used with the lens/camera combination shown previously. 





Every part can be replaced for maintenance if necessary.






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 Roundshot and 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 engineering.


Every component 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. 


A 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 equipment. 


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 it could.


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 post-production work?





There is no bubble level on either the panohead or the 300N.  So I had to use the Manfrotto 338.


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.


No bundled 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 competitive panohead.


The rest of its shortcomings are minor and a remedy can easily be implemented by the manufacturer. 






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