July 8, 2012

New Sunwayfoto FB Series Lightweight Ball Heads

Sunwayfoto FB-36DDH main People at Sunwayfoto have been very productive lately, with the release of quite a few dedicated plates and brackets for Canon, Nikon and Sony cameras as well as two new lighter ball heads.

FB-36 and FB-36DDH with panoramic clamp were announced just a week ago, complementing the larger FB-44 and FB-44DDH, that were announced a little while back.

Thus forming the Sunwayfoto FB series of ball heads.




FB Series Common Characteristics
The new FB series of ball heads maintains the ellipsoidal shape of balls found in all Sunwayfoto ball heads, but also shares some characteristics that differentiate them from their equivalents in the former DB series.
First of all the FB series Ball heads are lighter than the DB series. Next, according to Sunwayfoto, the Ball locking strength is enhanced by 20%, and Panning base locking strength by 50% !

Sunwayfoto FB-Series Clamp bubble level off-front-side
All FB series ball head quick release clamps have a removable bubble spirit level.
However, except for the level mounting holes in the front, they also have two extra bubble level mounting hole sets, one at each side of the clamp.
So users can mount the removable spirit level at any of 3 sides of clamp, whichever they find more convenient, or optionally add a second one.

Sunwayfoto FB-Series single drop notchThe usual up to now, double drop notch of the DB Series has given its place to a single drop notch for portrait orientation or a deep tilt forward or backward.
With a single drop notch a little versatility is lost, as the head has to be turned around in order to bring the drop notch at the desired position.
But on the other hand this design permitted the relocation of the main Friction / Lock knob from the right to the left side of the ball head shell.


Sunwayfoto FB-Series Lock Knob detail A fact that will make happy a lot of users that felt the main Friction / Lock knob positioning awkward.

Further, there is no friction scale ring around the main knob any more.

Furthermore, the former diamond pattern on the large main Friction / Lock knob perimeter gave its place to a pattern of deep CNC machined grooves.



Another common attribute of the FB series ball heads is the placement of the Panning base lock knob at an angle of 90 degrees to the large main Friction / Lock knob.

This will prove most helpful when mounting the ball heads on a tripod with reverse folding legs, as the knobs will not interfere with the legs at all.





Sunwayfoto FB-Series Panning base detail Finally, the new FB series has a completely different Panning base design from the DB series.
The Panning base diameter is narrower, while the laser engraved panning scale is more visible than before.
The Φ mark which serves as a panning pointer is also large and clear.





Let's see next each model individually.

Sunwayfoto FB-36

Sunwayfoto FB-36 ball head mainManufacturer Specification
Model FB-36................................
Ball diameter: 36mm
Base diameter: 48mm
Weight: 304g
Height: 83mm
Max Load: 18kg
Bottom threads: 3/8"-16 UNC
Clamp Type: Screw-Knob
......................................................


Sunwayfoto FB-36 ball head side view
FB-36 is lighter by 74gr than the original DB-36 with screw knob QR clamp. It is accompanied by an updated 42mm screw knob quick release clamp, which apart from the extra bubble level mounting holes, was redesigned in order to get rid of any possible excess material and become lighter.
Sunwayfoto FB-36 tilted ball top view
Tilting the QR clamp into the drop notch, reveals the nicely finished ellipsoidal ball and the underside of the extremely carved quick release clamp.
Sunwayfoto FB-36 mounted on Sirui N2204 Carbon tripod side-top-front leg view
Sunwayfoto FB-36 Ball head mounted on the Sirui N2204 Carbon Fiber Traveler Tripod.
The small diameter panning base matches the tripod's top plate diameter and fits perfectly between the reverse folding legs. The quick release clamp fits also nicely between the folded legs, either tilted to one side or by relocating the spirit bubble level on one side of the QR clamp.

Sunwayfoto FB-36DDH

Sunwayfoto FB-36DDH ball heas w/ DDH-02 Panning clamp mainManufacturer Specification
Model FB-36DDH............................
Ball diameter: 36mm
Base Diameter: 48mm
Weight: 325g
Height: 82mm
Max Load: 18kg
Bottom threads: 3/8"-16 UNC
Clamp Type: Panning Screw-Knob
.........................................................


Sunwayfoto FB-36DDH ball heas w/ DDH-02 Panning clamp side
FB-36DDH differs from FB-36 by the addition of the also newly released extra compact and lightweight Sunwayfoto DDH-02 compact Panning Clamp. This combination is still lighter than the original DB-36 ball head by 55gr and offers a very versatile solution for Panorama shooting, with lighter equipment while on the go.
Sunwayfoto FB-36DDH ball heas w/ DDH-02 Panning clamp bottom
Bottom view of the 48mm diameter base reveals the 3/8"-16 UNC center hole for tripod mounting.
Sunwayfoto FB-36DDH Ball head mounted on the Sirui N2204 Carbon Fiber Traveler Tripod.
The DDH-02 panning quick release clamp fits also nicely between the folded legs, permitting them to close fully.



Sunwayfoto FB-36DL

Sunwayfoto FB-36DL w/ DLC-42 Duo clamp main
Manufacturer Specification
Model FB-36DL.......................................
Ball diameter: 36mm
Base: 48mm
Weight: 320g
Height: 83mm
Max Load: 18kg
Bottom threads: 3/8"-16 UNC
Clamp Type: Combo Lever/Screw-Knob
..................................................................






Another variation of the FB-36 ball head is FB-36DL which is combined with the reviewed Sunwayfoto DLC-42 Duo Lever/Knob Quick Release Clamp offering a versatile solution of a Lever release with a screw-knob fine adjustment for different width Arca-Swiss compatible plate / rails.









Sunwayfoto FB-44

Sunwayfoto FB-44 ball head main
Manufacturer Specification
Model FB-44................................
Ball diameter: 44mm
Base Diameter: 55mm
Weight: 436g
Height: 94mm
Max Load: 30kg
Bottom threads: 3/8"-16 UNC
Clamp Type: Screw-Knob
......................................................





Sunwayfoto FB-44 ball head side view
FB-44 is lighter by 64gr than the original DB-44 with screw knob QR clamp. It is accompanied by an updated 50mm screw knob quick release clamp, which apart from the extra bubble level mounting holes, was also redesigned in order to get rid of any possible excess material.
Sunwayfoto FB-44 main & pan Lock knobs detail
Slim and lightweight! Could be a nice alternative for a more demanding traveler solution.
Sunwayfoto FB-44 bottom view
Bottom view of the 55mm diameter base reveals the 3/8"-16 UNC center hole for tripod mounting.

Sunwayfoto FB-44DDH

Sunwayfoto FB-44DDH w/ DDH-02 Panning Clamp mainManufacturer Specification
Model FB-44DDH...........................
Ball diameter: 44mm
Base Diameter: 55mm
Weight: 450g
Height: 97,4mm
Max Load: 30kg
Bottom threads: 3/8"-16 UNC
Clamp Type: Panning Screw-Knob
.........................................................

Sunwayfoto FB-44DDH w/ DDH-02 Panning front logo side
Same as the FB-36DDH above, FB-44DDH differs from FB-44 by the addition of the also newly released extra compact and lightweight Sunwayfoto DDH-02 compact Panning Clamp. This combination is once again lighter than the original DB-44 ball head by 50gr and offers a versatile solution for Panorama shooting for heavier camera lens combinations.
Sunwayfoto FB-44DDH w/ DDH-02 Panning notch side
Sunwayfoto DDH-02 matches perfectly with the FB-44 dimensions. The total weight is still bellow the competition even with a simple quick release clamp.

Sunwayfoto FB-44DL

Sunwayfoto FB-44DL w/ DLC-50 Duo clamp main
Manufacturer Specification
Model FB-44DL.........................................
Ball diameter: 44mm
Base Diameter: 55mm
Weight: 470g
Height: 93mm
Max Load: 30kg
Bottom threads: 3/8"-16 UNC
Clamp Type: Combo Lever/Screw-Knob
...................................................................






Sunwayfoto DLC-50 Duo Lever/Knob clamp top
Finally FB-44DL is the combination of the FB-44 ball head with the little larger DLC-50 Duo Lever/Knob Quick Release Clamp.












Conclusion
Considering the silky smooth operation of the DB series ball heads offered in a more compact and lightweight body at a lower price, then FB series must be a very good value for money!

Update: October 2012
Sunwayfoto XB and FB Series Manuals Available for Download

Update: November 2012
The Sunwayfoto FB Series family was enriched with Sunwayfoto FB-28 Lightweight Ball Head a very small ball head which promises high quality and high locking ability for its tiny size.

Sunwayfoto FB-Series Family overview
Sunwayfoto FB Series family.
Update: July 2013
Model FB-36DDH has been updated with the new Sunwayfoto DDH-02i (improved) Panning Clamp and now is model FB-36DDH2i.
Sunwayfoto FB-36DDH2i ball head
(Photo by courtesy of Sunwayfoto.com)

I hope you found the article useful, thank you for viewing.
All Photos used by permission: © 2012 Sunwayfoto.com - Photosynths © 2012 S.C.Vlachos

Availability:
All FB-Series Ball Heads are available  from Amazon.com

Referenced Articles:
New Improved Sunwayfoto DDH-02i & DDH-03i Panning Clamps Preview
New Sunwayfoto DDH-02 compact Panning Clamp
New Sunwayfoto FB-28 Lightweight Ball Head Preview

Relevant Articles:
Sunwayfoto FB-36DDH Lightweight Ball Head Review
Sunwayfoto DLC-42 Duo Lever/Knob Quick Release Clamp Review
Sunwayfoto DB-36TRLR Traveler Ball Head Review
Sunwayfoto XB-44 Low Profile Ball Head Review

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