November 21, 2012

Sunwayfoto DDP-64MX+DDY-64 Panoramic Indexing Rotator Review

Sunwayfoto DDP-64MX+DDY-64 Panoramic Indexing Rotator unboxed
In the process of formatting the idea and building a new Heavy Duty Panorama Head for HDR / Gigapixel Panoramas, I came across various considerations.
As I have explained in the Sunwayfoto DYH-66i Leveling Base Review the increased offset load of a long telephoto lens, requires sturdier structure and components that can withstand the extra torque.

Building from base up, next comes the horizontal panoramic rotator. After some initial tests, the Benro PC-1  Panorama Clamp used in my solutions up to now, reached its limits and therefore I sought for another solution that would fulfill my "golden mean" between sturdiness, functionality and price.

When we speak about HDR / Gigapixel  Panoramas functionality takes a new meaning. If we take into consideration a landscape Panorama for example, consecutive frames have to be shot quickly at specific increments horizontally (and vertically of course) in order to avoid any light or scenery changes to say the least. Thus an automated click stop function is desirable.

Once again I found Sunwayfoto DDP-64M Indexing Rotator closer to my "golden mean" of prerequisites.
Sturdy structure, top and bottom rotating platforms, strong locking knobs, minimized weight and above all 10 click stop options that would cover the range of lenses I wanted to use.

Since I would need an Arca-Swiss compatible Quick Release clamp anyway, I preferred to order the DDP-64MX+DDY-64 version, bundled with the (already reviewed) Sunwayfoto DDY-64 Discal Quick Release Clamp, which offers a substantial saving on the clamp price.
Although I have quite a large QR clamp collection, DDY-64 Discal clamp, as a dedicated clamp, is most suitable avoiding any matching and fitting problems.
The "X" in the end of the DDP-64MX model name signifies that the Indexing Rotator is equipped with the AM-01 Arca Mount plate.

The Package & Contents

Sunwayfoto DDP-64MX+DDY-64 Panoramic Indexing Rotator Box
The Indexing Rotator bundle comes in the lately adopted by Sunwayfoto recycled-carton box; shrink wrapped which ensures that the product has not been opened after it left the factory. A large white label on the side shows the content photo, model and main specifications; while a smaller white label exists in the front together with an oval-shaped transparent label that bears the Quality Control stamp.
Sunwayfoto DDP-64MX+DDY-64 Indexing Rotator Box Contents overview
The DDP-64MX Indexing Rotator travels in the box within a thick foam padding, with all the accompanying documents and accessory tools and screws in separate zip-lock nylon bags. The DDY-64 Discal clamp comes securely pre-installed from the factory.
Sunwayfoto DDP-64MX+DDY-64 Indexing Rotator Operating Instructions
There is an "Operating Instructions" fan-fold leaflet with basic but adequate instructions to set up and maintain the Indexing Rotator.
Sunwayfoto DDP-64MX+DDY-64 Indexing Rotator Warranty & Customer Cards
A credit card sized warranty Card stating Model and Serial Number and a "Customer Information Card" for use together with the Warranty card in case of applying for a warranty claim.
I should point out here, that Sunwayfoto offers a 5 year limited warranty extension, upon registration of certain products in their website, within one month from the date of purchase.
Sunwayfoto DDP-64MX+DDY-64 Indexing Rotator Tools & Screws
Among the included tools and accessory screws come a good quality 1/4"-20 ~ 3/8"16 thread conversion bushing, two Allen hex wrenches and an M6 flat head screw. However, some of these are part of the DDY-64 Discal clamp kit as it will be explained further down.
It is noteworthy, that although the clamp comes pre-installed and some of the parts are needed for other applications, Sunwayfoto does not spare to include them as part of the bundle anyway, unlike other manufacturers that charge each screw separately.
Sunwayfoto Microfiber Cleaning Cloth
And last but not least the fine quality microfiber Sunwayfoto Cleaning Cloth is also in the box for cleaning and maintenance purposes.

The Rotator

Manufacturer Specification:
Model: DDP-64MX+DDY-64
Diameter:64,00 mm
Height:46,00 mm
Height w/DDY-64 QR Clamp:61,50 mm
Bottom mounting thread: 3/8"-16 UNC
Top mounting stud:1/4"-20 UNC
Weight:400 gr*
Max Load capacity:10.0 kg (22 lbs)

* Verified weights on electronic scales:
DDP-64M : 328 gr (The 400 gr figure probably remains from the previeous DDP-64)
DDP-64MX : 348 gr
DDP-64MX+DDY-64 : 468 gr


According to Sunwayfoto website:
DDP-64MX Indexing Rotator and its components are made from imported premium quality aircraft aluminum. Sophisticated CNC machining equipment are used throughout the manufacturing process and strict quality control procedures are maintained in order to bring out this product. It combines high precision, ease of use, compactness, light weight and durability.
  1. Compact and light weight - weighing only 400 grams. 
  2. More than 10 kg (22lbs) load supported.
  3. Adopts a very high quality surface finishing and anodizing techniques, solid and durable.
  4. Lubricated bearings for smooth rotation.
  5. Laser engraved index marks every 5 degrees.
  6. Two Lock Knobs for Top Platform and Panning Base.
  7. Detent interval (click stops) may be changed easily.
  8. Ideal for HDR (High-Dynamic Range) panoramas as well as time sensitive situations in which shooting must be completed quickly, such as shooting high resolution multi-image mosaics or shooting the same scene at different focal lengths.
  9. When this Indexing Rotator is installed onto a tripod, it may also be used as a normal panning base.
  10. Detent interval control knob equipped with Retainer wire so it cannot be lost in the field.
DDP-64MX is suitable for lenses ranging from ultra wide angle up to 200 mm telephotos, with 10 different degree stop intervals (with equivalent number of click stops):

12345678910
Degrees5101520243036456090
Ckick Stops72362418151210864

Sunwayfoto DDP-64MX+DDY-64 front-top view
The DDP-64MX+DDY-664 came fully equipped with the AM-01 Arca mount plate and the DDP-64 Discal QR clamp preinstalled. The usual Sunwayfoto sturdy structure with a very fine and high quality CNC machining and finishing. All aluminum parts are hard coat anodized in a satin black color with only accents of the stainless-steel stud, screws and lock-knob shafts.
The discal clamp is attached by both its center 3/8"-16 threaded hole (via an 1/4"-20 to 3/8"-16 conversion bushing on the top platform stud) and two 1/4"-20 socket hex screws on its sides. There are two quite large Lever Lock-knobs protruding from opposite sides. The one closer to the top is for locking the rotator's top platform while the one closer to the bottom for locking the panning base. The rotator's front side is dominated by the laser engravings of the Sunwayfoto logo and the model name.
Further down, the panning base has the same diameter as the rotator body and is laser engraved with a degree scale.
Sunwayfoto DDP-64MX+DDY-64 bottom view
The angled bottom view reveals the detent interval stop holes at the other side and the relevant control knob attached by a retainer wire from the base Lever lock-knob, so it won't get lost when unscrewed.
Just below the detent interval holes, and in the middle, exists a really small arrow-shaped Index Pointer for the degree scale. Next the panning base degree scale has marks every 5 degrees and numbers every 15 degrees. However, the numbering is not continues from 0 to 360 degrees, but follows the bizarre pattern found on many ball heads from 0 to 90 degrees then decreasing to 0 then back to 90 again. Read further down for my comments about both the Index Pointer and the degree scale.
Finally the "X factor" in the model name, aka AM-01 Arca mount plate is attached on the bottom with two short 1/4'-20 flat head screws. Somehow, I have noticed that the dovetail axis coincides with the 45° mark instead with the 0° or 90° marks that would seem more appropriate for the alignment of the Rotator. This would only present an issue when using the rotator vertically but the top rotating platform can rectify any alignment issues even in that case.
Sunwayfoto DDP-64MX+DDY-64 bottom view - AM-01 removed + details
A little stripping down of the Indexing Rotator starting from the Arca mount. Using the included 4mm Allen hex key is easy to unscrew the base plate. The clear now bottom view, shows the 3/8"-16 center mounting hole which is occupied by an 1/4"-20 to 3/8"-16 thread conversion bushing, the "Made in China" logo and the Indexing Rotator serial number which reside on the perimeter of a concentric circle. It also reveals the four hex screws that retain the panning base on the rotator.
The bottom left photo shows the small lip at the edge of the Arca mount plate which proves really helpful in keeping the plate in place for proper alignment when screwing the two small retaining screws. Nice touch!
Sunwayfoto DDP-64MX+DDY-64 removing DDY-64 clamp
Next comes the detachment of the DDY-64 Discal clamp. First we need to secure the Top Rotating Platform by locking it firmly via its Lever Lock-knob. Using the also included 5mm Allen hex key to unscrew the two socket hex screws on its sides, the discal clamp is allowed to rotate and by turning it counter clockwise we unscrew it from the center stud.
(The re-attachment of the Discal clamp requires the exact opposite sequence).
Sunwayfoto DDP-64MX+DDY-64 components & accessories layout
Stripped down to individual components and their small parts: DDP-64M Indexing Rotator with top reducer bushing and bottom reducer busing (not shown); AM-01 Arca Mount plate with two short flat-head screws; DDY-64 Discal QR Clamp with two short socket hex screws, one extra reducer bushing and one extra M6 flat-head screw (for mounting the clamp on ball heads via its center hole). The longer 4mm Allen hex key is intended for the AM-01 retaining screws and the M6 center clamp screw, while the shorter 5mm Allen hex key is intended for the short socket hex screws that retain the clamp on the rotator.

The 1/4"-20 threaded mounting holes on the top rotating platform and the panning base are set in identical distances. Therefore, the AM-01 Arca-Swiss compatible dovetail and/or the DDY-64 Discal clamp are interchangeable and may either be installed on the top panning platform or at the bottom panning base at will.
This may not seem reasonable at first, unless you visualize a case where you would like to keep the rotator body and its control knobs static, letting only the panning base rotate. Such as the case of mounting the Indexing rotator in a horizontal position. There it would prove very convenient.

Comparison with the Original DDP-64
Sunwayfoto DDP-64M Panoramic Indexing Rotator is an improved version of the earlier Sunwayfoto DDP-64, maintaining all its functions in a lighter and more compact body.

Original Sunwayfoto DDP-64 Panoramic Indexing Rotator
Photo by courtesy of Sunwayfoto.com
The original DDP-64 Indexing rotator due to its height and the layout of its detent interval stop holes in one row, at first glance, resembled a lot to the Manfrotto / Bogen 300N rotator which was the standard for many years.
With the release of the DDP-64M major improvements were succeeded by changing the layout of the detent interval stop holes in two rows instead of one. This allowed to lower the height by aproximately 2 cm and the overall weight substantially, making it more compact and more stable with a lower center of gravity.
Finer details include the minimization of the panning base height as well as the addition of a retainer wire to the detent interval Control knob.


Comparison with the Competition
The table below shows a comparison of Sunwayfoto DDP-64M Indexing Rotator with Panoramic Indexing Rotators of similar characteristics coming from well known brands.

Manufacturer:SunwayfotoSunwayfotoFoanotecFanotecManfrotto
Model:DDP-64MDDP-64SRD8-IIRD16-II300N
Detent Int.:10481610
Min Int. (Deg):18°3.75°
Max Int. (Deg):90°90°30°120°90°
Platform ∅:64 mm /2.52"64 mm /2.52"88 mm /3.46"62 mm /2.44"-- mm / --"
Base ∅:64 mm /2.52"64 mm /2.52"88 mm /3.46"62 mm /2.44"-- mm / --"
Height:42 mm /1.65"26 mm /1.02"33 mm /1.30"48 mm /1.89" 63 mm /2.48"
Bottom thread:3/8"-16 3/8"-16 3/8"-16 3/8"-16 3/8"-16 
Top stud
/thread:
1/4"-20*
 - 
1/4"-20*
-
M6 
-
M6 
3/8"-16
-
Weight:328 gr /11.57oz192 gr /6.77oz450 gr /15.87oz347 gr /12.24oz609 gr /21.48oz
Max Load :10.0kg / 22 lbs8.0kg /17.6lbs-- kg / -- lbs11.0 kg / 22 lbs14.0 kg / 30.9lbs

*Convertible via included 1/4"-20 to 3/8"-16 bushing

Adjusting the Detent interval (Click Stops)

Sunwayfoto DDP-64MX+DDY-64 Detent interval holes & control knob
The choice of 10 detent intervals (click stops) is set on one side of the rotator in two rows of five threaded holes. Each hole is clearly marked with its corresponding degrees and stops around a full circle which are laser engraved on the rotator body. A wing screw-knob is responsible for the control of the intervals.
Sunwayfoto DDP-64MX+DDY-64 Detent interval control knob removed
The detent interval control knob is easily unscrewed and as previously mentioned is retained by a wire in order to avoid a drop and loss in the field. When the rotator is set at point zero on the panning scale (more on that later) one can see behind the threaded holes, the protractor cylinder guide holes which are responsible for the precise degree intervals.
The degree interval choice should be based on the Field Of View (FOV) degrees of the lens to be used considering also the orientation of the camera (vertical / portrait or horizontal / landscape) and the desired overlapping of shots for proper stitching.
Sunwayfoto DDP-64 Detent interval control knob detail
The Detent Interval Control knob is made from aluminium and a stainless-steel screw with finely finished threads which has a spring loaded ball tip. This small ball guaranties the precision of movement between the protractor guide holes.
Sunwayfoto DDP-64MX Detent interval holes detail
After choosing the appropriate hole for the desired degrees interval, the Control-knob has to be inserted and screwed in tightly. Although the "clicking" sound will be a little louder and the panning will appear smoother, failing to tighten the knob well there will result in inaccuracy in the degrees between the click stops ranging from 1 to 1,5 degrees. As minimal as it may look, it might produce errors when trying to stitch overlapping rows in HDR Panoramas shot with telephoto lenses.
My experience with the rotator showed that the reasoning behind this is simple. When the detent interval Control-knob is tight, its ball tip is forced to drop and stay in the middle of the relevant hole on the internal protractor guide. Otherwise, while turning the rotator it may slightly override the guide hole resulting in the fore mentioned error.
Another usage tip for better precision when moving from stop to stop, is to push the rotator enough to turn and let it drop into the next stop. Further, a little exercise with different tension on the panning base via its Lever lock-knob will give smoother transition from stop to stop. That depends of course to the equipment loaded on the Indexing rotator. 

Issues and Comments on the Panning Base
As mentioned earlier, the arrow-shaped Index Pointer lies just below the detent interval holes. This positioning is not the best in my opinion, since it may easily be obscured by the detent interval Control knob unless you work with the Indexing rotator at eye level, which I doubt if anyone does as most people would prefer the camera viewfinder at eye level. It would be preferable that the Index Pointer be first enlarged and secondly repositioned e.g. on the opposite side where there is lots of empty space. Such a repositioning requires also reorientation of the panning base but this is not difficult.
Speaking of the panning base, it is more clear in the previous photo that the degree scale has marks every 5 degrees and numbers every 15 degrees. Somehow, I would prefer marks every 2.5 degrees but 5 degrees is just fine as it actually represents the minimum detent interval.
What is more critical in my opinion is the 0°-90°-0°-90° division of the panning base scale instead of a continues 0°-360° scale. This awkward design presents us with two 0's and two 90's on the scales.
Some would say "Well, that's not important, as after your set the click stop interval you start from zero and simply make a full circle ending back to the same zero".
Here, I would ask: "Which zero?"
Considering the fact that all click stops pass from only one of the zero points (which is not specifically marked as the second zero point is at the opposite side and actually represents 180°), then in order to avoid frustration something has to be done.

Note:
After my first tests, I had contacted Sunwayfoto headquarters on the above issues, who in turn responded immediately and assured me for setting as first priority the redesign of the panning base of all their rotators adhering to the 0-360° continues scale. However, it may take a while until the improved releases of all models come into the market.



Adjusting the Lever Lock Knobs
Both the top rotating platform and the bottom panning base are controlled via quite large Lever Lock-Knobs extending out from the sides of the rotator's main body. The Lever knobs are all metal, spring-loaded, capping a stainless-steel shaft that actually controls the respective locking mechanism.

Sunwayfoto DDP-64MX top platform Lever Lock-knob pulled
If in any case the rotation of the Lever lock-knob is blocked or it interferes with other equipment it may easily pulled out until the internal hex nut is fully revealed ...
Sunwayfoto DDP-64MX top platform Lever Lock-knob detail
... and relocated in one of the 12 possible positions that proves more convenient.

Sunwayfoto DDP-64MX pan base Lever Lock-knob detail
The Top Rotating Platform and Panning base Lock Knobs require only half a rotation to unlock or lock the respective platforms from completely "Loose" to "Tightly locked" position.

However, although there is no need to unscrew them too far, some caution should be taken to avoid unscrewing them completely as they are not captive and will fall off.

Mounting Via the AM-01 Arca Mount...
The use of an Arca-Swiss® compatible plate at the bottom of the DDP-64M Indexing Rotator may prove very convenient when a quick change between equipment is desired on the field. Be it a ball head with the appropriate clamp, or a leveling base equipped with Arca compatible clamp or merely a clamp on the mounting plate of the tripod. Fiddling with screws, adapters, bushings etc etc can only result of lost tiny parts or the shooting itself.

On a Ball Head

HDR Pano head w/ Sunwayfoto DDP-64MX on Sunwayfoto XB-44 ballhead
The picture above was shot during some preliminary tests last summer, using Sunwayfoto XB-44 Low Profile Ball Head to hold and level the Multi-Row Panorama Head structure. DDP-64MX+DDY-64 is clamped via the AM-01 Arca Mount on the XB-44 QR clamp. Very convenient for on the spot changes of equipment. However, although the ball head was successful in holding the load,  I later on opted for the DYH-66i leveling base solution following below.
(Full documentation and reasoning of my choices in the upcoming article about the HDR heavy duty Panorama head).

On a Leveling Base

Sunwayfoto DDP-64MX+DDY-64 on DYH-66i+DDY-64 mounting sequence
DYH-66i leveling base combined with DDY-64 discal clamp on top of the Triopo GX-1328 Classic Carbon Fiber Tripod is ready to accept the Sunwayfoto DDP-64MX+DDY-64 Panoramic Indexing Rotator shown above. Fast and secure clamping without having to fiddle with small securing anti-twist screws.

Combined with DYH-66i Leveling Base
If the DDP-64M is mainly intended to be used for shooting panoramas on rough / uneven / inclined terrain, where leveling is critical and often needed, then a more permanent attachment on the DYH-66i leveling base would be preferable.
This solution offers a lower center of gravity by 15 mm than using a QR clamp with consequent decrease of torque, which translates in less stress exercised on the tripod mounting platform. Further, with less moving parts and joints the combination acts as one unit vibration wise.
In this case the AM-01 Arca mount plate is not needed and should be removed.

Sunwayfoto DDP-64M+DDY-64 direct mounting on DYH-66i
As already mentioned in the Sunwayfoto DYH-66i Leveling Base Review, DYH-66i has an 1/4"-20 top mounting stud and DDP-64MX has a 3/8"-16 bottom mounting hole. Therefore, it is imperative to use a conversion bushing. Since, both come with a reducer bushing preinstalled one has to be removed. I preferred to keep the one preinstalled at the DDP-64MX bottom hole as less prone to unscrew, thus removed the one installed on the DYH mounting stud (top right photo).
Pictured above DDP-64M (w/o AM-01 Arca mount)+DDY-64 Discal clamp fitting perfectly on top of the DYH-66i leveling base.
Sunwayfoto DDP-64M+DDY-64 on DYH-66i - security screws
Further, DDP-64M  is secured by tightening (with moderate force) the security screws around the top platform perimeter of the DYH-66i, in order to avoid accidental twisting and loosening.
Sunwayfoto DDP-64M+DDY-64+DYH-66i on Triopo GX-1328 tripod
The combined DDP-64M+DYH-66i unit mounted on Triopo GX-1328 Classic Carbon Fiber Tripod which proved sturdy enough to be used as the legs for a heavy duty Panorama head.

Mounting Directly on a Tripod
On the other hand if your main intention is to use the DDP-64M shooting interior panoramas on flat and leveled surfaces, where minimum leveling is required, then it may be mounted directly on a tripod top mounting stud via its bottom mounting hole.
Omitting the leveling base offers the lowest possible center of gravity with even more decrease of torque and  minimum stress exercised on the tripod mounting platform.
Also in this case the AM-01 Arca mount plate is not needed and should be removed.

Sunwayfoto DDP-64M bottom view - bushing removed
DDP-64M may be mounted either with the preinstalled 1/4"-20 to 3/8"-16 bushing on tripods with an 1/4"-20 top mounting stud or by removing the bushing ...
Sunwayfoto DDP-64M on tripod mounting plate
... on tripods with a 3/8"-16 top mounting stud, as pictured above.

Mounting Equipment on the top Platform Stud
Apart from the convenient attachment options via an Arca-Swiss compatible QR clamp or Arca mount plate, there is always the option of mounting e.g. a medium or large format camera directly on the top platform stud. The 1/4"-20 thread top stud may be used as is or converted to 3/8"-16 thread via the included bushing.

Sunwayfoto DDP-64M top platform closeup
In such a case the top rotating platform proves extremely convenient as one does not have to rotate and screw probably bulky and/or heavy equipment on the rotator, but rotate the top platform with the stud instead.
Simply, set the camera mounting socket on the top stud, then by loosening the top platform Lever Lock-knob the platform may be rotated counter-clockwise thus screwing the stud into the camera bottom. Tighten back the top platform Lock Lever-knob and ready!

Torque Test Results
I doubt that the DDP-64MX Panoramic Indexed Rotator may be used as a vertical rotator in a Multi-Row panorama head due to size and/or weight, nevertheless among others I wanted to have an approximate assessment of its torque capacity on both its panning top platform and the panning base.
Since it's almost impossible to discriminate and measure each ones capacity independently as we shall see further down, whichever drifts first will determine the maximum torque for the whole rotator.

Sunwayfoto DDP-64MX with DDY-64 Discal QR clamp on workbench
Both the AM-01 Arca Mount Plate and the DDY-64 Discal QR clamp were maintained attached on the rotator as described previously. The rotator was immobilized in a vertical position, being securely clamped between the jaws of a heavy workbench by its Arca dovetail plate. Then, both the panning base lock lever and the top panning platform lock lever were tightened as much as possible by hand.
Sunwayfoto DDP-64MX with long rail and counter weight
A counter balance bag which I use on my lighting fixtures and encloses sand sacks totaling 5 kg was put into use. After some testing a stand alone 10" rail proved inadequate. So another 8" rail was bound next to the 10" using one more rail from below, thus creating a 18" long rail. With some more experimentation the ~5.7 kg total weight of the bag + rails etc. reached a distance of 34 cm from the center of the quick release clamp, which center indicates also the pivoting axis of the rotator. That's just before the rotator's top panning platform started to lose its inertia as pictured above, while the panning base still held well. Somehow, as the top platform was the weakest, this will also determine the torque results for the whole rotator.
The distance mentioned above multiplied by the hanging weight means that the clamp can withstand a torque of ~194 kgF*cm or ~1903 N*cm. By deduction this means a load of ~16.17 kg could hang offset with its center of gravity at a distance of 12 cm (4.7") from the pivot center (Gitzo® method) or a load of about 65 kg within the perimeter of the panning base !!!
Since the DDP-64MX Indexing rotator shares a panning base of the same structure with the DDP-64S Indexing rotator, you may refer for it strength to the "Torque Test Results" in the Sunwayfoto DDP-64SX Panoramic Indexing Rotator Review.

Using as a Horizontal Rotator
I have been with DDP-64MX for a few months by now, testing and stressing it under different loads serving as the horizontal rotator unit for my Heavy Duty Multi-Row HDR/Gigapixel Panoramic head (under development). It proves very suitable for the purpose of fast changing shooting positions while maintaining accuracy for an HDR spherical panorama. Less stitching errors equals less post processing.


HDR Panorama head Assembly w/ Sunwayfoto rotators & Hejnar rails
DDP-64M is pictured above in the role of horizontal rotator of the Multi-Row panorama head in question with Sunwayfoto DDP-64SX as vertical rotator (both equipped with DDY-64 Discal Quick Release Clamp) and Sunwayfoto DYH-66i Leveling Base supporting and leveling the whole structure. Hejnar PHOTO 5/8" thick rails and QR clamps are used for the structure.

Pros
Exceptional machining, finishing, fitting and build quality.
Compact size and low weight.
Convenient top rotating platform.
Very smooth panning operation of both top and bottom platforms.
Full range of tools and accessories included.
Good value for money ratio.
5 year limited warranty extension upon registration.

Cons
Non captive Lever Lock-knobs that may fall off if unscrewed inappropriately too much.
Non continues 0 - 360 degree scale on the panning base, but 0 - 90 - 0 -90 which may prove confusing. (By Sunwayfoto declaration revised in upcoming releases).

Conclusion
Considering the exceptionally good built quality, the smoothness in operation, the versatility,  plus the choice of 10 detent intervals (click stops) from 5 to 90 degrees which is  quite adequate for most applications covering lenses from ultra wide to telephotos, all that in a smaller size and lower price than competition (even with the Discal clamp included) I would rate the DDP-64MX and especially DDP-64MX+DDY-64 a Great Value for money.
However, the current panning base layout deprives me of recommending it and leave it to the reader to level the pros and cons and judge if this fact might affect his/her work. When the improved version with a proper 0-360 panning scale is released I will give it a 5/5 star rating!

Disclaimer:
This review and test was run on a single product sample, using the specifically described methods. Although the findings are good and some overcame the expectations for the product, it can not be used as a rule, unless more samples of the same product are tested. Furthermore, similar comparison tests should be run with comparative capabilities products so as to reach a solid conclusion.


Update Nov 2013:
New version released addressing panning base issues. Sunwayfoto DDP-64M Panoramic Indexing Rotator Updated ver Review





I hope you found the article and ideas useful, thank you for viewing.
All Photos & Photosynths: ©2012 S.C.Vlachos

Price & Availability:
Current price at the time of writing for the DDP-64MX+DDY-64 combination is US$ 182.00 while the price for DDP-64MX alone is US$ 155.00 (+ Shipping where applicable)
The DDP-64MX + DDY-64 combination, or DDP-64MX are available from Amazon.com

Update Jan 2014
The updated version of DDP-MX + DDY-64i (bundled with AM-01 and DDY-64i Discal QR clamp) is now available for US$ 179.00 from Amazon.com

If you are interested in the above product(s) or any other product please consider using the relevant link(s) to make your purchase and help support this site. Your support is needed and greatly appreciated.

Referenced Articles:
Sunwayfoto DYH-66i Leveling Base Review
Sunwayfoto DDY-64 Discal Quick Release Clamp Review
A Quality Lens Cleaning Cloth by Sunwayfoto
Sunwayfoto XB-44 Low Profile Ball Head Review
Triopo GX-1328 Classic Carbon Fiber Tripod Review

Relevant Articles:
Sunwayfoto DDP-64SX Panoramic Indexing Rotator
Create a Heavy Duty Multi Row Panorama Head
Sunwayfoto Pano-3 Panoramic Head Review

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