Continues testing under various setups brings out more and more details that should be taken care of, before bringing a new idea into the public.
As the load and especially the offset weight increases so do the demands from the supporting gear. After my initial tests with quite a heavy duty and low profile ball head, I reached the conclusion that the stability of the new heavy duty panorama head would benefit more from a leveling base than a ball head.
As it usually happens to me, I ended up ordering the updated and improved Sunwayfoto DYH-66i Leveling Base, "leveling" and "basing" my decision on its strong locking ability, broader range of +/-16° tilting and logical price.
DYH-66i is the latest (i= improved) version of the DYH-66 model that originally came out two years ago and the smallest of the three models in the Sunwayfoto line of Leveling Bases.
The Package & Contents
|The DYH-66i Leveling Base travels in the box within a thick foam padding, with all the accompanying documents and accessories in separate zip-lock nylon bags.|
|There is an "Operating Instructions" fan-fold leaflet with basic but adequate instructions to set up and maintain the leveling base.|
|A good quality microfiber Sunwayfoto Cleaning Cloth together with an 1/4"-20 ~ 3/8"16 conversion bushing and an Allen hex wrench are also found in the box.|
The Leveling Base
|Platform Diameter:||66 mm|
|Base Diameter:||60 mm|
|Bottom mounting thread:||3/8"-16 UNC|
|Top mounting stud:||1/4"-20 UNC|
|Max Load capacity:||> 10.0 kg (22 lbs)|
*Verified weight on electronic scales: 285 gr
|The verified* ability of DYH-66i to tilt +16° or ...|
Improvements Over the Previous Version
|Photo by courtesy of Sunwayfoto.com|
The exchange of the 3/8"-16 top mounting stud with an 1/4"-20 one for compatibility with more equipment.
The positioning of the large bubble level outside the top platform perimeter in order to remain visible after the attachment of equipment.
The addition of three security anti-twist screws in the perimeter of the top platform.
On the other hand there are less obvious changes like a slight decrease in the height and a better scratch proof anodizing, or invisible but felt improvements in the weight and handling of the leveling base.
Comparison with the Competition
The table below shows a comparison of Sunwayfoto DYH-66i leveling base with leveling bases of similar characteristics and price range coming from well known brands.
|Platform ∅:||66 mm /2.60 "||60 mm /2.37"||65 mm /2.56"||-- mm||73 mm /2.9"|
|Base ∅:||60 mm /2.37"||60 mm /2.37"||60 mm /2.37"||-- mm||-- mm|
|Height:||42 mm /1.65"||45 mm /1.77"||40 mm /1.57"||50 mm /1.97"||72 mm /2.8"|
|Bottom thread:||3/8"-16*||1/4"-20 / 3/8"-16||3/8"-16||3/8"-16||3/8"-16|
|Top stud:||1/4"-20*||1/4"-20 / 3/8"-16||3/8"-16||3/8"-16||3/8"-16|
|Weight:||285 gr /10.05 oz||240 gr /8.5 oz||295 gr /10.4 oz||650 gr /22.9oz||330 gr /11.6 oz|
|Max Load :||10.0kg / 22 lbs||11.5kg / 25 lbs||05.0 kg / 11 lbs||15.0 kg / 33 lbs||16.0 kg / 35 lbs|
*Convertible via 1/4"-20 to 3/8"-16 bushing
Mounting on a Tripod
DYH-66i has the usual 3/8"-16 threaded center hole at the bottom for mounting onto an equivalent tripod stud. However, after mounting the leveling base on a tripod for testing, I realized that there was something wrong as the leveling base had a peculiar and unstable behavior in locking. Since prior to mounting the Leveling Base seemed to operate properly a closer examination revealed that the tripod mounting stud was causing the trouble.*
|With the DYH-66i Leveling Base mounted properly, everything operates very smoothly and it needs only half a turn of the Lever lock-knob from the "loose" to the "tightly locked" position.|
Mounting Equipment on the Leveling Base
Besides my original intention to use the leveling base for the support of a heavy duty Panoramic head illustrated later on, a leveling base of this size and load capacity will prove equally suitable for use with a Gimbal head, a 2-way Video Pan-head as well as with medium-frame 6 X 6 and 6 X 7 cameras.
As a direct mounting example I use the Sunwayfoto DDP-64M Panoramic Indexing Rotator. Since DYH-66i has an 1/4"-20 top mounting stud and DDP-64MX has a 3/8"-16 bottom mounting hole it is imperative to use a conversion bushing. Both come with a reducer bushing preinstalled. therefore 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 fitting perfectly on DYH-66i leveling base.
|By tightening with moderate force the security screws around the top platform perimeter, the indexing rotator is secured without fear of twisting and loosening.|
Combined with DDY-64 Discal Clamp
As I also mentioned in the Sunwayfoto DDY-64 Discal Quick Release Clamp Review, although DYH-66i leveling base is equipped with the appropriate 1/4"-20 mounting holes, the combination with DDY-64 clamp has not been documented or at least has not come into my attention.
This combination may well increase the versatility of the leveling base when fast action is required in exchanging gear on top of the leveling base. Even more when for example a medium-format camera is mount on the base, via an Arca-Swiss® compatible base plate/rail; since the combination will permit a fore-aft or lateral adjustment.
|The DDY-64 QR clamp can be mounted on top of the Sunwayfoto DYH-66i Leveling Base, either using the conversion bushing or more preferably the two included 1/4"-20 bolts and the 5 mm Allen hex key.|
|DDY-64 screwed and secured on DYH-66i. As a plus DDY-64's long shaft knob may prove quite useful in handling the leveling base during the leveling process.|
|DYH-66i leveling base combined with DDY-64 discal clamp on top of the Triopo GX-1328 Classic Carbon Fiber Tripod (review) is ready to accept any gear equipped with an Arca-mount plate.|
|As is the case with 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.|
Torque Test Results
Using the Leveling Base
I have been with DYH-66i for a few months by now, testing and stressing it under different loads supporting my Heavy Duty Multi-Row HDR/Gigapixel Panoramic head (under development). It proves very sturdy, with far less flex than a ball head and almost vibration free. Any vibration is absorbed instantly which is very suitable for the purpose of fast changing shooting positions while maintaining accuracy for an HDR spherical panorama. Less stitching errors less post processing.
|DYH-66i is pictured above supporting and leveling the Multi-Row panorama head in question with Sunwayfoto DDP-64M as horizontal rotator, Sunwayfoto DDP-64SX as vertical rotator (both equipped with DDY-64 Discal Quick Release Clamp) and Hejnar PHOTO rail and clamp structure. The Leveling base equals in sturdiness the rest of the structure giving the ability for smooth minor leveling adjustments even fully loaded.|
|Fully loaded with Canon EOS 50D + EF 70-200 L IS USM at quite an offset and unbalanced position in order to meet the lens nodal point. Checking with the bubble level on the Leveling Base the displacement was insignificant in order to need any adjustment. For such tasks DYH-66i is ideal as it can withstand far more torque compared to a ball head designated for even heavier loads. An extra plus is that it weighs only 290 gr which is far less than the weight of any heavy duty ball head.|
Innovative and original design.
Exceptional machining, finishing, fitting and build quality.
Compact size and low weight.
Great stability and vibration absorption.
Very smooth ball operation.
Large offset bubble level.
Extra security screws.
Good value for money ratio.
5 year limited warranty extension upon registration.
Minor issue with the bottom mounting hole depth that only needs caution when mounting on a tripod.
As DYH-66i represents the 3rd generation of the DYH-66 leveling base model, most if not all of the functional issues reported with former DYH-66 and DYH-66X models are gone. Sunwayfoto proves that abides to their moto for listening to customers needs with the continues improvement of their products.
Nevertheless, the uses of a Leveling Base are not limited only to supporting and quick leveling a Panoramic head as described above. Gimbal heads, Video heads and Medium to Large frame cameras can be quickly leveled and supported by a Leveling Base like the DYH-66i.
As a bottom line, I consider DYH-66i one of my best purchases and can only recommend it.
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.
I hope you found the article and ideas useful, thank you for viewing.
All Photos & Photosynths: © 2012-2015 S.C.Vlachos
Update Feb 2014
Accessory Tripod Mounting Spacers for owners of leveling bases from older batches.
Price and Availability:
Current price for the DYH-66i is US$
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