May 1, 2013

Sunwayfoto DDY-58 Discal Quick Release Clamp Review

Sunwayfoto DDY-58 Discal Quick Release Clamp
Sunwayfoto DDY-58 Discal Quick Release Clamp is the last of the Discal  clamps, that were released in the market in the end of September 2012.

Much like its siblings DDY-64iL and DDY-64i, although it can be used with virtually any ball head via either a screw through its center hole or its 3/8"-16 thread, Sunwayfoto's main intention for this clamp is to complement the functionality of the Sunwayfoto DDH-03 Panning Clamp.

DDY-58 is merely a reduced size version of the DDY-64i  by 6 mm in diameter. So if you have already read the Sunwayfoto DDY-64i Discal Quick Release Clamp or the more extensive Sunwayfoto DDY-64iL Discal Quick Release Clamp reviews there is nothing more to add for the design concept except for the small differences between them.

However, the reason I present this clamp is mostly due to its role as a companion to the Sunwayfoto DDH-03 Panning Clamp in order to be used together as a versatile vertical panoramic rotator. Either independently or as part of the Sunwayfoto Pano-3 Panoramic Head bundle.
This post will stand as a reference for the Sunwayfoto DDH-03 Panning clamp and the Sunwayfoto Pano-3 Panoramic Head reviews.

The Package & Contents

Sunwayfoto DDY-58 Discal QR Clamp box
The clamp 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 (Unfortunately you have to take my word for it as I most of the times I remember illustration after I tear off the wrapping :) ). A large white label shows the content photo, model and main specification; while a small oval shaped label bears the Quality Control stamp.
Sunwayfoto DDY-58 Discal QR Clamp in box layout
The DDY-58 Discal QR clamp together with accompanying screws and tool are nested in a pre-cut foam piece that keeps them safely in place for transportation.
Sunwayfoto DDY-58 Discal QR Clamp box contents
The DDY-58 meets the Sunwayfoto's high quality machining, fitting and finishing standards. Its companions are one longer M6 screw for mounting on a ball head , two short 1/4"-20 flat-head screws for mounting on DDH-03 rotator and one 4 mm Allen hex key that suits both the M6 screw and the short flat-head screws. There is also a 1/4"-20 to 3/8"-16 thread conversion bushing included, which comes pre-installed in the center hole as shown in the previous photo.

The Clamp
Manufacturer Specification:
Model:DDY-58
Diameter:58 mm
Height:15,5 mm
Length:75 mm
Clamp:Screw Knob
Bottom mounting thread:3/8"-16 UNC
Weight:65 gr

Sunwayfoto DDY-58 Discal QR Clamp top view
The quick release clamp is hard coat anodized in black matte color. The center hole is counter-sunk in order to accept a ball head mounting screw and also threaded 3/8"-16 in order to match heads or tripods with a 3/8"-16 stud.
The jaws' length is 32 mm, total width is 75 mm including the screw-knob and it is 15.5 mm thick. There are 2 cm long decimal scales on both jaws, the first cm closer to the center is marked in 1 mm increments and then in 2,5 mm increments, with numbers every 1 cm from 0 to 10 counting outwards.
There are two safety-stop screw relief grooves 4 mm deep, one at each side, permitting a motion of 19 mm either side into the clamp, for better camera/lens plate alignment. Within the safety relief grooves and 40 mm apart from each other exist two counter-sunk holes intended for the 1/4"-20 short flat-head screws that will enable mounting the clamp on the Sunwayfoto DDH-03 rotator as we shall see further down.
Sunwayfoto DDY-58 Discal QR Clamp bottom view
The clamp's bottom has very deep carvings and cavities in order to remove any excess material possible, thus lowering the weight. Beside the usual anti-twist groove across the center hole for ball head alignment, are the two holes for mounting on Sunwayfoto DDH-03. All reside along the middle axis of the clamp.
The screw-knob is made of aluminium CNC carved also with deep grooves for a better grip and long lasting operation.

Comparison with DDY-64i Discal QR Clamp


There are minor design differences between the DDY-58 and DDY-64i (pictured above) Discal QR Clamps.

The major difference is the diameter size as denoted by their model name, ∅ 58 mm vs ∅ 64 mm, which drags with it all the dimensions of the clamp.
Clamp jaw length 28 mm vs 32 and side mounting holes distance 40 mm vs 50 mm.

However, due to the reduced jaw surface and the existence of holes in the safety screw relief grooves, a bubble level was omitted from the DDY-58. Considering the fact that the main purpose of existence of the DDY-58 clamp is to be attached at the bottom of the DDH-03 Panning Clamp (shown in more detail further down), the addition of a bubble level would be of no use.

Mounting on a Ball Head

Sunwayfoto DDY-58 Discal QR Clamp on XB-44 LP ball head
A discal QR clamp may prove convenient for many applications. DDY-58 may easily be attached on the ball stem of a ball head either screwed via its 3/8"-16 hole or by utilizing the (included) M6 screw and the 4 mm Allen hex key. In the latter case the ball stem should be equipped with alignment bosses that fit in the anti-twist grooves under the clamp.
Sunwayfoto DDY-58 Discal QR Clamp on XB-44 LP ball head - tilted
DDY-58 will be sturdy enough to clamp and hold heavy loads. It is a good match for large capacity but low profile ball heads as the Sunwayfoto XB-44 pictured above. Its dimensions deprive the clamp from interference with other ball head parts, which is quite frustrating as you may recall from the Sunwayfoto XB-44 Low Profile Ball Head review. In my opinion DDY-58 is a far better match to the XB-44 ball head than its original rectangular QR clamp.



Mounting on Sunwayfoto DDH-03 Panning Clamp
Nevertheless, as mentioned in the beginning of this article, the perfect match for DDY-58 is the Sunwayfoto DDH-03 Panning Clamp (Review) by design, fitting exactly DDH-03's dimensions and mounting holes.
Therefore, I shall elaborate more at this point as this may serve as a reference for future articles that involve the DDH-03 combined with DDY-58.

Sunwayfoto DDY-58 Discal QR Clamp w/ DDH-03 Panning Clamp
Using a little your imagination you may visualize DDY-58 as the top part (without the panning base) of the DDH-03 panning clamp, give or take a bubble level and two mounting holes.
Sunwayfoto DDY-58 Discal QR w/ DDH-03 PC - bottom view
DDH-03 is equipped with two pairs of 1/4"-20 threaded mounting-holes at the bottom of the panning platform. This facilitates the choice of the most convenient lower-clamp orientation in 90 degree increments. Your choice should be based in relation to the other functional knobs on the panning clamp, as well as in relation to the degree marks on the panning platform. In other words, you may choose the relative operational position of the upper and lower clamp screw-knobs, taking into consideration which degree marks e.g. 0-180 or 90-270 will coincide with the lower clamp jaw-axis. Although it sounds a little complex for inexperienced users, it will be more simple to decide when you actually mount the clamps on a rail and see what's more convenient in use while maintaining visual contact with the zero (0) mark on the panning scale. Different setups may require different orientation.
Sunwayfoto DDY-58 Discal QR + DDH-03 PC - mounting seq
After the desired orientation is chosen, align the DDY-58 side-holes with the existing 1/4"-20 threaded holes at the bottom of DDH-03 panning platform and use the two included 1/4"-20 short flat-head screws aided by the 4 mm Allen hex key to screw and secure the clamps on each other.
It is advisable to avoid tightening the first screw fully, until both screws sit in place properly.
Sunwayfoto DDY-58 Discal QR + DDH-03 PC - assembly DDY-58 side
The DDY-58 + DDH-03 assembly with a 90 degree angle between the screw-knobs and crossing jaw axes.
Sunwayfoto DDY-58 Discal QR + DDH-03 PC - assembly DDH-03 side
Top side or DDH-03 side view. For more information and ideas about the implementation of the combo you may refer to the Sunwayfoto DDH-03 Panning Clamp Review

Mounting on a Monopod

Sunwayfoto DDY-58 Discal QR Clamp aside Triopo GL-70 CF monopod
Either attaching the clamp directly via its 3/8"-16 threaded hole on a 3/8"-16 top-plate stud or by using the included 1/4"-20 conversion bushing on an 1/4"-20 stud; the circular / discal design of the DDY-58 QR clamp will prove most appropriate for the conversion of a monopod into an Arca-Swiss® compatible apparatus.
Sunwayfoto DDY-58 Discal QR Clamp on Triopo GL-70 CF monopod
Shown above on top of a Triopo GL-70 Carbon Fiber monopod, the discal shaped clamp fits perfectly on the top plate of most pods without any protruding angles that might become at least annoying as with rectangular shaped clamps. The diameter of 58 mm will match the top mounting plate diameter of the majority of monopod brands.

Arca-Swiss® Compatibility
Sunwayfoto has a complete range of universal or dedicated camera and lens plates as well as a series of multi purpose rails which cover almost any need. Of course DDY-58 Discal quick release clamp is fully compatible with Sunwayfoto's own gear.

On the other hand, in order to check its compatibility with other manufacturers plates and rails, DDY-58 was tested with various camera plates, lens plates and multipurpose long rails of various thicknesses and widths.
For the readers that like numbers, I hereunder quote detailed measurements of the clamp Jaw dimensions, so as they can decide whether this clamp is compatible with the dimensions of their plates or rails.

Clamp Jaw dimensions        mm
Jaw Length28.04
Steady Jaw Height04.24
Moving Jaw Height04.37
Min Jaw Lip Opening33.83
Max Jaw Lip Opening37.68
Min Base Opening39.60
Max Base Opening44.82

The yellow figures in the above specs are considered a little lower than 5 mm which is the middle of the dovetail V cut but can still clamp a dovetail securely. All other dimensions fall within the average limits, consisting the clamp compatible with a large number of Arca-Swiss® type plates and rails.

Pros
Excellent machining, finishing, fitting and build quality.
Very good scratch proof anodizing.
Very smooth operation in all aspects.
Very low weight for the size.
Excellent value for money ratio.

Cons
Clamp jaws are a little short for the dovetail edge radius of some 1/2" & 5/8" thick rails from other manufacturers.

Conclusion
Another great example of design and CNC machining, complementing the Sunwayfoto line of Discal clamps.
Of course the best possible companion for Sunwayfoto DDH-03 Panning Clamp, but DDY-58 shape, size and particularly low weight, make it a great option for many ball heads and monopods.
Once again the high standards of build quality for the price give an excellent value / money ratio.

Note :
The DDY-58 Discal Quick Release Clamp presented in this article was kindly offered for evaluation and review by Sunwayfoto. Many thanks once again, for the dedication on the serial number.


I hope you found the article and ideas useful, thank you for viewing.
All Photos & Photosynths: © 2012-2013 S.C.Vlachos

Price and Availability:
Current price for the DDY-58 QR clamp is US$ 45.00 (+Shipping where applicable).
Sunwayfoto DDY-58 clamp is available from Amazon.com

Referenced Articles:
Sunwayfoto XB-44 Low Profile Ball Head Review
Sunwayfoto DDH-03 Panning Clamp Review
Triopo GL-70 Carbon Fiber Twist Lock Monopod Review

Relevant Articles:
Sunwayfoto DDY-64 Discal Quick Release Clamp Review
Sunwayfoto DDY-64i Discal Quick Release Clamp Review
Sunwayfoto DDY-64iL Discal Quick Release Clamp Review

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