November 23, 2012

New Sunwayfoto FB-28 Lightweight Ball Head Preview

Sunwayfoto FB-28 ball head - main

Sunwayfoto line of ball heads was missing an "entry level" ball head up to now. Thus it has been recently enriched with a very small ball head which promises high quality and high locking ability for its tiny size.

FB-28 with a 28 mm diameter ellipsoidal ball, a locking ability of 12 kg and weighing only 200 gr was announced just a few days ago.

Its small dimensions complement the lower end of Sunwayfoto FB Series which already contains the larger FB-36 and FB-44.

FB Series Common Characteristics
The relatively 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 and more expensive DB series.
Sunwayfoto FB-Series family overview
Sunwayfoto FB Series Family.
First of all the FB series Ball heads are lighter and, the Ball locking strength is enhanced by 20%, and Panning base locking strength by 50%, according to Sunwayfoto.
Next, all FB series quick release clamps feature a removable bubble spirit level option.

Sunwayfoto FB-28

Manufacturer Specification:
Ball Diameter:28 mm
Base Diameter:40 mm
Height:70 mm
Clamp Length / Type:37 mm / Screw Knob
Bottom  Mounting Thread:3/8"-16 UNC
Max Load:12 Kg
Weight:200 gr

Sunwayfoto FB-28 ball head tilted - side view
FB-28 adopts the single drop notch design for portrait orientation or a deep tilt forward or backward.
However, 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 what really matters and discriminates this small head from other entry level competitors is that it maintains the ellipsoidal ball which offers a silky smooth operation without friction loss at tilts.

Sunwayfoto FB-28 - DDC-37 QR Clamp detail
FB-28 ball head quick release clamp has an embedded bubble spirit level close to the stable jaw.

Despite that, there are also bubble level mounting holes in front of the steady jaw, as well as two extra level mounting hole sets, one at each side of the clamp.
So users can mount an optional external bubble spirit level at any of 3 sides of clamp, where they find more convenient.

Sunwayfoto FB-28 ball head - Lock knob & Pan base detail
However, Sunwayfoto designers in order to succeed in keeping the ball head dimensions and weight to a minimum, left out some of the attributes met on the larger FB-Series models.
All ball head operations are handled by the comparatively huge for the size of the ball head main Friction / Lock knob; which also controls the panning lock. Further, there is not a friction limiting screw. The knob perimeter has a mix of the FB series deep grooves and the diamond pattern met on the older DB series.
Finally, the Panning base diameter is narrow, with a clearly visible laser-engraved panning scale. The Φ mark which serves as a panning pointer is also large and clear.

Sunwayfoto FB-28 ball head - bottom view
The small footprint panning base with a diameter of only 40 mm has the usual 3/8"-16 tripod mounting hole

Sunwayfoto FB-28 ball head on table top tripod

Sunwayfoto FB-28 ball head on Manfrotto table top tripod overview
Making Sunwayfoto FB-28 a perfect companion for table top tripods and light traveler tripods.

Although there are some compromises as losing the independent panning lock knob or the friction limiting screw, FB-28 wins the race between competition by its minimal size, weight and price.
Considering the silky smooth operation derived from the Sunwayfoto ellipsoidal balls offered in a very compact and extremely lightweight body of 200 gr, then Sunwayfoto FB-28 will be the perfect option as a companion for small lightweight traveler tripods like the Gitzo® GT1542 Series 1 Traveler , as well as other brands of lightweight tripods, yet at a very good value for money!

I hope you found the article useful, thank you for viewing.
All Photos used by permition: © 2012

Update: Sep 2013
Sunwayfoto Released an Improved FB-28i Lightweight Ball Head

Price & Availability:
Expected price for the FB-28 ball head is US$ 109.00 and is available from from Amazon

The updated FB-28i ball head is priced at US$ 99.00 and is available from Amazon or from eBay worldwide.

Meanwhile, as of 2022 you may also purchase the improved FB-28i directly from the Sunwayfoto Store.

Please note that we may earn a commission from qualifying purchases through above affiliate links.

Referenced Articles:

New Sunwayfoto FB Series Lightweight Ball Heads

Relevant Articles:

Sunwayfoto XB and FB Series Manuals Available for Download

Sunwayfoto DB-36TRLR Traveler Ball Head Review

Sunwayfoto XB-44 Low Profile Ball Head Review

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