Sunwayfoto DYH-66i reviewed last month (Nov 2012) is the entry level model, while the DYH-90 stands in the middle and the DYH-120TRO heavy weight tops the line.
Model DYH-90 forms its own series within the line by offering four different variations with added functionality.
Here we shall have a deeper look in the basic model, the plain DYH-90 which represents the base where all variations are built upon.
At the moment this article serves as a Reference Page in order to maintain a proper internal link structure of the site. Some parts are still under preparation.
Leveling bases in general follow two design schools. The first and older design school uses a large half ball which operates withing a bowl installed on the apex of a tripod, while it is adjusted and tightened/locked by a large handle extending below the bowl, between the tripod legs. Gitzo®, Manfrotto®, Feisol and most of the video head manufacturers follow this design school with very fine products.
The big advantage of the leveling bases of the first design school is that the large handle below the leveling base proves very helpful when level adjusting heavy equipment. While their disadvantage is that they require a special tripod to be installed.
A second design school uses a half ball as well, with the difference that it operates within its own bowl which also serves as a mounting base. Tightening/locking of the half ball is done by side caliper/constrictor.
On the other hand the leveling bases of the second design can be installed on any tripod with a top mounting plate large enough to accept them. Nothing extends below, so the big advantage here is that the tripod may go down to ground level.
All Sunwayfoto DYH series leveling bases belong to this second category.
The Package & Contents
The DYH-90 Leveling Base I received for evaluation, was actually a combo with the new Sunwayfoto DDY-64iL Discal Quick Release Clamp which is also reviewed separately. This combo offers quite some saving if the clamp is also needed.
|The DYH-90 Leveling Base (here combined with DDY-64iL QR clamp) travels in the box within a thick foam padding, with all the accompanying documents and accessories in separate zip-lock nylon bags.|
|A good quality microfiber Sunwayfoto Cleaning Cloth together with an Allen hex wrench and an 1/4"-20 ~ 3/8"16 top mounting conversion bushing (not shown in the picture) are also found in the box.|
The Leveling Base
|Platform Diameter:||90 mm|
|Base Diameter||76 mm|
|Bottom mounting thread:||3/8"-16 UNC|
|Top mounting stud:||1/4"-20 UNC|
|Max Load capacity:||>30 kg (66 lbs)|
*Verified weight on electronic scales: 524 gr stand alone,
625 gr w/ DDY-64iL and 647 gr w/ DLC-60L mounted.
Taking into account the dimensions and load capacity of the DYH-90 leveling base, I consider it most suitable for tripods without a center column and with a large top mounting plate. Such as Gitzo® Systematic 2, 3, 4 series, Feisol Elite series or Benro combination tripods to name a few.
This leveling base will prove equally suitable for use with a large Gimbal head, a 2-way Video Pan-head as well as with medium-format 6 X 6, 6 X 7 or large format 8 X 10 cameras.
|The large Lever lock-knob needs only half a turn from the "loose" to the "tightly locked" position.|
|The verified* ability of DYH-66i to tilt +16° or ...|
Improvements over the previous version
|Original DYH-90 Leveling Base. Photo by courtesy of Sunwayfoto.com|
The 3/8"-16 top mounting stud has been exchanged with an 1/4"-20 one for compatibility with more equipment, since it is easier to enlarge via a conversion bushing but not so easy to reduce.
The top platform now sports two pairs of threaded mounting holes in two distances between the holes, enabling the mounting of a selection of quick release clamps.
Finally, the Lever lock-knob has been enlarged. Its longer grip permits the application of greater force to the half-ball immobilization mechanism, thus enhancing the base's load bearing capacity with less effort from the user.
On the other hand the less obvious changes or better invisible but felt, are the improvements in the weight and the internal lubrication which lead in better yet far smoother handling of the leveling base.
|Intermediate versions of Sunwayfoto DYH-90B and DYH-80A equipped with integral DLC-60 lever clamps.|
Photo by courtesy of Sunwayfoto.com
Comparison with the Competition
The table below shows a comparison of Sunwayfoto DYH-90 leveling base with leveling bases of similar characteristics and price range coming from well known brands.
|Platform ∅:||90 mm /2.60"||90 mm /2.60"||74 mm /2.90"||-- mm||73 mm /2.9"|
|Base ∅:||76 mm /2.37"||60 mm /2.37"||60 mm /2.37"||-- mm||73 mm /2.9"|
|Height:||50 mm /1.97"||60 mm /2.36"||46 mm /1.80"||50 mm /1.97"||68 mm /2.7"|
|Top stud:||1/4"-20*||1/4"-20*||1/4"-20 / 3/8"-16||3/8"-16||3/8"-16|
|Weight:||524 gr / 1.15 lb||642 gr /1.41 oz||295 gr /10.4 oz||650 gr /22.9oz||338 gr /11.6 oz|
|Max Load :||30.0kg / 66 lbs||30.0kg / 66 lbs||11.4 kg / 25 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
|... or by removing the bushing, on the top platform of tripods equipped with a 3/8"-16 mounting stud.|
Combined with DDY-64iL Discal QR Clamp
The Sunwayfoto DDY-64iL Discal Quick Release Clamp (L denotes the long shaft knob) was especially designed to offer a partner to the updated Sunwayfoto DYH-90 and DYH-90R Leveling Bases. Due to the 90 mm large top plate of these Leveling Bases no other clamp but one with a long shaft knob would be able to be controlled unobtrusively.
|Due to the high load bearing capacity of the DYH-90 Leveling Base, DDY-64iL should be mounted on the top platform of the Base via the two included 1/4"-20 short flat-head screws and tightened by the 4 mm Allen hex key.|
|DDY-64iL screwed and secured on DYH-90. As fore mentioned DDY-64iL's long shaft knob may help in the leveling base adjustment during the leveling process.|
DYH-90 may be purchased as a combo with DDY-64iL preinstalled at the factory.
Combined with DLC-60L Duo Lever/Knob QR Clamp
Same story goes for the Sunwayfoto DLC-60L Duo Lever / Knob Quick Release Clamp (L denotes the long shaft knob) which owes its existence for the same purpose but addressing a different user group. DLC-60L being equipped with both a Lever Release and a screw knob is most appropriate for fast action with frequent interchange of equipment on top of the leveling base.
|Once again the high load bearing capacity of the DYH-90 Leveling Base, requires that the DLC-60L be mounted on its top platform via the two included 1/4"-20 hex-socket bolt screws.|
|Then thoroughly tightened with the little larger in this case 5 mm Allen hex key which comes with the clamp.|
|DLC-60L screwed and secured on DYH-90 Leveling Base. DLC-60L's long shaft knob may be utilized in the leveling base adjustment during the leveling process.|
DYH-90 may be purchased as a combo with DLC-60L preinstalled at the factory.
Torque Test Results
Mounting Heavy Gear Directly
As mentioned in the beginning a leveling base of this size and load capacity will prove equally suitable for use with a large Gimbal head, a 2-way Video Pan-head as well as with medium-format 6 X 6, 6 X 7 or large format 8 X 10 cameras.
|The DYH-90 Leveling base comes with an 1/4"-20 ~ 3/8"-16 conversion bushing pre-installed on its top mounting stud, when purchased alone or in-the-box when purchased as a bundle with DDY-64iL or DLC-60L Duo QR clamp.|
|In this way any gear with either an 1/4"-20 or 3/8"-16 mounting socket can be mounted directly on the large top platform of the leveling base.|
Using the Leveling Base
Usage examples and illustrations are under preparation.
Innovative and original design ideal for low level shooting.
Exceptional machining, finishing, fitting and build quality.
30kg load bearing capacity, outperforming competition.
Compact size and low weight for its class.
Great stability and vibration absorption.
Very smooth ball operation at all angles.
Very Good value for money ratio.
5 year limited warranty extension upon registration.
A little excessive lubrication that may smear your hands and consequently anything you touch carelessly.
Not suggested for low weight gear.
Although pending some usability tests with really heavy equipment, I may come to some sound conclusions.
This is a strongly built Leveling Base for heavy loads. It can cope with offset mounted heavy gear without effort, locking almost anything within its angle range. However, with heavy loads is where this leveling base has its best and smoothest performance.
Users of lightweight gear may find it stiff to operate despite the lubrication and improved smoothness over the previous models. Therefore, this is more a professional product and considering its weight lifting abilities after the unparalleled Torque Test Results I would Highly Recommend for heavy duty and heavy weight gear.
Nevertheless, its actually a matter of correct research and choice before buying, as there is always the smaller DYH-66i Leveling Base in Sunwayfoto's line for lighter weight gear users.
The updated DYH-90 Leveling Base presented in this article was kindly offered by Desmond Photographic Distribution, USA, for evaluation and review.
This review and test was run on a single product sample, based on 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
Price & Availability:
Current price for the DYH-90 Leveling Base is US$ 169.00, for DYH-90+DDY-64iL is US$ 209.00 and for DYH-90+DLC-60L is US$ 229.00 all models are available from Amazon.com
Update May 2017
Current prices and availability of the Sunwayfoto DYH-90i Series of Leveling Bases are greatly reduced. They are still available from Amazon and from eBay worldwide.
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.
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