April 26, 2013

Sunwayfoto DDY-64i Discal Quick Release Clamp Review

Sunwayfoto DDY-64i Discal QR Clamp
Sunwayfoto DDY-64i Discal Quick Release Clamp was officially introduced together with its siblings DDY-58 and DDY-64iL Discal QR Clamps in the 2012 Sunwayfoto Catalog and released in the market in the end of September 2012.
These clamps follow the innovative  low weight design pattern established with the DDH-02 panning clamp.

Although they can be used with virtually any ball head due to their center hole and 3/8"-16 thread, Sunwayfoto's main intention is to complement their current lines of Panning clamps and Indexing rotators, offering an improved lower weight solution than the older DDY-64 Discal QR Clamp.

Sunwayfoto DDY-64i and DDY-64iL which was reviewed last November, are identical in all aspects except for the small detail of the longer Screw Knob shaft on the latter.
Meanwhile, I have received the DDY-64i Discal clamp as part of the Sunwayfoto Pano-3 Panoramic head package and since the characteristics of the clamp were extensively discussed in the DDY-64iL Discal Quick Release Clamp Review, the purpose of this article is to serve primarily as a reference by demonstrating the integration of the clamp into the Pano-3 panoramic head functions and secondarily as a comparison between the Sunwayfoto discal clamps.
Needless to mention, that the DDY-64i Discal QR clamp is available as a separate product.

The Package & Contents
When purchased as a separate unit the clamp comes shrink wrapped in the lately adopted by Sunwayfoto recycled-carton box, with a large white label on the top corner showing the product photo, model and main specification. In the box the DDY-64i Discal QR clamp and accompanying screws and tools are nested in a pre-cut foam piece that keeps them safely in place for transportation.
However, my copy arrived nested in the foam of the Pano-3 aluminium case but still was accompanied with all screws and tools (even the ones that are not necessary for its function in the Pano-3 package) in a zip-lock nylon bag.

Sunwayfoto DDY-64i Discal QR Clamp + accessories
The DDY-64i meets the high quality fitting and finishing Sunwayfoto standards. Its companions are one M6 screw for ball head mounting, two short 1/4"-20 flat-head screws for mounting on Sunwayfoto leveling bases or panoramic indexing rotators and one 4 mm Allen hex key both for the M6 and the short flat-head screws. There is also a 1/4"-20 to 3/8"-16 thread conversion bushing, which was pre-installed in the center hole.

Comparison with DDY-64iL and DDY-64 Discal QR Clamps
Manufacturer Specification:
Diameter:64 mm64 mm64 mm
Height:15,5 mm15,5 mm15,5 mm
Length:81 mm102 mm107 mm
Clamp:Screw KnobScrew KnobScrew Knob
Bottom mounting thread:3/8"-16 UNC3/8"-16 UNC3/8"-16 UNC
Weight:80 gr86 gr120 gr

Sunwayfoto DDY-64iL vs DDY-64 & DDY-64i QR clamps
There is no difference between the DDY-64i (bottom left) and DDY-64iL (Upper) Discal QR Clamps other than the screw knob shaft length. Otherwise the clamps are identical. On the other hand there are quite many obvious differences between the former DDY-64 (bottom right) and DDY-64i. First of all the shortened jaws from 47 to 32 mm, then the deep grooved screw knob and finally all the carvings on both top and bottom that lead to a decrease in weight by 46 gr!
Another difference between DDY-64 and DDY-64i / DDY-64iL, may be found in the mounting screw holes and mounting screw type. DDY-64 has captive holes matched with bolt hex-socket head screws, while DDY-64i comes with counter-sunk holes and shorter, thus lighter, flat-head screws.

Mounting on a Ball Head
A discal QR clamp may prove convenient for many applications. DDY-64i 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.
For more information you may refer to the identical Sunwayfoto DDY-64iL Discal Quick Release Clamp Review.

Mounting on Sunwayfoto Indexing Rotator(s)
As with former DDY-64 and long shaft DDY-64iL, the perfect match for DDY-64i are the Sunwayfoto Panoramic Indexing Rotators. It offers them the extra versatility of quick mounting/dismounting Arca-Swiss® compatible plates or rails on their top platforms.
As mentioned previously, this clamp arrived in the Pano-3 package as a companion for the DDP-64M Panoramic Indexing Rotator. So, I will stay a little more on the details and illustrations of mounting the clamp on the specific rotator which will help as a reference for the Pano-3 head review later.

Sunwayfoto DDY-64i Discal QR clamp - DDP-64SX Indexing rotator - mounting sequence
First of all, using the upper Lever Lock-knob, we need to tighten the DDP-64M top rotating platform in order to imobilize it. Otherwise it will be difficult to tighten the Dixcal clamp on top.
Although one can mount DDY-64i on top of the Sunwayfoto DDP-64M Indexing rotator utilizing the included 1/4"-20 to 3/8"-16 conversion bushing and screw the clamp onto the rotator's 1/4"-20 stud (top right above); this cannot guaranty perfect attachment to the rotator while there is a possibility to twist and unscrew.
Therefore it is advisable to align the clamp side-holes with the existing 1/4"-20 threaded holes on the top platform and   use the two included 1/4"-20 short flat-head screws and the 4 mm Allen hex key to screw and secure the clamp on the rotators' top rotating platform (bottom left). This will align and secure the clamp perfectly (bottom right).
Sunwayfoto DDY-64i Discal QR clamp on DDP-64M Indexing rotator
Then the top rotating platform may be unlocked in order to position the clamp knob and the clamp opening at a convenient position so as all the Indexing Rotator knobs are fully accessible and operational.
Sunwayfoto DDY-64i Discal QR clamp w/ DDP-64S Indexing rotator + screws + hex key
The same procedure should be followed for mounting the DDY-64i Discal QR Clamp on the Sunwayfoto DDP-64S Indexing rotator with one exception. Since DDP-64S is more compact does not have a top rotating platform but does have two pairs of threaded mounting holes on the top platform. This facilitates the choice of the most convenient clamp orientation in relation to the other functional knobs on the base.
Sunwayfoto DDY-64i Discal QR clamp on DDP-64S Indexing rotator
After the desired orientation is chosen, align the clamp side-holes with the existing 1/4"-20 threaded holes on the top platform and use the two included 1/4"-20 short flat-head screws and the 4 mm Allen hex key to screw and secure the clamp on the rotators' top platform.

Mounting on Sunwayfoto Leveling Bases
Using the DDY-64 series of clamps on Sunwayfoto Indexing rotators is a common and proposed practice. However, DYH-66i leveling base is also equipped with the appropriate 1/4"-20 mounting holes. Therefore, much like its siblings DDY-64i will increase the versatility of the leveling base when fast action is a prerequisite.

Sunwayfoto DDY-64i Discal QR clamp on DYH-66i leveling base
Once again using the two included 1/4"-20 short flat-head screws and the 4 mm Allen hex key the DDY-64i can be mounted on top of the Sunwayfoto DYH-66i Leveling Base making it more versatile in mounting and dismounting further equipment on its top.

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-64i Discal quick release clamp is fully compatible with Sunwayfoto's own gear.

I have run the same tests and measurements on DDY-64i as on the identical DDY-64iL considering it more as a second copy. The numbers only proved the very precise CNC machining since the tolerances are at the range of 1/10th of a mm. !!!
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 Length32.02
Steady Jaw Height04.11
Moving Jaw Height04.13
Min Jaw Lip Opening33.94
Max Jaw Lip Opening37.84
Min Base Opening39.50
Max Base Opening44.20

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

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.

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

With any excess weight eliminated, DDY-64i is another great example of design and CNC machining.
Its shape, size and particularly the low weight, make it a great option for many ball heads or monopods and an excellent companion for Sunwayfoto's own Indexing rotators and the smaller DYH-66i leveling base in order to facilitate mounting Arca-Swiss® compatible rails and / or plates.
The high standards of build quality for the price give an excellent value / money ratio.

Note :
The DDY-64i Discal Quick Release Clamp presented in this article was kindly offered by Desmond Photographic Distribution, USA, for evaluation and review as part of the Sunwayfoto Pano-3 panoramic head.

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-64i or DDY-64iL QR clamps is US$ 49.00 39.95 and are available from Amazon or from eBay worldwide.

Referenced Articles:

Sunwayfoto XB-44 Low Profile Ball Head Review

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

Sunwayfoto DYH-66i Leveling Base Review

Sunwayfoto Pano-3 Complete Panoramic Head Review

Create a Heavy Duty Multi-Row Panorama Head

Relevant Articles:

Sunwayfoto DDY-58 Discal Quick Release Clamp Review

Sunwayfoto DDY-64 Discal Quick Release Clamp Review

Sunwayfoto DDY-64iL Discal Quick Release Clamp Review


  1. DYH-66i + DDY64i = It is not possible to tighten the clamp!
    DYH-66i + DDY64iL = It's OK.

    1. Maybe with DDY-64i on DYH-66i is not possible to close the clamp fully due to the extension holding the safety screw on the DYH-66i, but this had not deprived me from tightening securely either long rails or camera QR plates when testing.
      Sure DDY-64iL on DYH-66i is a more convenient combination.

  2. Thank you for the detailed review. Do you know what the bolt hole separation distance is between the two 1/4-20 through holes? (I am looking for an Arca clamp to mount to two 6mm threaded holes on 35 mm centers.)

    1. Thanks for commenting.The distance between the centers of the side mounting holes on DDY-64i is 50 mm. On the smaller DDY-58 the distance is 40 mm.
      I would suggest Hejnar PHOTO F68 Dual Captive Slot QR Clamp Review which might be convenient for your application.