February 11, 2015

Sunwayfoto Updated DDH Series of Panning Clamps Preview

Sunwayfoto DDH-04 Panning Clamp top view
While there has been an intermediate release of the DDH-03i panning clamp, which was described in detail in the Sunwayfoto Revised 2014 version DDH-03i Panning Clamp Review, it's been a year and a half from the release of the i=improved versions of the DDH-02 and DDH-03 panning clamps.

The initial announcement of a new DDH-05 replacing the DDH-03i back in December 2014, was a little unexpected because of the recent DDH-03i / 2014 version release.

Nonetheless, this announcement was closely followed by the announcement of a new DDH-06 replacing the DDH-02i just after the holidays in January and shortly after by a new DDH-04 heavy duty clamp replacing the oldest in line DDH-01.
Just for the record the DDH-01 had been withdrawn from the US market for quite some time, but was still in production and available in the European and Asian markets.
The model numbering is somehow an oxymoron by following an ascending order compared to clamp diameter which follows a descending order.

Common Features
All of the forementioned panning clamps share the shame structural design with minimal differences besides the diameter, weight and strength.

The former matte-black finishing gave its place to a more durable and scratch resistant Satin Black Hard Coat anodizing, also adopted on Sunwayfoto's latest L brackets.
All models feature a bubble level in one of the safety stop relief grooves.

The Screw Knobs have long stems, but the thread step is decreased resulting in a fast lock / unlock of the clamp by only 2/3 of a turn of the knob. Which compares to the speed of a lever clamp.
The Panning Lock knobs operate on a Stainless Steel stem pressing on a twin lever brake with gradual response and greater torque capacity.

Sunwayfoto DDH-05 Panning Clamp top platform

Models DDH-05 and DDH-06 have returned to a flat clamp surface of their DDH-03 and DDH-02 predecessors without the beveled entry points of the "i" versions.
Likewise their clamp jaws are wider and the twin-rod guide of the moving jaw has reverted to the original full-width tongue in a pocket design.

Finally, all except for the smaller DDH-06 feature a panning base with flat bottom surface with four 1/4"-20 threaded mounting holes, abandoning the previously carved bottom.

Sunwayfoto DDH-05 Panning Clamp bottom surface

The DDH-06 Panning Clamp

Manufacturer Specification:
Total Length with knobs:89 mm
Base Diameter:52 mm
Height:13 mm
Mounting thread:3/8"-16 UNC
Maximum Load:20 Kg
Weight:82 gr

Sunwayfoto DDH-06 Panning Clamp top side view
The Sunwayfoto DDH-06 Panning Clamp is the smallest of the series with a diameter of 52mm intended to be integrated with smaller ball heads or application requiring a smaller, thinner and lightweight clamp. Marginally heavier than its predecessor promises more clamping and panning lock strength.
Sunwayfoto DDH-06 Panning Clamp mounted on FB-36 ball head
Sunwayfoto DDH-06 Panning Clamp mounted directly on FB-36 ball head via an M5 screw through the center mounting hole.

The DDH-05 Panning Clamp

Manufacturer Specification:
Total Length with knobs:99 mm
Base Diameter:58 mm
Height:26 mm
Mounting thread:3/8"-16 UNC
Maximum Load:20 Kg
Weight:155 gr*
*Arca Mount dovetail AM-02 Plate included

The DDH-05N Panning Clamp

Manufacturer Specification:
Total Length with knobs:99 mm
Base Diameter:58 mm
Height:20.5 mm
Mounting thread:3/8"-16 UNC
Maximum Load:20 Kg
Weight:135 gr**
** Without Arca Mount dovetail AM-02 Plate

Sunwayfoto DDH-05 Panning Clamp top side view
The Sunwayfoto DDH-05 Panning Clamp is the mid-sized member of the series marginally larger than the DDH-06 mentioned above, sporting a diameter of 58 mm but with a higher panning base, which accepts the screw on AM-02 Arca Mount plate.
Model DDH-05 comes with the AM-02 plate included while model DDH-05N comes without the plate saving some of the weight and cost.
Sunwayfoto DDH-05 Panning Clamp mounted on XB-52 ball head clamp
Sunwayfoto DDH-05 Panning Clamp mounted on the Sunwayfoto XB-52 low profile ball head clamp via the included AM-02 Arca Mount plate.

The DDH-04 Panning Clamp

Manufacturer Specification:
Total Length with knobs:131 mm
Base Diameter:64 mm
Height:31 mm
Mounting thread:3/8"-16 UNC
Maximum Load:20 Kg
Weight:253 gr
***Arca Mount dovetail AM-01 Plate included

Sunwayfoto DDH-04 Panning Clamp top side view
The Sunwayfoto DDH-04 Panning Clamp is the largest in the series. A 64 mm diameter with a larger clamping mechanism intended for heavier gear with larger torque capacity requirements.
Although the DDH-04 retains the original DDH-01 external characteristics, the locking mechanism is completely reengineered in compliance with the other members of the series featuring a twin-lever brake while the lock knob has moved from the panning base to the top part of the clamp. Obviously the knob is round and much larger than the tear-drop knobs on the smaller models.
Sunwayfoto DDH-04 Panning Clamp mounted on DLC-60X clamp on DDY-66i
Sunwayfoto DDH-04 Panning Clamp mounted via its included AM-02 Arca Mount dovetail plate on the new DLC-60X Duo Screw/Lever release clamp which in turn is attached on the DDY-66i Leveling base.

The DDH-04N Panning Clamp

Manufacturer Specification:
Total Length with knobs:131 mm
Base Diameter:64 mm
Height:26.8 mm
Mounting thread:3/8"-16 UNC
Maximum Load:20 Kg
Weight:233 gr
****Without AM-01 Plate 

Sunwayfoto DDH-04N Panning Clamp top side view
Same as with the DDH-05N the DDH-04N comes without the AM-01 Arca Mount dovetail plate for those seeking a simpler and cheaper solution.
Sunwayfoto DDH-04N Panning Clamp direct mount on XB-52 ball head
Sunwayfoto DDH-04N Panning Clamp directly mounted on the XB-52 low profile ball head. A heavy duty solution for larger and heavier photographic equipment.

For a comparison with the replaced models you may visit the relevant DDH-02, DDH-02i, DDH-03 and DDH-03i  preview and review articles listed in the Relevant Articles section below.
Nevertheless the new DDH-05 panning clamp is under evaluation and a thorough review will be published accordingly explaining all new features in detail.

I hope you found this information useful, thank you for viewing.
All Photos by courtesy of Sunwayfoto ©2015

Price & Availability:
The updated DDH-04, DDH-05 and DDH-06 panning clamps will maintain the prices of their predecessors at US$ 99.00, US$ 99.00 and US$ 79.00 respectively.
While the DDH-04N and DDH-05N panning clamps without the AM-01 and AM-02 Arca-Mount plates will also be available for a little less at US$ 79.00.
Which means that all models without Arca Mount plates cost the same US$ 79.00 and the user is called to make a choice depending on the application considering the size.
All versions are available from Amazon.com.
Update Jun 2017
After the known patent infringement issues Sunwayfoto DDH clamps are only available outside US from eBay and from Amazon

Referenced Articles

Sunwayfoto DDH-03i Panning Clamp Reduced Torque Capacity

Sunwayfoto Revised 2014 version DDH-03i Panning Clamp Review

Relevant Articles:

Sunwayfoto DDH-03 Panning Clamp Preview

Sunwayfoto DDH-03 Panning Clamp Review

Sunwayfoto DDH-02 compact Panning Clamp Preview

Sunwayfoto DDH-02 Panning Clamp Review


  1. Hi, thanks for the review. I had a significant problem with all three of these clamps, the DDH-04, DDH-05 and DDH-06. I tried mounting them on the top of a Gitzo GH1382QD ball head. Once screwed down using a standard 1/4"-20 screw the panning action completely failed to work. No matter the location of the pan lock it was impossible to rotate the clamp.

    1. Hi, thanks in return for the feedback regarding DDH panning clamps.
      However, before jumping into any conclusions, would you please clarify how did you try to mount the DDH clamps on the Gitzo GH1382QD head?
      According to my knowledge its ball stem ends to an anti-twist system reverse than the boss required for the DDH clamps. It is like the one found on Manfrotto heads. Did you use an adapter or what?

  2. The ball head stem does indeed end in recess, just like the Manfrotto stems. I used a Desmond boss adapter to convert the 7.5mm stem slot into a 5mm raised mount. It slots into the notch in the underside of most clamps. I then used a 1/4"-20 screw to screw down through the clamp into the ball head stem.

    Using a 1/4"-20 to 3/8"-16 thread in the tripod stem allowed the clamp to be screwed down onto the head and to rotate freely, however this lacks any form of anti rotation mechanism so isn't perfect.

    I used the exact same arrangement on the Sunwayfoto IRC-64 and it worked a treat. There is something about the latest DDH panning clamps that causes the mechanism to lock up when a screw is put through the clamp down into a ball head.

    Looking at the top of the clamps in question there is a pair of recesses in the silver centre part of the clamp. This appears to be a method of tightening or loosening that part of the clamp, possibly for disassembly for cleaning. I think the issue is that the screw head causes this part to tighten and locks down the rotating part of the clamp from moving.

    I confirmed this issue with my supplier (CGUK) who did reproduce the problem on Gitzo tripods but strangely not on Manfrotto ones. I was able to return the item and replace it with the IRC-64, which works a treat. Although it too has the notched silver core.

    The added benefit of the IRC-64 is it's built in indexing feature, but, I do wish it was available with a shorter clamp arm so it doesn't stick out so much from the tripod when folded.

    1. Well done with the adapter, that was the way to go.

      Now the Stainless Steel (silver) ring in the center hole of all the panning clamps, has a dual purpose. One is to hold together the lower panning base and the clamp on top, with rotating friction preadjusted at the factory, while a "threadlock" (here a white compound) fixes the adjustment. Second is to act as a polished strengthening material between mounting screws and the softer aluminium clamp.
      You may have a look inside the panning clamps and the role of the SS ring in one of my older articles:
      Sunwayfoto Revised 2014 version DDH-03i Panning Clamp Review

      What you describe happening with the newer DDH clamps, reminds me the behavior of the DDH-03 panning clamps after the "threadlock" had been broken in order to open the clamps.
      Seems to me that the 1/4"-20 mounting screw used to mount the clamps on the Gitzo head was over-tightened, causing the "threadlock" to break off, thus carrying along the SS ring, further tightening the top part on the panning base, causing it to lock.
      Indeed the pair of recesses on the SS ring serve for tightening or loosening and adjustment in general. Although a special tool exists, if the threadlock is broken, the SS ring can be adjusted with a pair of pointed pliers with little effort. Actually it has to be removed, new threadlock applied and let to cure, before tightening the 1/4"-20 screw again.

      However, this is not supposed to be happening, requiring the end user to apply remedies. What is not clear to me though, is your comment regarding Gitzo vs Manfrotto tripods. Wasn't it about Gitzo ball heads?

      I agree that although larger and heavier, the IRC-64 as well as the rectangular DDH-07 are better built.

      Nonetheless, I shall forward your communication to Sunwayfoto engineers ASAP for further testing and evaluation.

  3. Thanks for that.

    The comment about Manfrotto vs Gitzo was from the supplier. They tested another copy of the clamp on a Manfrotto head in house and found it worked. They then tried the Gitzo head and found it didn't. Perhaps they broke the thread lock when they did it on the Gitzo. That would mean it's pretty easy to do.

    As for over tightening, it's possible that the issue. However, it's strange that I've not had that problem with Haoge, Benro, iShoot and even other Sunwayfoto clamps. I just have a feeling that the thread lock is a little weak in this new set of clamps. As I said I tried each of them and all seemed to suffer this same problem. It will be interesting to see what the engineers have to say.

  4. Hi there, did you ever hear anything back from Sunwayfoto?

    1. Hi Ian,
      Unfortunately, after multiple reminders I received an answer today that the issues have been noticed and the DDH series panning clamps have been redesigned accordingly, so it won't happen again.
      No answer about remedy suggestions concerning the older clamps, whatsoever.
      I have to point out that, as far as I know, their head engineer does not speak English, so I'm not sure if much of the technical conversation is lost in translation.
      I'll keep the matter open though; and if I have any further news I'll update you.

  5. Thanks for checking. Interesting that there was a problem after all.

  6. I've just gotten some of the new DDH-05 clamps and they seem to work well.

    1. Thanks for the update, I appreciate. Glad that you are happy with the product finally.