August 18, 2017

Sunwayfoto FB-52 and FB-52DDHi Top FB Series Ball Heads Preview

Sunwayfoto FB-52 Ball Head overview

Although Sunwayfoto had a large capacity high end ball head with a 52 mm ball like the XB-52, they were actually missing a middle range high capacity ball head for lower budgets.
This is the gap to be filled now with the introduction of the FB-52 series ball head models.

The new robust ball heads with 52 mm diameter balls belong to the Sunwayfoto FB-Series Mk II Ball Heads previewed quite some time ago.
In short the FB series heads are more economical and lightweight due to their classic Arca style design in regard of the ball friction control and lock mechanism. The independent panning lock mechanism is also simpler.

The FB-52 Ball Head

Manufacturer Specification:
Ball Diameter :52 mm
Base Diameter :70 mm
Height:110 mm
Bottom Mounting Thread:UNC 3/8"-16
Bottom Mounting Hole Depth:12 mm
Net Weight:696 gr
Max Load:20 kg
Side Tilt:90
Clamp Type:Screw-knob
Material:Aluminum Alloy

The new FB-52 is an enlarged version of the FB-36 and FB-44 heads keeping all the fine characteristics all around. The same fine knurled control knobs, the elongated clamp screw knob and the external bubble level. You can read more about the QR clamp in Sunwayfoto New DDC Series QR Clamps with Long Knob - Preview

Something peculiar though, is that the declared maximum load for the FB-52 is quite lower by 10 kg actually than the one declared for the FB-44. I.e. 20 kg vs 30 kg. Most probably Sunwayfoto has changed the assessment method of the maximum load or they have become very conservative.
That needs further investigation and I'll come back on the matter after I receive clarifications.

Sunwayfoto FB-52 Ball Head control knobs
Sunwayfoto FB-52 Ball Head control knobs for Ball friction and lock and pan lock of the 360° graded panning base.

Sunwayfoto FB-52 Ball Head drop notch
Sunwayfoto FB-52 Ball Head inherits the single drop notch design and allows side or front tilt of 90°

Sunwayfoto FB-52 Ball Head QR clamp
Sunwayfoto FB-52 Ball Head is fitted with the classic DDC-60L long screw knob QR clamp

This time Sunwayfoto gives a very detailed dimensions chart that allows any user take their decision on where the product fits.
Sunwayfoto FB-52 Ball Head Dimensions
Sunwayfoto FB-52 Ball Head detailed dimensions

With the introduction of the FB-52, a sibling with a panning clamp was introduces as well, that is the FB-52DDHi featuring the updated DDH-05 panning QR clamp.
Unfortunately, due to patent reasons this model will not be available in the US through the official distribution channels. Nevertheless, it will be available in Europe and Asia.

Sunwayfoto FB-52DDHi Ball Head overview

The FB-52DDHi Ball Head

Manufacturer Specification:
Ball Diameter :52 mm
Base Diameter :70 mm
Height:117 mm
Bottom Mounting Thread:UNC 3/8"-16
Bottom Mounting Hole Depth:12 mm
Net Weight:731.5 gr
Max Load:20 kg
Side Tilt:90°
Clamp Type:Panoramic Screw-knob
Material:Aluminum Alloy

Differences between the heads are minimal besides the addition of some height because of the panning clamp thickness.
Sunwayfoto FB-52DDHi Ball Head control knobs
Sunwayfoto FB-52DDHi obviously has same control knobs

Sunwayfoto FB-52DDHi Ball Head drop notch
And tilting drop notch.

Sunwayfoto FB-52DDHi Ball Head panoramic clamp
The DDH-05 Panning QR Clamp is what makes the difference. Top panning ability sacrificed a little of the jaw length. 
Same as with the simple FB-52 the FB-52DDHi has its own dimensional chart in full detail.

Sunwayfoto FB-52DDHi Ball Head dimensions
Sunwayfoto FB-52DDHi Ball Head detailed dimensions

Mounted on a Tripod

Although Sunwayfoto suggests a 28 mm top leg diameter tripod as the Sunwayfoto T2C40C Carbon Fiber Classic Tripod, I'd rather go for a larger 32 mm series 3 tripod and above for this massive ball head.
Sunwayfoto FB-52 on T2C40C CF Tripod
Sunwayfoto FB-52 mounted on Sunwayfoto T2C40C Carbon Fiber Classic Tripod

The large 70mm diameter base of the FB-52 makes a better match with the Sunwayfoto T1A20 Aluminium Ground Level Tripod illustrated below, which is a massive tripod addressed to large telephoto lenses for ground level shooting.

Sunwayfoto FB-52DDHi on T1A20 Alu tripod
Sunwayfoto FB-52DDHi mounted on Sunwayfoto T2A20 Aluminum ground level tripod

I hope you found the info useful, thank you for viewing.
All Photos used by permission © 2016-2017

Price & Availability:
Current price for the FB-52 Ball Head is US$ 169.00 (+shipping where applicable) and is at the time of writing available shipping from Hong Kong meaning that you have to anticipate for a longer delivery time.
The FB-52 is available from Amazon or from eBay

Meanwhile, as of 2022 you may also purchase directly from the Sunwayfoto Store starting from US$ 109.00 with the FB-52 and US$ 129.00 for the FB-52DDHi.

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