November 29, 2017

Sunwayfoto Released CR-3015 Medium Size Panorama Heads - Preview

Sunwayfoto CR-3015A Pano Head overview

Sunwayfoto engineers have been working for some time now in order to introduce a more compact and more versatile panoramic head model than their large and heavy Panoramic Heads that have been around for many years now.
This medium sized 360° VR Panoramic head was released this month featuring a lot of goodies and innovations in one compact package under the CR-3015 model name.

Actually there is not one but two models released by this model name, the original CR-3015 and the CR-3015A with a different horizontal rotator as we shall see in detail later.
Standard characteristics shared among all of Sunwayfoto products are met by the CR-3015 and CR-3015A too. These are precision CNC machining from aircraft-grade aluminium followed by high quality hard coat surface anodizing.

The CR-3015 Head

Manufacturer Specification:
Model:CR-3015 Pano
Material:Aluminium C.N.C. machined
Height:252 mm
Vertical Click Stops:Every 5°,15°,30°,45° and Free 
Horizontal Click Stops:Every 15°,30°,45°,90° and Free 
Weight:889.5 gr 
Load Capacity:8 Kg
Base Diameter:64 mm
Camera Mounting Screw Thread:UNC 1/4"-20
Base Mounting Hole Thread:UNC 3/8"-16
Made in :China

The CR-3015 is a fully indexed panoramic head, with a selection of 4 detent intervals (click stops) in the vertical rotator and another 4 in the horizontal roator. It features an integrated Nadir adapter on the vertical rail and a detachable camera mounting plate with ridge which can be reoriented by 90° on the horizontal arm.
The horizontal arm has an Arca type dovetail giving the option of the mounting plate substitution by a subtend QR clamp.
Further, the horizontal arm is permanently attached on the vertical indexing rotator and the whole vertical assembly is mounted on the horizontal rail by a large thumb screw.
Now, the horizontal rail is thicker and features a double Arca type dovetail, so it is easily mounted on the horizontal rotator via its QR clamp.

Sunwayfoto CR-3015 Pano Head overview

CR-3015 Indexing Rotators

The vertical indexing rotator is integrated with the vertical rail offering utmost stability but does not allow for height adjustment like the larger Sunwayfoto Pano Heads.
On the other hand the horizontal indexing rotator is an independent unit, specifically the innovative IRC-64 indexed panning clamp introduced in the second quarter of 2015.

Sunwayfoto CR-3015 Indexing Rotators

The vertical indexing rotator features a selection of four (4) detent intervals (click stops) selected by the insertion of a plunger knob in the appropriate hole for stop every 5°, 15°, 30° or 45° plus free non stop tilting when the plunger is removed completely.
A separate Lock Knob is responsible for immobilizing the vertical rotator at the desired position.

Sunwayfoto CR-3015 Vertical Rotator detail

The IRC-64 Indexing Panning Clamp differs a lot from the mainstream indexed rotators, since the implementation of detent interval stops relies on an innovative internal mechanism and a easily adjustable thumb wheel for their selection. It offers click stops every 15°, 30°, 45° or 90° plus free non stop panning when 0 is selected.
A separate Pan-Lock Knob can immobilize the rotator at any desired position.
Furthermore, there is an integrated bubble level in one of the safety groves and a full 360° laser engraved scale on the perimeter of the base.
Sunwayfoto IRC-64 Indexing Panning Clamp
Sunwayfoto IRC-64 Indexing Panning Clamp with wheel selector

In the next illustration the reader can find all dimensions of the CR-3015 pano head and its individual components in full detail. More than that, the length and travel of the mounting plate are also marked in order for the end users to decide if it is suitable for their needs.

Sunwayfoto CR-3015 Pano Head dimensions
Sunwayfoto CR-3015 Pano Head detailed dimensions

Usability of the Head

The CR-3015 despite its compact size is sturdy enough to accommodate even larger size DSLRs as illustrated below.

Sunwayfoto CR-3015 Pano Head w/ camera mouted

The horizontal arm can accept up to short telephoto lenses, allowing for easy shooting of Zenith but mostly a clear Nadir via the utilization of the integrated Nadir adapter.

Sunwayfoto CR-3015 Pano Head in Zenith and Nadir shooting
Sunwayfoto CR-3015 Pano Head in Zenith and Nadir shooting modes

I borrowed the following animated gif from the Sunwayfoto website because it shows exactly how easily the integrated Nadir Adapter works allowing the upper part of the head to turn outwards by 180° in order to shoot an unobstructed Nadir frame.

Sunwayfoto CR-3015 Pano Head Nadir Adapter demo
Sunwayfoto CR-3015 integrated Nadir Adapter demonstration

The CR-3015A Head

Manufacturer Specification:
Model:CR-3015A Pano
Material:Aluminium C.N.C. machined
Height:266 mm
Vertical Click Stops:Every 5°,15°,30°,45° and Free 
Horizontal Click Stops:Every 8°,12°,15°,18° and Free
Weight:970.5 gr 
Load Capacity:8 Kg
Base Diameter:64 mm
Camera Mounting Screw Thread:UNC 1/4"-20
Base Mounting Hole Thread:UNC 3/8"-16
Made in :China

The CR-3015A is exactly the same with the CR-3015 in all aspects and features as far as the upper part is concerned. The only difference between the two models is the use of a different horizontal indexing rotator making the CR-3015A more appropriate for the US market.
Due to alleged patent infringement, not any Panning Clamp even with an embedded detent interval mechanism can be sold in the US market officially. (Check my article Sudden Disappearance of Sunwayfoto Panning Clamps for more details.)
Therefore, IRC-64 had to be abandoned no matter how innovative it is and go for a more classic solution with an independent horizontal indexing rotator and an add-on Quick Release clamp to match; as we shall see below.

Sunwayfoto CR-3015A Panoramic Head

CR-3015A Indexing Rotators

As mentioned previously, the upper part of the pano head is identical, so is the upper vertical rotator and its functions with detent intervals (click stops) selected via a plunger knob every 5°, 15°, 30° and 45° plus free non stop tilting.
The horizontal rotator on the other hand is comprised of two parts, specifically the DDP-64SI indexing rotator and the add-on DDY-64i quick release discal clamp.
Sunwayfoto CR-3015A Indexing Rotators

The horizontal indexing rotator is well known to my frequent readers as I have reviewed all DDP-64 iterations since their first appearance. The operating principle of the DDP-64Si differs being more classic than the newer IRC-64, based on the use of a plunger knob on the perimeter of the rotator.
The detent intervals (click stops) also differ, as we have options of 8°, 12°, 15° and 18° plus free non-stop panning.
Nonetheless, more information about the rotator assembly may be found in the Sunwayfoto DDP-64Si Panoramic Indexing Rotator Review and the Sunwayfoto DDY-64i Discal Quick Release Clamp Review dating back in 2015. Both parts are of excellent machining and finishing and when combined give a higher capacity to the Panoramic head in load handling, since actual measured numbers exceed by far the stated numbers by the manufacturer.

Sunwayfoto DDP-64SI and DDY-64i Assembly process

However, there is a small premium to pay for this in terms of size and weight, since the CR-3015A is a little taller and heavier than the CR-3015.

Package Contents

Both iterations of the CR-3015 pano head come boxed in the usual Sunwayfoto recycled carton boxes and nested in thick pre-cut foam. They are accompanied by User Manual in Chinese and English, as well as appropriate tools and a Quality Cleaning Cloth by Sunwayfoto.

I hope to have a copy of the panoramic head soon in order to test it thoroughly and transfer all findings to you.

I hope you found the information useful, thank you for viewing.
All Photos used by permission © 2017 except one © 2015 S.C.Vlachos

Price & Availability:
Estimated retail price for either of the Sunwayfoto CR-3015 or CR-3015A is US$ 240.00 (+Shipping where applicable) and are expected to be available sometime in December 2017 from Amazon or from eBay.

Nonetheless, you may also purchase directly from the Sunwayfoto Store.

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

Referenced Articles:

Sunwayfoto IRC-64 Panoramic Indexing Rotator Clamp Review

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