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Sunwayfoto DYH-90R Leveling Base Review
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Release time:2013-05-15 15:29:00

Sunwayfoto DYH-90R Leveling Base+DLC-60L Duo QR clamp combo overview

Based on the sturdy Sunwayfoto DYH-90 Leveling Base, DYH-90R represents one of its variations equipped with a heavy duty panning top platform, thus the R at the end of the model name.
Although it is a variation it may stand as a different model by itself for review, since the panning top platform adds another dimension to the leveling base, expanding its functionality and making it most appropriate for use with large format cameras.

Here we shall also examine, if the there is any influence to the leveling base characteristic, by the added height of the panning top.

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.

The Package & Contents

Much like the DYH-90, the DYH-90R Leveling Base I received for evaluation, was also a combo with the new Sunwayfoto DLC-60L Duo Lever / Knob Quick Release Clamp which is reviewed separately in detail. As  all combos it offers quite some saving if the clamp is also needed.

Sunwayfoto DYH-90R+DLC-60L Duo clamp combo box

The Leveling Base comes in a recycled-carton box as all Sunwayfoto products released after a point in 2012; shrink wrapped which ensures that the product has not been opened after it left the factory.

Sunwayfoto DYH-90R+DLC-60L Duo clamp combo box contents

The DYH-90R Leveling Base (here combined with DLC-60L Duo QR Clamp) travels in the box within a thick foam padding, with all the accompanying documents and accessories in separate zip-lock nylon bags.

Sunwayfoto DYH-90R warranty & customer cards + hex key

A credit card sized warranty Card for the DYH-90 leveling base stating Model and Serial Number and a "Customer Information Card" for use together with the Warranty card in case of applying for a warranty claim.
As I always point out for Sunwayfoto gear, keep in mind that Sunwayfoto offers a 5 year limited warranty extension,  for certain products upon registration in their website, within one month from the date of purchase.
Further, an 1/4"-20 ~ 3/8"16 top mounting conversion bushing (not shown in picture above) together with an Allen hex wrench, are also found in the box.

Sunwayfoto operating instructions & cleaning cloth

Pictured above are the "Operating Instructions" fan-fold leaflet, sitting on top of the Sunwayfoto microfiber Cleaning Clothe. The instructions are basic but adequate to set up and maintain the leveling base. However, the operating instructions are addressed to older DYH-120 and DYH-66 leveling base models but while exactly the same in regard of the  basic operating principle, in the case of DYH-90R there is no documentation about the Top Panning Platform.
As mentioned in the DYH-90 review, I was informed that Sunwayfoto is in the process of printing and electronically publishing new operating instruction leaflets for all their new products, more descriptive and detailed.

The Leveling Base
Manufacturer Specification:
Platform Diameter:90 mm
Base Diameter76 mm
Height::60 mm
Bottom mounting thread:3/8"-16 UNC
Top mounting stud:1/4"-20 UNC
Weight:642 gr*
Max Load capacity:> 30 kg (66 lbs)

*Verified weight on electronic scales: 689 gr stand alone,
781 gr w/ DDY-64iL and 812 gr w/ DLC-60L mounted.

Sunwayfoto DYH-90R w/ DLC-60L Duo QR clamp removed + screws + hex key

Sunwayfoto DYH-90R lever lock-knob positioning

The half-ball is controlled via a large off-center Lever Lock-Knob extending out from the side of the mounting base. The Lever knob is all metal, spring-loaded, capping a stainless-steel shaft that actually controls the Leveling Base locking mechanism. If in any case the rotation of the Lever lock-knob is blocked or it interferes with other equipment stopping its travel (upper left photo above) it may be easily pulled out until the internal hex nut is revealed (larger right photo above) and relocated in one of the 12 possible positions that proves more convenient (lower left photo above).

Sunwayfoto DYH-90R lever lock-knob travel range

The large Lever lock-knob needs only half a turn from the "loose" to the "tightly locked" position.

Sunwayfoto DYH-90R tilted right

The verified* ability of DYH-66i to tilt +16° or ...

Sunwayfoto DYH-90R tilted left

... -16° degrees, permits leveling of a tripod head in almost any terrain whichever the tripod leg angles may be.
While, on the other hand gives a clear advantage to the DYH-90R over the competition.

*Tilting to 16° was verified with an electronic inclinometer.

TheTop Panning Platform

Sunwayfoto DYH-90R top panning platform detail

Improvements over the previous version

Sunwayfoto DYH-90R original leveling base
Original DYH-90R Leveling Base.
Photo by courtesy of
As discussed with the DYH-90 the most obvious differences between the current DYH-90R and the original DYH-90R on the left, are:
The 3/8"-16 top mounting stud which has been exchanged with an 1/4"-20 one for compatibility with more equipment;
The two pairs of threaded mounting holes in two distances between the holes, enabling the mounting of a selection of quick release clamps on the top platform.
And last, the large Lever lock-knob which by 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.
In the same manner, the invisible but felt changes  are the improvements in the weight and the internal lubrication which lead in better yet far smoother handling of the leveling base.

Sunwayfoto DYH-90B and DYH-80A w/ integral lever clamp

Intermediate versions of Sunwayfoto DYH-90B and DYH-80A equipped with integral DLC-60 lever clamps.
Photo by courtesy of

Comparison with the Competition
The table below shows a comparison of Sunwayfoto DYH-90R leveling base with leveling bases of similar characteristics and price range coming from well known brands. However, the comparison stands only for the leveling function as it is the only one with a Top Panning Platform.

Platform ?:90 mm /2.60"90 mm /2.60"74 mm /2.90"-- mm73 mm /2.9"
Base ?:76 mm /2.37"60 mm /2.37"60 mm /2.37"-- mm73 mm /2.9"
Height:50 mm /1.97"60 mm /2.36"46 mm /1.80"50 mm /1.97"68 mm /2.7"
Bottom thread:3/8"-16* 3/8"-16* 1/4"-20 3/8"-16 3/8"-16
Top stud:1/4"-20* 1/4"-20*1/4"-20 / 3/8"-163/8"-16 3/8"-16
Weight:524 gr / 1.15 lb 642 gr /1.41 oz295 gr /10.4 oz650 gr /22.9oz338 gr /11.6 oz
Max Load :30.0kg / 66 lbs30.0kg / 66 lbs11.4 kg / 25 lbs15.0 kg / 33 lbs16.0 kg / 35 lbs

*Convertible via 1/4"-20 to 3/8"-16 bushing

Mounting on a Tripod

Sunwayfoto DYH-90R bottom view w/ bushing installed

The bottom view, shows the sturdy structure of the base with concentric grooves, the "Made in China" logo and the Leveling Base serial number which reside in one of the concentric grooves.
DYH-90R comes preinstalled with a base mount 1/4"-20 ~ 3/8"-16 thread conversion bushing in the base 3/8"-16 mounting hole. In this way it may be mounted either on tripods equipped with an 1/4"-20 top mounting stud ...

Sunwayfoto DYH-90R bottom view w/ bushing removed

... 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

Sunwayfoto DYH-90R w/ DDY-64iL QR clamp + screws & hex key

Sunwayfoto DYH-90 - DDY-64iL QR clamp installation

Sunwayfoto DYH-90R w/ DDY-64iL QR clamp installed

Combined with DLC-60L Duo Lever/Knob QR Clamp

Sunwayfoto DYH-90R w/ DLC-60L Duo QR clamp + screws & hex key

Sunwayfoto DYH-90R w/ DLC-60L Duo QR clamp installed

Torque Test results
A full torque test is under preparation.

Sunwayfoto DYH-90/DYH-90R ball diameter

The model name DYH-90, implies both the diameter of the top mounting platform but also the diameter of the half ball that bears all the weight undertaking the leveling task. Therefore, considering the ball diameter the declared maximum load of 30 kg by the manufacturer is quite preservative.

Mounting Heavy Gear
Much like its sibling DYH-90, the DYH-90R is basically intended to hold big size and heavy equipment , yet its Top Panning Platform makes it ideal for medium-format 6 X 6, 6 X 7 or large format 8 X 10 cameras.

Sunwayfoto DYH-90R top stud & conversion bushing

The DYH-90R 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 DLC-60L Duo or DDY-64iL QR clamps.

Sunwayfoto DYH-90R w/ conversion bushing installed

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 panning platform of the leveling base.

Using the Leveling Base

Innovative and original design ideal for low level shooting.
Exceptional machining, finishing, fitting and build quality.
Compact size and low weight.
Great stability and vibration absorption.
Very smooth ball operation at all angles.
Good value for money ratio.
5 year limited warranty extension upon registration.



Note :
The updated DYH-90R 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, using 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.

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