FB-28i Mini Ballhead

Specifications 

From the manufacturer:

  • Model: FB-28i
  • Ball Diameter: 28mm
  • Panning Base Diameter: 40mm
  • Height: 72mm
  • Net. Weight: 207g
  • Max Load: 12kg (26lbs)
  • Mounting Thread: UNC3/8″-16
  • Clamp Type: screw-knob clamp

Out of the Box

As we’ve come to expect, the packaging of the ballhead upon arrival is in typical Sunwayfoto form, in a small recycled board box with custom cut foam inserts more than securely holding everything just as it was placed leaving the factory.  My initial reaction upon un-boxing is not what I expected, in fact my first thought was ‘wow, this thing is TINY!’

Another noteworthy piece of information about this ballhead is that it’s completely Arca compatible, which is, in my experience, less common of ballheads this size which are more likely to use a proprietary mounting system and then force you to only use that plate style.  With an Arca compatible system, the same clamps work on all my ballheads and brackets/plates.

FB-28i Ballhead

The Ballhead

There’s an un-quantifiable feeling when materials and form comes together to create something that feels like it’s just designed right.  When seeking out this particular ballhead, I was in the market for two things, a small package and capable of holding both a medium sized mirrorless and a DSLR.  Well, below are a few photos of just that product.

 Sunwayfoto FB-28i Mini Ballhead      Sunwayfoto FB-28i Mini Ballhead

Sunwayfoto FB-28i Mini Ballhead

Testing

For the extent of the testing, I paired the FB-28i with a Gorillapod, which proved to have a learning curve of its own.  After a short time, though, the team paired up to be quite a nice combo, adding a whole new realm to what could be supported.  Below is a pretty good example of how we used the ballhead in the field, accompanying a mid-sized 4/3s like the OMD E-M5 shown here.

Sunwayfoto FB-28i Mini Ballhead in the field

Adjustment Knobs

One thing about this small of a ballhead that I was a bit concerned over was the knobs size and grip.  There are three knobs on the ballhead, the plate clamping knob, the ball clamping knob, and the panning knob.  All can be easily gripped with a gloved hand easily, and the ball clamping knob is large enough to be able to quickly go from ‘loose movement’ to ‘locked down.’

Clamping Force

If you’re using a larger camera, you’ll be happy to know that the testing did extend to the full frame camera, with the setup below hitting about 3.2lbs.  I don’t know for certain that you could max this thing out at 26lbs as the specifications say, but I’m confident that you won’t have any problems with creep on most DSLRs and lens combinations.  Much above the weight of my system, though, and you will want to upgrade the tripod, as the Gorillapod that I chose is a little on the light side.

Sunwayfoto FB-28i Mini Ballhead in the field

Overall Remarks

Size

My favorite quality of this ballhead is it’s clamping ability.  My second favorite quality is it’s size.  It’s a perfect addition to a small tripod and will definitely hold more than it should for the size factor.  I had to use a two second delay while shooting my full size DSLR on the pod, but that had more to do with the Gorillapod’s limitations than the ballhead.  Anyways, it’s always a good idea to give a two second timer to allow the camera a moment to settle on any tripod ballhead combo while taking longer exposure photos.   I don’t think there is anything out there that will hit this capability level in its compact package.

Style

Here we are again, the ‘cool’ factor.  I’d have no quams showing this new kit off to my photog friends, and neither should you.  I mean, if you don’t feel cool shooting off a little creature hanging from a tree, how will you ever feel cool?

Sunwayfoto FB-28i Mini Ballhead in the field

Final Thoughts

As they say ‘The proof is in the pudding.”  Here’s the completed shot from above.

  • Olympus OMD E-M5
  • ISO200
  • 12mm @ f8
  • 1 sec

1 Comment

  1. Joseph V. Murray

    Thank you for this review. I ordered the FB-28i for use with my Gitzo 1541 and Olympus E-M 1 and also for my Gorillapod, Shoulderpod and iHone.

    Reply

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