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FORUMS General Gear Talk Tripods, Monopods & Other Camera Support
Thread started 03 Aug 2016 (Wednesday) 14:59
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FLM CB-48FTR story and impression

 
fotopaul
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Post has been last edited over 1 year ago by fotopaul. 7 edits done in total.
Aug 03, 2016 14:59 |  #1
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Curiosity got the better of me.. resulting in me ordering the FLM CB-48FT (external link) a few weeks back.

Sadly i received a used and faulty ball head.. box was banged up, head has scuff marks and worst of all the main knob didn't tighten at all...

Quite disappointed i contacted FLM directly and explained the issues i had with it, accompanied with a detailed video showing the issues.

Within hours a i got a reply, where they apologised for the inconvenience and explained that the ball head i received was indeed faulty and looked used.

They asked me to send the faulty head back to them, and offered to send me a new ball head with the QRP-70 (external link) as compensation.

Was happily surprised they where willing to own up to what i think was the dealers error.

The QRP-70 is however not Arca swiss compatible so i asked if they could mount the SRB-60 (external link) instead and maybe add the PRS knob upgrading it to theFLM CB-48FTR (external link) which they happily did and send it with Fedex overnight shipping.

So got the new upgraded ball head with the SRB-60 clamp and unlike the faulty first head i got from the dealer this works as advertised and was well packed and brand new.:-)

IMAGE: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/62064760/flm_cb48ftr.jpg

IMAGE: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/62064760/flm_group.jpg

My initial impression:


Build:
Very well built, on the same level as Sirui, Markins for sure if not better.

Knobs are smooth, and has big groves which makes them very easy to grip.

Features:

Tilt lock:
Unique feature on a "standard" ball head design (name the KPS T5D) works as advertised with only slight difference in tension when activated. Very useful for framing shots, which i often find a bit frustrating with ball heads.

PRS knob
Audible clicks ever 15 degrees, very useful for panos. Can be disengaged of course so you get normal smooth panning.

Tension lock:

Tension lock is set by the collar ring on the main locking knob. Very easy to set and much improved over the small dial integrated on the main knob. (which you can find on both Sirui and Markins) Hitting the sweet spot is quite easy and the numbers on the tension locking ring helps you replicate the tension for a given setup quite easily.

The symmetrical ball design makes you use a harder tension (to prevent the rig to sag at an angle) and thus more force. I still prefer the Arca Swiss monoball P0 here, as i find it slightly smoother and it requires less force.


SRB-60:

A nice clamp that is Arca Swiss compatible, all my plates works with no issues. (RRS, Kirk and a few no names) The clamp came with it's own plate, with the original plate you can take advantage of the security pin which will prevent the plate from sliding out of the clamp in either direction.

Build is nice, same groves on the knob as on the ball head. If i where to nitpick i would have liked the locking knob to be a little more dampened. A minor annoyance for me with the SRB-60 is that with non FLM plate you can't slide in the plates in the clamp, but rather have to "lift" them in once you opened the clamp to near it's max. Probably a matter of preference, but im used to slide cameras in, and thus not having to turn as many times to lock the clamp. Again if you'r using the FLM plates this is a non issue.

In all im quite impressed by the FLM CB-48FTR is a nice built ball head with some unique features and the price is more then reasonable.

Summary for my use

Pros:

  • Build quality is very nice
  • Tilt lock and PRS feature
  • Nice smooth knobs which is easy to grip
  • Rated to take a lot of weight
  • No drift when locking down
  • One of the best "traditional ball heads i'v owned and used (which includes, RRS, Markins, Sirui, Arca Swiss,Manfrotto)
  • Long throw on the main locking knob, making it easy to set the tension just right
  • 10-year warranty! And a very fast and excellent customer service from FLM directly.
  • Affordable
  • Easily install you'r own choice of clamp



Cons:

  • Symmetrical ball design, makes for a stiffer "sweet spot"
  • Quite a long throw on the panning locking knob, meaning it takes quite a few turns to lock/unlock (this might be positive for some, if you want adjust the panning resistance based on the load you have on)
  • Can be a bit cumbersome to use the SRB-60 clamp with 3rd party plates due to the security pin
  • With the unique features comes two extra knobs, which can be a bit much if you are big fan of the Monoball P0 as i am..  :p

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CyberDyneSystems
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Post has been edited over 1 year ago by CyberDyneSystems.
Aug 03, 2016 15:24 |  #2

Thanks for a Great review! Very well stated and thought out.

I'm glad to hear that they took good care of you. (really, in the end you got a lot more than you paid for, that's always nice! Isn't that like $300.00 in free extras?)

I have the FLM 58 minus the PRS knob, and love it. The tilt feature was the selling pint, though in hind-site I wish I had gone for a smaller size. They have quite a few options, but B&H did not stock many of the sizes when I bought.

Near as I can tell from the short time I have had it, it is easily the best built head I have. Love my Markins M20, I've had it over a decade now, so maybe the FLM won't live up to that build quality, time will tell, but the added features of the FLM are not be ignored.

SIRUI is a great "bang for your buck" head, (I have a few in various sizes) but they really don't come close to the design or craftsmanship of the FLM IMHO.

I've not tried an Arca with the aspherical ball, but the idea definitely intrigues me.


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fotopaul
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Post has been edited over 1 year ago by fotopaul.
Aug 04, 2016 01:30 |  #3
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Yes they stepped up to the plate, now have no doubt regarding their service level.

I got the PRS knob and the SRB-60 for free so at least, i think the price difference between the FT vs the FTR (with SRB-60 mounted) is 250$ so im happy! :-)

Sirui is nice for the money, and i agree no the same level in terms of design and craftmanship.


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sawsedge
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Aug 05, 2016 07:07 |  #4

Nice review, thank you.

A question for you... how long is the long throw on the main knob? Does it give feedback as it is tightened? I ask because I rented a Markins Q20i and it would just keep turning long after the ball was tight and I didn't like that. I like having the knob tighten as the ball is locked, as on my old Kirk BH-1 and Arca-Swiss Z1.


- John

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fotopaul
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Aug 05, 2016 07:16 |  #5
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sawsedge wrote in post #18087070 (external link)
Nice review, thank you.

A question for you... how long is the long throw on the main knob? Does it give feedback as it is tightened? I ask because I rented a Markins Q20i and it would just keep turning long after the ball was tight and I didn't like that. I like having the knob tighten as the ball is locked, as on my old Kirk BH-1 and Arca-Swiss Z1.

It's quite long compare to others, but it does give you a tactile feedback. The benefit for this is you can precisely set the level of friction. Unlike the RRS where it's very coarse and makes it hard to nail the sweet spot.

So i don't mind the long throw on the main knob, im however not a big fan of the long throw on the panning knob as i only wants locked/unlocked i don't have a need to set the level of "resistance".


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sawsedge
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Aug 06, 2016 10:17 as a reply to fotopaul's post |  #6

Thanks for the info. I'm glad it does give feedback.


- John

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Canon_Lover
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Aug 06, 2016 11:30 |  #7

Well done review. Looks like a very nice tripod head with many neat features. I agree about the locking of the pan function. The throw needs to be much shorter there. I use mine on my Manfrotto 054 head for quick locking during panoramas. I guess as long as the head is still stable and not wobbly when unlocked for panning, you could get away with just setting a strong tension and then forcing it move a little each shot. This works well for me when it is not windy.


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fotopaul
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Post has been edited over 1 year ago by fotopaul.
Aug 08, 2016 21:31 as a reply to Canon_Lover's post |  #8
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Well it could work, but i rather just use the extra force required by not unlocking the pan completely.

The oversized fliplock on the 054/057 is very easy to unlock/lock. But i had major issues with the coarse and somewhat sticky movement on the Manfrotto heads.


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digital_AM
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Aug 05, 2017 00:47 |  #9

Thank you for this review. I have my eye on the CB-38FTR for my Sony a7RII. I currently have a Markins Q10 with their base plate and a RRS clamp. The FLM tilt lock and the PRS knob for panos are why I'm considering switching. How is yours performing after a year of use?


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FLM CB-48FTR story and impression
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