Curiosity got the better of me.. resulting in me ordering the FLM CB-48FT 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 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 instead and maybe add the PRS knob upgrading it to theFLM CB-48FTR 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.
My initial impression:
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.
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.
Audible clicks ever 15 degrees, very useful for panos. Can be disengaged of course so you get normal smooth panning.
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.
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
- 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.
- Easily install you'r own choice of clamp
- 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..