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Thread started 20 Mar 2007 (Tuesday) 08:21
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Weifeng Fancier FT-565H Ball Mount Tear Down

 
squiress
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Mar 20, 2007 08:21 |  #1

Since I didn't want to pay the ~$165 it was going to cost me to get a more well known Benro KJ-2 ball mount, I found this Chinese single knob on Ebay. Total shipped was $124. When it arrives I expect to find something VERY similar to what I expect the KJ-2 would act and look like (load of 39lbs makes me think same design and possibly a knock-off of the Benro:) ) Larger and more adaptable QR plate was a plus.

I'll tear it down, do some of the same pointless :rolleyes: testing that I did on the KB-2, and post the pics here for you all.

Ebay link is here:

http://cgi.ebay.com …30095QQrdZ1QQcm​dZViewItem (external link)

If this works out I'll just about have enough ball mounts for tripods I'm currently using and won't have to switch them out.

Stew


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squiress
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Mar 21, 2007 11:58 |  #2

Got notice of shipping from seller. Probably arrive toward the first of next week, at roughly the same time as my Benro KB-2 from HK. Probably will tear these down together under the KB-2 Teardown.

Stew


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squiress
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Mar 23, 2007 20:43 |  #3

The Weifeng ball mount arrived today. The mount was in a plastic bag in a box. There were no instructions, nor tools, nor Benro-like bag for storage. Just the mount and a single plate. I went ahead and did the teardown and although I couldn't go as far as I wanted to I was able to better see how this design works, and I must say it is substantially stronger that the KB-2 style of design. Some things were the same, and some were different. More different than I expected. Still, I think there is the potential for good service here and will happily see if I can get my money's worth out of it. PIctures and discussion will follow later this evening.

Stew


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Mar 23, 2007 21:58 |  #4

Again I'll post pictures and then edit comments in after they are all out here. The first is a picture of the Weifeng FT 565H with the Benro KB-2. The second is the back of the FT showing the panning knob and the plate locking knob.


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squiress
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Mar 23, 2007 21:59 |  #5

On this ball mount the plate was removeable. As with the Benro from inside the ball, a 5mm allen hex wrench was used to remove the machine screw from the plate holder side. The plate was a snug fit on the ball post, and did include mechanical mating lug to prevent any rotation about the post. The post is in a later pic. The first pic is the top of the plate. This plate also has a locking pin to prevent the camera from sliding out of the plate holder. The second pic shows the edge of the plate and the push button to release the plate. The tightening knob is captive.


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squiress
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Mar 23, 2007 21:59 |  #6

The first pic shows the bottom of the plate holder. Out in the open is the mechanism that drops the locking pin when the edge button is pushed, releasing the plate. This is subject to dust and who knows what else. Functional, but not very practical.

The second pic shows most of the parts. The base is in black. There is lubricant on a lot of these pieces giving them a mottled appearance. The panning bearing pieces are lower right. New for this design compared to the Benro KB-2 (but not I'll bet for the KJ-2) is a plate and snap ring on the left. These provide a platform for the wedges to press against when applied to the base of the ball cup. There is no metal ball cup holding the plastic ball cup from below. I really like how these wedges work in this design as they eliminate the cup wear we saw with the Benro and the steel tightening screws. This also turns out to be a much better locking ball as a result of the design.


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Mar 23, 2007 22:00 |  #7

The first pic shows the post top and the two lugs that keep the plate holder from turning. The ball here and post are aluminum. The post is pressed through the ball from the inside.

The second picture shows the tightening mechanism. This is as far as I could go without damaging the main knob coverplate to get to the screw or nut holding it to the rod you see going across the inside of the case. This is exactly what I saw in my neighbor's Arca Swiss single knob ball mount. It is much clearer how things work here with the panning bearing removed. There are two aluminum wedges. The wedges have an opposite threaded screw going through them. When the main knob is turned both wedges go in or out together. Instead of a metal cup and screws, the wedge surfaces press against raised ramps on the black plastic lower ball cup. This totally gets away from the point pressure or rolling pressure of the tapered end of the screw and spreads that pressure over the surface of the wedge. It gives this ball mount over twice the locking power of the Benro KB-2 nearly the same as the Markin Q ball tested on their site. In the lower picture the wedges are in and you can see the raised ramps in black under the threaded rod on the outside.


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Mar 23, 2007 22:02 |  #8

The upper pic shows the theaded hole in the inserted post in the top of the ball. It also shows the groove for the clip about an inch up from the bottom of the casing. The lower picture shows the upper black plastic ring instead of white nylon in the Benro (like a black cat in a coal bin at midnight}.


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Mar 23, 2007 22:02 |  #9

The upper pic shows the wedges out in a locked position. Without the lower plate and clip in place this puts a lot of shear pressure on the ends of the threaded rod. All of that vertical stress would be applied to the lower plate instead. The lower pic shows the plate in place and clipped. One limitation of this approach is that when the wedges are all the way out, you can't go out any further. When there is some wear on the plastic ball cup you might not be able achieve complete lock sometime way off in the future. It would be nice to see an Arca B2 single knob to see if the same potential problem exists there.


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Mar 23, 2007 22:03 |  #10

These two picks wrap up reassembly with the panning bearing pieces and six screws to the Benro's four, and then the three screws holding on the base. Workmanship was pretty good throughout, but I think finish in general was better on the Benro KB-2. Mechanically I like this a lot better than the KB-2, and the only real question is how this compares to a KJ-2. Of course I would also expect to see a limilar mechanism in any single knob design. I wasn't able to determine how the tensioning knob within the tightening knob worked, but once I do I'll post that.


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Mar 23, 2007 22:04 |  #11

This ball mount is rated at the same load as the Benro - 39lbs. I tried the same torsional test that I used with the KB-2 and was surprised to see the holding power much greater. Instead of 12", I got out to 26.5" before the ball slipped, as shown below. This gives me 237kg-cm compared to 290kg-cm for the Markin Q ball test. This is a pretty stout ball mount. I also wanted to try the larger plate with my Toyo 4x5 film camera. I don't expect the same kind of wear to internal parts as the KB-2, but will get back into both of these as time goes on. Great education for me on how these work. I certainly feel much more comfortable getting into these (and possibly fixing something that might break). At the same time this, like the Benro, is not a permanent solution. I don't know that there will be for me as I like to tinker and try new stuff. These are certainly useable ball mounts and I will do that - use them for as long as they last.

Stew


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Deporange
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Mar 24, 2007 05:58 |  #12

Good stuff - I wasn't even aware of this brand until your post.


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squiress
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Mar 24, 2007 09:41 |  #13

Deporange wrote in post #2921881 (external link)
Good stuff - I wasn't even aware of this brand until your post.

More and more I think we will see the Chinese deal with the whole concept of 'branding'. Lots of experiments out there now and Benro (or maybe Opteka) is probably the most visible to this community. As more Chinese brands rear their heads, once again the marketplace will determine who will survive. We take them for granted because they make so much of what we own and use nowadays. I recently went through my office looking at where stuff was made. It was about 90% 'Made in China.' From my stapler/tape dispenser, to my 24" monitors, to the stereo, to my insulated coffee mug. Only my furniture that I have owned for twenty years or so was made in America. My small notebook - Japan. That's why when someone says that the Chinese steal ideas and copy everything and regularly screw their co-venture partners I have to take it with a grain of salt. So many companies are dealing with them now that they can't all be being screwed. I believe that most of them have found the way to work within the culture. Otherwise their American branded but 'Made in China' stuff wouldn't be all over my office, and in my house (my Braun toothbrush is still made in Germany, whew!), and filling the local Walmart. Given the 'rumor' that Gitzo went to China to have legs built, the trend could be showing up here pretty shortly with Gitzo models stamped 'Made in China' on the bottom. Already there is good acceptance of the Opteka branded battery grips. No one seems to mind that they are cold copies from the same mold as Canon.

Anyway, I will continue to look for value in the stuff I buy, taking advantage of the new technology offered. I may get a lemon some time, but until the highend makers go a lot further to justify their high cost on mechanical stuff, I'll continue to look elsewhere, putting the money into glass, and better chips.

Stew


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Mar 24, 2007 10:21 |  #14

First I've heard of this brand too.
Looks promising!
I'm going to look abd see if they make one with a panning base too :)


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squiress
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Mar 24, 2007 10:47 |  #15

Oh, not a digital camera, but I find this guy more stable than my KB-2 for my Toyo 45AX. This is a pic with the 250mm Fujinon lens. Pretty stout lens and large wind sail.

Stew


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Weifeng Fancier FT-565H Ball Mount Tear Down
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