Feisol CB-50DC - Review
I've been shooting with a Feisol tripod for close to a year now, and if you've been a reader of my blog for any of that time - you'd know I love that tripod. It was only a matter of time before I had to get one of Feisol's heads to test out, too. The Feisol CB-50DC looks the part, but does it hold up to the quality of the legs that support it? If you've ever used a Feisol product before, the answer probably won't surprise you.
Currently only available in the US and Europe, this ballhead is still a steal at only $169 USD. It's available for purchase directly through Feisol - feisol.net or from stockists such as bhphotovideo.com.
Height: 10.8 cm / 4.25 inches
Weight: 571 g / 1.26 lbs
Ball Diameter: 50 mm / 1.97 inches
Base Diameter: 70 mm / 2.8 inches
Max. Load: 19 Kg / 41 lbs
Thread Size: 3/8"
Aesthetics and Build Quality
As far as looks go, this ballhead is quite modest and understated. It looks just how you'd expect a high-end ballhead to look, but with an added pinch of class. The carbon fibre exterior not only looks great with that classic carbon-weave, but the carbon also cuts down the overall weight of the unit (571 grams).
The build quality of this head is exactly what I've come to expect from Feisol; excellent. It's super light, but still feels extremely solid in the hands. One thing that may be of concern with a ballhead this lightweight is the potential to be less stable, but that's just not the case. Upon numerous tests, I have experienced absolutely no droop in the ball's position.
Sure, if you overload this head with more than the recommended maximum load (19kg), you may experience some slippage in the ball's position, but with my Canon 5D Mark III, 70-200mm f/2.8 II and 580EX II mounted on the camera (overnight) there was not a millimetre of droop.
The image above shows the setup I used, and left overnight, to test for any droop with a substantial amount of weight mounted to the ballhead. The ball was tilted to the side at roughly a 45º angle and a laser pointer was strapped to the lens and pointed at a distant wall. I marked where the laser hit the wall, went to bed and then turned on the laser again the next day. I was pleased, but not really surprised, to find that there was literally no hint of droop as the laser marked the exact same spot. I know this isn't the most scientific test, but it helps give you an idea of any potential droop that may occur with an average weighted setup. In the case of this head, there is none.
I mentioned earlier about the head being super lightweight, Feisol have also managed to remove some excess weight by hollowing out and creating various holes throughout the ball. I first wondered if this would affect the performance of the ball, but so far so good! It doesn't appear to have any impact on the ball's movement. However, I'm yet to shoot with this head by the ocean, so we'll see if these holes make it easier for salt and/or sand to get trapped beneath the ball.
One thing I couldn't stand with my previous ballhead was it's 'ease of use.' Yes, it was a solidly built head, but the control knobs drove me insane. The rubber that coated the knobs constantly slipped, which made it really annoying to tighten and release the ball AND the clamp. Luckily, the CB-50DC's knobs function just as you would expect; flawlessly. The knobs are all placed where my hands instinctively go to change the ball position and panning, and the grip on all of the knobs actually grip.
Honestly, for the price, this ballhead is of excellent value; it's solid, well built, looks great and works as you'd expect. But, if I had to pick something that I wish Feisol would have considered integrating into this head, it would be a bubble level on the ballhead's clamp. It's by no means a deal breaker, but it certainly would be nice. Having said that, Feisol actually do sell a selection of bubble levels that can be attached to either your camera's hotshoe OR to the tripod's centre column, which I guess is a decent compromise.
Things I love:
Hollow ball (lowers overall weight).
Weight load capacity (19kg).
The carbon-weave look.
Things I don't love:
No bubble levels.
With the exception of the lack of bubble levels on the CB-50DC, I honestly can't fault this head. Like I've already said - for it's low price point, you really can't look past this product if you're looking for a well built and lightweight ballhead.
As usual, if you have any questions about the Feisol CB-50DC, please don't hesitate to leave them in the comments below!