Ebony RW45 vs. Phillips 4x5 vs. Wista DXII

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Thanks to many of you kind folks out there, I am finally starting to narrow down my first large format camera purchase. In the interests of weight, I have decided to use readyloads over carrying roll-film back and have decided to go with the more versitile 4x5 (rather than a 2x3).

However, since the camera shops in my area do not carry the cameras I am considering, I will need your advice on what would be the better purchase. My requirements are as follows:

1) I will be backpaking with this camera so I want it to be LIGHT (<4lbs or so) and fairly STURDY.

2) With a single bellows, the camera must be able to handle a 75mm lens with SOME movements and extend to at least 300mm. More extension would be nice but not required.

3) Reasonable in cost (<=$2000)

4) SIMPLE TO USE for someone with large hands.

5) Is easy to carry in a pack and is QUICK TO SETUP!

The cameras under consideration are:

Camera usable lenses weight cost comments Ebony RW45 65-340 3.8lbs $1800 no shifts Wista DXII 65-305 3.3lbs $825 no shifts Phillips 4x5 75-450 3.9lbs $1725 spring back

Which one would you buy if you were in my shoes and why?

I have heard many comments from Wista and Phillips owners but none from any Ebony RW45 owners (perhaps they are out shooting!). Your help is appreciated! Thanks!

-- Nicholas Fiduccia (nfiduccia@earthlink.net), July 01, 2000


OK. Let's try that again. I see that less than signs are no good, nor are free-formated tables.

My requirements are that the camera must be less than 4 lbs, able to use a 75mm lens with some movements, allow a bellows extention greater than 300mm, costs less than $2500, simple to use, easy to pack, and sets up fairly quickly. Three cameras seem to fit that requirement: 1) an Ebony RW45, 3.8lbs, $1800, bellows extention from 60-340mm 2) a Wista DXII, 3.3lbs, $825, bellows extention from 51mm-305mm 3) a Phillips 4x5, 3.9lbs, $1725, bellows extention from 65mm-456mm.

I would like to hear comments (pros and cons) of each of these cameras in light of my requirements from those that own them. I know that often specs are aggressive and things don't work out as well as they appear on paper. If there are any RW45 owners, I would especially like to hear from you since there does not appear to be any user comments available since the camera is relatively new to the US market. Thank you

-- Nicholas Fiduccia (nfiduccia@earthlink.net), July 02, 2000.

Nicholas I don't possess the Ebony RW45 but do use an SW45 and 23. These are primarily used for wide angle photography, the SW45 cannot handle anything longer then a 180 without extension back so this is out of the frame for you. However Ebony cameras are extremley well made, compact, light but very rigid in use. Their bellows are very supple so can handle extensive movements. But it's the quality of craftmanship and materials what sold it to me, they should easily last more then ones lifetime. Regards, Trevor.

-- Trevor Crone (trevor.crone@uk.dreamcast.com), July 02, 2000.


You said you have heard many comments from Wista and Phillips owners. I'm not sure I am a Phillips owner you have already heard from so I won't carry on about the camera. I have been shooting one with the international back since October and love it. If you have any more speciefic questions just e-mail me and I will get back to you.

-- Paul Mongillo (pmongillo@thurston.com), July 03, 2000.

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