field camera movements (Ebony) : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I shoot still life in the field. There isn't any field camera that I would like to invest my money in, or work with other then an Ebony. Yes, and it will be quite a bit. I drool over the 45SU, because its everything I wish for in a field camera, but at $3995.00 its just not do-able. The 45S is the camera in mind. But I have a concern or two. Yes, the bellows only extends to 11" or so. My lens is a 150mm. This bellows extention will allow me just about 1:1 if I wanted it. I would have the lens 11" from subject (?), and bellows extended 11" so I feel this will be fine. But I'm just not quite a hundred percent that it will be. The other reservation is that the front standard tilt is 20 degrees. My present camera is 30 degrees. So I wonder if the difference is that big of a deal, or can I contend with it. I can compensate if need be by tilting the entire camera which would mean less of a front standard tilt. Any comments, opinions would be appreciated. Thank you. Ravin

-- Ravin (, July 01, 2001


Ravin, Have you checked out the specification of the Ebony RW45. I have had a quick look and it seems to be the answer to your needs! Takes lenses from 65mm to 500mm (telephoto), has 410mm of bellows draw (with movements) and has 30 degree centre tilt. It is made from mahogany and titanium and is stable at full extension. Just a thought, and it is one of the cheaper entry points into Ebony cameras. Regards Paul

-- paul owen (, July 01, 2001.

Yes, thank you, but this camera has no shift. Something I do need. Otherwise it would be the answer. Thanks again.

-- Ravin (, July 01, 2001.

Only 11 inches of bellows draw???!!! On a camera you intend to use for close work this is a waste of both time and money. Save a fortune and, if you really think you can live with almost no bellows, get an old speed graphic. Purchase something with bellows sufficient to do the job. If you really think you will be doing 1:1 work you will need more than 12 inches to photograph anything and not have the front lens element so close it is almost touching the subject. As for lens tilt, how much do you use your current camera at full tilt? Tilting the lens plane is in relation to the back so tilting the whole camera will do little unless you have rear tilt to make up for the difference. There are many cameras on the market, new and used, that will give you more bellows draw and cost a lot less than what you are looking at. Even a used Linhof Technica can be had for less.

-- Dan Smith (, July 01, 2001.

I'm not sure what the point of this post is.
You seem to have set your heart on something you can't afford, and then settled for something else that's far from an ideal choice for your intended purpose.
Are you asking for alternative suggestions? If so, I'd say go for a monorail, any old monorail. They can be had relatively cheaply, and it would be the only sensible choice for still-life work, either outside, or in the studio. Transport shouldn't be a problem, since the amount of props needed for a still-life will easily exceed the weight and size of the camera.
If your lust for an Ebony is based purely on its looks, then you'll be too worried about scratching the darn thing to actually use it.

-- Pete Andrews (, July 02, 2001.

I have to agree with Pete on this one! You can pick up a cheap Cambo monorail on Ebay or some used shops. Also go to and look at the Cadet... just some thoughts.

-- Scott Walton (, July 02, 2001.

Ravin, If you desperately need shift, you can always turn the camera on its side and utilise the front rise / fall feature as shift. I still reckon the RW is a serious contender!! Paul

-- paul owen (, July 02, 2001.

The suggestions that you buy a monorail to solve your problems are sound as far as they go but unless you get lucky a cheap monorail will wobble around all over the place withouit alot of care...I'm thinking of the cheap Cambos and Sinars specifically here. An Ebony gives you absolute is one of their not often mentioned advantages over the competition. Most other folding camera can't compete and the Ebony non folding cameras such as the 45S, RSW45 and SW45 are absolutely solid. The monorail idea is a good one but beware. I would give the RW45 another look as Paul has all the rigidity of the more expensive cameras and many of the features, without the bulk of a monorail.

-- Matt Sampson (, July 02, 2001.

I agree with Pete--go for a monorail. You might consider the Toyo CX. It's a bargain new, and, though not your most rugged camera, it is a system camera and can be upgraded. I've got that and a Toyo 45A, which uses the same lensboards, for quite a bit of flexibility.

Regarding the tilt angle, how often do you go past 20 degrees on your current camera? Most, though not all, view cameras allow much more movement than is ever needed in practice.

-- Charlie Strack (, July 02, 2001.

If you really want an Ebony, remember: they don't cost any more -- the payments just last a lot longer.

-- Bill (, July 02, 2001.

just curious, which "cheap sinar" is considered rickety?

The F's, which seem like the cheapest to me, aren't very rickety at all.

-- ed kang (, July 03, 2001.

Perhaps I'm being a little unfair on the Sinars, but if you ever get a chance to do a side by side comparison of a Sinar F1 for example and an Ebony you will see where I'm coming from. That said I will admit that there are thousands of happy Sinar users out there so perhaps I should shut my mouth. I played with a Sinar Norma recently...a beautiful camera which proves that light weight monorail design doesn't have to mean wobble.

-- Matt Sampson (, July 03, 2001.

Ed, the Sinar F series are rickety when compared to other cameras in their price class, such as the Arca Swiss F-Line Classic or the A-S Discovery, and a few other makes as well. I've owned orworked with both (and currently own an Arca Swiss F-line). Ravin would be better off with a Sinar X, An Arca-Swiss FC, a Linhof TK45s, or even a Canham DLC. For that matter I am really hard pressed to think of any set up I've ever done that required 20 degrees of tilt even for 2:1 macro shots! Maybe she should try the Sinar so she'll have the built in tilt / swing + DoF Calculator!

-- Ellis Vener Photography (, July 05, 2001.

My problems doing macro in the field are A) wind and B) tripod location. I use a 150mm lens on a camera with about 18" of usable extension. Being able to reposition the standards along the length of the rail/bed without having to move the tripod is a necessity for this kind of work -- and to do this you need more extension than just what your reproduction ratio table says.

I'm not sure if tilting the entire camera will help in "macro" situations. Try this solution out with your current camera before you commit to it.

I'm not sure exactly what kind of work you intend to do, but I'd probably only consider a camera with 11" of bellows if my idea of a long lens was 120 or 135, and my normal lens was < 90mm.

-- John O'Connell (, July 05, 2001.

Man wants an Ebony. He doesn't want a Sinar, nor a Linhof, nor a NirvanaView. He's not gonna be happy with anything else, no matter if it's better suited to his photographic needs than the Ebony. Leave him this week's dream.

-- Bill (, July 05, 2001.

Hi all, and thanks for the response. I do have a monorail. A Calumet 45N. The problem is the size and weight of the camera/case. I have a Tenba car case. Can't get any smaller then this case to hold this camera. And its still quite large. The other problem is the weight of the tripod. Its the lightest in weight that I could get away with for this camera, but still "weighty". Its not possible to travel on foot without my Wesco cart that I attach the case and tripod to. This does not make for an enjoyable day of shooting when my focus is on, say, getting the cart up each curb, getting the three parts on the train, up steps, in the door of a store. Traveling by plane with this gear is out of the question since I will only "carry on" my equipment. It's too big for carry on! I'm going to England, and quite possibly the walking tours I will be taking will not allow this cart at the ruins sites. I often hear how field cameras are flimsy. I know Ebonys are not. I really like center tilts. Most are not. Most have base and center tilts. Too many knobs. I have a bad back. I felt I could use a fairly light tripod with a field camera. I felt the craftsmenship of the Ebony would not disappoint me. And that when traveling about, my focus would be on creating, rather than transporting a camera meant for the studio. I tried to do it cheap. My camera was $400.00. Its as rigid as they come. Sometimes I think of getting a 2x3 view camera to cut down size and weight. But I'm determined to work in the field with 4x5 equipment that won't break my back. Anyway, thanks again.

-- Ravin (, July 06, 2001.

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