Merry Christmas ! An Ebony Camera review for you : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Merry Christmas and a Safe New Year to all my LF friends !

I quickly decided last night to assemble a review on my early Christmas present (an Ebony SV45U) so that anybody that is interested might learn about these cameras. By way of an explanation I wish to let you all know that I am not a wealthy man nor even "well to do" but my wife generously offered to buy me an early Christmas gift at the end of this August. She did this so that when I had a few weeks holidays in September and was able to get into the mountains hiking I would have a new camera to use. (and for all you funny guys out there...yes, I'm worth it ! )

Luckily for me I've now had a few months to explore the functionality of the SV45 and have put together a quick review. I ask that you all forgive any mistakes such as spelling and the like because I quickly worked into the wee hours of the morning to have this ready for Christmas Eve. Felt a bit like Santa...ha..ha..ha or should I say Ho ! Ho! Ho!

I hope that you enjoy looking at the camera review and as always if you have any questions feel free to email me.

Here's the link. Ebony SV45U review

Wishing you all the best and safest of the season. Remember that it is

8 hours between the bottle and the throttle !

Merry Christmas Everybody !

-- GreyWolf (, December 24, 2001


GreyWolf: Good job on the review. Thanks for taking the time to do it. The photographs are excellent also.


-- Doug Paramore (, December 24, 2001.

Great work! Execellent review. You may have me rethinking my Wisner dream.


-- Neal Shields (, December 24, 2001.

'Tis a wonderful job of reviewing. Would be that such detail were available for all the different brands. Noting that he was referred to it as the "Rolls-Royce," I wonder if there is anyone who can comment on the ultimate quality of Ebony as compared to the English Gandolfi?

-- (, December 24, 2001.

Grey Wolf:

I may well not be following the review properly, but you seem to suggest that the asymmetric tilts are on the front standard on your SV45U. On my SV810U, they are on the rear (film) standard, and I believe that's the only place it makes sense for asymmetric tilts to be in a field camera, in that you would have no way to apply asymmetric front tilts directly in focusing (wouldn't know where the axis was vis a vis your subject). I know Sinars allow you to transfer the tilt or swing from the rear to the front once you have determined what it needs to be, but I don't know of any facility to do this, or even to measure exactly in degrees what the tilt/swing is, on an Ebony. You can see an account of my understanding of these movements in my review of the SV810U on Tuan's site. My apologies in advance if I have misunderstood you on this, but you may want to clarify this point in your review if you will be making it available on the site.

Additionally, the socket on the top of the front standard isn't really a "hot shoe" (it has no facility to synch a flash as there is no electrical connection of course), or even a place to mount a flash. I believe it is to mount the odd wooden board and dark cloth arrangement which they sell (and which I used improperly by propping it on top of the camera for months!) A sort of articulated metal arm arrangement with a clip slots into that socket, and the shade can be clipped into it. The dark cloth then slots into the shade, thus giving you both a lens shade and a dark cloth in one.

I agree with you, the SVU series are lovely cameras: I have had a couple of years of constant use out of mine, including a number of trips to Asia and Latin America where it has taken all the abuse that luggage receives in the third world and looks as new as the day I bought it!


-- Nathan Congdon (, December 24, 2001.

I have great fun view this, very impressive. You should be the guy they hire whenever they want to write a manual. As a fellow woodworker I am in awe of the master craftsmanship.

The lapjoints combined with 'L'/corner brackets mean there isn't going to be any 'rackover'. Your close-ups show the finished ebony and bevels/chamfers, work reflective of a true Artisan.

Thanks for a great tour.

-- Jonathan Brewer (, December 24, 2001.

Grey Wolf,

You owe your wife big time. I don't mean a material gift. You have to do even more chores around the house and take her out every week. That should pay for an Ebony...oops I forget how much those things cost. LOL ;^}

I can only get an Arca Swiss!

-- David Payumo (, December 24, 2001.


thank you very much for this review. It was a pleasure to read.

May I ask three more questions to the Ebony Experts? - how long does it take to set up a folding Ebony? - what is the difference between the SV45U and the current SV45U2? - Is there a degree scale to transfer rear tilt and swing to the front standard?

Thanks again

-- Thilo Schmid (, December 25, 2001.

Hi Thilo,

The camera takes me about 30-40 seconds to unfold and place in a neutral position without a lensboard in the front standard.

The SV45U2 has rear shift and that is the only difference I know of.

There is not a scale present.

To Nathan,

Thanks for your views. You are correct that the "hot shoe" is not actually "hot" but I use it with a small flash in the socket and a PC cord. I find this handy when I'm conducting "mini testing" in my house in the winter.'s just plain fun. :>))

Pointing out that it was intended for a lens shade was an eye opener for me. I'll need to investigate that idea. Thanks

Perhaps we can get somebody else to post their understanding of "asymmetric tilts " and I can even learn some more about this wonderful camera.

Kind Regards,

-- GreyWolf (, December 25, 2001.

Thanks again for answering.

The benefit of asymetric tilt and swing is that both axis go exactly through the film plane. Thus a subject in the center of the ground glass will not loose focus when applying tilt and swing (in any combination). Studio monorail view cameras equipped with such features usually allow you to take the degree readings from a scale and transfer them to the front standard (in opposite direction, of course), since rear tilt or swing will change perspective. This is exactly why I asked for degree scales on the ebony.

BTW: The Arca Swiss Orbix Option will allow kind of asymetric tilt and swing with the front standard. The swing axis will in this case not move while tilting - it always goes through the center of the lens.

-- Thilo Schmid (, December 25, 2001.

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