Quickest 5x4

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I need a 5x4 for field trips that needs to be light and quick to use, are the Ebony non folding about the most suitable for my needs?

-- Ian Watt (Ian@cycads.fsnet.co.uk), April 21, 2002


Ian, if you want light weight, look at Tachihara or Wista. They both fold compact for field use, and only take a few seconds longer to set up than the non- folding type. Use the money you saved to buy a good lens.

-- Eugene (TIAGEM@aol.com), April 21, 2002.

I use a non-folding Ebony 45SU and like it very much. It is not light compared to other Ebony models or other brands, but it is quick, intuitive in use, and steady. I feel that your first consideration should be which lenses you plan to use. Buy a camera that will accommodate your lens-choices both in its bellows length (minimum and maximum) and in its movements. Also you will need a camera that will hold itself rigid in the field. If you were going to use the camera in a studio for still-life work, you might need greater movements than in landscape work. Also, it might be good at this point to decide whether you want an inexpensive camera to try out and then upgrade, or one you plan to keep for life. The folding/non-folding choice is partially an aesthetic consideration (I like the simplicity of the non-folding camera). Best wishes.

-- Michael Alpert (alpert@umit.maine.edu), April 21, 2002.

The non-folders (Ebony, Shen-Hao, Walker?) are hard to beat in terms of setup ease and speed. But you still have to go through the regular tasks of composition, focusing, metering, etc. In the perspective, setup time might be a relatively small part.

That said, an SW45 or similar with a Cambo angle viewer is a very convenient combination. Check out Nick Rains review at his site. /ke

-- Åke Vinberg (ake@vinberg.nu), April 21, 2002.

Have you thought about an older press camera? Some of them have good range finders. I can set up my Speed Graphic as fast as my Pentax 6x7.

-- Brian C. Miller (brian.c.miller@gte.net), April 21, 2002.

The Horseman FA & HD are lighter than most otehr field cameras, probably the most compact when folded, are rigid and sturdy and set up very rapidly. Not cheap though .... you will spend a lot less on a Wista DX but you will get about the same weight and less sturdiness and a bigger package.

-- Ted Harris (slberfuchs@aol.com), April 21, 2002.

There is nothing quicker than Granview! 6x12, 4x5, 8x10 http://www.granview.com

-- Fred De Van (fred@freddevan.com), April 21, 2002.

In addition to the ol' speed graphic and grandview, you might take a look at the Gowland aerial. It is pretty much a pop in the DCFH, pull the darkslide, point and shoot affair---fixed focus at infinity unless you want to pop for the focusable version. Good luck!

-- John Kasaian (www.kasai9@aol.com), April 22, 2002.

The SW45 or RSW45 from Ebony.

-- paul owen (paulowen_2000@yahoo.com), April 22, 2002.

Hi Ian

I vote also for the Horseman FA with the Apo Siranon N 135mm it collapses and you can shoot also handheld with it. It takes me 1 minute for to put out of my backpacking till the first shoot if I`m in a hurry! Very precise and stable and lightweight!

Good luck

-- Armin Seeholzer (armin.seeholzer@smile.ch), April 22, 2002.

I've only been "LF"ing for about a month but I find that my Ebony RSW45 with Schneider 90/8 SA on a Benbo tripod with a Manfrotto QR plate is very quick. The camera will compress fully with the lens attached. The cable release remains permanently attached to the lens. Camera, lens, 5xDDS, lightmeter all fit comfortably in to a 35 litre day-sack carrying the tripod in hand. Fine for walks a mile or so from the car. For full day expeditions I will use a larger rucksack with tripod attached and extra walking gear. For info:- I have bought a Lowepro Omni Sport which serves as a very fine "ever-ready" case for the Ebony RSW+lens combination. It keeps it nicely protected in the rucksack and is small enough to give me various packing options. I still need something for the bits - DDSs,filters,lightmeter, etc.

-- Nigel Sutton (nigelsutton@gnps.fsnet.co.uk), April 22, 2002.

Is there anything lighter and quicker than a Sinar p for 47, 90, 150, 240, 360, 480 and 600 lenses?

The lenses wiegh about 10Kg anyway - how do I get it all into a rucksack?

-- Dick Roadnight (dick.roadnight@btopenworld.com), April 22, 2002.

"47, 90, 150, 240, 360, 480 and 600 lenses"

Just out of curiosity on 4x5" a 480mm covers 14.5 and a 600mm covers 11.5. That is the difference between using a 179mm or a 143mm lens on 35mm. Considering the size and weight and the slight coverage difference couldn't you just use one or the other rather then carry both?

-- Bob Salomon (bob@hpmarketingcorp.com), April 22, 2002.

I have the non-folding Toyo VX, which I love, and recently acquired a non-folding Ebony 23s for travel purposes, which was the closest match to the Toyo VX in the 6x9 format size. Both cameras are very quick to setup, and for that matter pack up! That is why I prefer a non-folding camera design over a folding one.

The disadvantage of the non-folding camera design, in general, is the limited bellows extension, something you should be aware of. If you plan on doing close-up work or use lenses longer than 300mm, you should perhaps look at the Canham DLC 45, Linhof Master Technika, Arca Swiss 45, or the non-folding Ebony cameras.

The Toyo VX has the following advantages over the Ebony design: geared and yaw-free movements, interchangeable monorails for infinite extention, and interchangeable bellows (I prefer a bag bellows when working with wide angle lenses). Its collapsing monorail is quite unique and one of the nicest features of the camera. And I love its geared movements - rise, fall and shift - identical for both the front and rear standards.

Metal may also have an advantage in bad weather.

The Ebony is absolutely beautiful - a work of art. Its main advantage is in the design of the back - it offers a very simple, straight- forward solution to using rollfilm backs - something that eluded me with the Toyo VX. The Ebony is very rigid for a wood camera. In fact, I am willing to bet that it is just as rigid as the Toyo VX and many other metal cameras on the market.

The Toyo VX weighs about six pounds, the Ebony 2x3 about four. Check Robert White and Badger Graphics for pricing.

Both cameras fit rather nicely in a top-loading, Trim Trekker backpack, which allows for quick access to the camera. The bag also has a separate lower compartment or drawer that slides out, and can hold three to four lenses. It comes with a backpack harness and a shoulder strap, so you can decide how you want to carry your gear.

Another note: for quick photography you will need to ditch the focusing cloth. The cloth gets in the way of the knobs and can often jar the rear standard. It can make or break getting the shot off in fast-changing light situations. Get a bellows-type folding hood (both Toyo and Ebony make one), monocular or reflex viewer.

-- E Rothman (erothman@hotmail.com), April 22, 2002.

Armin, I`m using the same setup, how come it takes you so long? Just kidding! Steve

-- Steve Clark (agno3@eesc.com), April 24, 2002.

I have a Horseman HD and 135 Caltar (Rodenstock) N that folds into the camera, and infinity stops for this lens. I believe if you were just taking "general aim", and metered quickly, you could get a shot off in less than thirty seconds rather easily. In fact, it would probably take longer to set up a tripod. Whether you "should" is another story, I guess. This camera is also very compact and rigid. The 249mm bellows draw is probably the main drawback to the HD & FA. No real long lenses.

-- Matt Docis (tineli@swbell.net), May 12, 2002.

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