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Eamonn Doyle
8-May-2009, 06:05
Hi..
I've been using an old Burke and James 10x8 camera for about a year now.. and have decided to go ahead and get something a lot better. I'm looking at the EBONY SW810 and the RW810. Primarily it will be used for environmental portraiture .. so I'll be taking it around with me a lot.. but won't really be looking to drag it up mountains or deep into the forest .. so weight is not a major issue for me at the moment.

I'm wondering if any of you have any thoughts on the EBONY cameras ? One of my main concerns is that it's very stable [the Burke and James shakes about a LOT!] .. and also I'm looking for something that is relatively smooth and quick to use as it will be mostly portraits I'll be doing.

Any thoughts or other recommendations would be really appreciated !!

Thanks very much..

Eamonn / Ireland

venchka
8-May-2009, 06:18
Similar topic from a week ago.

http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?t=48479

I'm sure that the Search feature here will turn up a vast amount of information for 8 x 10 as well as 10 x 8 cameras. ;)

Richard M. Coda
8-May-2009, 06:28
I found (when I had an Ebony) they were like Rubic's cubes trying to fold them back up. Maybe it's just me. Sold that and now have Arca-Swiss cameras (4x5 field, 8x10 and 11x14 back for 8x10). Set up is quick and take down is just as easy. Costs about the same. Weighs about the same. Very solid cameras.

jb7
8-May-2009, 06:43
More 8x10 users in Ireland-
things are looking up...

Sorry, can't help you, don't use an ebony...
another Arca user...

venchka is right-
search for 8x10...

jnanian
8-May-2009, 06:53
I found (when I had an Ebony) they were like Rubic's cubes trying to fold them back up. Maybe it's just me. Sold that and now have Arca-Swiss cameras (4x5 field, 8x10 and 11x14 back for 8x10). Set up is quick and take down is just as easy. Costs about the same. Weighs about the same. Very solid cameras.

you were probably able to buy a year supply of paper or film with the change as well ;)

Steve Hamley
8-May-2009, 10:02
I'd think a RW810 would be fine for environmental portraiture. It's a very nice camera.

I've never had a RW810, but do have an RW45 and a SV810U, and they aren't hard to fold up. The main thing is to make sure the movements are zeroed or they won't fold up properly. Not hard to figure out though, that's step #1 in the instructions for folding the camera up. :D

Cheers, Steve

Robert Fisher
8-May-2009, 10:17
Steve, from my personal experience with Ebony, Arca and Sinar, the SW810 Ebony is the king of stabilty in LF 810 bodies. The Ebony folders are not even close to the SW in terms of rigidity.

Like a total idiot, I sold mine a couple of years ago but recently ordered a new one fron Jim at MW.

venchka
8-May-2009, 10:48
More 8x10 information........

http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?t=32607

Steve Hamley
8-May-2009, 11:27
I'm sure the non-folders are more rigid, but the SW810 has a maximum 380mm of draw. Depending on how you define environmental portraiture, a short bellows might be limiting. If that's enough, the SW would be a fine choice.

Cheers, Steve

resummerfield
8-May-2009, 13:12
......now have Arca-Swiss cameras (4x5 field, 8x10 and 11x14 back for 8x10). Set up is quick and take down is just as easy. Costs about the same. Weighs about the same. Very solid cameras.

Do you happen to have any pics of that 11x14 back for the Arca?

Gene McCluney
8-May-2009, 13:52
If you are primarily going to do portraiture and environmental portraiture...close to your car, you can't beat the convenience of a monorail, such as those made by Sinar and Arca and others. They are easier to set adjustments, they are modular so you can use long rails for long lenses, and short rails for short lenses, and many have geared movements that are solid and stay put. I do a lot of "far from the car" stuff, and for that I use folding field cameras, but that is because I have to haul the stuff a distance.

Eamonn Doyle
9-May-2009, 14:41
Thanks a million for the advice everyone !
I'm curious about the monorail option .. I'll definitely be using it pretty close to my car most if not all of the time... Would anyone know what I should expect to pay for a good quality monorail set up for 10x8 ? Or any particular recommendations for makes / models ? I'm looking to invest in this long term so would prefer to get the best setup now rather than upgrade again later.
Thanks again !
Eamonn

Armin Seeholzer
9-May-2009, 15:36
Yes get a Sinar P or P2 then you have the most versatile tool at hand and you can also use very old lenses for portraits without shutter und using the Sinar behind the lens shutter.

Cheers Armin

Eamonn Doyle
9-May-2009, 15:39
How would a Sinar Norma compare with the P or P2 ?

Eric Leppanen
9-May-2009, 15:53
I'm curious about the monorail option .. I'll definitely be using it pretty close to my car most if not all of the time... Would anyone know what I should expect to pay for a good quality monorail set up for 10x8 ? Or any particular recommendations for makes / models ? I'm looking to invest in this long term so would prefer to get the best setup now rather than upgrade again later.A major decision is whether to go with a studio monorail (which will generally be rock solid, very heavy, and relatively inexpensive on the used market) or a field monorail (lighter, slightly less stable but still quite rigid, relatively expensive even on the used market since most amateurs favor field cameras).

Among studio monorails, I can't imagine a more stable camera than the Toyo G 8x10. A bomb could go off next to this camera and it wouldn't move. It weighs a ton, requires a large case for transport, and you definitely won't want to carry it far from the car. I'm not sure what they go for these days, but if you check recent Ebay transactions you should be able to get an idea. Sinar and Calumet also made popular studio monorails. The Arca Swiss Monolith is also an excellent studio camera, but is rarely available used and is expensive new.

To my knowledge, the most popular field monorail still in production is the Arca Swiss. A current Arca Swiss catalog and pricelist is posted at http://www.precisioncameraworks.com/Media/pdf_logo.gif and http://www.precisioncameraworks.com/Media/PriceList08.pdf. Arca parts are available fairly regularly on the used market, although 8x10 cameras and conversion kits are relatively rare and pricey. The Sinar F/F2 and the discontinued Sinar Norma can also be used for field applications and have their devotees.

I chose an Arca F-Classic 8x10 because I wanted a camera still in production (so spare parts would not be an issue) and due to its relatively light weight, fast setup and "relative compactness". Also, the third party camera backpack supplier Photobackpacker (www.photobackpacker.com) sells a fine backpack with internal cases that accommodate the Arca 8x10 nearly perfectly (see attached photo). I can fit the Arca camera, monorails, four large 8x10 lenses, four film holders, and various accessories without problem for a total weight of 30-35 pounds. I don't take the 8x10 on long hikes, but for short ones I'm been very happy with my Arca+Photobackpacker solution. I'm sure the Photobackpacker adapts to other 8x10 monorail makes as well.

A downside to Arca is that it is an idiosyncratic company and can be difficult to deal with (no web site, occasional product delays, etc.). In the U.S. the dealer with the largest Arca inventory is Photomark (Rod Klukas) in Phoenix; Rod is very knowledgeable about the Arca product line, and also has a fairly large used inventory.

Frank Petronio
9-May-2009, 16:48
An 8x10 (or 10x8) Sinar Norma is a wonderful option for shooting when weight/bulk are not the overwhelming concern. Of course all of the modern metal 8x10 monorails are going to be pretty nice -- Cambos, Toyos, Sinars, Arcas, etc. -- and they cost a fraction of the price of the pretty wooden flimsy-floppsy cameras (Robert's non-folding Ebony being the exception). A Sinar P/P2 is even heavier than most, but silky geared movements are awfully nice.

Makes you wonder, ehh?

I've had the older Arca and the Sinar Norma, plus an odd Fatif (not bad at all), a Cambo, a C-1, and a couple of woodies in 8x10. The Sinar and Arcas are the best.

robert lyons
9-May-2009, 18:27
Hi
I had the Ebony RW810 and used it extensively for portraiture with a 300mm lens...It is very solid, easy to use, easy to close-up and a joy...if weight is not a problem then why not a good used Deardorff.....I prefer the field style cameras for portraits, easy to use, set up and fold down and transport....

Don Dudenbostel
9-May-2009, 20:46
I agree with Robert that a nice condition Deardorff would be excellent. I have a rare transition model that I purchased around 1972 and was able to update to the swing front standard. It was well used when I bought it and I've put thirty plus years additional of hard commercial use on it and its still a tight and fully functional camera that I now use for my personal fun photography. A Deardorff is all you would need.

I also have two Sinar Norma cameras that I've put through the paces forty years. One is 4x5 and the other 5x7. I wouldn't trade them for a new P. They are superb and have held up exceptionally well.

In the past couple of years I bought an Ebony SV45TE that I feel is the finest wood camera I have ever used. As good as the Deardorff is it has its limitations but Ebony has taken the design to a point of near perfection.

Eamonn Doyle
11-May-2009, 14:42
Thanks for the advice everyone !
Well.. I decided to go for a 10x8 Sinar Norma [got one on ebay last night for 505 .. hope that's an OK price !?
My friend is about to buy either a Deardorff or Ebony.... so we'll be battling it out between the Wood and Monorail !
Thanks again
Eamonn