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Steve Hamley
30-Dec-2009, 11:57
Folks,

Since we're into field camera specs and options.... A couple of months ago I sent an e-mail to the Ebony Company about making me a camera that was lighter than the 13.7 pound SV810U I own. I was thinking maybe walnut or a lighter species of cherry.

Here's the response from Hiromi Sakanashi:
_____________________________________________________________________

Dear Mr. Hamley,

Thank you very much for your inquiry about a lightweight 8x10 camera.

With regard to lightweight cameras, we are planning to make a limited number of our cameras from Japanese Cryptomeria, which is an exceptional wood and requires specific treatments.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jōmon_Sugi

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cryptomeria

Please find attached the picture of sample Yaku Sugi without any treatments.

The average densities of each wood are as follows.

Ebony: 1.09
Cherry: 0.67
Walnut: 0.53
Mahogany: 0.65
Yaku Sugi: 0.4

If lightweight cameras are required, we would like to recommend a camera made in Yaku Sugi.

Thank you very much for your continued support.

Yours sincerely,

Hiromi Sakanashi

___________________________________________________________________

According to "back-of-the-envelope" calculations based on the different densities, a triple draw 8x10 should weigh in at about 8-1/2 pounds. I multiplied the mahogany camera weight by the ratios of the woods (0.4/0.65 x 13.7 = 8.4) which should slightly underestimate the weight as it was applied to the metal parts too, which of course won't change.

jpeg of the untreated wood attached. I assume this is wood like spruce or redwood.

Enjoy, Steve

Michael Alpert
30-Dec-2009, 12:35
Steve,

Thank you for letting us know about this option. I use an Ebony SV57 (made from mahogany) that, after five years of use, still fits my definition of a great camera.

John Brady
30-Dec-2009, 12:38
Hi Steve, what type of work are you hoping to do with this new camera?
I have two 8x10 Ebony's, a slw810 and a custom made sw810 (will focus from a 72xl to a 450mm on regular boards). The custom sw is no light weight but for what it will do, not bad. The slw is a purpose built wide angle camera with limited movements. I think the longest lens is about 300mm and the back is fixed and there is no front swing. It only weighs about 7lb and is very study. For my work, the slw is my go to camera. Both of these our non folders yet still very compact.

I would be concerned about the hardness of this cryptomera. It may be as hard as
the mahogany but you should verify. The wood looks beautiful and I'll bet it will make a stunning camera.

Keep us posted.

www.timeandlight.com

Monty McCutchen
30-Dec-2009, 12:56
Hiromi is unbelievable. If it can be done he will without a doubt do it exceptionally.

Good luck Steve. If you do go ahead with it let us see it when it gets done!

Monty

Steve Hamley
30-Dec-2009, 13:39
Folks,

I don't have any current plans to buy one unless an opportunity arises or I see one and can't resist. My current "configuration" is a two-camera solution, an Ebony SV810U in mahogany, which I prefer if I'm not schlepping it up a mountain with a Gitzo 1548, and a Wehman with light AWB holders and a Gitzo 3541XLS (my 4x5 tripod) if I am.

But I thought people would like to know about it since the camera weight will rival other lightweight cameras, and as Monty points out, the cameras are pretty amazing.

I've also found that rigidity seems to go up as weight goes down, so I'd expect a yakasugi camera to be exceptionally stable.

Maybe a retirement gift to myself...

Cheers, Steve

Steve Hamley
30-Dec-2009, 13:42
John,

Same thing I'd do with my SV810U, pretty much anything that comes to hand. I had the same thought about hardness, but it remains to be seen what those "special treatments" are. I've suspected that the surface might be impregnated or coated with a hard resin or something, although that's a WAG.

Cheers, Steve

Bruce Watson
30-Dec-2009, 15:05
According to "back-of-the-envelope" calculations based on the different densities, a triple draw 8x10 should weigh in at about 8-1/2 pounds.

That's 2 pounds more than a Ritter 8x10 (http://www.lg4mat.net/LFcamera.html). If weight is your driver, you really should look at the Richard Ritter's cameras.

Lachlan 717
30-Dec-2009, 15:14
That's 2 pounds more than a Ritter 8x10 (http://www.lg4mat.net/LFcamera.html). If weight is your driver, you really should look at the Richard Ritter's cameras.

And about 930 pounds (i.e. US$1500) more expensive.

That equated to a rather nice piece of glass to front off the new camera; perhaps even 2 nice pieces...

Steve Hamley
30-Dec-2009, 15:19
To each his own! If there was only one camera the world would be a dull place indeed.

Cheers, Steve

Drew Wiley
30-Dec-2009, 18:58
I think Dick Phillips was on the right track when he made his own plywood with a
sandwich of fiberglass and cherry, then soaked it in penetrating epoxy. I have one of
his very first 8x10 cameras. The epoxy has yellowed and I have refitted some of the hardware, but otherwise it has held up wonderfully. I love my Ebony 4x5 too, but
might flinch at the price of the equivalent 8x10. Since 4x5 is my choice for longer
backpacking trips, I opted for mahogany rather than ebony wood. I'd be pretty cautious if it was made of anything even softer.

Pfeiffer Duckett
31-Dec-2009, 18:48
Perhaps they are compressing it, I searched google for 'japanese cedar hardness' and got a lot of articles about how manufactures are compressing it for a comparable strength to hardwoods. That might a lightweight camera a mute point, but I think it would sure look pretty.

If I ever get the money I'll see if they'll build me an 810 modeled after their non-folding whole-plate camera. I would be very happy with something like that.

Here's a link to chairs made with cryptomeria:
http://www.designboom.com/weblog/cat/8/view/8106/enzo-mari-wins-japan-design-award-09.html

Bruce Watson
1-Jan-2010, 09:02
And about 930 pounds (i.e. US$1500) more expensive.

That equated to a rather nice piece of glass to front off the new camera; perhaps even 2 nice pieces...

I doubt that's true; Ebony cameras are among the most expensive available. But the OP posted about weight, not price.

Lachlan 717
1-Jan-2010, 12:14
I doubt that's true; Ebony cameras are among the most expensive available. But the OP posted about weight, not price.

That's what I'm saying, Bruce.

Buy the cheaper camera, get a great lens, buy a heap of film and start shooting.

georgl
23-Jul-2012, 03:10
It takes longer than expected to switch from Sinar to Ebony^^ I just stumbled upon this post, maybe it's worth to reactivate it!? Has Mr. Sakanashi actually made a lightweight cedar-wood Ebony? I would love to see one!

peter schrager
26-Jul-2012, 17:09
GET A RITTER>>>yes I said RITTER CAMERA!!
best, Peter

georgl
31-Jul-2012, 02:31
I'm in love with Ebony since I handled one on Photokina, usually I prefer machnined metal but the build quality was surprisingly good. Sorry, but the Ritter looks a little bit simple and plain (nevertheless the tube design promises great weight/stability-ratio).

Nobody has actually seen or ordered the cedar-wood or maybe a custom 7x17-version... ? Threads years ago sounded it may be in reach for some...