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Per Berntsen
4-Feb-2010, 11:19
This thread is an offspring from this thread (http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?p=555708#post555708).

I have been using 4 x 5 cameras for more than 30 years, the last 13 an Arca Swiss F-line with which I have been very pleased. I print quite big, mostly 26 x 33" - previously in the darkroom - now I scan the negatives on an Agfa T2500 and make inkjet prints. The process of moving from the darkroom to inkjet has made me much more aware of image quality, and I have also spent some time examining my old 17 x 22" prints, which of course look much better than the 26 x 33" in terms of sharpness, resolution, and tonal separation.

So, I've decided to get a bigger camera. First I thought I'd get a 5 x 7, but then I became aware that there are several modern WP cameras on the market. The advantages of this format are obvious - close to 8 x 10 in size and quality, but cameras are smaller and lighter, and you can use all the lightweight lenses that just cover 8 x 10, but have room for movements on 6.5 x 8.5.

The Ebony is very attractive, but expensive. (and heavy) The Chamonix is lightweight and relatively cheap, and my most likely choice, particularly since I would like to buy 15 - 20 holders as well. The Argentum cameras are very beautiful and lightweight, but I don't think I could live without the shift movement.

Sal Santamaura and Oren Grad have kindly offered to answer my questions about the Ebony and the Chamonix, so here goes:

@ Sal: I've noticed that most Ebonys have combined controls for tilt and rise. What's it like to operate them? The outermost knobs look a bit small and fiddly. And do they work completely independently of each other?
Other than that, I wonder why the WP Ebonys are so heavy. The non-folding version actually weighs 1,4 kg more than the lightest 8 x 10.

@ Oren:
1. The Chamonix seems to have a single control for front tilt and rise. Can you confirm that? This was the most annoying feature of a Zone VI camera I had - every time I raised or lowered the lens, it would tilt out of the vertical position - or whatever tilt I had set it to before.

2. Do you miss not having a focus lock? I think not having it would make me nervous ... I have established email contact with Hugo Zhang, who says the factory can add a lock.

3. What's your experience with the spirit levels? According to Hugo, I can have one installed on the front at the factory.

4. I thought this camera came with a fresnel lens, but apparently it doesn't. How would you rate the brightness of the ground glass?

5. How would you characterize the bellows - stiff or flexible? Do you think movements with a 165 mm lens would be restricted by the bellows?

6. Have you had any problems with the Chamonix holders? Are they easy to insert and remove? And finally - I'd like to know the weight and outside dimensions of the holders.

Thanks for taking the time to answer all these questions.

Sal Santamaura
4-Feb-2010, 11:40
...I've noticed that most Ebonys have combined controls for tilt and rise. What's it like to operate them? The outermost knobs look a bit small and fiddly. And do they work completely independently of each other?...Yes, they are completely independent. Not at all fiddly for me, but I have thin fingers. If possible I suggest you try a 4x5 Ebony camera in your area; those controls are the same as corresponding ones on the wholeplate version.


...I wonder why the WP Ebonys are so heavy. The non-folding version actually weighs 1,4 kg more than the lightest 8 x 10...I believe Hiromi's design philosophy is "as heavy as necessary to provide the ease of use and stability he deems acceptable." Mahogany and titanium weigh what they weigh. :)

Difference in weight between the folding Ebony and Chamonix wholeplate cameras is 1.1 kg. I think that, if you're going to be carrying 15 - 20 holders plus a couple of lenses, the total pack weights will be close. I believe you will find the Chamonix holders wonderful and, since they were patterned after my Lotus holders, which Hiromi designed the Ebony camera's back for, perfectly compatible.

David Karp
4-Feb-2010, 11:43
Per,

I have thought about a modern WP camera to replace my WP Seneca for a while. Mostly, the reason is the absence of front tilt or swing on the front standard.

The Ebony is out of my price range. The Chamonix, which looks like a beautiful camera in many respects, might be a possibility in time. There is another issue with that design that you did not raise that causes me a problem: The combination control for the front shift and swing. I think that would make me nuts.

One thing I have considered for the time when finances allow is having someone make a WP back that I can put on my 4x5 ARCA. The bellows could be made to taper to the front standard on the ARCA. With the right pieces on the telescoping rail, you could use lenses up to 600mm, have 100% of the front movements, and most likely everything but rear rise. I guess you could have it made to give you rear rise too, but it would become more bulky. You could likely collapse the whole thing onto one of the small rails, so it would be relatively compact to carry.

Just some thoughts from someone who has been thinking about this too much, since I am not really in the market to t buy a new camera now anyway. Especially since you say you like your ARCA. :)

Per Berntsen
4-Feb-2010, 12:03
I believe Hiromi's design philosophy is "as heavy as necessary to provide the ease of use and stability he deems acceptable." Mahogany and titanium weigh what they weigh.

Yes, obviously. But the wholeplate cameras definetely seem to be relatively much heavier than corresponding 5x7s and 8x10s - especially the non-folding version.

Oren Grad
4-Feb-2010, 12:12
Per, just a quick post for now to let you know I've seen this thread - I'll respond in detail to your questions later this evening, after I have work responsibilities out of the way. Stay tuned...

Per Berntsen
4-Feb-2010, 12:15
David,

Yes, the shift/swing is problematic too, but not nearly as much as the tilt/rise. I hardly ever use swings, but I imagine when using the shift, you can feel with your fingers if the front standard is paralell with the camera or not.

As for modifying an Arca, it sounds like an interesting project, but I'd like to have a camera suited for the occasional backpacking trip. Even a non-folding Ebony can be used for that, but my 4x5 Arca with a short collapsible rail is awkard to pack, and then you have the enormous lens boards ...

Per Berntsen
4-Feb-2010, 12:56
Sal,

My previous post was a bit short. What I'm referring to is the following weights for non-folding mahogany Ebonys:
5 x 7 (57S): 2,65 kg
WP: 4,6 kg
8 x 10: The three versions weigh respectively 4,0 - 4,0 and 3,2 kg (!)

So the non-folding WP is heavier than all the non-folding 8 x10s ...
Or could this be a typo on the Ebony website?

Sal Santamaura
4-Feb-2010, 13:38
Sal,

My previous post was a bit short. What I'm referring to is the following weights for non-folding mahogany Ebonys:
5 x 7 (57S): 2,65 kg
WP: 4,6 kg
8 x 10: The three versions weigh respectively 4,0 - 4,0 and 3,2 kg (!)

So the non-folding WP is heavier than all the non-folding 8 x10s ...
Or could this be a typo on the Ebony website?All my cameras, including Ebony SV57 and SV WP, are folding types. It is very important when making the above comparisons that you look closely at maximum bellows extension. The lighter cameras seem to have much shorter bellows (and structure to support them).

For example, the 57S only goes to 300mm, while the WP-S reaches 575mm. Substantially longer than the proportional film format difference. The 8x10 versions you reference allow 380mm, 380mm and 400mm respectively. By comparison, my SV57 reaches 605mm and my SV WP extends to 730mm, both figures without base tilts.

Ebony designs "custom" cameras for the customer who first orders them. Email exchanges between Hiromi and me (via Ian Wilson) went on for quite some time while we finalized the SV WP specifications. All the above cameras except SV57 and SW810 are "custom," meaning they started out the same as mine. Hiromi subsequently offers these custom designs to other buyers, but doesn't stock them. I suspect even the SW810 started out custom, but demand was high enough for it to become a stock item.

If you would prefer a non-folding Ebony WP-S with a shorter than 575mm bellows -- more suitable to your 165mm lens -- I encourage you to contact Ebony. Hiromi seems very willing to work with individuals' needs. Such a camera would probably weigh a lot less than the current WP-S.

Per Berntsen
4-Feb-2010, 14:04
Thanks for this clarification Sal.
You're right in suggesting that I don't need long bellows - the longest lens I imagine using would be 300 - 360 mm. I don't actually own a 165, but I think it would be the widest lens I would be using.

I'll contact Ebony as you suggested. Thanks again.

David Karp
4-Feb-2010, 14:47
Per,

I assume you will keep your 4x5. If so, consider a Technika / ARCA adapter board. I picked one up on E-Bay, and all my lenses are mounted on Technika type boards. Much more compact. I built an adapter to use those boards on my WP Seneca, and they also fit natively on my Walker Titan SF.

Oren Grad
4-Feb-2010, 20:07
1. The Chamonix seems to have a single control for front tilt and rise. Can you confirm that? This was the most annoying feature of a Zone VI camera I had - every time I raised or lowered the lens, it would tilt out of the vertical position - or whatever tilt I had set it to before.

That's correct. You can lock out the tilt, so that if you're using only rise/fall it's easily controlled. But if you need to use both, then yes, it gets fussy.


2. Do you miss not having a focus lock? I think not having it would make me nervous ... I have established email contact with Hugo Zhang, who says the factory can add a lock.

No, I don't miss it. The focusing screw is strongly damped, and the focus doesn't move unless you twist the knob quite deliberately.


3. What's your experience with the spirit levels? According to Hugo, I can have one installed on the front at the factory.

My WP Chamonix has two on the rear standard, but so far I haven't paid much attention to them, and I don't know whether they're accurate.


4. I thought this camera came with a fresnel lens, but apparently it doesn't. How would you rate the brightness of the ground glass?

Mine doesn't have a fresnel, which suits me fine because I don't like fresnels. As far as brightness of the GG, I haven't set up a controlled comparison, but subjectively it doesn't stand out as an outlier one way or the other.


5. How would you characterize the bellows - stiff or flexible? Do you think movements with a 165 mm lens would be restricted by the bellows?

I'd say the bellows is a bit on the stiff side. I just set up the camera with the front standard ~165mm out. With tilt locked out, I can push the front standard to maximum rise and fall without much difficulty, though it's possible that near the ends of its travel there could be some bellows shading issues. If you want to use tilt along with a lot of front rise or fall, you'll be struggling against the bellows. With the front standard closer to the center, though, you can combine rise/fall and tilt without too much trouble beyond the usual fussiness of having them both on the same control.


6. Have you had any problems with the Chamonix holders? Are they easy to insert and remove? And finally - I'd like to know the weight and outside dimensions of the holders.

Not so far. Yes, they're easy to insert into the camera. The darkslides move a bit more stiffly than with my late-model metal/plastic Fidelity holders, but not enough to be a problem. The darkslides don't have handles or pull tabs, so getting a good grip on them with gloves on may be a nuisance. However, the area you need to grab has holes in it, so you could easily thread each darkslide with some sort of pull-string. Weight (with two sheets of HP5 Plus loaded :)) is about 15 1/2 oz. Sal has the "official" spec for the dimensions, but slapping a ruler on one of them just now, I get ~198mm wide and 234mm to riblock. Total length to tip of darkslides is ~287mm. Maximum thickness, at the riblock, is ~16.5mm.

Hope that helps!

Per Berntsen
5-Feb-2010, 04:15
David,
Yes I'm aware of these adapter boards, and will probably get one. There's one on ebay now for Technica boards, but I will probably be using Sinar boards.

Per Berntsen
5-Feb-2010, 04:35
Oren, thanks a lot for this.

That's correct. You can lock out the tilt, so that if you're using only rise/fall it's easily controlled. But if you need to use both, then yes, it gets fussy.
How exactly do you lock out the tilt?

And suppose you have raised the lens to the desired position, and then want to apply a tilt - would you then be able to apply the tilt without moving the lens up or down? (probably one of these operations that require three hands)

I remember that on my old Zone VI I could tilt by pressing the bottom of the front standard backwards, with the knobs not fully tightened. Would that be possible on the Chamonix?

Oren Grad
5-Feb-2010, 07:58
How exactly do you lock out the tilt?

There are a couple of sliding tabs on the bottom of the lensboard frame that engage with the slots in the uprights.


And suppose you have raised the lens to the desired position, and then want to apply a tilt - would you then be able to apply the tilt without moving the lens up or down? (probably one of these operations that require three hands)

Requires three hands, maybe four. ;) Seriously, that is indeed where it gets a bit fussy. Whether or not you start with tilt locked out, you can expect that things will slip a bit when you loosen your existing setting, and in effect you'll have to re-adjust both movements simultaneously to get what you want. If you expect to need both movements, probably best to start with the tilt-lock disengaged and avoid the extra distraction of fussing with the sliders.


I remember that on my old Zone VI I could tilt by pressing the bottom of the front standard backwards, with the knobs not fully tightened. Would that be possible on the Chamonix?

Yes, working with the knobs loosened just a bit is going to allow you the greatest finesse in controlling tilt.

Alex Wei
5-Feb-2010, 10:10
And suppose you have raised the lens to the desired position, and then want to apply a tilt - would you then be able to apply the tilt without moving the lens up or down? (probably one of these operations that require three hands)

I remember that on my old Zone VI I could tilt by pressing the bottom of the front standard backwards, with the knobs not fully tightened. Would that be possible on the Chamonix?

Hi, Per, I'm another Chamonix WP camera user here.

That's what I do when I try to apply rise and tilt for the front stand, I rise it to position first, retract the sliding tabs and loose the tightening nobs just a little bit without the front falling and then apply tilt by pressing the bottom of the front standard backwards just like you did with your old Zone VI camera.

It works so far, but clearly a separate rise and tilt locking nob would be preferred :)

I don't know what are you going to use the Chamonix WP camera for, but whatever you do, don't use it for architecture photography.

Per Berntsen
5-Feb-2010, 11:18
It works so far, but clearly a separate rise and tilt locking nob would be preferred :)

I don't know what are you going to use the Chamonix WP camera for, but whatever you do, don't use it for architecture photography.

Alex,
I have asked Hugo if it's possible to have a custom front standard with separate knobs made. The Chamonix 8x10 has that. In any case the Chamonix solution is somewhat better than the Zone VI, because of the tilt lock. In my opinion this makes the camera well suited to architecture, since you can raise and lower the front without releasing the tilt. I never use tilts with architecture, but frequently a front rise.
With landscapes I often use both together, the tilt for depth of field, and the rise/fall to keep trees or other verticals straight. It works as long as the verticals aren't too close to the camera. If they're in the foreground, stopping down is the only solution, of course. I would imagine that diffraction would be less of a problem with a larger format, since the magnification factor is smaller.

Michael Alpert
5-Feb-2010, 11:19
Per,

I've used a 5x7 Ebony camera for years. There is nothing fussy about any of the controls. It is easy to use the tilt control or the rise/fall control independently. There are really two controls, one for rise/fall and one for tilt, that are beautifully and conveniently fitted together. The combination of shift and swing is also very easy to control. You can easily feel as you are sliding the front standard where you are in relation to swing. I've used my mahogany SV57 for six years (and many thousands of negatives) without any problems at all. I also have used a horizontal-only Chamonix 5x7. It was very light; but I found that for architecture, it was self-defeating. The bellows was not amenable to much rise, and the levels were neither well engineered nor well manufactured. In other words, they simply did not work. The camera might have been okay for landscape, but for my purposes it was too flimsy and too restrictive. So the camera's light weight, which is why I bought it, was completely overshadowed. That's my experience; others may have a different tale to tell. I think the Ebony is worth the extra money.

One more thought: unless you are working in alternative processes, a 5x7 camera with an enlarger will give you much more flexibility. Small enlargements from 5x7 negatives have all the clarity of contact prints without the contact-frame dust problems or Newton Rings. And black-and-white 5x7 film is easier to find. In your situation, the difference in image quality between WP and 5x7 might be very hard to see in smaller-than-giant inkjet prints. I think you will find that your resolution is restricted more by the resolution of your printer than by anything else.

Per Berntsen
5-Feb-2010, 12:11
One more thought: unless you are working in alternative processes, a 5x7 camera with an enlarger will give you much more flexibility. Small enlargements from 5x7 negatives have all the clarity of contact prints without the contact-frame dust problems or Newton Rings. And black-and-white 5x7 film is easier to find. In your situation, the difference in image quality between WP and 5x7 might be very hard to see in smaller-than-giant inkjet prints. I think you will find that your resolution is restricted more by the resolution of your printer than by anything else.

Michael,
I think the Chamonix WP is a lot more rigid than the 5x7, because the back has supporting rails. But I do worry a bit about the spirit levels, I know they have a bad reputation.

I have not entirely given up the idea of getting a 5x7, but I do make big enlargements, and if I get a WP, I'll probably make prints around 30x40" or a little smaller. I am planning to do a test on 4x5 to establish the quality of the different formats - by exposing three negatives of the same subject with a 90, 120, and 150 lens. I will then scan the negatives at the same resolution, and print the whole 150 neg, and crops of the 120 and 90 negs that correpsond to the 150. This ought to show fairly accurately the difference in quality of the three formats at a given print size.
(a 90 mm on 4x5 is equivalent to a 126 for 5x7, and 156 for WP)
This will have to wait until spring, I need some grass and foliage for this kind of test - snow is not the best subject ...

Robert Skeoch
5-Feb-2010, 17:03
These are my thoughts on the WP system.

I'm the retailer who sold Richard his new WP Ebony a couple years ago when I was still an Ebony dealer. I'm also one of the Canadian dealers for the Ilford ULF film run, which WP is a part of. The Ebony WP camera is a great looking camera but I would reconsider the 5x7 solution.

I happen to shoot with an Ebony myself, although it's an 8x10.... I also have an 8x10 enlarger, so I don't do "contacts only" like many of the great photographers.

I would suggest you buy the camera that will give you the most joy while shooting with it.

This is always my suggestion because the modern lenses and films are so darn good there is little to gain by having a larger negative. Very few photographers would notice a quality jump between 5x7 and the larger 6 1/2 x 8 1/2 format. The 5x7 camera is a bit lighter and easier to obtain but the film is way easier to obtain.

During last years Ilford ULF run I ordered 13 extra boxes of the WP size for stock. Two sold a few months ago, but then for a number of months no client asked about the film.... until mid-January. All of a sudden I had a WP photographer in Germany and a second out west looking for the film. The next week a photographer in Japan ordered four boxes. This tells me that those locations are out of the film and stock is getting scarce.... if you could buy the film locally you wouldn't be ordering it from Canada. (Although it might be my great service!!! LOL)

Ilford's 5x7 is in stock everyday at my studio and I'm sure many retailers have stock as well. Plus when I run out I just order some more.

So if it was me I would shoot 5x7. No real loss of quality and less costly set-up, holders are slightly easier to get right now also.

I believe using a LF camera is all about the shooting experience, yes it's true you end up with a great negative with lots of detail and you can process single sheets, but for me shooting is about the joy I get from looking at the ground glass, taking my time, firing off that one frame and of course dropping the negative on the floor in the darkroom where I can't find it without turning the lights on.

Find a camera that's a joy to use and you'll love every day you shoot with it.... and don't be too concerned about the print quality because it will be fine.

So is that WP or 5x7? There is no right or wrong answer... enjoy the shoot.

-Rob

Per Berntsen
6-Feb-2010, 04:55
The bellows was not amenable to much rise, and the levels were neither well engineered nor well manufactured. In other words, they simply did not work.

Michael,

I've been rereading your post, and wonder if you could explain a bit more about the spirit levels. Are you saying that with the built-in levels it would be impossible to level the camera? Or, was the reason that the fluid had leaked out? Thanks!

Per Berntsen
6-Feb-2010, 05:40
These are my thoughts on the WP system.

Thanks for your input, Robert.
At first I was determined to get a 5x7, then a wp. Now I'm not so sure ...
The difference in quality between 5x7 and wp may be small, but I'd be surprised if it didn't show in a 30x40" print. I'm in no hurry to buy a new camera, so I'll wait until spring, when I can carry out the tests I mentioned in a previous post.

As for film availability, here in Norway I doubt that you'd get 5x7 film except on a special order, so I'd most likely be buying film from abroad in any case. But 5x7 is of course easier to find, and I wouldn't be able to get TMAX 100 in wp, unless I cut 8x10.


I would suggest you buy the camera that will give you the most joy while shooting with it.

I have to disagree with you here. Although being out shooting with an LF camera is a great experience, and something I always look forward to, it is also a means to an end. So I want to buy the camera that will give me the most joy when looking at the prints ...

Steve Hamley
6-Feb-2010, 06:19
I've been watching the thread and although I don't use either of the WP cameras mentioned or an Ebony 5x7, I do have Ebony 4x5s and a 8x10.

Rob's comment about film availability is true right now, but Badger just posted that Fuji will end 5x7 Provia, the only color film they list, in April.

So if you end up having to cut film to get what you want, remember that you can get two 5x7s out of an 8x10 sheet, but only one 6-1/2 x 8-1/2.

Michael's comments are dead on. The cameras are easy to use, the levels work, and the camera is just nice to use overall.

Cheers, Steve

Jim Becia
6-Feb-2010, 15:19
Per,

Like a few others here, I don't shoot whole plate, but I do use Ebonys. I have a 4x5, 5x7, and a 8x10. While expensive if bought new, (I bought both the 5x7 and 8x10 used), I find their quality and ease of use (for me) to be excellent. The Ebony camera system seems to suit my style or work flow or whatever you would like to call it. And while I can't say how much better the whole plate size film would be over 5x7, I can say that my 5x7 images that I have taken up to 36x48 look as sharp as a tack. Don't know if this helps. Jim

Songyun
6-Feb-2010, 20:02
So if you end up having to cut film to get what you want, remember that you can get two 5x7s out of an 8x10 sheet, but only one 6-1/2 x 8-1/2.



If you only shoot B&W, You can still find Kodak, and Ilford 5X7 here in U.S. (not special order)

WP film is on special order (Ilford)

If you ever want to shoot color, probably you want to cut down from 8X10.
And if you have to cut down from 8X10, 5X8 might be a better choice. :D

Scott Davis
7-Feb-2010, 04:35
Actually, cutting down from 8x10 is easy with WP- it is 2 cuts, yes, but they're both the same length, so no trying to re-set the cutter in the dark.

Here's another oddball suggestion for you to save yourself some money while you figure out if WP is the right size - find a vintage WP camera. I have a Seneca "black beauty" that I picked up on Ebay for under $300 USD - actually, two of them (for various reasons). Buy one like that, shoot some WP, and if you decide it's not for you, you're not stuck with a nine month wait for a very expensive camera with a limited resale market.

Another option is a Canham 5x7. If you like shooting it, Keith can make you a WP back/bellows and you can swap it out on the same platform.

evan clarke
7-Feb-2010, 04:52
Thanks for your input, Robert.
At first I was determined to get a 5x7, then a wp. Now I'm not so sure ...
The difference in quality between 5x7 and wp may be small, but I'd be surprised if it didn't show in a 30x40" print. I'm in no hurry to buy a new camera, so I'll wait until spring, when I can carry out the tests I mentioned in a previous post.

As for film availability, here in Norway I doubt that you'd get 5x7 film except on a special order, so I'd most likely be buying film from abroad in any case. But 5x7 is of course easier to find, and I wouldn't be able to get TMAX 100 in wp, unless I cut 8x10.



I have to disagree with you here. Although being out shooting with an LF camera is a great experience, and something I always look forward to, it is also a means to an end. So I want to buy the camera that will give me the most joy when looking at the prints ...

Why not buy the 8x10 Cham and a WP back for it?? I think they will make you one..Evan Clarke

Per Berntsen
7-Feb-2010, 10:42
Actually, cutting down from 8x10 is easy with WP- it is 2 cuts, yes, but they're both the same length, so no trying to re-set the cutter in the dark.

Good point!


Why not buy the 8x10 Cham and a WP back for it?? I think they will make you one..Evan Clarke

I can't see any good reason to do so - I don't want anything bigger than WP.

evan clarke
8-Feb-2010, 05:53
Good point!



I can't see any good reason to do so - I don't want anything bigger than WP.

It seems the 8x10 Cham has the features you want and these cameras are freakishly light. My 11x4 kit counting the pack frame is 23 pounds, much lighter than my Arca 4x5 set. 8x10 film is easier to deal with and will give you a bigger neg...EC

Michael Alpert
8-Feb-2010, 09:41
Michael,

I've been rereading your post, and wonder if you could explain a bit more about the spirit levels. Are you saying that with the built-in levels it would be impossible to level the camera? Or, was the reason that the fluid had leaked out? Thanks!

Per,

Unless Chamonix has changed the design, what they call a front standard level is a little plastic level that fits loosely in a small shoe on the top of the standard. The level literally wobbles when you touch it, so you can never trust it to be even close to accurate. The camera I used had two "pitch" levels on the back standard, one on top and one on the side; the levels did not agree with each other. It seemed to me that the person who attached the levels did not understand that they might actually have some use. So, yes, to answer your question, in my opinion it would be impossible to level the camera with the manufacturer's built-in levels. I have heard that some other camera manufacturers are equally lax in this area. In contrast, all the levels on my Ebony camera are accurate and are very quick and easy to use.

Robert Hughes
8-Feb-2010, 11:05
All this talk of cutting down 8x10 to make custom formats leaves me cold. I see no point - just mask the 8x10 glass to show whatever format you like.

Per Berntsen
8-Feb-2010, 14:07
It seems the 8x10 Cham has the features you want and these cameras are freakishly light. My 11x4 kit counting the pack frame is 23 pounds, much lighter than my Arca 4x5 set. 8x10 film is easier to deal with and will give you a bigger neg...EC

Don't forget that the 8x10 is 900 g heavier than the WP, and you'll also need bigger and heavier (and more expensive) lenses ...


So, yes, to answer your question, in my opinion it would be impossible to level the camera with the manufacturer's built-in levels. I have heard that some other camera manufacturers are equally lax in this area. In contrast, all the levels on my Ebony camera are accurate and are very quick and easy to use.

Michael, thanks very much for this. It seems that Chamonix has these cameras in stock with the old levels, and they are not interchangeable with the new and better ones they got from England.

Per Berntsen
9-Feb-2010, 05:55
I have a question to the WP Ebony users using Chamonix holders -
The Chamonix WP holders are supposed to match the exact size and location of the Chamonix camera ground glass. Would you say that they match size and location also on the Ebony?

Another question -
I have been using readyloads for my 4x5 for many years, but I remember a problem that used to occur with conventional holders:
A thin streak of increased exposure running vertically across the film, about 4 mm from the edge of the film (or 2 mm from the edge of the image), about 1/4 - 1/3 mm wide. It appeared on the short side of the film, where the opening for the darkslide is. I guess it's caused by light entering the holder when you pull out the darkslide.
Just curious if this thing also happens with Chamonix holders. It is most noticeable in clear skies, or other even areas without texture.

Richard K.
9-Feb-2010, 06:36
I have a question to the WP Ebony users using Chamonix holders -
The Chamonix WP holders are supposed to match the exact size and location of the Chamonix camera ground glass. Would you say that they match size and location also on the Ebony?

Yes they do. I couldn't afford to buy SIX Lotus holders at the time I ordered the Ebony WP so I had Lotus make 3 holders to fit (not sure if Ebony even had holders yet). They weren't much cheaper than the Ebony holder when it came out so I inquired of Chamonix. They made WP holders speced on the Lotus holders but at a significantly lower price with no compromise in quality so I added 4 to my set. The Lotus and Chamonix (and I suspect Ebony) holders work interchangeably well. ;)

Per Berntsen
9-Feb-2010, 07:31
Yes they do.

Thank you Richard!

Sal Santamaura
9-Feb-2010, 08:20
...The Chamonix WP holders are supposed to match the exact size and location of the Chamonix camera ground glass. Would you say that they match size and location also on the Ebony?...

I have tested them with the following result based on vertical orientation. Compared to the ground glass image, negatives are cropped 1mm on the bottom, 0.5mm on the right and have 1mm more information on the left and top. Result from Lotus holders was identical, so Chamonix copied my Lotus sample perfectly. The discrepancy can be attributed to Ebony, since its back was intended to match a sample Lotus holder I sent. Note that, in the same test, negatives from Ebony's own WP holder matched the ground glass image top and bottom but cropped 0.5mm left and right.


...I remember a problem that used to occur with conventional holders: A thin streak of increased exposure running vertically across the film...I guess it's caused by light entering the holder when you pull out the darkslide. Just curious if this thing also happens with Chamonix holders..The Chamonix holders have double light traps, which I verified by opening the ends of some samples Hugo provided me before I ordered any. I torture-tested my Chamonix holders by orienting them so direct sunlight was shining onto their ends where the darkslide slots are. I then removed the slides, inserted and reinserted them multiple times, some cycles squarely and others at varying angles, i.e. corner of slide in different locations along the slot. There was no hint of leakage on any developed film. I've not been able to duplicate this outstanding performance with any other holders (in WP or other formats) similarly tested, including Lotus, Lisco/Fidelity or Toyo.

Per Berntsen
9-Feb-2010, 08:41
Thanks again Sal, for a very detailed reply.

Songyun
9-Feb-2010, 08:49
Don't forget that the 8x10 is 900 g heavier than the WP, and you'll also need bigger and heavier (and more expensive) lenses ...

If extra 900g is a big deal, I think Ebony should be out.

No, you don't necessary need bigger and heavier lens. (more expensive? maybe) There are quite a few lens cover 810 in Copal 1 shutter, or super light in copal 3. Like the fuji C series. or even some of the Fuji A series.

Per Berntsen
9-Feb-2010, 10:51
If extra 900g is a big deal, I think Ebony should be out.

No, you don't necessary need bigger and heavier lens. (more expensive? maybe) There are quite a few lens cover 810 in Copal 1 shutter, or super light in copal 3. Like the fuji C series. or even some of the Fuji A series.

Songyun,

If I buy an Ebony, it will be a custom version with no back movements, and short bellows, something like the SLW810, which weighs 3.2 kg. I suppose a WP version would weigh well under 3 kg - the Chamonix weighs 2.9.

Yes, there are several Copal 1 lenses that cover 8x10, but most of them have an image circle just larger than the format. WP has a diagonal of 260 mm - 40 mm less than 8x10, with more room for movement with these lenses.
For instance, the Fujinon AS 240/9 has an image circle of 336 mm, which allows for quite limited movements on 8x10.
The Fujinon CS 300/8.5 covers both formats well, but I don't plan on getting any lenses longer than that - I will be working mostly in the 190/210 - 300 mm range.

brianam
9-Feb-2010, 11:16
By the by Per, have you considered getting one of the 5x7 folding cameras that had whole plate backs available for them? I have the Toyo "half-plate" camera with WP expansion back and Toyo WP holders. And a Rittreck on its way to me with similar capabilities.

I admit that I probably won't shoot with the WP expander back as my primary format, but it's nice to have the option to both go up to WP or down to 4x5. With 5x7 being the primary selling point of both cameras of course.

just food for thought, though it sounds like your closer to decision already.

Per Berntsen
9-Feb-2010, 11:35
By the by Per, have you considered getting one of the 5x7 folding cameras that had whole plate backs available for them? I have the Toyo "half-plate" camera with WP expansion back and Toyo WP holders. And a Rittreck on its way to me with similar capabilities.

Brian,

Thanks for the input, but I think I want a dedicated WP camera.
Are Toyo still making these holders?

Sal Santamaura
9-Feb-2010, 11:51
...Are Toyo still making these holders?No and, if it were, the holders would be much heavier and have less effective light traps than Chamonix holders. The Toyo holders would also probably stink:

http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?t=8417

:)

Per Berntsen
9-Feb-2010, 12:12
No and, if it were, the holders would be much heavier and have less effective light traps than Chamonix holders. The Toyo holders would also probably stink:

http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?t=8417

:)

Well that's some story! I think I prefer the smell of Canadian maple ...

Richard K.
9-Feb-2010, 13:03
I have tested them with the following result based on vertical orientation. Compared to the ground glass image, negatives are cropped 1mm on the bottom, 0.5mm on the right and have 1mm more information on the left and top. Result from Lotus holders was identical, so Chamonix copied my Lotus sample perfectly. ......I've not been able to duplicate this outstanding performance with any other holders (in WP or other formats) similarly tested, including Lotus, Lisco/Fidelity or Toyo.

I honestly didn't notice the 1 or 0.5 mm difference on the edge! :eek: Now I'll have to try to recall if I missed anything important in my photographs and redo those where critical information was lost or distracting information was included...:D :D (I know some of us DO pay that kind of attention to edges and corners and I'm not mocking you, honest, just myself!) Couldn't agree more with the last line quoted, Sal! Chamonix are the best I've used and at a fantastically reasonable price!

Songyun
9-Feb-2010, 17:48
Songyun,

If I buy an Ebony, it will be a custom version with no back movements, and short bellows, something like the SLW810, which weighs 3.2 kg. I suppose a WP version would weigh well under 3 kg - the Chamonix weighs 2.9.

Yes, there are several Copal 1 lenses that cover 8x10, but most of them have an image circle just larger than the format. WP has a diagonal of 260 mm - 40 mm less than 8x10, with more room for movement with these lenses.
For instance, the Fujinon AS 240/9 has an image circle of 336 mm, which allows for quite limited movements on 8x10.
The Fujinon CS 300/8.5 covers both formats well, but I don't plan on getting any lenses longer than that - I will be working mostly in the 190/210 - 300 mm range.

300mm Fuji A and 210 Fuji W?(80 degree) should give you enough IC on 810, Anyway, it looks like you are really interested in WP, just make sure every year order enough film during ilford special order time.

Alex Wei
10-Feb-2010, 11:21
Alex,
I have asked Hugo if it's possible to have a custom front standard with separate knobs made. The Chamonix 8x10 has that. In any case the Chamonix solution is somewhat better than the Zone VI, because of the tilt lock. In my opinion this makes the camera well suited to architecture, since you can raise and lower the front without releasing the tilt. I never use tilts with architecture, but frequently a front rise.
With landscapes I often use both together, the tilt for depth of field, and the rise/fall to keep trees or other verticals straight. It works as long as the verticals aren't too close to the camera. If they're in the foreground, stopping down is the only solution, of course. I would imagine that diffraction would be less of a problem with a larger format, since the magnification factor is smaller.

Yeah, I think I forgot to mention that I shoot architecture in New York city, and run out of rise often because of those tall buildings. I have to tilt the whole camera and use both front and back tilt to correct the geometry. Maybe a bit extreme, but most of my building shots are done this way, so I just forgot the Chamonix WP design actually good for archi if you don't rise that much.

For landscape, I use tilt and rise often together, so, I will contact Hugo also for another request for custom made front.

Looks like you want a WP camera, welcome to the "dedicated" group :)

Per Berntsen
10-Feb-2010, 13:13
300mm Fuji A and 210 Fuji W?(80 degree) should give you enough IC on 810, Anyway, it looks like you are really interested in WP, just make sure every year order enough film during ilford special order time.

The 80 degree 210 Fuji looks very interesting, but they seem to be hard to find.
And yes, I'm aware of the Ilford special order.

Per Berntsen
10-Feb-2010, 13:16
For landscape, I use tilt and rise often together, so, I will contact Hugo also for another request for custom made front.

That's good. Apparently the factory is closed until March, Chinese New Year.


Looks like you want a WP camera, welcome to the "dedicated" group :)

Thanks!