View Full Version : Ebony style DIY field camera

5-Oct-2005, 23:53
I'm embarking on my first DIY camera attempt, and I'm trying to make soemthing similiar to the Ebony RW45. I have a bit of experience in DIY pro audio gear, and have enough word working an metal working skills to get by (I think). I don't however have a background in engineering, so I have many questions about how all the movement controls work.

I've been looking over photos of the Ebony RW45 for a few days, making sketches and trying to figure out how everything works. At the moment I don't have access to one to actually physically check out as there are no dealers that I'm aware of in Melbourne, Australia.

What I really need help with is the front standard and how rise and centre tilt is employed. From the pictures I can see the following:

Screwed onto the front standard is a rectangular plate, that has a U shaped grove half way up (to allow centre tilt.) This plate is screwed down at both ends and can not move seperately to the front standard itself. Attached to this is is a second rectangular plate. This appears only to be attached at the top of the standard by a screw or rivot, and is free to pivot about this point (ie it can move independantly of the standard). Finally there is the front rise/fall arm. This arm has a dual knob (one on top of the other) The bottom knob allows rise/fall movement whilst the top knob allows centre tilt. (this is from the manual)

I can't figure out how the rise/fall arm actually is phyiscally attached to the front standard, and how the two knobs allow independant movement of the rise and tilt. I can't see how either of the two knobs can screw into the standard directly, as they would no longer be able to slide along the U shaped grove on the first plate attached to the standard. My thought was that perhaps the knob is threaded onto the second plate that pivots, and then passes through that plate into the U shaped grove. Then the front rise arm is only actually attached to this middle plate, which is in turn attached to the front standard. This seems wrong though as then the front standard is only held in place be a clamping action from either side rather than have being directly bolted into the rise fall arms. The above described method would also require only one knob and would not allow independant adjustmant of rise and tilt.

I guess if anyone has got an Ebony field camera, if you've got the time could you maybe try and comment on exactly how the front standard works. If anyone is feeling really charitable and has the time, a couple of close up pictures of the front standard mechanisms posted to the web would be brilliant.


mark blackman
6-Oct-2005, 07:05
drop me an email & I'll see what I can do for you. I need to re-read your message with the camera in front of me to fully understand your requirments.

6-Oct-2005, 17:15
I have an Ebony RW45 and I live in Melbourne (near the Queen Vic markets). Drop me an email and we can work out a time for you to see the real thing up close.



Frank Petronio
6-Oct-2005, 22:11
Now, if this guy were a Chinese craftsman trying to copy an Ebony in Gougzhou -- so that he could sell a couple to feed his family -- would you guys be as helpful?

What is the difference?

Matt Powell
6-Oct-2005, 22:59

mark blackman
7-Oct-2005, 00:23
Yes, Frank.

7-Oct-2005, 02:32

I understand your point, but I do think that the difference is profit, and that I'm only planning to make one camera for myself. Realistically too, what I will produce will not be of the same calibre as the Ebony, both in materials used and in aesthetic. The design will probably end up different as well as I don't believe that I'll be able to easily reproduce all the mechanisms - I'm just looking for it as a starting point as it is a camera that would satisfy all my desires. Basically I hope to make something that is functional and useable in the field and has greater potential than my current Speed Graphic in the movement departments. Moneywise, I'd probably come off cheaper purchasing a Shen-Hao, but DIY is a hobby of mine and I enjoy projects like this.

Jeremy thanks for the offer - I'll give you an email. Mark - thanks so much for the offer, but I'll probably just save you some time and go the local route.

I posted this question over at photo.net as well and was pointed to this thread:


- I'm hoping to be able to do something similar



Frank Petronio
7-Oct-2005, 15:09
Tim, I apologize if I implied any skulldruggery on your part, I was thinking more about the previous threads slamming the Chinese copycats (who deserve to be slammed for ripping off Ebony designs).

In your case you might consider studying the excellent designs of Phillips and the Lotus cameras, and maybe picking and choosing the best ideas. They're what I would rip-off!