View Full Version : Novice thoughts on using Ebony 45SU

4-Feb-2007, 05:56
Took my Ebony 45SU out in the field today for the first time. Miserable conditions and not much light, but a few thoughts and comments appreciated..

Ground glass - it's dim. Much dimmer and coarser than my old Arca monorail. Is there a brighter glass out there that would be better? I remember from my old SLR days you could buy a Beattie Intenscreen. Or is this something I will have to get used to? Maybe it was because the light was so low. Will have to check this out on a better day.

Lens board - it's not a really tight fit, and moves around when I change the lens settings. Side to side, not backwards and forwards. I don't expect it will affect focus, but I expected the Ebony board to be closer tolerance.

Polaroid - I took a couple of shots with type 55 with the intention of developing back home, so I followed the instructions for removing without developing, and it seems the metal clip, once inserted, does not clamp tight onto the film when you take it out for post processing. I ruined 3 pieces of film before realising. Any tips on this? I'm not sure if the ones I have here will be fogged or not. Will report back later.

I rated the polaroid at 40 ASA. Is this ok?

Front rise - getting it back dead level again after use. I can see a red dot on the standard and a small white dot on the board - lining these up - does this mean they are centred again.

Finally - I cannot figure out how to change the back for portrait orientation - sorry for sounding so thick! Any ideas?

Best wishes


Henry Ambrose
4-Feb-2007, 07:53
The Maxwell screens are wonderful.

The lensboards on my Ebony fit in a similar fashion. Its not a problem though.

I had some Polaroid that didn't catch just right. I though it was the holder at first but then when I finished that box and started on the next the problem went away. Polaroid quality control is not perfect.

Why post process? I'd carry a bucket or container to drop the negs in. A Tupperware sandwich keeper will work and is very compact.

If you are shooting for a print 40 might be OK. For negatives try 25. If you are uncertain shoot and process one on the spot. A print that looks about one full stop over exposed will usually mean a decent negative exposure.

The back removes by sliding the two catches on the upper corners of the camera. Turn the back 90 degrees and re-attach byu sliding the catches back into place.

4-Feb-2007, 08:02
As far as the GG issue, consider the Satin Snow GG. Dave Parker makes a great product that should be considerably brighter perhaps 1 to 1 1/2 stops or so, with a finer grind, and is inexpensive. The only problem is the waiting time since Dave has such a huge backlog of orders. It may take about 8 to 12 weeks.


Frank Petronio
4-Feb-2007, 08:41
The fresnel on the Arcas is one of the best, but I can't imagine the Ebony would be that bad for the price they are...

To remove an unprocessed 55 packet, push the packet a little deeper into the holder and jiggle while holding the release lever. You should be able to feel the difference between a caught tab pulling the film into open shooting position versus an intact packet you can process later.

Steve Hamley
4-Feb-2007, 08:45
Different brand lensboards fit differently. The Nikon brand seems to be the smallest (loosest), with the Toyo, Wista, and Linhof boards fittting the best with little or no movement.


Brian Ellis
4-Feb-2007, 12:30
I'm surprised at the dim view on the ground glass. I suspect it was the lighting conditions. I owned two Ebonys (neither the SU) and both had very bright Fresnel screens. Not very good for some things (I much prefer the Maxwell) but I couldn't quarrel with their brightness.

Dave Parker
4-Feb-2007, 16:17
I'm surprised at the dim view on the ground glass. I suspect it was the lighting conditions. I owned two Ebonys (neither the SU) and both had very bright Fresnel screens. Not very good for some things (I much prefer the Maxwell) but I couldn't quarrel with their brightness.

I would have to agree with Brian on this one, I have replaced a lot of screens for ebony, but have never heard anyone complain they were dim! I would have to say it was the lighting or one thing you may want to check is take the screen out and double check to make sure it is not dirty, I have seen two separate ebony's that came from the factory with dirty screens, which really cuts down the light transmission.


Doug Dolde
4-Feb-2007, 16:30
I had an Ebony and hated the viewing screen as well. It just looked muddy to me. Replacing it with a Maxwell screen made it right.

5-Feb-2007, 04:22
Thanks for the opinions and advice friends. As usual this forum is the best instruction manual you can have.

I'll get more familiar with the Ebony and if the screen really continues to bother me then I'll order another screen. Are they easy to fit?

I also wanted to mention that I bought a Berlebach wooden tripod and personally I was shocked to find how relatively flimsy it seems compared to my Gitzo, although I need to give it a chance to prove itself. The Gitzo feels like you are pumping weights everytime you use it..

I am starting a 'photography random thoughts blog' as in between taking photos I love to talk about photography. Post a link to it later, if it is allowed?



Frank Petronio
5-Feb-2007, 05:27
That would be a better link than most of the stuff linked here ;-)

5-Feb-2007, 14:38
Oh Frank! Miaow! LOL

Well I must have done something slightly right. One of the type 55 negs is at least viewable! Scanned it tonight.

I have an Epson 4990. Any thoughts on what resolution I should be scanning at, and is 16 bit greyscale ok?