View Full Version : New Ebony 23S Owner

Vlad Soare
12-Jul-2008, 05:46
Hi, guys,

I've been trying to sell my EOS 1V for some time, but to no avail. However, a few days ago somebody offered to trade his new Ebony 23S for it. I was a little reluctant, firstly because I already had a large format camera which I loved, and secondly because the 2x3" format didn't really attract me. But in the end I said what the heck, I have nothing to lose.
So, I traded my EOS 1V HS plus 50mm f/1.4 for the following setup: Ebony 23S, Schneider 100mm f/5.6, Horseman 6x9 rollfilm back, Ebony darkcloth. Everything is absolutely like new. The guy had bought everything new and then changed his mind. He hadn't yet had the chance to use them. My 1V and lens were also like new.

The first impressions are mixed. On one hand, after having worked with a 4x5 camera, I don't like the small 2x3 ground glass at all. I mean it's OK, it's nice and bright, but it's smaaaaaaalllll... On the other hand, I can't believe how small and lightweight this camera can be. It looks and feels like a point&shoot compact in comparison to my 4x5" Calumet. Also, although I had read about the build quality of the Ebonies, I didn't expect this quality to strike me so strongly. It's incredible. The only time I had this feeling was when I first laid my hand on a Leica M7. So, I may not like the 2x3 format, but I love the camera.
Another bonus is that it takes RB67 film backs. I already had two of those.

Now I have a couple of questions.

First, the ground glass has no holes in the corners. How can I check for vignetting? I believe the vignette becomes visible in the final picture long before becoming noticeable on the ground glass. Other than looking at the diaphragm through the corners of the glass, is there any way of making sure that I won't have any vignette? Any trick?

Second, does the Schneider 100mm f/5.6 cover 4x5 with at least minimal movements? I'd like to use it as a wide angle on my Calumet if it were possible.

Thanks. :)

12-Jul-2008, 05:51
Second, does the Schneider 100mm f/5.6 cover 4x5 with at least minimal movements?

Unfortunately, not even close, even stopped down all the way.

Vlad Soare
12-Jul-2008, 05:59
Thanks, Bill. Oh well, I'll only use it on the Ebony then...
Another question. On the front panel there's a white point, and on the metal frame a red one. Should they indicate the zero position for rise and fall? When I align them, the front seems to be a bit higher than the back, so it doesn't look like an exact zero position to me. :confused:

David A. Goldfarb
12-Jul-2008, 06:20
2x3" is a curious format, and it does feel a little strange handling those little negatives if you use sheet film, but it is great to carry a whole view camera setup in a small bag (I'm using a 2x3" Technika in that format).

If you're using mostly 4x5" lenses, vignetting isn't usually much of a problem, but for 6x9 lenses what you can do is look through the lens and see if you can see all four corners of the groundglass, just the opposite of what you would do if you were using a groundglass with cut corners.

robert lyons
12-Jul-2008, 06:27
it is a great format.....i use the technikardan 69s and for travel this size is very compact and no hassle loading film. i use a linhof monocular finder....maybe you also adapt one to the ebony.......as the screen is small it really helps to have a reflex finder on it......also maybe an arca would fit.....

George Hart
12-Jul-2008, 07:56
I too am an enthusiastic 6x9 shooter, though I use a 45S camera from the same manufacturer. About the marks, yes they should be aligned before bringing the standards together, otherwise the bellows will not fold up correctly and will be slightly buckled. As to whether the lens is centred, it depends on which type of front panel you have. If it's a "proper" Linhof style panel, the lens will be in "zero" position when the 2 marks are lined up. If your panel has a centre hole, the lens will be a few mm above the "zero" position when the marks are lined up. In practice it makes no difference, because you will use rise/fall to set the image level you want anyway.

If you have the standard Ebony gg and you wish to use lenses shorter than 100 mm, you should consider the fresnel, which makes a big difference. As has been said, vignetting is rarely a problem with the 6x9 format, because most lenses cover well enough. I can see it with extreme front rise when using a 55 mm lens, and the back in portrait format.

You will get used to the small screen, and the convenience of rollfilm is just great.

Vlad Soare
12-Jul-2008, 13:19
Thanks, guys.
David, I'm not sure I understand what you mean. I tried to swing the front until some vignette became visible on the ground glass. Looking through the lens, I couldn't see the affected corner, but neither could I see it after stopping down the lens (although on the ground glass the vignette had disappeared by f/11). I don't seem to be able to find out the exact amount of stopping down needed to get rid of the vignette, like I can with the Calumet.
What am I missing? :confused:
George, thanks for the explanation. The lens hole is centered. I have the fresnel screen, and it's indeed very bright. It's not the brightness, it's the smallness that's bothering me, but I guess it's a matter of getting used to. :)

David A. Goldfarb
12-Jul-2008, 20:21
You may have to look at an angle to see the corner depending on the lens and the movements applied, but the geometry is pretty straightforward. Maybe it's easier to see what's going on if you start with the lens in the neutral position, and then swing to see what's happening as you move the lens.

I wouldn't really trust the groundglass to judge the amount of falloff or vignetting.

If the image is completely occluded, say by too long a lens shade, then it's vignetting, and no amount of stopping down will help. If you can't see the corner at all through the lens, then you have vignetting. Usually you can see this on the groundglass, but if you have a wide lens and the groundglass is hard to see at the edges, it is easy to miss.

If it's just dark at the edges and can be improved by stopping down, then it's falloff. If you look through the lens at the corner and you can't see the whole round aperture (if the shape looks like an American football), then you have falloff. If you can see the whole aperture, you should have even illumination out to the corners. Falloff is very difficult to judge on the groundglass, because the groundglass usually has a hotspot, and the fresnel if you have one is usually not perfectly matched to the lens.

Brian Ellis
13-Jul-2008, 08:53
What's the problem with just looking through the corners of the ground glass with the diaphragm wide open and as you stop down watching it change shape from a football (American football that is) to an octagon or whatever it is? As David said, you probably will have to get at an angle to see the diaphragm but once you see it then it's just a matter of watching as you stop down.

David A. Goldfarb
13-Jul-2008, 09:06
What's the problem with just looking through the corners of the ground glass

First, the ground glass has no holes in the corners. How can I check for vignetting?

Garry Madlung
13-Jul-2008, 10:27
...or if you screw in a filter or do what I did with my ultra-wides and attach a Lee adaptor...tah dah! Vingnetting! and you don't see it until you develop.

Vlad Soare
23-Jul-2008, 11:25
What's the problem with just looking through the corners of the ground glass
Brian, the problem is that the 23S doesn't have cut off corners. ;)
Anyway, after playing a little with the camera, it seems to me that vignetting is not really a problem. The negatives look fine even with extreme rise or fall.

Looking for information on this camera, I stumbled upon this older thread on Photo.net:

Well, it seems mine is the same. I have a serial number painted in black on the front standard and another one, with no paint, on the rear standard. The numbers, albeit pretty close, don't exactly match.

http://img297.imageshack.us/img297/3584/img4548micka4.th.jpg (http://img297.imageshack.us/my.php?image=img4548micka4.jpg) http://img297.imageshack.us/img297/6382/img4551micqj6.th.jpg (http://img297.imageshack.us/my.php?image=img4551micqj6.jpg)