View Full Version : Ebony 45S - back shift question.

Peter Brown
3-Jun-2001, 21:34
Hi all,

Some of you will know from my previous posts I have been weighing up the pros and cons of the various Ebony 45 cameras. After analysing all the information on this site and all the kind comments I have received from other Ebony users, I had ALMOST made up my mind and decided on the Ebony SW45, as this camera seems to suit my desire for wideangle landscape work and I can still use longer lenses up to 400mm.

As I say, I had almost made up my mind, then, as I was packing away all the spec. sheets on the Ebony range, I noticed the 45S spec. sheet tucked away at the back and I saw an interesting feature on this model - the 60mm + 60mm back shift.

I enjoy panorama photography, I use the Sinar 6x12 zoom back and a 35mm swing lens pano camera, but this feature would enable me to take panoramas on 4x5 without lens movement. My questions are: 1) Has anyone used this feature and if so, do you consider it works well? 2) Does anyone know the exact size panoramic image(s) that I would end up with? I presume stitching of two images together is required? 3) Would I be able to use the Sinar 6x12 zoom back at it's different format settings, with the shift feature, to get wider images? 4) Would I be able to use the new SS 38/5.6 XL with this feature or would I have to stick to 'normal' or longer lenses?

I know that's quite a few questions, but any comments would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance. Kind regards, Peter Brown

John W.
4-Jun-2001, 10:01
Re: question #1, I'm not sure what you mean by "This feature would enable me to take panoramas on 4x5 without lens movement." Probably half of all view cameras sold have rear shift (and almost all monorails do), but I don't think it helps or limits the ability to take "panoramics," which are simply extremely rectangular photographs (aspect ratio of 2:1 or greater).

I'm baffled by your question #2. With any view camera you can crop any 4x5 picture you take into a panoramic (6:12 or 3:12 or whatever) image.

#3: You couldn't get anything wider than 6x12 without stitching together multiple photographs, and there wouldn't be any reason in that case to use any 120 size smaller than 6x12.

You could, if you have a large enough image circle, take a picture with the rear shifted fully in one direction, shift it fully in the other direction, and then stitch the two photos together on a computer (although with drum scans of two 4x5's you're talking maybe 300 megs EACH file size, so you'd need at least a gig of RAM).

But (question #4) with a 137mm image circle, the Super Angulon 38XL doesn't cover 4x5 and will just barely cover 6x12. So with that lens you wouldn't be able to just shift the back over and take another picture because you'd immediately encounter severe vignetting. To do that shift procedure you'd need a longer lens with a much larger image circle, presumably at least 200mm or so before you'd realize a significant perspectival difference between your two photos.

..... ..... ....

John W.
4-Jun-2001, 10:08
I should add that (unlike rear vs. front tilts and swings) rear shift doesn't let you do anything that front shift doesn't do; it's exactly the same effect. Technically, I suppose, rear shift moves the film to different areas of the image circle, while the front shift moves the image circle to different areas of the film, but the effect is the same.

...... .

Ellis Vener
4-Jun-2001, 14:57
I'm not sure i understand your questions either. You seem to be ashking if it is possible to get more angle of coverage by doing a lateral hift on the rear. If this is the case the answer is yes but you will need to stitch the two images together.

By being able to shift the back instead of shifting the lens position you'll keep the same point of view (perspective). Changing the lens position will change your perspective and will alter to some degree the relationship of objects in the foreground to the background.

if you are wanting to get a wider slice of life in one image than you are currently getting with a 6x12 back than you need to go to a longer format, the most common of which is "6x17cm". Fuji and Linhof both make 6x17 cameras but the lens to film position is fixed for both of these, though they both offer interchangable lenses.

The now discontinued V-Pan 617 mark III is a view camera that has full movements (swings, tilts and bi-lateral shifts)on the front standard and focusing and fine focusing on the rear standard. You can any lens mounted on a Linhof technika board. Focusing is true view camera style and the bellows are interchangable. These cameras sometimes come up for sale as used items.

The new Canham MQC 5x7 camera has been designed to take a 6x17 rollfilm back that Keith Canham has designed. Useful lens range is between 72mm (shorter for 4x5 or smaller formats) and however long you want to go. the advantages of this camera are swing, tilt and lateral shift on the rear standard (and of course swing, tilt and lateral + rise and fall shifts on the front standard). There is allso a 4x5 reducing back available and the company is still in existence (not true for the VPAN.)

Peter Brown
5-Jun-2001, 01:21
Thanks for the input Ellis and John.

I'm sorry you didn't quite understand what I was getting at. Let me rephrase.

I understand most of the principles of large format, having used 4x5 and 8x10 for a number of years in a commercial studio environment doing mainly food and advertising work.

My question here refers to working out of doors, shooting landscape work with a field camera and I was interested in the SIXTY mm by SIXTY mm back shift on the Ebony as this is the biggest back shift in the Ebony 45 range. My thinking was that I may be able to shoot leaving the lens in it's FIXED position (keeping the same perspective) and by ONLY moving the back during two seperate exposures thus giving myself two 4x5 images that when stitched together would provide an image of perhaps 24 cm x 10 cm or thereabouts which could produce a high quality, detailed enlargement. Getting an image similar to say, the (now discountinued?) 6 x 24 Art Panorama, but bigger. I didn't want to neccessarily crop the 4x5 image as John mentioned as I was interested in obtaining the highest quality image possible.

I was also wondering if by using the same technique on the 6x12/6x9 I'd achieve a similar effect on 120 film.

Perhaps by shifting the lens one way, the back the opposite way, shooting an image and then reversing the procedure I would get a good result if the lens coverage was not large. Maybe even one photo in the 'normal' position then doing the shifts left and right ending up with three images to stitched together. I'll have to buy some more storage space and RAM.

Anyway, thanks very much for your advice, it gives me food for thought.

Kind regards


Ellis Vener
5-Jun-2001, 14:10
Yes by making the image with the back shifted all the way to the left and then all the right, eliminating the overlap in the center and stitching the two images together you'll obviously get a wider final image with no parallax problems as would result from moving the lens.

Let's assume that the lens you are using produces a large enough image circle to cover the full diagonal of the resulting image. Next let's assume you are orientingthe back in a horizontal position: that is about 120mm, so shifting the center point 60mm in either direction adds 60mm to each end of the image, so you end up with an image that at a theorectical best is going to be 90 x 240mm (H x W). You should probably allow for 10-20mm overlap in the center for registration, so that leaves a final image of 90 x 220mm.

Of course you could also just use a 4x10 camera or an 8x10 and crop the negative down to that proportion with the same lens and not have to bother with all the post production headache. But then you'd have the headache of lugging an 8x10 or 4x10 camera around and the attendant hassles with film, holders, etc.!

1.) I done something similar with both a 4x5 Arca-Swiss F-Line and a 4x5 Sinar C,

2.) See above.

3.) I can't understand why not, but the Sinar back at the 12cm width setting actually produces an image that is about 110mm wide. Allegedly the Linhof 6x12 back is the only one that actually has an image width of 12cm.

4.) Someone else already answered this question but that lens barely covers 120mm as is. The shortest lens I can think of that will cover the diagonal width of a 90 x 230mm is the 110mm XL Super Symmar but maybe the 90mm XL Super Angulon would work as well.

Peter Brown
5-Jun-2001, 23:07
Thanks Ellis, that confirms my thoughts as well.

My friend Paul Schilliger has told me about an email he received from Bill Glickman last year about some stitching software, called 'power stitch by Enroute' which may be of interest to others.

I'll ask Bill if it's OK to post his entire email about this software and his thoughts on taking multiple images and stitching them together.


Paul Schilliger
7-Jun-2001, 14:17
I had left an email on their website and got a kind and informative answer:

Thank you for your interest in Enroute products. Effective January 24, 2001 we have discontinued all sales and distribution of our software products, as the company has been refocused on our new video product. There is no product inventory left. We have announced our plans back on November 1, 2000 (a posted notice on our website--see attachment). We will continue to offer support for those currently using our products, up and until April 24, 2001. If you are interested in purchasing similar products I would like to recommend to you the following website www.panoguide.com. On this site yo u will find an abundant amount of information on similar products that are available. This website not only provides product information but it also provides product reviews and consumer ratings. I hope you will find this site useful.

Best regards,

Kristina Allen