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View Full Version : Linhof Techno or Ebony 45SU



Rudgey
5-Nov-2011, 14:44
I'm looking at getting a LF camera again for my Fine Art work and may use it on one of my architectural commissions which I now do with a Canon 5D11 with various tilt & shift lenses. I used to have a Shen Ho 10x8 but found it far too large and expensive to use, 95% of my work is on location.
I would like to buy a Phaseone back again to use on a LF camera, but not sure due to the cost if it would make more sense to spend that money on film which would keep me going from awfully long time.
I'm now moving into teaching and will probably only use the camera for my own personal fine art work. So the digital option may not be necessary, I just love the convenience of not having to wait for processing etc.
I like these two cameras and come well recommended by someone I did a workshop with called Joe Cornish who has used both. The ebony is a joy to behold, and would be a fantastic 5x4 film camera.
However on the other hand the Linhof obviously has the wide angle digital option, but I'm not sure if I could use the same lenses for 5x4 film as the Digital back, I would guess that the lens coverage was that much smaller to allow wide angle on the smaller digital back format?
I'm looking for a camera that would be both flexible for most situations and also light enough to carry around.
Like the idea of going for the Linhof, and when I could afford it, to buy a digital back & not have to replace a whole camera & lenses. But if it meant that I would need to buy a whole set of lenses as well as the digital back, then it would be probably easier to sell the ebony and swap to a different camera as and when finances allow.

vinny
5-Nov-2011, 14:47
Who's on first?

Once
5-Nov-2011, 16:09
Who's on first?

A troll will be.
Seriously, due to the well known fact that digital is better than film - I meant the film is better than digital - sorry, got it wrong again, I mean that one is better than the other I would definitely go for the one rather than the other. You have nothing to loose. Hope this helps.

Bob Salomon
5-Nov-2011, 16:32
Digital lenses don't really cover 45. Most have at most, a 150mm circle and that won't let you do movements with a 45.
On the other hand the Techno can use a 23mm Rodenstock lens at infinity on a flat board. The Ebony will never get near that. Also, the Ebony has much coarser movements then a Techno so it, like most other 45 cameras, really isn't precise enough for digital work when you really want control.

Rudgey
5-Nov-2011, 17:18
Thanks for that Bob, I don't like to keep replacing kit, so maybe it would it be better to go for the Techno with a 45 setup or is it only digital.

Ed Kelsey
5-Nov-2011, 19:59
I agree film sucks get the Techno.

Frank Petronio
5-Nov-2011, 20:58
The Techno can use medium format film backs but not 5x4 film.

With the digital backs like the Phase One, most people use a dedicated digital view camera with more precise movements than a 5x4 film camera. Remember the digital sensor area is only about 36x48mm - so adjustments need to be made in smaller, finer increments than you would if you were shooting with much larger film areas.

Likewise the lens requirements are different. Lenses for digital backs need to have the highest resolution but nowhere near the amount of image circle for movements that a 5x4 film lens requires.

There are many other fine Linhof, Ebony, and other top brands that would suit one or the other of your needs but nobody makes anything that is well suited for both. When manufacturers say that you can use a digital back with your camera, they mean just that - you can use it.... But they are far from ideal, and after spending so much on the back, the camera and lenses are hardly the place to be frugal.

Finally, many people end up using a non-view camera body and lenses with their medium format digital backs because using a view camera with movements is so slow and critical. A lens focused with a long-throw helicoil will be much easier to focus accurately. A rigid SLR body will maintain parallelism throughout the day. You could probably shoot 100 images with something like the Mamiya or Hasselblad medium format SLRs with the digital backs in the time it takes to set up one shot with a Phase One back on a view camera.

You'll have to factor in the learning curve and the availability of quality processing and scanning, along with the amount of shooting you will do, to come up with a proper cost analysis. As it stands, 5x4 will be very similar in final print results to the better medium format backs so it probably will come down to which technology you feel most comfortable with. Certainly film is more cost-effective right now for lower volume work. I wouldn't expect the digital backs to drop much in price since they are such a limited, refined market.

Rudgey
6-Nov-2011, 05:17
This is really sage advice Frank, I did not know the Techno was only digital.
I think I will go for a nice film camera. As my personal work is conceptual based I don't need to shoot loads per shoot, so with a Phaseone P45 refurbished at around 10,000 and a cost of around 8 per shot (film&processing) that's 6.25 years to break even with the 200 shots a year I guess I would shoot. I have not of course included pro scanning at around 30 per shot. However I would only scan my very best work.
So say I get 30 really strong images scanned a year, that's 900 per year reducing the 6 years down to 4 years to break even.
I was also considering buying a Jobo on eBay & doing my own E6 processing again to bring the cost down and not have to ship film.
If I had 10,000 kicking about I would go for the P45 but with this volume I don't think it makes sense.
I have my full Canon kit to go snap happy when I choose.
If the back was 5k it would work or if I find I shoot twice as much, otherwise film is the way to go. Don't get me wrong I really like digital, I had one of the first Phaseone H 101 backs on a H1 in the UK but that was when I had a studio and made the money back in 6 months!

Frank Petronio
6-Nov-2011, 07:14
I agree. The other factor is that color film options will disappear if Kodak and Fuji exit the game, which could be possible within the next few years. There are enough alternative smaller manufacturers that I think will carry on with black and white. With Kodak on shaky ground and Fuji historically being abrupt with their discontinuations it makes me think that stocking a freezer full of film is something to prepare for... at least it would help avoid price increases. Frozen color film probably has a good five year post expiration date lifespan, so looking at your investment in five year intervals makes sense. Probably Canikon will have pretty amazing sensors by 2017 ;-p

You could achieve workable scans from an Epson 700 or 750 prosumer flatbed, or at least use it to identify the best film to invest in the best scans.

Most people are shooting color negative and I'd expect E6 to be dropped first. Negatives will handle a longer range and now that photographers do the scanning rather than pre-press houses, you can get good scans from vendors or DIY.

Ebony cameras certainly are nice but Linhof makes arguably the finest metal - and therefore the most robust - cameras. But you can also pick up fine used Sinar cameras for peanuts these days. Cameras are so cheap that you might be able to afford multiples, like a Sinar P2 studio camera and a small, light field camera too.

You might also consider 8x10, which scanned on an inexpensive Epson rivals... well I think nothing rivals it, the only thing better is 8x10 scanned on a good drum scanner.

There are some internet tests comparing 8x10 to the latest, greatest digital backs - with the digital backs being declared the winner - but if you investigate the techniques you'll see they have been flawed on the film side.

Bob Salomon
6-Nov-2011, 08:33
"I did not know the Techno was only digital."

It isn't. One accessory for it is a Super Rollex roll film back that fits it and the M679 cameras directly, no adapters needed.

These cameras with adapters accept Hasselblad V, Hasselblad H, Mamiya 67 roll film backs as well.

B.S.Kumar
6-Nov-2011, 10:48
Wonderful work on your site, Ian.

Kumar

tedw6
7-Nov-2011, 20:26
I shoot a techno with film. It is a stunningly fine camera. I took it to Europe this past summer and I could go out and shoot 24-32 images in about 3 hr. With 4x5 I could shoot about 8 to 10 in that time. I can tell the difference between 120 and 4x5 from my prints, but few others can tell.

I bought mine from Paula pell-Johnson at linhof and studio in UK. I would recommend her highly.

I absolutely love this camera.

Ted Simon

Ed Richards
7-Nov-2011, 21:10
> I'm now moving into teaching

And you can afford/justify a $30/40K back? The really hard part is that you need digital lenses for digital, but they do not have enough coverage to do film, even 6x7, with any movement, if at all. They are also pricey. You could shoot roll film on an Ebony 2x3 camera:

https://www.badgergraphic.com/store/cart.php?m=product_detail&p=3672

The difference in cost between that and the Techno will buy your lenses and a roll back. Film should be around for a few years, and by then you probably will try something else. Or just go for 4x5, which is the cheapest, but the most expensive per shot. If it is for your own work, then it is just what you enjoy, it does not matter what you shoot. But you will lose the least money on 4x5 when you move to something else.

georgl
8-Nov-2011, 06:19
I've been through a journey of different formats and systems for years and I will finally settle with 8x10" - I have a compact system when I need speed, convenience - I don't need a compromise.

I saw the Techno on Photokina and it's an awesome little camera and it's stability and precision make it a perfect choice for big enlargements (like typical MFDB-work). Using it with 6x9 also offers great quality - when you have an excellent scanner.

But you have a very small screen and despite it's relative compactness it's still a slow and cumbersome way of working.

IMHO, when you want to keep the option of an MFDB alive, I would take a 4x5"-camera because you can use some Schneider Digitar-lenses very well for 4x5" AND an MFDB (like the 120mm) and therefore you have a very small system with a quite big film area and the option of going digital. But maybe that's another lame compromise ? Difficult decision, I know... ;-)

Ed Richards
8-Nov-2011, 06:42
There is the added complication that digital on a technical camera really requires a laptop or maybe an iPad for composition and focusing. The one time I tried to compose on the GG of a digital back on a technical camera made it clear that to get the benefit of the sensor you needed focusing and composition assist.

Bob Salomon
8-Nov-2011, 09:42
I shoot a techno with film. It is a stunningly fine camera. I took it to Europe this past summer and I could go out and shoot 24-32 images in about 3 hr. With 4x5 I could shoot about 8 to 10 in that time. I can tell the difference between 120 and 4x5 from my prints, but few others can tell.

I bought mine from Paula pell-Johnson at linhof and studio in UK. I would recommend her highly.

I absolutely love this camera.

Ted Simon

Did you get the current version of the Techno or the original version?

Rudgey
8-Nov-2011, 15:18
Thanks for the kind comments Kumar about my work (all shot on a Canon 5Dmk11 with various TS lenses. Liked your site too)

Yes this is a funny time to get into LF again, great prices for second hand gear, like a Sinar for 200 on eBay, I used to use this monorail in a studio 20 years ago and they were state of the art!
Why do I feel like I'm just about to buy a Beta Max recorder?

I cannot afford a Techno with P45 etc, would love an Ebony but it may have a short life if film goes soon, would see them on eBay for 50 as an ornament in a few years.

Mmmm.. I could fill the freezer full of film only to find no one to process it!
maybe the answer is a cheep secondhand 5x4 for minimal loss.
How are Ebony and the like sales at the moment I wonder, selling a lifetime product that can only be used for a few years, a situation they cannot control.

dave_whatever
8-Nov-2011, 15:31
How are Ebony and the like sales at the moment I wonder, selling a lifetime product that can only be used for a few years, a situation they cannot control.

Given the average lifespan of a digital camera/back these days, I do find the above sentiment rather ironic.;)

tedw6
8-Nov-2011, 20:49
To bob s.
I bought it in April. You tell me. It was thevfirst one I'd seen in the flesh so to speak.
Ted

Noah A
9-Nov-2011, 06:57
...
Why do I feel like I'm just about to buy a Beta Max recorder?

I cannot afford a Techno with P45 etc, would love an Ebony but it may have a short life if film goes soon, would see them on eBay for 50 as an ornament in a few years.

Mmmm.. I could fill the freezer full of film only to find no one to process it!
maybe the answer is a cheep secondhand 5x4 for minimal loss.
How are Ebony and the like sales at the moment I wonder, selling a lifetime product that can only be used for a few years, a situation they cannot control.

Well, I douby film will go away that soon, and if/when it does it won't be all that sudden.

I shoot color negative film and I'm afraid that color film's time may be limited. I have about a year, maybe a year and a half worth of film in my freezer. I wouldn't stock up TOO far in advance just in case the labs stop running C41. But again, that will be gradual.

I don't worry too much about the demise of film ruining my camera's value for a few reasons. First, while I have very high quality gear, I bought most of it used and so my cash outlay was much less than it would have been if I had bought an MFDB system and a technical camera. The amount I spent on my film gear is less than the depreciation of an MFDB over a few years.

Second, if color film goes away B&W will surely stay around for a long time. There are many more manufacturers of film and chemistry. I would probably go digital if color film is no longer available, but lots of LF shooters would not since they shoot B&W anyway, so while the gear would go down in value, its value wouldn't go down to zero.

For the kind of work you're talking about (non-deadline personal work with a low to medium volume), film makes a lot of sense.

I personally don't know how much sense it makes to invest in a super-expensive wooden camera. It may be smarter to pick up one of those cheap sinars. And maybe a few cases of film.:D

Bob Salomon
9-Nov-2011, 07:19
To bob s.
I bought it in April. You tell me. It was thevfirst one I'd seen in the flesh so to speak.
Ted

Does it have Technika style clamp lock for the lens board or a flip up black lever? The original one had the accessory on the left side (as you look at the front) of the front standard and the current version has it on the right side. The current version has the Technika type lens board lock.

tedw6
10-Nov-2011, 17:26
Bob,
It's the current version.
Ted

Bob Salomon
11-Nov-2011, 09:30
Bob,
It's the current version.
Ted

That's good.