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Thread: Help With New Camera Selection

  1. #11

    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    South Bend, IN
    Posts
    100

    Help With New Camera Selection

    Bill -

    I have an Ebony SV45U2 and love it. Personally, I find asymmetric movements VERY useful for landscape work. Of course they can't be used at all times, since they're restricted to the rear standard and you'll still need to use front tilt if you have verticals that must be kept perfectly vertical. For landscape use, many times there is no appreciable difference in the results. Asym tilts are extremely convenient and efficient.

    I have a short review of the SV45U2 on my website. It's not extensive as are my other, more comprehensive, reviews, but I'll be glad to answer questions that you may have.

    Regards, Danny www.dannyburk.com
    Visit www.dannyburk.com for fine photography galleries, drum scanning, instructional workshops and Photoshop tutorial, tips and more

  2. #12

    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Posts
    9,472

    Help With New Camera Selection

    Forgot to mention the Walker - they are kind of like the Ebonies, only made from a high tech man-made material (ABS, I think). This looks nicer than it sounds - they are built like wooden cameras but more robust. They also have longer extensions, nice hardware, etc. Mike Walker is a nice guy too - I think Robert White (UK) and MPEX sell them.

    I prefer base tilts myself, especially for landscape. Focus the infinity, then tilt for foreground focus - the infinity doesn't shift (much) - quicker and easier IMHO. That said, I don't see the point of going beyond the base Ebony RW or 45S with a universal bellows. Certainly price/performance doesn't justify the price of the higher end models.

    If you want to go cheap, the 1980s Zone VI cameras were made by Wista, and they were nicer than the later Zone VIs.

  3. #13

    Join Date
    Feb 1999
    Posts
    738

    Help With New Camera Selection

    Bill,

    You know your needs better than I do, but you mentioned that you shoot architecture and don't venture far from your car. If that's the case, then it seems to me that a monorail and bag bellows would be the right tool for the job. In my opinion, a folding field camera, unless it has a bag bellows, is a pain to use for architecture, especially when a lot of lens rise might be needed. I would get an Arca Discovery with bag bellows or go back to a Sinar. To me, Sinar Fs are light and compact enough for field work from a vehicle, plus you've got a more technical tool for architectural shots.

  4. #14

    Join Date
    Aug 1998
    Location
    Montana
    Posts
    76

    Help With New Camera Selection

    Bill:

    If you're thinking of purchasing a Toyo and drooling over a Linhof, consider the Wista techinical cameras (VX, SP, etc.). I've owned a Wista SP for several years and use lenses ranging from 75mm to 300mm with the standard bed/bellows combination. I use Wista's "extended lensboard" with the 300 to eke out a few more mm's of extension and use a recessed lensboard with the 75 on the other end. I have both the long bellows and extended bed as well as a bag bellows and have rarely used either -- my current setup admirably meets my needs.

    If I were to shop for a new Wista again, I would probably choose the VX over the SP -- I don't use the micro swing feature and the VX is a tad lighter. If you have any specific questions, feel free to email me and we can chat in more detail. Good luck!

  5. #15

    Help With New Camera Selection

    In response to Guy's question, I bought my SP used and it came w/o a fresnel. (I probably would have removed it if it had come with one.) I'd estimate it's age at 10-15 years, perhaps that was pre-fresnel?

    I'll second Matt's comment about micro-swing. I got the SP instead of the VX thinking, "Maybe the micro-swing will come in useful someday." Perhaps it will, but I haven't had occassion to use it so far. If I knew then what I know now, I'd have gotten the VX to save a little weight and volume. That said, I love the SP - not sexy but built like a tank and doesn't everything I want it do.

    Chris

  6. #16

    Join Date
    Dec 1997
    Location
    Baraboo, Wisconsin
    Posts
    7,695

    Help With New Camera Selection

    I've owned the Ebony SV45Ti, the Ebony SV45Te, and two Linhof Technikas, a Technika V and a Master Technika (my present camera, which I sold the Ebony Te to buy). For a feeling of pure precision, great engineering, great construction, durability, smoothness of movements, and a general overall feeling of great build quality I don't know of anything that beats a Technika. If those are things you're looking for, and it sounds like you are to some extenet at least, the Technika 2000 may be the camera for you (I assume you use lenses wider than 75mm and don't want to fiddle with or pay for the wide angle focusing device, which is why you mention the 2000 rather than the Master).

    The Technika does have some downsides, the back is a pain to use because of all the knobs you have to fiddle with and the bellows isn't overly long though adequate for most needs (15"). It weighs about the same as the two Ebony cameras you mention but about 2 pounds more than the Ebony 45 SVTi which you didn't mention but which, if I were doing it over again, I'd keep instead of replacing it with the 45SVTe because it's as good as the Te but weighs two pounds less. Technikas earlier than the 2000 weren't that easy to use with lenses shorter than 90mm and couldn't be used at all with lenses shorter than 75mm unless you got the wide angle focusing device. However, the 2000 presumably has cured that disadvantage.

    The Ebony was a very fine camera but despite what you sometimes read here and other places, it isn't as firm, solid, and precise as a good metal camera like the Technika IMHO. It probably is the best in those respects compared to any other wood camera but not compared to a Technika in my opinion.

    If you're coming from a Zone VI to the Ebony then the Ebony might seem great to you. Coming from a Technika to an Ebony it didn't seem great to me though it certainly wasn't bad, nothing wobbled or flopped around and the focusing was very smooth. Speaking of focusing, in a year of usage I never did get used to the three knob system of focusing, where with some lenses you have to focus part of the way with the front knob and then switch off to the middle knob to focus the rest of the way. OTOH, I assume having three rails presumably promoted stability and being able to focus with the back was very nice on occasion.

    If you get the SVTe you'll still need to buy a bag bellows ($300 new) with lenses shorter than about 90mm since it doesn't come with the universal bellows though you probably could special order it with the universal. I bought the bag bellows and found it very inconvenient to use because it didn't attach easily to the front of the camera. I returned it once to the factory and when it came back it was a little better but not much. The SV45U2 comes with the Universal bellows so you can use it with wider lenses than the Te without the bag bellows, I forget just how much wider.

    I bought the Te rather than the U2 or the other model that has the asymetric back because I don't use back movements all that much and I thought it was ridiculous to pay $700 or so for this feature when IIRC Wehman has it on its 8x10 cameras that sell for about $1,800 for the whole camera. However, if you use back movements a lot it might be worth the extra money to you. In fact if back movements are really important to you either of the two Ebonys might be a better choice than the Technika 2000. Even without the asymetric back the back movements on the Te were simpler to use and worked better than those on the Technika, which is sort of a "free floating" back that doesn't move all that much.

    You can, of course, buy the Ebony from MidWest or Badger and return it if you don't like it. I imagine you can do the same with a new 2000.

    Good luck, having to choose between Ebony and Linhof cameras isn't all bad.
    Brian Ellis
    Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you do criticize them you'll be
    a mile away and you'll have their shoes.

  7. #17
    Jean-Louis Llech
    Join Date
    Apr 1999
    Location
    Beauvais - Picardie - France
    Posts
    226

    Help With New Camera Selection

    Bill,
    you might also consider the Linhof Master Technika Classic.
    - With the rangefinder-coupled lenses, and the viewfinder, you'll do some photographies you'll never have done with another camera, a tripod and a darkcloth.
    - With the GG focusing, you'll do all others.
    You'll use this camera for a lifetime, and it will be the most beautiful piece of your heritage.

  8. #18

    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Posts
    9,472

    Help With New Camera Selection

    Jean-Louis, Bob Salomon should really send you some Linhof trinkets - you are a great salesman! (I thought you liked Arcas too?)

  9. #19

    Help With New Camera Selection

    You didn't mention what lenses you have, but for anything no longer than 500 tele , you might want to consider the Ebony 45SU, as that is superb for architechure and landscape work. I use the standard, universal bellows on mine with lenses from 58XL to 305 G-Claron with full movements.

  10. #20

    Join Date
    Nov 1999
    Posts
    740

    Help With New Camera Selection

    Like Jeff, I second the Ebony 45SU - a truly great camera! The universal bellows that are supplied with the camera are great for lenses as short as 58XL and fine for longer lenses too. The question as to the "worth" of the assymetric tilts ... I cannot imagine life without them!! Despite what many imagine, the Ebony cameras are VERY solid even when fully extended, more so than many metal-camera users would like to admit ! Feel free to email me off forum if you have any further questions re: the SU. Good luck!

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