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Thread: asymmetrical focus cameras

  1. #1

    asymmetrical focus cameras

    I would like to hear from folks who use folding field cameras with asymmetrical shift. I know of only one, the Ebony, but I suspect there are some others.
    I am going to do a series on long pathways and walkways, so it seemed like the feature of being constantly in focus would be valuable.

    The Ebony SV45U2 is a LOT heavier than the regular SV45ti or SV45Ebony, not to mention over a grand more money.

    I read one thread a year or so back about someone who had the 8x10 version of the asymmetrical Ebony, but do not have ANY experience with this feature.

    Any wisdom here?

  2. #2
    4x5 - no beard Patrik Roseen's Avatar
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    asymmetrical focus cameras

    Herb, I'm not sure I understand what the term assymetrical shift means, but guess that it could be that when you tilt or swing, the groundglass does not turn around its center as in most monorails, but instead you can keep one side of the groundglass in position and only alter the opposite side. If so, then this is available on the Linhof Technika also. It makes it much more easy to adjust plane of focus since you first focus on the lower side of the ground glass (say infinity) and then pull out the top only to move the closer subject on the ground into focus.

    I use this feature very often for landscape and it's rather easy to also focus in one corner and then pull out the groundglass to adjust focus in the opposite corner or whereever those points will be.

    (With a centerpositioned swing or tilt both the top and lower part will move out and in of focus as you tilt and swing...I find this much more difficult to master actually. )

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    asymmetrical focus cameras

    My Wehman also has assymetrical back swing, quite handy for certain situations.
    Amund
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    Whatever David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    asymmetrical focus cameras

    The Technika doesn't really have asymmetric tilt and swing in the usual sense, but has something more like base tilt and swing on the rear standard, but from all four edges of the groundglass. The tilt and swing axes are outside the groundglass area.

    With asymmetric tilt and swing, the axes are within the groundglass area, so you can focus on the axis, usually marked on the groundglass, and tilt or swing around that axis until the plane of focus is where you want it without having to go through iterations of tilt/swing and refocus, and without having to make any calculations. I use this feature on my Sinar P, but that's not a field camera. On the Linhof Master GTL, I believe you can move the tilt and swing axes anywhere you want in the image area. On the Sinar they are fixed, but you can use rise, fall and shift to get the axis where you want it for measurement purposes, tilt or swing, then reframe the image.

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    asymmetrical focus cameras

    Have a look at the PDF entitled "asymmetrical momements " on the Ebony Camera homepage:

    http://www.ebonycamera.com/

  6. #6

    asymmetrical focus cameras

    It's not a folder, but my Sinar P has asymmetrical swings and tilts, and it is ridiculously easy to focus.

  7. #7

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    asymmetrical focus cameras

    It's a wonderful feature and goes a long way toward my views of streamlining LF camera use. As a landscape shooter, I use it perhaps 85-90% of the time; in other words, those times when I have no reason not to use rear movements. You can't use it at all times because you'll want to use front movements for those images that contain tall straight trees and other subjects in which you want to avoid converging verticals.

    My workshop participants are amazed when I demonstrate the asymmetric movements of my SV45U2; setup is reduced from (usually) three iterations to once-and-you're done. Obviously you can use "traditional" movements and wind up with the same shot in the end, but if you value convenience or the occasional need to set up quickly, it's definitely worth having. I'd buy it again in a heartbeat.

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  8. #8
    4x5 - no beard Patrik Roseen's Avatar
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    asymmetrical focus cameras

    Aaahhh, now I get it...so that's what I should use the front and rear shift on my Linhof Kardan for...as a means to move the axis on which the standard swings. What a relief !

  9. #9

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    asymmetrical focus cameras

    I once owned an Ebony SV45U2 and currently own an SV810U. I agree that, if you have the money, asymmetric movements are a great feature. They can save a lot of time and aggravation, especially when you are in a hurry.

    The folding SV45U and non-folding 45SU also support asymmetric movements, and both cameras cost and weigh less than the SV45U2. You can also save additional weight by having your Ebony custom-made with mahogany rather than ebony wood; the finish is reportedly a bit less durable, but otherwise the quality and rigidity is comparable.

  10. #10

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    asymmetrical focus cameras

    I am presuming you mean asymmetrical swing, rather than shift.

    I also use it on the Wehman, an 8x10 field camera. While it benefits from the asymmetry as described on the Ebony website, what I *really* like about it is that it is controlled by a geared knob, that can be accurately and easily adjusted with one hand, that hand being under the dark cloth. Little force is needed. Swing on many cameras can be imprecise, or may be better accomplished with two hands. My Sinar P (4x5) also has both these advantages.

    It's a good feature that is worth the money if you can afford it. On the Ebony and the Wehman, but not on the Sinar, there is no particular weight/bulk penalty. In the field I would generally consider it really more of a convenience than a necessity; however, it may be particularly valuable to you personally, for a project with constant swing requirements.

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