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Thread: 6X9 View Camera For Landscapes

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Oct 2001

    6X9 View Camera For Landscapes

    I've been using a Fuji GSW690III during the past 18 months for landscapes. Over all I have been very pleased, but there have been times where the flexibility of a view camera would have given me the results I cannot achieve with my Fuji. G uess I'm becoming a more serious landscape photographer .....

    With that being said, I would like to stick with roll-film using the 6X9 (or 2X3 in LF terms) format, and decided I want to purchase a view camera. I really li ke the non-folding Ebony cameras, and at this point am giving serious considerat ion to either the SW45 or the RSW45.

    Thanks in advance for your thoughts and comments,


  2. #2

    6X9 View Camera For Landscapes

    For my landscape photography, I prefer to travel as light and compact as possible. As such, I've used a Galvin 2x3 with great success. It isn't the perfect design but mine weighs under 3lbs and folds up very compactly for transport. I also have a Toyo 23G, which is the scaled down 2x3 version of the 45G, and while I enjoy using this camera, its added weight and bulk (as compared to the Galvin) do make carrying it over hill-and-dale a somewhat less pleasant experience.

    I have no experience with the Ebony cameras but they do make some 2x3 versions and if you're serious about shooting rollfilm, perhaps you'd do well to consider one of these instead of the 4x5 version? They'll be a little smaller and lighter than the 4x5 version but you won't be able to change formats later without replacing the camera. If I were you, I'd make sure whichever camera you choose can accept a monocular viewer as using a loupe on a 2x3 ground-glass is frustrating for many people. One other point to consider is the film backs you use. Film flatness can be a problem with some backs (i.e., tired Graflex) and I've found the Toyo backs, while bulky and more costly than most others, are the best of those I've tried to date.

    Good luck with whichever camera you choose and if you're set on using rollfilm, don't let yourself be talked into buying a 4x5 since you'll end up carrying around more camera than you'll need. (Mind you, it's probably easier to sell a 4x5 than a 2x3 should you later change your mind about using a view camera. I thought I could never live without movements but after shooting almost exclusively with a TLR during the past year, now I'm not so sure...)

  3. #3

    6X9 View Camera For Landscapes

    arca swiss F line Metric 6x9 is the more versatile 6x9 camera, (only on a tripod ), very good for architecture as well. if you want to stick with 6x9, i believe this is the best tool ! but if you want to shoot 6x12, then you need a 4x5 with a sinar zoom back....

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Nov 1999

    6X9 View Camera For Landscapes

    Bob An Ebony SW with a Horseman 6x9 roll film back.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Tonopah, Nevada, USA

    6X9 View Camera For Landscapes

    There are VERY few LF lenses that can duplicate the resolution and contrast you're enjoying with your little FUJI. When I'm slugging it out at 10,500 feet in the brislecones with my big LF outfit, I find myself wishing for a little GSW 690 III on a shoulder strap. BTW when you bought that for +/- $1000 bucks, you were buying the lens. They threw the plastic box that holds the film in for free. Figure about the same $ for each lens you buy for LF that will come anywhere close to duplicating your fuji. Just playing devil's advocate here because as a person that's gone way over the cliff in the opposite direction I've often thought about how much I could accomplish with a little Fuji around my neck. Especially in the color world.

  6. #6

    6X9 View Camera For Landscapes

    The Horseman VH or VHR would be your lightest choice, with some minor limitaions. For wide angle work it can use a Horseman (or any brand) 65mm with minor movements, or a 45 or 47mm if you can find a third party recessed lens board (contact Bob Eskridge, if you can find him on this or other forums.) It can focus a 300mm tele design (with an extended board, Midwest Photo has these) at infinitiy. It is well made and versatile.

  7. #7

    6X9 View Camera For Landscapes

    The Horseman VH is a great choice, except for the wide angle limitation noted above. I'ved used a Horseman VH with a 58 mm on a Bob Eskridge recessed board, and it works great. One could also use a 55 mm Rodenstock on this board, with, in my view sufficient movements. However, I don't think you could use a 45 mm or 47 mm with this board. In any event, last I'd heard, Bob didn't have any more recessed boards left. So either (a) you're limited to a 65 mm (still sufficiently wide for most purposes, in my view), or (b) if you're very adventurous, you can start hacking at the box, as a few have done, which might, with some effort allow you to use a 45 mm or 47 mm.

    Not to dissuade you from a Horseman VH -- I love mine. The suggestion about a monocular viewer is also a great one. I have three different fresnel viewing screens -- each made by Bob Maxwell. They're sharp, contrasty, bright and very easy to use for focusing. The standard screen is in the normal viewing back and can be used effectively for all lenses from about 75 mm - 300 mm, but really shines in the 100mm + range. I have a wide angle screen which I use either alone with a loupe or in the monocular viewer and is fantastic for the 75 mm and 58 mm lenses. It's like using an SLR/Hasselblad, but with movements. Also works great with a 6x loupe (Schneider). A lot of people complain about ground glass on a 6cm x 9cm as being too small -- I don't know why. I've had know problems -- as soon as I started using Bob Maxwell's fresnels.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2001

    6X9 View Camera For Landscapes

    Bob -

    I own a Horseman VH and a VH-R as well as a bag-bellows Gowland 2x3, and have also shot rollfilm with my 4x5 Nagaoka.

    But if I were going to be doing serious 6x9 landscape work, I'd probably get the non-folding 2x3 Ebony. For my taste it probably offers the best balance of light weight, ease of use, precision, and sufficient versatility for my purposes. I'd go for a 4x5 Ebony only if I were concerned about ease of resale or wanted to have the option of shooting 6x12 as well.

    As far as lenses, the old argument that view camera lenses can't match the quality of roll-film camera lenses when shooting smaller formats is probably no longer true now that the new "digital" series lenses, optimized for smaller formats and wider apertures, are available from Rodenstock and Schneider. I've shot some test frames with the 90/5.6 Rodenstock Apo-Sironar-Digital, and it's a superb lens.

    Good luck...


  9. #9

    6X9 View Camera For Landscapes

    Bob I own and use both the Ebony SW45 and SW23. The SW45 is probably my best "al rounder" camera. However if you just like 6x9cm then the SW23 is ideal. Its incr edibly small and light and takes the very useful Horseman angled viewer. It is v ery easy to set up and use. Having a hinged GG back makes it ideal in adverse co nditions. Just swing it out and attach the roll back, you'll appreciate this if you've ever worked in the rain. Regards,

  10. #10

    6X9 View Camera For Landscapes

    Bob --

    I have used both the Arca Swiss 6X9 and more recently (and very briefly) an Ebony SV23. Both are terrific, of course. They actually weigh about the same, despite Ebony's claim that their camera only weighs 4 lbs. (I measured them both at 4 lb 12 oz,) The Ebony folds up into a significantly more compact shape, but for me the biggest difference in the field is that pointed out by Trevor, which is the Ebony hinged groundglass back. It's great not to have to remove the whole groundglass back in order to put the roll film holder in place, at least if you're as clumsy as I am. I frankly can't understand why the engineers at Arca don't develop something similar. (With the Arca, the problems for the clumsy set are compounded by the fact that their binocular viewer doesn't lock onto the groundglass back, so when you remove the viewer and back and hold it by the viewer you end up with a groundglass lying on the ground. The Ebony-modified Horseman viewer does lock securely in place, but of course you still have to remove it for critical focusing.) But of course there are few things in this world as elegant and as beautifully made as the Arca, which is why I haven't figured out yet which one to sell.

    Ed Kleinbard

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