Anyone use an Ebony 5x7?

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by luvmydogs, Aug 15, 2005.

  1. luvmydogs

    luvmydogs Member

    Messages:
    249
    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2004
    Location:
    Toronto, Can
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Does anyone use one of these? If so, folding or non-folding? How do you like it?

    I'm doing some research.....dangerous, but necessary!

    Thanks in advance...you guys have always been so helpful. Unfortunately, I don't ever have much in the way of contribution. In time, hopefully!

    Macy
     
  2. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

    Messages:
    2,027
    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2003
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I thought about an Ebony 5x7 and concluded that whilst lovely (I used to have an RSW45) the price is not right. I went for a Walker 5x7XL instead and do not regret it for a minute. From my 5x4 ebony experience, it was beautiful, smooth as silk and rock solid. I heve no reason to suspect the 5x7s would be any different. Exquisite, but you pay for that!
     
  3. luvmydogs

    luvmydogs Member

    Messages:
    249
    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2004
    Location:
    Toronto, Can
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Tom,

    Thanks for your reply!

    I meant to also ask what you guys think of jumping right into 5x7 (skipping 4x5). If I do that, I'd also get a 4x5 reducing back. I have some reservations, mainly because of the size, and also I'm not sure whether 5x7 is worthwhile given the seemingly limited film and film holders and other accessories. I definitely have no interest in 8x10.

    The other thing is a non-folding vs. folding. I use more wide angles than telephotos, so a non-folding seem like the better choice. But it is also a lot bulkier (at least the Ebonies). Any other comments regarding the Ebony folding vs. non-folding would be great too.

    Cheers,
    Macy
     
  4. WJC

    WJC Member

    Messages:
    7
    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2005
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Ebony 5x7

    Greetings from Colorado!
    I use both folding and non folding Ebony 5x7. The SW 57 was a special order brought over from Japan and was my first LF! Great camera- I use it as a general purpose camera with lenses 90 and 110-150 for architecture,
    storefronts, etc. 150-360 for general purpose and recently acquired
    400 Schneider Tele. I am using the SV 57 with lenses 150-600 mm.
    Plan to acquire a 420-450 to fill in my lens collection. I recently noticed
    a used SV 57 at Camera West for a very good price. Hard to find a used
    Ebony 5x7!

    Good shooting,
    WJC
    Colorado
     
  5. luvmydogs

    luvmydogs Member

    Messages:
    249
    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2004
    Location:
    Toronto, Can
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Hi WJC,

    You have both? Wow.

    Can you tell me approximately how long it takes you to set up the folding vs. the non-folding? Also, is the non-folding one a lot bulkier?

    I don't use telephotos that much, so the non-folding one is actually more attractive to me, since set up time is suppose to be much quicker (is that true?); however, if it is a lot bulkier than the folding, then that would be something I need to consider as well.
     
  6. WJC

    WJC Member

    Messages:
    7
    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2005
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Hello again,


    I just did rough measurements:

    SW 57 10.5 x 11.5 x5 in. approx. 9.5 lbs
    SV 57 11 x10 x4.5 in. approx 8.5 lbs.

    Both these cameras can be made in mahogany for a 1-2 lb wt. reduction.
    The set up is nil for the SW. The unfolding set up for the SV has never has
    been a hindrance. The closest regular production camera to the SW is the
    57S-see Badger Graphics website for specs.
    An older but excellent lens for wide angle 5x7 is the Fuji 105SW with 250 mm
    image circle. I also use the Rodenstock 150 Apo Sironar W often.

    I use a 4x5 reduction back for color and a Horseman 6x12 rollfilm back.
    Hard to beat the overall quality,ease of use and versatility.

    WJC
     
  7. WJC

    WJC Member

    Messages:
    7
    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2005
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Hi Again-correction!



    The weights are reversed-should be SW- 8.5, SV 9.5.
     
  8. Baxter Bradford

    Baxter Bradford Member

    Messages:
    772
    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2004
    Location:
    Lymington, S
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Hi Macy

    You haven't said what you want to do with the film image once taken. Choosing 5x7 over 4x5 does offer some merits, but there are also more drawbacks apart from film availability. Enlarger size, ability to scan ability to use wider lenses on 4x5 rather than 5x7 with reduction back and conversely to get tele effect of longer lenses etc So I think it really is worth deciding on this fundamental first. Bigger might not necessarily be better in the whole mix of things.

    For a given budget and weight, you will get a far better quality of 4x5 gear and it wieghs far less per item. Lenses with coverage for 5x7 are priced at a premium.

    In terms of moving straight to 5x7 no problems, just that each mistake will cost more!

    Go for the non folding camera. Once you've used one, you'll wonder why they ever continue to make folders, assuming that it is going in a decent backpack. I use the Ebony SU45, previously the RSW45, both non folders and fantastic cameras. Speed of set-up, ability to leave lens attached have proved invaluable to me.

    Your choice, your money, but you will have lots of fun and produce great images.
     
  9. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

    Messages:
    2,027
    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2003
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    luvmydogs,

    A few thoughts from my experiences with the Ebony 5x4 non-folder, other 5x4 folders, my 5x7 non-folding Walker and lots of lenses:

    Format - 5x7 viable? - Big fat YES....if you intend to primarily shoot mono, as I do. Ilford and many eastern European companies make plenty of 5x7 film. With the 5x4 reducer you have 5x4 quickload Acros (or Tmax if so inclined) for travels when loading holders is a no-no. You can also shoot sheet colour in 5x4 with ease, tho 5x7 colour is freely available in the US/Japan. You might also be able to get a Canham 6x17 back to fit.....(Spk to ebony...fits the walker 5x7). The neg IS significantly larger than 5x4. Once a 5x4 is cropped very slightly on the short axis (to un-stubby it, which I often do) it is HALF the size of 5x7. That is significant.

    Lenses: As Baxter says, 5x7 lenses are larger and heavier and more expensive, but only very slightly. Take the following lenses as an example:

    90mm Nikkor SW (smallest lightest 90mm f8) - 235mm circle!
    110XL (OK this one is expensive, but small light brilliant etc)
    120 f8 Nikkor/Schneider - Not that small but plenty available used at good prices
    150 G claron (covers aparrently. I have one, but no shutter and not tested yet)
    150 Sironar W (Small, compact and first rate, but pricey and rare)
    180 5.6 plasmat (All manufacters have ones that cover nicely...Symmar L has 277mm!)
    210 Glaron - Tiny, light, cheap, sharp, huge coverage.
    210 5.6 plasmats -cheap, abundant, cover easily.
    240 G claron - Ditto
    300mm Nikkor M f9, Rody Geronar f9, Fuji 300 f9/8.5- Tiny, light huge coverage
    400mm Schneider/Fuji...teles
    450 Fuji C 12.5 .......Copal 1, 245g!!!!

    As you can see there are loads of small light (some are also cheap) lenses that cover 5x7...Crumbs, the 210 G claron covers 10x8 and the 110/120s come close! I would say overall, If you think about lens chopice hard, you can do 5x7 for the same money and weight as someone who tries less hard on their 5x4 set up. Many 5x4 users use 210 plasmats at 450g. You could use a G claron at half the weight. Your 90mm Nikkor f8 or Any 90mm 4.5 is commonly used for 5x4, the 90mm being small and light even for 5x4!. Apart from your 110/120/150 focal length everything else can be cheap and small. In the 110-150 length there is a trade off. The 120s are good value but 600-700g.... The 110 is 440g but expensive......The 105 Fuji SW is bigish but resonably priced if you dont get into a bidding war!!!!The 150 G claron I am not convinced will cover well enough and the 150 Sironar W is rare and quite expensive used.

    Folder Vs Non Folder - Are you going to shoot mainly short or long lenses? If you shoot at the extremes your deicsion is made. If you love ultrawides, go non-folding for greater movement, compressibility and parralellism. If you love long lenses go folder for more extension. If you shoot middling lenses scratch your head. The non-folders are much faster to set up, lighter, not that the folders take long, it is just that non-folders are almost instant!! Now for the reasons I went for the Walker:

    VERY good value - A tiny fraction of the price for an Ebony 5x7 equivalent non-folder.
    Poss even more rigid (more rigid than my Ebony 5x4, not that I thought this possible)- This is a tank, almost indestructable, but light at 2.7Kg
    Simple and fast to set up (non-folder)
    Great with short lenses (will take 72 XL on flat panel)
    Will take 400 telexenar
    Has reducing back available/bag bellows...usual accs
    Canham 6x17 back fits perfectly and there is not a more solid platform for this back than this Walker. Fixed rear standard. Spk to owners, these are the most robust cameras about.

    The Ebony non-folders have many of the same attributes above but have more movements (which I dont need). Personally I have never needed swing for landscapes or absolutely had to have rear movements.. I shoot primarily short lenses (UK...few grand vistas like USA, everything is more up close...less opportunity for long lenses from afar!!!! I decided that a non-folder helped me speed-wise in the notoriously unpredictable UK weather and made perfect sense as I knew I would be using mainly from 110mm to 210 in 5x7. I could not afford the Ebony, so the Walker was my only option. I then discovereg I lived 20 mins away from Mike Walker so dropped in...yet to be convinced of this ABS camera wizardry! That was when I discovered just how robust these cameras are and how durable. The decision was easy. They are also quite lovely in their on right

    Hope this helps.

    Tom
     
  10. luvmydogs

    luvmydogs Member

    Messages:
    249
    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2004
    Location:
    Toronto, Can
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Baxter,

    The reason I am thinking of going straight to 5x7 is that I would like to do contact printing with 5x7 negs. I wouldn't even bother with a 4x5 back except that I'd like to shoot some colour landscapes as well. I do tend to use wide angles as opposed to teles - do you know how much of a wide angle I lose by using a 4x5 reducing back as opposed to a straight 4x5 camera? In other words, what would be the widest I'd be able to use on a 4x5 reducing back? I will likely go with the non-folder as I definitely shoot more WA.
     
  11. Baxter Bradford

    Baxter Bradford Member

    Messages:
    772
    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2004
    Location:
    Lymington, S
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Macy
    Contacts - a good reason to go to 5x7, just wasn't evident from original post.

    Sorry I don't have the specifics on the lens differences. But would think that Specs from Ebony website will list shortest lenses for each camera. Otherwise email them or a local dealer. So long as it does 90mm you will be absolutely fine fro most circumstances. Wider than this and expensive ND centre filters rear their heads- from one who is trying to avoid buying one for a little used 75mm Super Angulon!
     
  12. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    9,281
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2002
    Location:
    Bergen, Norw
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Colour film in 5x7" is nt a problem - at least I haven't found it so! I admit to expanding my film choise with a couple of 13x18 holders as well, just so I can use any film of the appropriate size.

    The only reducing back I have any experience with was the Linhof Technika one, which characteristcally kept the same register distance as the 5x7" back. I have no reducing back on my current camera (Gandolfi Traditional) - the only thing I might use it for is Polaroids.

    My Gandolfi takes anything from a 90mm f:8 Super-Angulon to the 420mm rear group of a Symmar 240/5.6, and probably shorter too if I ever get one. The Ebony should take at least the same range.
     
  13. luvmydogs

    luvmydogs Member

    Messages:
    249
    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2004
    Location:
    Toronto, Can
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Tom,

    Thanks for your most helpful post!

    I pretty much read all the LF threads here on APUG and on the LF site before coming to the conclusion that 5x7 may be the best way to go for me. However, what I don't understand is that even though many, many posts indicate that 5x7 is quite ideal (eg better aspect ratio, better for contact printing vs. 4x5, much bigger negs but camera not that much bigger than 4x5, etc. etc.), the 5x7 format is considered the "step-child," and sales for this format is obviously a lot less than 4x5. At the same time, I have been talking to Jim at MPEX and he said that he has of late been receiving a steady stream of buyers for the Ebony 5x7, which is great.

    For 5x7, my understanding is that the image circle of the lens have to be at least 210mm in order for there to be sufficient coverage, right? I am thinking of starting with the Schneider 110XL that you mentioned, plus the 210 apo-symmar-L.

    I am definitely siding with the non-folder right now. The ease of set-up is very attractive. Though I'd still like to know how much longer a folder would take. The only thing going against the non-folder is the bulkiness, though it is still lighter than the folding (I'm referring to the 57SUE at 3.5kg vs SV57UE at 4.1kg).

    I will take a look at the Walker that you mentioned as well. I read how you came to that decision (old threads). I'm glad that you seem to have found your "ideal" camera!
     
  14. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

    Messages:
    2,027
    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2003
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    A 110 and a 210 would give you a nice spread to start with. A brilliant wide lens in the 110 and a std 210. If you dont want to go as wide as 110 on 5x7, shoot a sheet of 5x4 instead until you have a couple more lenses. If you do decide to bridge the 110-210 gap, you have one of the trickiest lenses to find; a 150 for 5x7. It has had me head scratching for some time. I have the G claron, but I reckon it will be soft at the edges once enlarged a few times, but will reserve judgement as the 210 is fine on 10x8! The Sironar 150 W is very rare and not cheap (not available new), the 150 XL is overkill and very expensive (and heavy(ish)) and the 150 Summar HM is similarly heavy and expensive, but with smaller front thread. None of the normal 150 5.6 plasmats have a big enough circle for movements.

    So....I have pretty well decided to abandon the 150 route and go 110, 180, 300. Big gaps I know, but the 150 Sironar W could take rather too long to materialise in the UK. I could buy from US but we get robbed by our Taxman for 30+% upon import. The 180 Symmar L would be perfect as it has a very big cirlce of 277mm.

    If you dont intend to have too many lenses, might be worth going 110, 180, negating the need for a tricky 150 and an (easy) 210 but leaving you only one lens between 110 and 300. I hope once I have done my wheeling and dealing, my kit might be:

    72, 110, 180, 300, 400T....but have lots of buying and selling to do to get there, esp as I am getting out of 10x8 as 5x7 seems so right. As you say, I am sure I have found the perfect camera and so want to get the lenses right.

    Something I touched upon earlier was parallelism, which is where the front standard is absolutely square with the rear (film). This is very important with v short lenses. If you ever intend to use the short lenses on 5x7, such as 72XL and 90mm, having a very rigid non folder really helps ensure everything is perfectly square with no input required from you. The bellows are shorter therefore less compressed so unlike on some cameras where the belloows are so scrunched they actually provide back repssure on the standards, you have none of this on the non folders designed for wides. I cannot wait to get a 72XL on the 5x7 for london architecture
     
  15. jimgalli

    jimgalli Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,571
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Tonopah Neva
    Shooter:
    ULarge Format
    One way to solve the color problem in 5X7 would be to get a 6X17 rollfilm back. That combination would make quite an enviable system. Not that an everyday ordinary 5X7 Ebony isn't enviable :smile:
     
  16. luvmydogs

    luvmydogs Member

    Messages:
    249
    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2004
    Location:
    Toronto, Can
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Tom,

    I really like your lens choice ideas. I will pick up the 110 XL for sure, but will re-think the 210 in favour of the 180 as well. You are very lucky to be living in a city where there are so much beautiful architecture to be had. Toronto is definitely not known for its architecture!

    I was leaning towards the non-folder before, but you have sold me completely. Now it's a question of Ebony or Walker. One reason Ebony may be a better deal for me is that photo equipment made in Japan are not subject to duties in Canada. I'm not sure about photo stuff made in the UK. I'd have to check into that.
     
  17. luvmydogs

    luvmydogs Member

    Messages:
    249
    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2004
    Location:
    Toronto, Can
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Jim,

    That is quite a good idea!
     
  18. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

    Messages:
    2,027
    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2003
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Architecture here is not bad if you ever visit! Bring your wides! Phots attached.
     

    Attached Files:

  19. luvmydogs

    luvmydogs Member

    Messages:
    249
    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2004
    Location:
    Toronto, Can
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Tom,

    Thanks for sharing! I especially love the first two (from the left).