LOTUS of Austria - WP soon in production

Discussion in 'Industry News' started by organic fotoman, Nov 4, 2012.

  1. organic fotoman

    organic fotoman Member

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    Mr. Gunter (Lotus camera manufacturer) is considering to add to his camera production a self-contained 6.5" x 8.5 " format. He expressed that he got few inquires from costumers about WHOLE PLATE camera. He is taking measurments and creating new drawings for his new beauty. Still waiting for confirmation when it would be available to order.
    On the market these manufactures make whole plate cameras available today: EBONY, CHAMONIX.
    EBONY to my opinion is very expensive and beautiful. Film holders not produced.
    CHAMONIX reasonalby priced, whole system available (film holders, carbon fiber lens boards), good costumer support.

    LOTUS will be more expensive than Chamonix, but with smooth controls, with all movments available, and camera to outlive our grandkids. I suppose 50% less expensive than the queen Ebony, which is price at 11K at Badger Graphic currently.
     
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  2. Sal Santamaura

    Sal Santamaura Member

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    Ebony does indeed produce film holders to match its SV Wholeplate. See approximately halfway down this page:


    I've evaluated one of them and found it to be just as stupendously made as the camera is. In particular, Hiromi's use of ebony wood for the piece that includes the locking rib resulted in the only holder I've ever seen that doesn't bulge there from light trap spring pressure. One penalty for this, just like the camera, is weight. Ebony whole plate holders are as heavy as a plastic 8x10 holder. Also, when, exactly 3-1/2 years ago, I asked Jeff at Badger for a price quote, he said they would be $675 per holder. My stunned reaction elicited a reply from Jeff stating "that's why we don't list them on the Web site." :smile:

    When I ordered the first SV Wholeplate from Hiromi, he made it to match Lotus holders I obtained first. Günter Stroebele and I discussed how to best approach the project, concluding that merely shrinking Lotus' 8x10 holder design would be optimum. Ilford provided whole plate film nominal dimensions and cutting tolerances, which I then forwarded to Günter. After receipt of those holders, I sent one to Hiromi so he could finish the camera. Since the camera back design was then fixed, Hiromi builds his holders to the same specification as Lotus.

    When Hass agreed to enter the whole plate arena, I sent Hugo one of my Lotus holders to match. Therefore, modern Chamonix, Lotus and Ebony wholeplate holders are all built to the same de-facto standard and should be interchangeable between those cameras. I am currently using a number of Chamonix holders along with the original group purchased from Lotus with my SV Wholeplate.

    Unfortunately for Ebony, the Yen/dollar exchange rate has changed substantially. Today's price for an SV Wholeplate is nearly 50% higher than what mine cost 5-1/2 years ago. I hope Günter will be able to bring his whole plate camera to market at a price and weight that falls midway between the Chamonix and Ebony competition. That could potentially be a "sweet spot" that encourages more folks to join the renaissance.
     
  3. organic fotoman

    organic fotoman Member

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    Thank you for bringing it up. It was my lock of knowledge about Ebony's whole plate film holders. And yes you are lucky one to have purchased whole plate camera than. Are you still involved in using it offten? I assume viewing ground glass is the nirvana!
     
  4. Sal Santamaura

    Sal Santamaura Member

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    Because neither FP4 Plus nor HP5 Plus are my favorite films, use of the SV Wholeplate had trailed off somewhat compared to when I first received it. However, this year Ilford added wholeplate Delta 100 to the list of items one could order. I'm enthusiastically shooting with it now and don't anticipate that will subside.

    As a side note, Delta 100 printed on Ilfobrom Galerie is one of the most exquisite combinations I've experienced in more than 45 years of photography. Those film and paper curves were made for each other.

    The SV Wholeplate ground glass frame's routed opening is deep enough to permit installation of any viewing screen desired. I've placed a Satin Snow ground glass topped with a Maxwell fresnel in it. Not only the size, but a bright and even image makes using it very pleasurable.

    I've never been able to examine a Lotus camera, so don't know how deeply Günter routs the ground glass opening. You might wish to speak with him about that to ensure flexibility. The opening on a wholeplate Chamonix I saw was too shallow for more than one viewing screen component.
     
  5. organic fotoman

    organic fotoman Member

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    Hi Sal. Good choice of Maxwell screen. I talk to Bill my self and was surprised the choices we have to buy from him. Thank you for heads up on combination of film and paper, I will try it and probably stick with it. Has the order of Delta 100 WP by Ilford being complete for the next run? I would be interesting in buying bunch of it. I wish you could share with me and forum some pictures you have taken with your camera or some pictures of your Ebony WP. I have never seen one from a member or someone who has it at their home other than pictures on the Ebony's web page. Thank you also about the hint on spacing of the ground glass to make it more interchangable. Have a great day, Rado.
     
  6. Sal Santamaura

    Sal Santamaura Member

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    If you've spoken to Bill, you probably already know this, but I'll mention it in case others reading the thread don't. Maxwell offers acrylic one-piece integrated focus/fresnel screens only up through 5x7. Bill doesn't think anything larger than that is rigid enough to maintain flatness. Therefore, for a wholeplate or larger camera, one must combine a Maxwell fresnel with a ground glass screen. This requires either milling out the camera's frame to place the fresnel closer to the lens or leaving the frame unmodified and placing the fresnel closer to the photographer. I've taken the latter approach. Since I'm very nearsighted, simply looking over my eyeglasses gets me close enough for fine focusing. Those who must use a loupe for that purpose might risk scratching the acrylic fresnel and could be better off going to the trouble of having their camera's back milled out so only glass is presented to the loupe's base.

    Unfortunately, this year's Ilford special order film was just delivered. Based on previous years' patterns, the next order window will be announced in the Spring, close late June and film will reach those who ordered it in late September to mid October. I didn't order enough to offer you any of mine; perhaps someone else reading this will contact you and share theirs.

    It has always been my position that scanned images viewed on a computer in no way convey the characteristics that make silver halide photography so unique. As a result, I have not and will not post any.

    The ebonycamera.com SV Wholeplate picture is of my camera; it was shot in Tokyo before shipping. You can find a couple more images in the TOP article Oren Grad wrote, linked here:

    Thanks, you too!