Noblex 6/150 U

Discussion in 'Panoramic Cameras and Accessories' started by sanking, Mar 4, 2010.

  1. sanking

    sanking Member

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    I just bought a Noblex 6/150 U, with 150 Panlux meter and a slow time module. This was kind of a spur of the moment purchase that I made simply because I like the 6X12 format, without doing a lot of research on the Noblex. I am told the camera is in excellent condition and has seen very little use -- in fact the previous owner told me that he had not used it in over five years but never experienced any problems when he did use it.

    OK, is this a good camera that will provide reliable service, or did I just spend a lot of money on something of dubious quality?

    Sandy King
     
  2. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    You bought a camera made by a company with a very interesting history. Look up KW - Kamera Werks, and John & Charles Noble, the original company made some innovative cameras in mid - late 30's and also the Patent Etui, the smallest plate camera of any time (the 9x12cm version).

    The company made Prakitina's, designed the Prakisix/Pentacon 6, became part of VEB Pentacon, and a factory was later given back to Noble after the fall of the Berlin Wall, and he made the Noblex :D then went bust and workers or other Directors bought it.

    If in good working order an excellent camera, with a Tessar lens.

    Ian
     
  3. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    The 35mm models are known to be a bit touchy, but the medium format versions seem less problematic. It's very hard to find filters and closeup lenses (which are particularly important if you shoot interiors) for them, if that's important to you. I'm very happy with my Noblex 150.
     
  4. sanking

    sanking Member

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    Ian,

    I did a quick search on the web and the history of the factory in Dresden and John Noble was indeed very interesting. And now I know that Carl Zeiss Jena lenses became Docteur Optic, and may have made the Rotelar lens on the 6/150 U I bought, which is described by many Noblex owners as "very, very sharp."

    Sandy
     
  5. sanking

    sanking Member

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    David,

    Is there a distributor in the US for filters and close-up lenses?

    BTW, the lens on the model I bought appears to have some adjustment for focus, and shift? I assumed that would be good enough for interior work. I gather that some of the models have a fixed focus lens?

    Sandy King
     
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  6. Richard Wasserman

    Richard Wasserman Member

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    I have a previous model with a fixed focus (Docter Optics) lens. The camera has always worked flawlessly and the lens is incredibly sharp and wonderful. I too would be interested in filters, etc.
     
  7. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Distribution has become difficult since KWD has been having financial difficulties, so I don't think there is a current US distributor that can get things reliably for Noblex, and same for Robert White, which used to be a Noblex distributor. Calumet and Photo Habitat were Noblex dealers, so they may have a few odd items. RTS was the US distributor, but I gather that RTS has dropped them. I've been scavenging Noblex filters on eBay. There's a #11 filter on eBay right now, if that's one you are looking for.

    Mine, which belonged to Ted Harris, has three focus positions, so I've calculated DOF charts for the lens and for the two closeup lenses (which can't be used together easily), and I bought a tape measure that I've marked with the optimal focus distances for all three positions with the main lens alone and with each of the close up lenses. I've attached a table that I have taped to the back of the camera with the DOF chart for the main lens in the three focus positions and the optimal focus positions for the main lens and the two closeups.

    Recently someone was selling lots of filters and closeup lenses for Noblex on eBay, and they had +1, +2, and +3 diopters, which must have been special order or custom items. I think it would be very difficult to work with those lenses, because of the short DOF and the necessity of having semi-circular compositions for the whole panoramic subject to fall within the DOF range.

    It makes astonishingly sharp images. Because of the swing lens design, sharpness doesn't decline at the extreme ends of the image, so it doesn't go soft where you would expect it to.

    Here are a couple of Noblex shots I posted to flickr--

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/tags/noblex/
     

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  8. sanking

    sanking Member

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    Thanks for the note about the #11 filter on ebay. That is the filter I most use with B&W so I bought it, even though the price seemed pretty high.

    Sandy King
     
  9. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Actually, that's a good price. Photo Habitat had a couple when I checked a while back for $40 each (you might call them and check), and those were imported when the dollar was stronger against the Euro. They were predicting that they would be $50 or $60, if they could get them again. If you can find the closeup filters or the ND grads, they tend to be around $90-100 a piece.
     
  10. luxikon

    luxikon Member

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    Quote: BTW, the lens on the model I bought appears to have some adjustment for focus, and shift? I assumed that would be good enough for interior work. I gather that some of the models have a fixed focus lens?

    There's a handbook (in German) here: www.kwdo.de/download/noblex_150_175dt_96.pdf

    Klaus
     
  11. Trevor Crone

    Trevor Crone Member

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    Sandy, FWIW I use a Noblex 135UC, which I've had for a couple of years and it has proved very reliable. The small amount of lens shift I find very useful also the multiple exposure feature.

    What can be a little problematic is the mechanics of the slower exposures. For example, for a 1 second shutter exposure the whole process of lens movement takes approx. 1 minute to complete. Not too encouraging for that 'decisive moment' :smile:

    Like you mine was also a bit of a compulsive purchase but one I can honestly say I've no regrets. Enjoy :smile:
     
  12. TimVermont

    TimVermont Subscriber

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    I have number 66 of the very first batch of 150s, still going strong. Superb lens. Only advice I have is that mine doesn't like anything but alkaline batteries. The drum speed timing is different with lithiums, with nicads and with Li-ion. Test yours, it is a much later model, but you may need to stick with alkalines.
     
  13. Russ Young

    Russ Young Member

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    Sandy-

    I own Sam Wang's old fixed-focus 150 (with two close up lenses). Have rarely used the close ups and cannot recall the results.

    However, on landscapes, "Sharp enough to shave with" as Granddaddy used to say... Just be sure it is level!

    When I compare my images with Sam's, its clear that the photographer is more important than the equipment LOL

    Russ Young
     
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  15. sanking

    sanking Member

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    That is interesting. Sam was over here just yesterday and I asked him about the Noblex 150 as I knew he had owned one at one time. He described it as a "near perfect" camera but that he could just not get into the format. "Not round" as he explained!!

    BTW, Sam has a book coming out soon. It is being published in China and I think he plans to sel it on Amazon.

    Sandy King
     
  16. rogein

    rogein Member

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    Sandy,

    Do you know what will be the title of Sam's book? I want to keep an eye out for it on Amazon.

    Roger...
     
  17. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Sandy, please post some images when you've given the camera a whirl. I thought about a Noblex before eventually getting a 6x17 camera and settling on a WA lens, but I still have a hankering - must try a camera with a rotating lens.

    Ian
     
  18. sanking

    sanking Member

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    I don't know the title now but I should have a copy of the book in mid-May and I will for sure post a short notice about it on APUG.

    Sandy
     
  19. David Brown

    David Brown Subscriber

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    Spend about $200 (USD) for a Horizon and see if you take to the format. You can always sell it for what you paid for it. Although, I suppose that would be true of a Noblex, too. :cool:
     
  20. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I've noticed Noblex prices dropping on eBay, I assume due to the popularity of pano heads and stitching software, but I think a real swing lens camera produces a better result.

    I was shooting 6x17 for a few years before getting the Noblex. Lacking a 5x7" enlarger, I just didn't have a great way of dealing with the 6x17 negs, though they made nice contact prints, and seeing the sharpness of the Noblex negs really convinced me. Some subjects work better with the swing lens projection, and some with the flat projection. If I really need the flat projection, I just shoot another format and crop, or if I plan for it, I've got the 7x17" camera.
     
  21. sanking

    sanking Member

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    I am going to spend a few days on a barrier island (http://www.ossabawisland.org/) near Savannah next week (March 16-22) as part of a visiting artist program and plan to do a lot of work with the Noblex, and probably 5X7 as well. The camera should arrive tomorrow and I will have a few days to get used to it prior to the arrival this Friday of a student doing a long four-day workshop with me on carbon printing. I think I am going to really like the format for carbon transfer, and for my style of photography, as I like to eliminate in most cases a lot of the sky from my images.

    And it is real nice to hear that the camera has a reputation for sharpness. If sharpness were an addiction I would be on a constant 12-step program!!

    Sandy
     
  22. jamie young

    jamie young Member

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    Noblex is considered one of the best of the swing lense cameras, and you'll probably have a lot of fun with it.
    When mechanical cameras sit around a while they need a bit of use to run smoothly, and dust and grit are a issue. If you run into banding you might need a cleaning. just a fact of life with this type of camera. Look forward to seeing your results
     
  23. sanking

    sanking Member

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    The Noblex 6/150 U arrived today, with the slow speed module and Panlux meter. Everything seems to be in real good shape, and working as it should. I will check for banding tomorrow by running a few rolls of film through the camera.

    The camera has three positions for focus, #1, #5 and Infinity. With the depth of field of #5 I suspect that I will use that position about 95% of the time. Unfortunately there is no shift, as I rather assumed there would be with this model. I probably would have used shift a lot as I really like to keep good perspective. On the other hand I will be scanning about 100% of the negatives I made with this camera and perspective can easily be corrected in PS, as I already do for all of my MF work with Mamiya 7II and Fuji GW690III.

    Sandy King
     
  24. sanking

    sanking Member

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    Well, live and learn. I just read the instruction book and found that I do indeed have shift with the 6/150 U, but to engage it one has to open the front as when placing the filters or close-up lenses. I was expecting to see the shift on the fromt below the distance and aperture settings, but the U is apparently an older model and the shift can only be engaged by opening the front of the camera.

    Sandy King
     
  25. Richard Wasserman

    Richard Wasserman Member

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    Oh come on, the male of the species isn't supposed to read instructions....

    I'm glad you learned how to shift the lens–should be very useful.
     
  26. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Yes, shift is a feature that I wish I had on mine. I also pasted a white label on top of the viewfinder so I can write down what kind of film I have in the camera or other notes, and some arrows in a circle reminding me which way to turn the darn barrel for changing filters so I don't loose a frame (counterclockwise, if you haven't read that part of the manual).