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Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by jcc, Apr 18, 2013.

  1. jcc

    jcc Member

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    I've been using a Sinar P2 a lot lately, and I absolutely love everything about it except one thing — it's a cumbersome behemoth! So, I'm looking for a smaller, more field-friendly camera. I know what features I want/need, but don't know which cameras have them. So, I'd like to tap your combined knowledge pool to help me narrow down the search.

    I'm looking for:
    (1) asymmetric tilt and swing on both standards (I've been spoiled by the P2 on this one)
    (2) must be able to fit in a backpack (could even be a large backpack; folding is nice, but not necessary)

    That's pretty much it! If you know of cameras that fit this description (or other features that might be important), please let me know.

    Thanks!
     
  2. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member

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    Ebony makes a very fine field camera that should do what you want.
     
  3. jcc

    jcc Member

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    From my understanding, the Ebony U-series cameras only have rear asymmetric movements. All their front standards (from what I read on their site) have symmetric tilt and swings. Is that right?
     
  4. pgomena

    pgomena Member

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    A used Wisner Technical Field camera may do the job, but I can't say for sure. Arca-Swiss cameras can be broken down to fit in a backpack, with room left over for your empty wallet.
     
  5. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    I have a Sinar F2. They are a bit lighter. It has a DOF and angle calculator.
     
  6. jcc

    jcc Member

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    The ArcaSwiss F-metric was really nice when I tried it out. The Orbix gave the front slight asymmetric tilt, but not swing. I'll check out the Wisner Technical Field. Thanks!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 18, 2013
  7. jcc

    jcc Member

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    Do Deardorff 4x5's have asymmetric tilt and swing on both standards?
     
  8. j_landecker

    j_landecker Subscriber

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    What does "asymmetric tilt" do on the front? On the rear I can see how it tilts the ground glass about a line on the lower third of the frame and maintains focus on that line, but on the front it seems it would pretty much be like base tilt in that the lens would move towards or away from the ground glass as you tilt, requiring a lot of refocusing. Axis tilt, on the other hand, would tilt around the optical center point of the lens so you would (approximately) maintain focus in the middle of the frame, then tilt to get the other points on the focus plane. I thought Arca Swiss Orbix is meant to provide axis tilt using a "base tilt" style of movement (i.e. the mechanism is located below the lens but the pivot axis is on the optical axis).
     
  9. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    Just pick up an F2. That way you can still use all your existing Sinar components except those heavy geared standards. I backpacked for twenty years with one of these, though I have since replaced it with
    a classic old Sinar Norma (no yaw-free asymmetrics). I'm not quite sure why you'd need to specify this
    one feature, but the F2 does have it, though you operate it a little differently than on a P camera. If
    you are comfortable with a monorail it's kinda silly to go looking at wooden folders. And no, nothing like
    a 'Dorf operates in this manner. The Wisner is pretty flimsy compared to a Sinar - more pretty than functional if you're going to get into weather. If something goes wrong with a Sinar, replacement parts
    are abundant. Try getting a Wisner fixed! The nice thing about a monorail in a pack is that you can leave it assembled with a favorite lens and shade already in place and operate much faster than with a folder. Plus if you want to use long focal lengths, you just add another rail section, same as the P.
     
  10. Doremus Scudder

    Doremus Scudder Member

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    This is the elephant in the room.

    Although a field camera with base tilts will have yaw-free tilts, and usually swings as well, asymmetrical movements on both standards are not found on any folding field camera I know of. The Ebony cameras have asymmetrical movements on the rear standard.

    If you want a lightweight folder (and if weight is enough of an issue for you as it is for me), then you may want to take the little bit of time it takes to master symmetrical movements and movements that are not yaw-free (i.e., which order to apply the movements). I'll wager I'm just about as fast with my base tilt, symmetrical movement 1.6 kilo woodie as most are with more sophisticated rigs. It's just a matter of practice (although doing close up and macro work is a PITA unless you have a camera with both front and rear focus).

    Don't get me wrong, I love monorails with fancy movements for studio and indoor architectural work, but in the field, after 10 hours of hiking with your gear over slickrock, through cliffs and canyons, etc. I'm really happy to have a compact and lightweight camera on my back.

    Best,

    Doremus
     
  11. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    It's hard to make just one camera design do everything. For versatility in studio use, car travel or on dayhikes when resorting to 4x5 (versus 8x10), I prefer a Sinar monorail. For airline use or long backpacks, I put a priority on lighter weight and signficantly better compactness, and carry an Ebony folder. In both cases I need well-built rigid cameras that will take wind and hold settings. There are lots
    of good choices out there. The most important thing is to get familiar with your gear to the point of
    using it spontaneously. That whole base-tilt vs axis-tilt debate is perhaps a bit overblown. Either is
    easy enough if the equipment is well made.
     
  12. Doremus Scudder

    Doremus Scudder Member

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    Agreed!

    It does take a little time to get base tilts down pat, but a couple hours of intensive practice along with a good reference (Stoebel's "View Camera Technique" for example) is usually all it takes.

    Weight and portability are of prime importance to me. I've tried to put together the lightest and most compact field kit I could. I have basic wooden folders (Wista DX/Horseman Woodman) and very compact lenses. I carry my gear in a lumbar pack and fly-fishing vest. This enables me to do a bit of scrambling and climbing that a larger pack would maybe interfere with.

    Most important is what the individual finds most essential; weight, flexibility or asymmetrical movements on both standards. That said, I really think that asymmetrical movements are largely superfluous. They may give a bit more accuracy in the initial movement and thereby save an iteration, but that's really only a few seconds in a rather long process anyway...

    Best,

    Doremus
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 20, 2013