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  1. #1
    Craig's Avatar
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    Can Wood fields keep the lens on while folded?

    I've been thinking about getting myself a wood field camera in 4x5. I was looking at a Wisner yesterday and it didn't appear possible to fold the camera with a lens (say a 150 Nikkor) mounted. Is it generally possible to do this with field cameras? I'm specifically thinking of an Ebony after looking at the Wisner.

    I did a bit of searching through the archives, and it appeare that people lump the Ebony and Linhof Technica's in a similar category. Any comments about either in terms of ease of setup and use?

    The Wisner seemed quite fussy to unfold and set up, and its brass fittings looked rather fragile. One of the 90 degree brackets that held a standard was bent, and it didn't look like it would take much to bend the other. I've only seen pictures of an Ebony, but it looks much more rugged.

    I've already got a monorail 4x5 (Bender) and a boat anchor 8x10 (calumet), so I'm looking for something portable and small to backpack with. The monorail is light, but too bulky to backpack with.

  2. #2
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    Craig-

    it depends on the lens, as well as the camera. Most lenses protrude too far when not reversed. Some lenses protrude too far either way. A few cameras with deeper rear standard boxes and/or deeper beds can keep the lens on the camera when closed. The old Japanese and/or English field cameras that are cut out on the bottom for a tripod mount that the legs directly attach to the camera can keep many lenses mounted.

    Ebonys have a terrific reputation. I've fondled one or two at camera stores and shows, but never used one so I can't speak to the performance. I have a Shen Hao, which is a terrific little field camera for a fraction of the money of an Ebony. Another camera to look into if you want something a bit more upscale is a Canham. Keith makes both a wood field and a metal field camera. I have the 5x7 wood field version, and it is probably my favorite field camera of all. The Wisner is a bit more "traditional" in the mechanical layout, whereas the Canhams have a somewhat different control setup. This takes a bit of getting used to, but it becomes second nature once you're broken in.

  3. #3

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    I own Shens. The older HZX is similar to the Ebony design. The newer FCLs are sort of an Ebony front end and a phillips back. Sort of. I don't think either can really fold up with a lens attached. OTOH it takes so little time to mount a lens that I don't think it's a real issue. At least not enough for me to care.

  4. #4
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    I have ONE lens I can leave mounted on the Shen Hao HZX 45 that I have. I have a Goerz American Optical f8 110mm wide angle that is so small and pancake-like I can leave it mounted, face out, and close the camera completely. That's the only one though. I don't think the FCL style ones can do that, because of their baseboard design.

  5. #5

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    I've got two really small lenses. An old Fuji 150mm and a Komura 210mm. Both are tiny. I just don't see why people so in love the idea of leaving the lens attached. It would scare me -)

  6. #6

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    I keep a 150mm sironar-n mounted on my Shen Hao HZX 45 in reversed position (front of the lense facing the ground glass) when the camera is folder. Its very easy to reverse the lense when the camera is unfolded.

  7. #7
    Craig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Zentena View Post
    I just don't see why people so in love the idea of leaving the lens attached. It would scare me -)
    For me its not the time that it takes to mount the lens, but if the lens is folded inside the camera then it is protected and I don't have to wrap and pack it seperately.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheFlyingCamera View Post
    Another camera to look into if you want something a bit more upscale is a Canham.
    Interestingly, Canhams and Ebony's looks to be about the same price, depending upon what model you get. It looks like I'll have to find a dealer and actually play with each of them to see what I like.

  9. #9

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    Just reverse the lensboard so the big part of the lens rides inside the box. All but the biggest lenses (or lenses that protrude in the other direction) will ride "on board." My 19" Artar will comfortably fit in side a folded 8x10 'dorff as will the 240 G Claron, 12" Dagor and 159mm Wolly (the Wolly is so small it might fit right side out but I've never tried it) OTOH trying to fold it with a 14" Commercal Ektar or 10" WF is pushing it.

  10. #10
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    The Ektars are in #5 shutters- you'd be lucky to be able to reverse the board with the lens on. They're also heavy monsters - I wouldn't want to carry a camera around with one of those still attached on the inside, where one bad bump and you're shopping for a new ground glass.

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