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  1. #21
    BradS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Curt View Post
    Brad when you find the camera you are describing let us know, I personally would like to see one in a 5x7. I'm looking at the Ebony models, the others are fine but they all have one limitation, short bellows.

    The closest I have found is the Walker Titan SF 4x5. The design of this camera is brilliant and sublime. It is a joy to work with. I just wish it weighed about 2/3 what is actually does. At just over six pounds, it weighs almost 50% more than the four pound goal.

  2. #22
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    If the injected material had some voids in places that didn't make it structurally deficient and the stainless steel was titanium it could loose quite a bit of weight. The bottom line is the design, get the design right and the rest will follow. A good design can be made better if someone thinks outside the box. I'm not shooting anyone down but there is usually someone who has that right connection.
    Everytime I find a film or paper that I like, they discontinue it. - Paul Strand - Aperture monograph on Strand

  3. #23

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    Field cameras choices for you criteria are limited. Shen Hao does let you focus with the back standard. I have been really happy with mine and you almost never see them come up on E Bay or Criags list! There is an alternative call the Chamonix. Also you do see Burke and James cameras occasionally. The Chamonix has received great reviews from those who bought them. The down side is a long lead time to order as there is not stocking distributor here in the US. Shen Hao has distribution in the US from Badger and Mid West Photo Exchange both are very reputable. Keh has a 4X5 BADGER M1 rail camera and you occasionally see the Peter Gowand mini 4X5 on E Bay. Also the Toho Shimo FC-45X is another small rail view camera to consider. You may want to search for a Meredian B which is a knock off of a Linhoff and was made in the 1940's

  4. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by ki6mf View Post
    The Chamonix has received great reviews from those who bought them. The down side is a long lead time to order as there is not stocking distributor here in the US.
    Actually, there is. My company, Really Big Cameras, is a Chamonix dealer (and an APUG sponsor) and I have the 045n-1 in stock.

    However, the Chamonix 045n-1 doesn't meet all of Brad's requirements (actually, I don't know of any camera that does).

    Specifically:

    Quote Originally Posted by BradS View Post
    Does anybody know of a 4x5 field camera that...

    1) weighs less than 4 pounds
    Check. The Chamonix 045n-1 weighs between 3.0 and 3.2 lbs. depending on type of wood and bellows selected. A carbon fiber bed, wood body and anodized aluminum hardware keep the weight to a minimum without sacrificing rigidity.

    Quote Originally Posted by BradS View Post
    2) uses technika style lens boards
    Check. The Chamonix 045n-1 uses Technika style boards - some inexpensive Chinese-made boards sold on eBay are too thick to properly fit the Chamonix Cameras. Some newer genuine Linhof boards are also a bit too thick. The older Linhof boards I've tried fit fine. Wista boards fit fine, and generic boards available from Badger Graphic, Midwest Photo Exchange and (of course) Really Big Cameras are available that properly fit the Chamonix camera.

    For the lens to be centered on the ground glass when the front standard is in the neutral position, center drilled lensboards are recommended. However, off-center drilled boards (like Linhof and Wista) can also be used with slight adjustment of the front rise/fall to center the lens.

    Quote Originally Posted by BradS View Post
    3) has front rise/fall
    Check. 45mm direct front rise, 30mm direct front fall.

    Quote Originally Posted by BradS View Post
    4) front axis and base tilt (tilts must lock down independent of rise/fall)
    The Chamonix 045n-1 does not have front base tilt. Axis tilt only on the front standard. Also, one set of knobs locks both front rise and tilt. However, there are "defeatable detents" that prevent introducing any unwanted tilt when adjusting the front rise/fall.

    Quote Originally Posted by BradS View Post
    5) front swing (optional)
    Check - and front shift.

    Quote Originally Posted by BradS View Post
    6) rear base and axis tilt
    Rear base tilt only. No rear axis tilt.

    Quote Originally Posted by BradS View Post
    ...so far it is easy....
    ...here is where it gets difficult...

    7) triple extension
    I suppose it all depends on how you define triple extension. The Chamonix design, based on the Phillips 4x5 (with Dick' blessing) is different than conventional 4x5 field cameras. The stock camera has a total extension of 395mm. This is enough extension to use 14"/360mm lens for general purpose (non-macro) applications - or a 500mm telephoto such as the Nikkor 500mm T-ED. Most double extension 4x5 field cameras have about 300mm of extension. Chamonix also offers an optional carbon fiber bed extender that allows using a 450mm lens, like the 450mm f12.5 Fujinon C on the 045n-1.

    Quote Originally Posted by BradS View Post
    8) removable bellows
    Check. The default camera comes with the standard bellows. However, for a nominal fee, it an also be ordered with the optional universal bellows. I highly recommend the universal bellows as it makes the camera more usable with wide angle lenses - and still offers the same maximum extension as the standard bellows. An optional bag bellows is also available, but unless you shoot with REALLY wide lenses and a roll film back, the universal bellows should be sufficient for most 4x5 wide angle use.

    Quote Originally Posted by BradS View Post
    9) rear focussing
    Nope. Front focus only. The front standard is focused using a lead screw that is driven by a single knob located at the back of the camera below the rear standard (like the Phillips cameras).

    Quote Originally Posted by BradS View Post
    10) front standard moves forward back to accomodate focal length
    Check. Both the front and rear standard on the Chamonix can be moved forward or back to accommodate a wide variety of focal lengths.

    Quote Originally Posted by BradS View Post
    I explicitly do NOT want Rear rise/fall or shift
    Check. The Chamonix 045n-1 does not have any rear rise/fall or shift. Like the Phillips design on which it is based, the goal is to provide the best combination of light weight and maximum rigidity. To meet this goal, unnecessary, superfluous features have been eliminated.

    Kerry Thalmann
    Really Big Cameras

  5. #25
    Frank Szabo's Avatar
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    There's no such thing as "perfect" - only tolerable.
    ...

    "Beer is proof that God wants us to be happy."

    Benjamin Franklin

  6. #26
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    I think the most difficult criterion here is the weight limit, and the set idea that it has to be a flatbed. Rear focusing could be an issue as well. Is that a weight limit imposed by some rule, or just something you are personally aiming for? If not for that, I would just suggest that you backback with a lower-end monorail, since there are so many specific requirements for movements and extension that you list. There are many that fit the bill, and they are cheap compared to what you are talking about. I used to backpack a GVII a lot, and it was very convenient (and light, not to mention that a tripod head was not necessary with this camera, as it has its own dedicated - and very light - head). A cheap modern Cambo, Toyo, Omega, etc. will work as well. I have backpacked with a borrowed modern-style Cambo as well, and it worked out OK. I backpack my Sinar F-1 now, and it is plenty doable, and even more compact than the GV or that Cambo I tried out. It also does not weigh that much. There are adapters to Linhof boards. There is no screwing around this way worrying about what features and specs the camera has, because it has them all.

    As for weight, I would think about lenses, film, tripod, and head more than the camera itself. You can put a multipurpose standard on the front to reduce weight (making it an F-1 instead of an F-2), instead of a focusing standard. Slower versions of lenses are the way to go in the field, IMO. I wish I had more of them myself, as the only drag about backpacking the F-1 is the big, heavy glass that I have for it. If you are talking about spending custom Ebony bucks, I think you would be better off using that money for a slew of lightweight glass for the field. As for film, I feel the same way: If you can afford custom Ebony bucks, go for Quickloads. Same with tripods.

    I assumed this was for backpacking, but it was not stated by you that I read. What are you going to use this for?

    Another thing: What do you mean by "axial and base tilts"? I thought it was one or the other, unless you have something like a Sinar P, which does both (coarse base tilt and fine axial tilt). Must be a feature of some wooden cameras, which I do not know all that well.

    I just weighed my F-1. It is just under 6 lb. with a 12 inch rail and no lensboard. There is a Sinar low profile rail clamp that might reduce the weight even more. An extension rail would add some weight as well, as would a Linhof adapter. Let's just say 7 lb. to be conservative. A seven pound camera is heavy, but not the most horrendous price to pay to not have to worry about what features it does or does not have. It has as much extension as you want, as much movement as you want, whatever bellows you want, the movements that you don't need will not make the camera more rickety, and it has rear focusing. It will also let you use barrel lenses in the field, if you get one of the various behind-the-lens leaf shutters. This also gives you total shutter consistency lens to lens. Additionally, you can't forget to cock the shutter. If you use both cables (which I personally never do, as it is too much of a tangle), you don't even have to remember to close the shutter before pulling your dark slide. I am basically trying to say that the camera is very quick, convenient, and nearly fool proof; great attributes when racing against changing light out in nature.

    One thing it does not have is axial tilts. This does not bother me, since the camera has both coarse and fine focusing that are very quick to operate from behind the camera. It is very quick to push the rear standard in to make up for the defocusing caused by tilting the front standard.

    KEH has a BGN condition Sinar F for $245 right now.
    Last edited by 2F/2F; 04-19-2009 at 05:16 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    2F/2F

    "Truth and love are my law and worship. Form and conscience are my manifestation and guide. Nature and peace are my shelter and companions. Order is my attitude. Beauty and perfection are my attack."

    - Rob Tyner (1944 - 1991)

  7. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thingy View Post
    Ebony* will do custom cameras but this is an expensive route to take. You would probably find it cheaper to buy a higher spec camera . I have just bought the 45SU (after waiting almost 6 months for it to be made & delivered from Japan to England). The standard model is in Ebony but they will make it in the lighter weight mahogony wood if you prefer.

    You can discuss your requirements and prices by emailing Hiromi directly. ( hiromi@ebonycamera.com ). I think the 45SU might be too heavy for you weighing in at 2.6 Kg. You could go for the cheaper 45S model but that does not offer assymetrical focussing and the bellows are not interchangable. With the 45SU you can use a 58mm Schneider XL lens without any movements with the standard universal bellows or with some movements using the bag bellows. Ebony do offer the option of non-folding field cameras which are easier & quicker to set up, and you can leave the lens mounted. Ebony are so expensive because the whole camera and parts (including even the screws) are handmade! The best quality titanium & Ebony are very hard to work, so the labour costs are much higher. That said, they are VERY sturdy, "Matelot-Proof" cameras!

    If you are interested you can get them from Bruce's Field Camera Store, via ebay, link below.
    http://shop.ebay.com/items/_W0QQ_nkw...romZR40QQ_mdoZ

    *Ebony cameras: http://www.ebonycamera.com/cam.html
    After using real Ebony wood in a project, The wood is a dream to work with so I'm going to have to disagree with your statement about ebony being hard to work with BUT it the most expensive wood I've ever purchased at $125 USD per board foot in 2007 (12 x12 x1 inches) and it has not gone down but is most likely is more costly. But I have to agree that working with Titanium is hard as my machinist friends always complain about working with it.
    It's not the camera......

  8. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by freygr View Post
    After using real Ebony wood in a project, The wood is a dream to work with so I'm going to have to disagree with your statement about ebony being hard to work with BUT it the most expensive wood I've ever purchased at $125 USD per board foot in 2007 (12 x12 x1 inches) and it has not gone down but is most likely is more costly. But I have to agree that working with Titanium is hard as my machinist friends always complain about working with it.
    Ebony wood is both very expensive and very dense (HEAVY). For these two reasons, it's far from the ideal wood to use for a field camera. Other than splitting (easily prevented by drilling pilot holes for screws) its not that hard to work with - however it dulls cutting tools rapidly. So, you've have to re-sharpen your tools more frequently.

    Titanium is very hard on cutting tools as well. So, having titanium machined is much more expensive than brass or aluminum. Feed rates are much slower and cutting heads have to be replaced much more often. This is why most machinists don't like working with titanium. While titanium has a superior weight:strength ratio than steel, it's much heavier than aluminum alloys.

    If the goal is lightweight and/or affordable cost there are much better materials for the job than ebony and titanium. Mahogany, cherry, walnut and maple are much lighter, less expensive and all have their own unique beauty. And, the last three are not "rain forest" hardwoods. They are plentiful and not endanger of being over harvested.

    Anodized aluminum is nearly as impervious to the natural elements as titanium, much lighter, made from one of the most common minerals on the planet, easy to machine and can be anodized in number of colors.

    Ebony and titanium are fairly recent materials for camera building, and other than appearance (and having a camera made from a material that matches the Titanium Mastercard you used to pay for it), offer little practical advantage (and multiple drawbacks) compared to other, more common materials.

    That said, the Ebony brand cameras made by Hiromi at the Ebony Camera Company are things of great beauty. While I generally prefer the use of lighter weight materials myself, the Ebony brand cameras are extremely well made, thoughtfully designed and very usable.

    Kerry Thalmann
    Really Big Cameras

  9. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Szabo View Post
    There's no such thing as "perfect" - only tolerable.
    As with most things, camera design and construction is a series of trade-offs. I've been saying it for years (now decades):

    There is no perfect camera for all users or all uses.

    Consider what's important to you (price, features, weight, etc.), investigate the options and then choose the one that comes closest to your own personal needs.

    Kerry Thalmann
    Really Big Cameras

  10. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by ReallyBigCameras View Post
    Nope. Front focus only. The front standard is focused using a lead screw that is driven by a single knob located at the back of the camera below the rear standard (like the Phillips cameras).
    To split a hair: you can focus by moving the rear standard too.

    Usually with this design, it's said that you set the rear standard appropriately for the focal length in use, and then you focus with the lead screw. But those are just two different ways of accomplishing the same thing: positioning the lens relative to the film to bring the image into focus.

    Of course, "rear focus" in this case isn't geared, and it's not ideal for fine adjustment. But for those setups where focusing by moving the front standard is problematic - for example, because of changes in magnification - the Chamonix at least allows you to easily do coarse focus with the rear standard, so that the remaining fine focus that's required moves the front standard only minimally.

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