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