Dream 4x5 Camera with Three Lenses: You Vote

Discussion in 'Large Format' started by mark_tucker|2, Nov 12, 2002.

  1. Let me preface this by saying that I'm a Hasselblad shooter
    who's getting the bug for 4x5 again. I bought a Linhof Tech IV two
    days ago, and already the B.S. Factor is showing up. I am
    doubting that I bought the right camera for real-world, relatively
    hassle-free shooting.<P>

    So the question is: If you wanted ONE camera, and three lenses,
    and one of them was damned wide, like a 45 or 47, and you
    didn't want to mess with recessed lensboards, and all the
    shooting was outside on location, shooting people AND
    landscape, and weight or cost didn't matter, what would you

    It could be a field camera, or a non-folder, or even a monorail,
    but the situation is: You're not babying the camera; you're not
    worshipping the camera; you don't care too about cosmetics of
    the camera; you just want to get in the truck, get to the location,
    set up quickly, and start shooting. You don't care a lot about
    extreme tilts or movements, and did I say that you HATE
    recessed lensboards, and cameras with non-intuitive knobs and
    functions. You want to just reach out and know that you're
    messing with the focus knob, and you don't have to have tiny
    fingers to find some obscure knob to rise and fall.<P>

    Sorry for the ramble. I'm stressed-out about this whole thing, and
    I've only owned the camera for two days.<P>

    A bonus question, for even more prize money:<P>

    If your final goal was to scan these BW negs from the 4x5 on an
    Imacon, and output them to a large Epson 9600, at
    approximately 35" wide image area, would you think you'd see
    MUCH quality difference between a fine grain TMAX100-type film
    in the Hasselblad, and a neg from a 4x5 camera? (In other
    words, should I just send this whole damn package back?)<P>

    Gentlemen, Start Your Engines. I'll be back in 24 hours to check
    on your Progress.<P>

    Thank you very much in advance,<P>

    Mark Tucker<BR>
  2. Ebony 45SU. It doesn't fold so it sets up really quickly. I have the
    23S and it's a very fast working camera. The 45SU would work
    even quicker with the asymmetric tilts and swings. It takes a
    47mm SA XL with NO recessed lensboard. If you want to shoot
    down to a 35mm, you can but I'm afraid you'd have to get a
    recessed lensboard at that point. It can take a 500mm lens, but
    that's probably a tele lens with the back extender since the max
    bellows draw is 365mm.

    As far as lenses go... For the super wide I'd probably go with the
    previously mentioned 47XL if you really need that wide of a lens.
    For a normal lens I'd probably do the 150mm f/5.6 Apo Sironar S.
    And for a long lens maybe the 300mm f/9 Nikkor M.

    Good luck with your selections. Here's the Ebony website: http://
    www.ebonycamera.com or for the 45SU go here: http://
  3. Oh, yeah... I go to that Ebony site and get all teary-eyed. I like to
    make a night out of it -- I put on some nice music, light a candle,
    pour a glass of red, and then I just go to that site and read about
    the cameras and drool.<P>

    Honestly, they do seem nice. <P>

    I think my point is -- Time Is Short. There's no time left to be
    spending time on badly-designed cameras. I can't quite put it
    into words, when you just find a camera that's second-nature.
    The Fuji 680III was that for me, but it was just too much of a
    beast to carry around, to only get a 6x8cm negative out of it. For
    that weight and bulk, I want 4x5 quality. But the knobs were large,
    they were in the perfect place, the viewfinder was bright, and the
    lenses were razor sharp. I'm looking for that kind of relationship
    with a 4x5 now.<P>

    Jeez... This is starting to sound like a Personal Ad.<P>

    -Mark Tucker
  4. If you pursue the Ebony route and want superwideangle lenses without recessed boards, consider the Ebony models with a 'W'. They are limited for focal lengths but the reduced bellows extension pays off at the wide end.

    For my 38XL, I recently swapped a recessed board for a regular board on my SW45, and my (photographic) life has improved... no more frustration trying to cock the recessed shutter using a pencil because it is sitting behind a centre filter and Lee recessed adaptor ring.

    For landscape work on the SW45 I suspect you really only need a recessed board for a 35mm lens. Rise movement is a little tighter with the regular board, but there is about 2cm of movement available. I only use the 38XL with 6x9 and 6x12 (now that's wide) backs.
  5. ...of course with the 'W' models you lose the asymmetric tilt advantage but it wasn't important to me...I'm more of an f/5J -- actually a cheatsheet of arcsin (f/J) -- person.
  6. Maybe a Arca-Swiss FC for ease of use....

    Most cameras, for super wide lens need a bag bellows which can be a pain in the field also. The Ebony non-folders might be a best bet for wide angle ease of use. Your just not going to go real long then. Even the top of the line non-folder 45SU only has 365mm of bellows. Also ALL LF cameras are TRADE OFFS not a one, even the best are going to be best in all areas. The Technika for example is one of the most beloved cameras around. Granted you might not love it, but it's not a BAD camera or a poor design.
  7. For a small lightweight easy-to-pack and carry 4x5, for available accessories, for great support, for a nice selection of lenses in helical mounts, for a graflock back in case you wanted to do 6x12 or 6x9 or 6x7, and last but not least, SPEED of shooting:

    Cambo Wide

    My ultimate lens choices would probably end up more than 3 but since that's what you proposed, here's what I would start with:

    58mmXL SA, 72mmXL SA(or 75mm SA), and 100mm APo-Symmar. Later, I'd add a 150 Apo-Symmar, and possibly a 47mmXL SA.

    I sometimes tote mine in a small handbag to downtown Chicago to do some candid street photography during lunch. Loaded with TMAX 400 speed film, speed and focus are preset and I can literally just point'n'shoot and get big negs.
  8. OH and for lens: Pick your SA XL for the short end. 47, 58?
    A SS 110XL and maybe a Fuji 240 A.
  9. Ed,<P>

    If you thought that I meant the Technika was a bad camera, then I
    apologize and I misspoke.<P>

    I had a Tech III for a long time, and loved it. I messed up one day
    and sold it. I saw the 2000 at PhotoEast and fell in love, but not
    $3800 worth of love. So I settled on the IV. <P>

    I think I'm more bummed about the lenses I bought. The Linhof
    90 6.8 is in that recessed board, and the 240 TeleArton doesn't
    have the button to let you open the lens to focus it. It forces you to
    go to "T" like the old days. I guess I got the older generation of
    the 240s.<P>

    It just brought back the memories of trying to shoot portraits of
    people, and the camera begins to occupy too much of your brain.
    I think that's why I bailed from 4x5. The operation of the camera
    was just sucking too much energy in exchange for the additional
    quality level of the bigger neg. I guess this would be true with any
    4x5, so that's why I'm looking for the best-designed camera I can
    find. <P>

    I even considered the Wide GowlandFlex, with matching 210s for
    people, because you can focus and recompose all the way til the
    second of exposure. But it too has a long list of limitations.<P>

    I also have this GREAT funky lens; a Komura 152 f2.8 (!), which
    is so gorgeous when shot wide open at 2.8; tons of great falloff.
    It's in a Copal3. So if I had that lens, plus an ultrawide, plus a
    240, I think I'd be set. <P>

    I usually shoot always wide open, and I love shallow depth, so
    I'm always on the lookout for fast view lenses to go with this
    Komura. APO it ain't, but that's not what you're going for with that

    I'm just thinking that the whole drop-bed thing with the TechIV
    would get old, and there's got to be a better knob system on
    another camera. <P>

  10. Hi Mark,

    I just looked over your website and all I can say is WOW and don't give up your Hasselblad!!! I take back all the things I was thinking when I read your complaints about using your Tech. ;-)Really really nice work. You have such a feel for that square aspect ratio. Your work has an energy I don't think you'll match with LF.
  11. Send it back.
  12. Mark,

    A quick trip to your web site indicates that I probably should not be posting on
    the same thread as you... Anyhow, here goes...

    Why do you want a 4x5? What's your real intent? Do you have an image in-
    mind that you cannot achieve with your hassy?

    I can't answer your specific question about print quality of digitized images
    from 2 1/4 vs. 4x5. I offer this... After working my way through college by
    working in a professional (Chicago area) photo lab, I saw hundreds of pro-
    quality shots a day. Unless you need the perspective control of a 4x5, you will
    get all the image quality you need using 6x7 or 6x9.

    I see your dilema though... Most of your shots look good as square images.
    Your problem (I'm guessing) is that you want more real-estate across the film
    surface so, you can make better enlargements. Even with the biggest MF
    frame size, you're limited to 6cm on one side. Helluva problem. If you change
    your style to rectangular images, you can get some mileage out of 6x7 or
    (preferrably) 6x9. If you still want to display your images as square, then you'll
    have to find the right 4x5 equipment to suit your needs.

    Hope I made sense.

    Be well.

    Ray C.
  13. Mark,

    As a newbie in 4x5, I can't address your camera or lens questions but I CAN help with the Imacon scanning part.

    I shoot a Hassy and I scan with an Imacon 848 - typically at 16bits. I just checked a recent Hassy shot and a 4x5 that someone else shot and I scanned (and kept a copy because the shot was of me!). Some data for you:

    Both were scanned at the maximum resolution for the Imacon 848 for that format. I don't recall right now but I believe it's 3200 ppi for 6x6cm and 2040 ppi for 4x5". (If you need me to check, I can start up the scanner and do that). The resulting file sizes (again, 16 bit per channel) were:
    -- approx. 420MB for the 4x5
    -- approx. 290MB for the 6x6

    If I go into Photoshop at use the Image size function to resize (but uncheck the resample checkbox) and set the ppi to 304.8 (res 12 for the Lightjet), it tells me I get a print size of about 24"x24" for the hassy shot and about 25"x32" for the 4"x5" - without resampling.

    So if you want to keep a square format and chop off 1" of the neg from the 4x5, the result is about the same size print due to lower scanning resolution on the Imacon for the larger neg. Of course, you can make it bigger by letting Photoshop (or the Lightjet) interpolate.

    All my stuff is color so I can't speak for B&W but I do notice better color and what seems to be better detail when blowing up the 4x5 than the 6x6. Of course, that could be lots of other factors since they were taken with different lighting, different lenses, different photographers, etc...

    Hope that helps.
  14. Take a look at the Arca Swiss Metric with Orbix, with asymmetrical focusing. I regard it preferable to the Ebony, because its all metal frame is more durable. It might be more stable than the TK45S because it has standards on both sides, rather than L-shaped standards. I do not have a problem with camera stability or shake, so I do not regard this as a serious or recurring problem with the TK45S, at least when tripod is solid, wind is minimal (light breeze), or exposures short (a fraction of a second). In a strong breeze, any 4 x 5 camera will shake nmore than a medium format camera. Unlike the Arca Swiss, the Ebony requires only one bellows for wide angles and long focal length--a savings of about $400-500, and a saving of space in the camera bag. Wood can crack or split if the camera is dropped. The asymmetrical focusing eliminates a lot of the hassle of focusing so that you can readily capture near and far. Take a look at any largew format photography book by David Muench (available in most bookstores)and you weill see how wel he sues near and far clompositions with wide angle lenses. You said weight and cost were not a factor of importance. The Ebony costs 2-3x the Arca Swiss F Compact, without Orbix, depending upon configuration, and about 1.5x the AC Metric with Orbix. Get the non-standard Arca Swiss 40 cm rail. You can carry the camera in a Lowe Trek AW camera backpack with the rail fully extended. That means all you have to do is mount the camera on the tripod and you are ready to focus--no unfolding of the camera. The standard Arca Swiss lens board is humongous so get the TK lensboard adapter and have your lenses mounted in the much smaller TK 45 lensboard (which eases storage of the lenses in your camara bag or pack). The knobs on all on the right side and can be tightened or finely adjusted even while wearing gloves. If weight and cost were a factor, I think the TK45S is a better value. The camera center axis lens tilt makes focusing for near and far much easier than base tilt. The TK45S has rear tilt (I am unsure about the Arca Swiss). The available lens rise is tremendous -- all you will ever need. Independent levers on T45S control lens tilt and lens rise-- a very convenient feature. I do not know whether the Arca Swiss adjustments are independent. The TK45S is favored for architectural photography as well as landscape work. For price comparison, check Badger Graphic Sales (Wisconsin), BH PHoto, and Robert White (UK). With press view cameras, like yours, the bed has to be tilted downwards to avoid vignetting of the imaging. Monorail cameras like the TK45S and Arca Swiss ease use of wide angle lenses. They permit longer extensions than cameras like yours. Their main disadvantage is the bellows lacls a clam shell to protect the bellows from abrasion. Your camera can close up into a clam shell configuration, protecting the bellows. Yoru camera does not require a bag bellows, but its estension is limited to 360 mm.
  15. Arca-Swiss FC 4x5 or Canham DLC. With the Canham you'll need a
    recessed board for the 47mm; with the Arca-Swiss you won't, but you will
    need a bag bellows. Both cameras are very straight forward and non fussy to
    use. I have also heard good things about the Walker Titan cameras but have
    yet to see one. I agree that Linhof's and Ebony's -- while extremely fine, well
    made cameras -- are too fussy in usage for me.<P>
    Lenses: 58mm XL, 110mm XL Super Symmar, 210mm f/5.6 Nikkor W.<P>
    Have you shot with a 47mm on a 4x5? The angle of view along the long side
    of the format is just about the same as the 13mm Nikkor on a Nikon 35mm
    SLR body.
  16. To Michael Fox,<P>

    You are a lucky man to have the 848. I lusted after it at
    PhotoEast. I "adapted" my Photo scanner to scan 4x5 last night; I
    simply cut the 645/67 negative carrier; I removed the divider
    between the two format sizes with a blade, and INSTANTLY I had
    a 4x5 film scanner. You must scan in two passes and then
    reassemble. But it saved me thirteen grand...<P>

    My question extended: if taken out to my epson 9600, after being
    scanned on an Imacon, how would the two formats compared at
    35" wide prints on the wall?<P>

    I'm sure you'd see the difference in the 4x5, but would it offset the
    amount of cost, in dollars and pounds, to maintain two camera
    systems? I kinda doubt it...<P>

    Mark Tucker
  17. I agree with Ed Candland. That is a wonderful site. I especially love "Ruth and Sadie on the Beach". Jock Sturges, eat your heart out.
    All very nice work.
  18. Hah. You're the lucky man to have a 9600! I could probably afford the printer but not the bigger house to put it in!

    Short answer is I don't KNOW (for a fact) because I haven't tried it. But I can surmise the following:

    The Imacon 6x6 scan gives me about 7100 pixels square. The 4x5 scan is about 7500 x 9500 (rough numbers). So, if you're using 8x10 aspect ratio cropping, there's definitely more data to enlarge without interpolation. If you want square, however, the difference is less than 10% (7500 vs. 7100). So, given a particular ppi setting for your output, the 4x5 will be somewhat sharper (no interpolation). And, even with interpolation, it will still be somewhat sharper since you started with more data so Photoshop (or the printer) has to make up less.

    Regarding ppi: I print larger prints to the Lightjet which is optimized for 304.8ppi. But my print size is no larger that 16x20 so far, so I can't really comment on what a 35" output would look like. I have an Epson 5500 that I use for proofing and smaller prints and I get excellent results at the 304.8 resolution. I've never been able to get Epson to tell me what the max input resolution is (the resolution beyond which it doesn't matter) so I just leave the file set to 304.8 since it's going to the Lightjet later anyway. I have not experimented with lower resolutions.

    You may be able to print at something lower like 200-205ppi (which would get your hassy 6x6 shot up to about 35") and still get good results. Again, it's something for you to try. Regardless, even if you have to interpolate upwards to 35", you're asking Photoshop to make up fewer pixels with 4x5 cropped to square and way fewer pixels with 4x5 uncropped. That's got to result in sharper pictures.

    I bears repeating that I sense smoother tonality and greater sharpnes as I zoom in on the screen with the 4x5 than with the 6x6 shot but this is just my personal feeling and I have no objective way to measure it. I presume this is due to the fact that there are more particles in a given area of the film vs. the scanner resolution in 4x5 than in 6x6. So with the bigger neg., the scanner "sees" less grain, more continuous tonality. Again, my own speculation.

    BTW, the way you're scanning (neat trick!), you may actually get MUCH more information in your scans than in mine since your scanner is probably using a higher ppi setting since it thinks you're using the medium format holder. (I don't remember the resolutions on the Photo model). Therefore, you'd see a HUGE gain in clarity because you could easily blow the shot up to 35" without any interpolation.

    Oh, and I didn't say it before... your work is beautiful - quite moving.
  19. i have used the technikas for many years and like them very
    much. no camera is quicker to set up in the field (no squaring of
    standards, infinity stops, clicks at zero on all movements, etc.),
    none is easier to use, and none is more rugged. it is also a very
    precise camera, allowing fine adjustment and repeatability. as
    for recessed lens boards, what's the big deal?? i don't get it.
    they are easy to use with the quick release doohickey. now,
    wides are a problem on the tech iv. even with the mandatory
    wide angle focusing device, you can only go down to 55mm (the
    2000 will take a 35mm). indeed, wide angle work beyond 65mm
    is really best down with a specialized wa camera or a rail. but
    from 65 to 400-450, the techs are stupendous. try using yours
    handheld with the rf. you will be surprised at how easily it
    handles -- and very pleased with the quality of your shots.
    needless to say, it takes more than two days to get used to an
    entirely new camera system. i can' t say whether the control
    layout is "intuitive." i have always found it very straightforward. in
    the end, however, once you learn how to work the camera, it
    won't matter how obvious the functions are anyway. do i really
    need the gearshift pattern permanently engraved on my shifter
    knob??? anyway, give your tech a chance. it is one of the few
    mechanical devices ever made that is nearly perfectly designed
    for its intended use. and try some grafmatic holders. another
    mechanical marvel.
  20. went through the same just recently

    ended up with
    1. Ebony 45s
    2. SS 80XL
    3. Symmar 150

    want a 58XL to round things off. that would make three.

    btw - echo the sentiment of other on your site. nice stuff
  21. I probably have my dream camera in a Classic-F Arca. And, I only paid $450 at a swap meet prior to the notariety that Arca gained in the last few years. Since that purchase, I've added the leather W.A. bellows and the 700mm long bellows.

    I'm also intrigued by the Technikardan-S 4x5 that would include a Graflok International back. But, the Arca has broader application. It'll be interesting to see the new Arca recently announced.

    To pick three lenses, I would say the 110 S.A. X.L., an Apo-Symmar 180mm, and the 360 Schneider-Dagor, MC. For closeups, I would want to add a 240mm lens, perhaps an Apo-Ronar. And of course, I would want a complete complement of Schneider lenses for 6x9, definitely all of the most recent design.

    Now, as to my darkroom . . .
  22. I don`t talk about the cameras because it is to different for every guy!
    But lenses recommends are: 55mm APO Grandagon aharper then the Schneider 47XL and 58 XL, 90mm f4.5 Nikkor or Grandagon-N, 210mm Apo Symmar!
    Good luck.
  23. Ebony 45SU, 47XL, 80XL, 110XL. Oh and a 6x12 roll film back!
  24. Michael Fox,

    Epson advises optimum printing at 360dpi. Second choices
    should be in increments of that; next would be 240, then possibly
    180 in extreme examples. Although I've never seen great quality
    reductions at other resolutions, especially if your scan is nice
    and clean.

    I scan everything out of the Imacon at 360. And yes, I do think I'm
    getting a little bonus by rigging my PhotoScanner (3200dpi
    default) the way I did. I'm getting the medformat numbers out of
    large format!

    Mark Tucker
  25. Thank you All. Very Much.

    I feel much more resolved about all this now. (Maybe it was the
    eight hours sleep...)

    I also must put in a good word for Robert White in England. I
    have written to him several times in research for the right pick of
    camera, and he's just an overall nice guy. (He says he has an
    open box 45SU right now for a slight reduction in price, but it's
    still $3650 for the body alone. Yikes). But I support his business
    practices; good prices and personal service.


    In the end, I'll probably stick with this body (TechIV), and take all
    the money I'm saving on not buying an Ebony, and buy some
    killer sharp lenses.

    Roger Michel makes some good points, (even better received by
    me, because he's not making me write large checks for new
    bodies). But he's right; take a breath and give it some time.

    I appreciate everyone's contribution, especially on
    recommendations on lenses.

    Thank you.

    Mark Tucker

  26. Just to prove that I have credibility to be on this thread with you
    Advanced Guys with all this incredible photographic gear, please
    review my finely-crafted, precision-geared, masterpiece called
    The PlungerCam. It's on my site. <P>

    http://marktucker.com/plungercam/ <P>

    It is now in the Home Depot Hall of Fame, with endorsements
    from Liquid Nails, Vivitar, and Stanley Tool. Many cheap drill bits
    valiantly gave their lives in the spirit of Creation. I showed the
    lens to the main Hasselblad Tech Designer in NYC at
    PhotoEast, and he laughed at me to my face. He politely turned
    down my request for Hasselblad to patent my device, (as he
    rollled his eyes to the guy standing next to him). <P>

    Mark Tucker <BR>
    Redneck Product Designer
  27. For lenses, the notion of power factor:
    - normal based on diagonal length of film
    - 1/2 normal for wide
    - 2x normal for long
  28. My personal experience is that even when using T-Max, images look better the less they are enlarged. There is a reason why so many product shots and food shots are taken with an 8x10. The difference is there, even when the image is printed in a magazine. It's up to you to decide where to draw the line.

    You can resolve your scanning/resolution issue without having to buy any more equipment. Just take a photo of a brick building from far away, using both cameras, on an overcast day. Use the films of your choice. Scan them and see what you get. If the difference is negligable to you, then choose accordingly.

    Keep in mind that when you shoot with most large format cameras, you get view camera movements, which affect the sharpness of images and allow you to shoot many scenes with the lens open much wider. If you often shoot "near/far" images with a medium format camera, then you're probably using either a wide lens, or stopping it down to the point where you're tossing out image quality.
  29. To David Caldwell,

    How is the AS asymmetrical? The Orbix is a lens axis tilt feature that really only is on axis with no front rise. Yes, if you used rise then the lens tilt would be "asymmetrical" but only if the tilt is in relation to the nodal point of the lens. Asymmetrical tilts and swing work best on the GG since the camera designer can measure exactly where to place the pivot point. Every lens has a different position for it's nodal point; the only camera I know of that could be adjusted for different lenses was that carbon fiber camera from a few years ago that did not stay on the market for very long.
  30. Mark, Michael Reichmann's web site has two essays on the "need" for large format.

    Pro LF: http://www.luminous-landscape.com/essays/4x5.shtml

    Con LF: http://www.luminous-landscape.com/essays/LF-Con.htm

  31. This morning, I made a list of all the lenses that were recommended on this thread:
    47XL SA
    110XL Super Symmar
    55 APO Grandagon
    90 4.5 Nikkorv 90 Grandagon N
    210 APO Symmar
    240 APO Ronar
    210 5.6 Nikkor W
    240 Fuji A
    72 XL
    75 SA
    100 APO Symmar
    I then sent that list to three trusted friends. Here is one interesting response. I wonder if anyone else would add to this. Since I shoot mainly BW, and prefer "funky" to anything too "clinical', his suggestion made me take note, and also to research these older Goerz lenses. For example, the whole reason I bought the 4x5 was so that I could shoot it with my cherished (and funky) F2.8 Komura 152mm. My fantasy is a view lens that's about f2 or even 1.4... With absolutely zero depth of focus.
    Mark, Don't buy any of those new fangled lenses. Look for a gold or red dot Dagor, Artar or some other ancient glass. That newer APO stuff can take the magic out of a shot. Unfortunately, those old Goerz lenses don't come very wide. Widest I've seen at a glance in Shutterbug is the 3 5/8 inch F 8.0 WA gold rim Dagor in Rapax synchro shutter at $500 at Brooklyn Camera Exchange. Ken Mar Camera has a 4 3/8 inch Dagor F8.0 for $400. I don't know anything about those lenses.
    Dumb ass me sold the best lens for you; a 135 Protar F2.0. It didn't have any coverage at 4X5, but the bokeh was worth the light fall off.

    Does he make a valid point? Can these old lenses be mounted into modern shutters for convenience of operation?
    Thanks, Mark Tucker
  32. Mark,

    I own and use the Ebony 45SU with a 75mm Grandagon WITH a recessed board. If you do not like recessed boards then probably the Ebony folding series of cameras would not make you happy.

    I CAN use the 75 Grandagon without the recessed board but it is a hell of alot easier with the recessed board.

    Good Hunting,
  33. To answer the last question, you go no further than www.skgrimes.com. If it can reasonably be put together, Steve's your man. Nearest thing to a modern religion on this forum. Might check with Jim at Midwest - he often has a bunch of old barrels listed on mpex (www.mpex.com) (If I don't refer you there, Eugene will! :). Might see (have) something you like, and Steve might be able to get it in a shutter for you.
  34. To Paul,

    Yes, i agree about Mr. Grimes. We've been emailing each other
    today. He sounds like a magician and a craftsman.

    I found a bunch of older stuff too at Glenn Evans' site:


    I really wish I could RENT some of these lenses and actually
    shoot them before I bought something. Maybe Lens and Repro
    would have enough in rental.

    It's so hard to really picture in your mind what people are
    referring to when they say "that uncoated Dagor" quality. I would
    go for old and flared any day, but somewhere in the framed I'd
    also like something to be razor sharp.

    Thanks, Mark Tucker
  35. "Does he make a good point?"

    Not on the wides. The older designs can't begin to compare to modern wides optics that were available in the 60's, let alone those available today.

    One case that can be made for older wide-angles is for 8x10. The weight of current wides goes into multiple pounds. You don't need as much enlargement for 8x10, so some of the older wides can produce excellent results, like the W.F. Ektars.

    As for longer focal lengths, you can find very fine lenses, like the Dagor or Red Dot Arter in older lenses. But, there are obviously very fine lenses available that are made today. In fact, some of the older lenses, like the older gold-dot Dagors, bring higher prices than current used models in the same focal lengths of lenses made today.

    Also, you left one recommended lens off the list: a 360mm Schneider-Dagor MC. This is a modern lens made in the 80's from a formula that was patented in about 1895.
  36. I previously supplied an answer in which I spoke of the Arca Swiss having an "asymmetrical" lens tilt feature. A reader questioned the accuracy of that description, in which he stated that the option was merely center axis tilt. My understanding is that Arca Swiss offers three options: base tilt, center axis tilt, and the "dynamic" tilt (asymmetrical) option.

    Mark Tucker also asked about which three lenses would be "best," and later posted a list of the recommendations. No one mentioned the Schneider Apo-Symmar-L lenses that will replace the current Apo-Symmars, beginning January 2003. Accørding to the current issue of View Camera, Nov-Dec 2002, p. 48, the front element for the Apo-Symmar-L 120 mm focal length will have a front filter size 52 mm; the 150 mm focal length a 58 mm front filter size, the 180 mm focal length a 72 mm filter size, the 210 mm focal length a 77 mm filter size, and the 300 mm focal length a 105 mm filter size. The 135 mm focal length has been eliminated. I do not see how anyone can consider these varying front filter sizes convenient for landscape photographers. My personal preference is to choose lenses whose front filter size does not exceed 67 mm. For example, the 75 mm 4.5 Rodenstock, the 110 mm XL Schneider, the 180 mm Rodenstock Apo Sironar or current version of the Schneider 180 Apo-Symmar, the 240 mm Schneider G-Claron, could all be fitted with a 67 mm filter. A step ring could then be used for lenses with 49 mm front filter size.
  37. David, It does look like there's been an increase in filter size for the L series. Also these are larger than the Rodenstock S series, across the board. Plus from what I have read these are going to be replacements to the old series not in addition to as with the Rodenstock N and S series. So this might get to be a concideration to field photographers. I'm not sure I'd agree with 'I do not see how anyone can consider these varying front filter sizes convenient for landscape photographers' That would mean adding weight to the lenes the didn't require larger filters in the interest of unity (as is the case with the newer Fuji CM/W lenes). I prefer to make the choice myself and use step-up rings.
  38. Thanks to everyone who answered my questions about the Tech

    After having it for a few days, I'm sending it all back.

    It's an engineering marvel, and it's amazing how it unfolds, but
    it's too quirky for serious picture-taking. The knobs are just too
    tiny and finnicky for me. I want a big round knob that's easily
    findable, without having to hunt for it.

    I'm sure this camera was perfect as a press camera, but maybe
    not so hot for my shooting style.

    Thanks everyone,

    Mark Tucker
  39. I had $50 that said you'd do just that.....;-)
    I think you and that hassy are life long partners.
  40. I am also an Hasselblad shooter, forget 4x5, go to 8X10 like me, with a 150XL schneider(in a future for me), a 300 apo rodenstock (actually), and a 600 fuji (soon,I hope) .
  41. Ladies and Gentlemen,

    We have a resolution here. Finally. I got an Ebony 45SU from Jeff
    Wheeler at Quality Camera in Atlanta. I got the award for the
    Customer Who Stayed the Longest and Wouldn't Leave.

    I was headed to Atlanta anyway to research the gallery situation.
    Then when I found out that Jeff was an Ebony dealer, then that
    was the clincher.

    It was funny how it all happened. I didn't really like the camera
    when I first played with it; I'm not sure why. Maybe I was scared of
    it. I looked at all the other cameras, and almost decided on a
    metal Toyo 45 field camera, which was nice and simple.

    But it was the possibility of shooting with the ultrawide lenses,
    plus the overal simplicity of the camera and the knobs that
    sealed the deal finally. Jeff put it on a tripod, we went out in the
    parking lot, and within five minutes I knew that was the camera.
    So simple; just grab that big lever to move the front standard.
    The rise and fall were also super easy to deal with, without
    having to look around to the front.

    At first I didn't think I'd do a lot of movements, but once I started
    playing with this 75mm lens, and I saw how I could throw the
    focus so easily, it became clear that the Ebony was the one.

    So, again, thanks to everyone who contributed to this search.

    I must say, in addition, if you guys have never been to Quality
    Camera in Atlanta, it's a great experience. It's set up in an older
    ranch-style home that's been converted to a business. Very
    warm and cozy inside. Beautiful prints on the wall. Cameras
    everywhere to touch and hold. Jeff obviously loves photography;
    ask see his office where his photo books are stored, you'll see.
    You can read and research and ask questions on these boards,
    but there's nothing like the luxury of being able to go to one
    place, see various cameras in person, throw a lens on them,
    and actually work with them. Plus Jeff is super-low-pressure; he
    knows these cameras are just tools for making images; the
    cameras aren't there to be worshiped or admired; they're just
    tools. So his head is in the right place.

    All in all, I feel excited to start working with this camera. I took the
    old road back from Atlanta to Nashville, and stumbled on a
    gorgeous old diner in Chattanooga at sunset. I whipped off the
    road, threw the camera on my lame tripod, and was shooting in
    no time. I love the Hasselblad, but I also look forward to learning
    from the different workflow of the 4x5.


  42. So...What glass did you end up with to go with the Ebony?
  43. You don't wanna know about my lenses. I think I was born
    upside down or something, because my taste in imagery is
    pretty different from a lot of the guys who want to read Lens Test
    Charts, etc.

    My "magic" lens is an old funky 152mm Komura f2.8. I like to
    shoot it wide open and tilt it to throw focus.

    I did buy from Jeff a used Schneider 75, but I'm almost regretting
    it already. It's "too good".

    I'm going to experiment with maybe putting my loupe lens on it
    and see if it'll cover. Or else, Jeff told me about some
    single-element glass; the more primitive the better. But that
    Ebony is so sweet because of all the movements; I can get stuff
    where almost NOTHING is in focus, which to me, sometimes
    makes a pretty nice picture.

    If anybody knows of any uncoated glass lenses like that, I'd love
    to know about them.

    MT, http://marktucker.com

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