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Thread: Linhof Master Technika vs. Chamonix 45N-2 vs. Ebony ?

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    Linhof Master Technika vs. Chamonix 45N-2 vs. Ebony ?

    I am slowly moving towards my camera purchase, having already picked up the following lenses: Schneider 90mm f/5,6 Super-Angulon MC, Linhof Select, Schneider 135mm f/3,8 Xenar, Schneider 210mm f/5,6 APO-Symmar.

    I was planning towards a Chamonix 45N-1, now 45N-2 (which now comes with the Universal Bellows as standard, as well as a way of quickly removing the Fresnel), but last weekend, I had a short demonstration of a Linhof Master Technika, and was extremely impressed by the cleverness of the design, and the large variety of movements possible with a camera which at first glance would appear to have almost none. Some gymnastics is required for large movements, but smaller movements should be as easy on this camera as on most regular field cameras. The MT I saw was in great shape, for 1500 Euro, compared to the roughly 580 Euro for a 45N-1, or 640 Euro for the 45N-2. On the other hand, the Chamonix cameras would instantly lose value, whereas the MT would maintain value for some time, so if I wanted to leave 4x5 photography, the MT makes at least as much sense as the Chamonix.

    Then there is the Ebony faction here, who strongly recommend various Ebony models. There are too many for me to get a good overview of, but I am looking for something which folded is no larger than the MT, i.e. 180x180x110mm. The price is a concern, so I would only consider Ebony models in the same neighbourhood as the MT, i.e. 1500 Euro. They could be used, of course, but not beat up.

    My use will generally be for fairly straight photography, initially in cemetaries, later also of mechanical details on trains and so on, but no big plans for architectural work. Hence I just need a modicum of movements, but want to leave the door open a bit for later.

    I have put together the following table comparing the Chamonix and the MT, and am wondering what Ebony might come in the right price and size range second-hand. In general, space is more of a concern than weight, although I wouldn't want anything much heavier than the MT.

    Comments?

    P.S. "bellows" in the table means limited only by the bellows.
    Last edited by carstenw; 9th February 2010 at 13:44.
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    Re: Linhof Master Technika vs. Chamonix 45N-2 vs. Ebony ?

    What makes you think the Cham is going to LOSE that much value? They are quite popular as evidenced by that fact you have to wait in line for an N-2.

    The Tech is a fine camera, but I suspect you will tire of the gymnastics involved with that back tilt mechanism. First thing you need to understand is once you adjust it, NOTHING will remain in focus on your GG as the entire rear standard has moved rearward, and the front standard needs to be brought rearward. So it's going to be a coarse focus, adjust rear, re-focus, tweak rear, refocus, fine tweak rear if needed, fine focus, shoot. Let's not even mention you need to loosen and re-tighten FOUR of those little knobs each time you want to adjust one axis just a tiny bit... Most folks that own the Tech and use it in the field, NEVER bother with rear standard movements unless they absolutely need them for that reason. It's seriously the LAST camera I would recommend for somebody wanting to "learn" view cameras. I'd rather see you out there with a Sinar P or Toyo studio monorail. With the Ebony, it's focus, pull rear for swing and tilt, check focus -- oh, you're still in focus, and not only that, everywhere is in focus! -- shoot. What a joy . With the Cham, it has rear base tilt like the Tech, so similar to the Tech there, but not as bad on swing, so easier to get there more quickly. Seriously, the Ebony is a joy to use, just ask anybody who owns one. I like the non-folding 45SU the best, and if you want tons of movements in a folder, then the SV45 U2. The strength of the Cham is it's phenomenal rigidity and very light weight -- all at a very attractive price.
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    Re: Linhof Master Technika vs. Chamonix 45N-2 vs. Ebony ?

    I didn't realize a brand new Chamoix was so inexpensive. I just had a look at their website......it's real bargain and looks to be very well made (from the photos). Hard to go wrong there.

    Gary

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    Re: Linhof Master Technika vs. Chamonix 45N-2 vs. Ebony ?

    Jack, the Chamonix will lose value if I resell since I am buying new. No one would pay me back new price + shipping + VAT + import duties... The MT I could buy locally, already depreciated.

    The point about repeated tuning is a good one. I need to think about how much I would use movements in my shooting. However, as you mention, the Chamonix is not a whole lot better there. The Ebony is where things start really getting better. How large is a 45SU collapsed?

    My main problem with the Ebonys is the high new price and the lack of selection on the used market. The SV45U2 is 3x the price of a used MT, which is already much more than a Chammy. Really, I should be looking at something with centre or asymmetrical tilts and swings on the rear, if I want a better workflow than the MT (and Chammy), but at a much lower price than an Ebony, yet still light and compact. Suggestions?
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    Re: Linhof Master Technika vs. Chamonix 45N-2 vs. Ebony ?

    Another choice is a Technikardan. I know where I can get a basic one for around 900 Euro, and this camera does fold down compactly. Does anyone here have experience with this?
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    Re: Linhof Master Technika vs. Chamonix 45N-2 vs. Ebony ?

    The TK (Technikardan) was my first view camera. It is a very good camera once you get the hang of folding and unfolding it. It's main upside is very large bellows draw within a compact and relatively lightweight package. It's downside is it isn't very rigid, especially so once you extend it beyond about the 210 range. It will do yaw-free movements (see Stroebel) if you position it 90 on it's side.

    My main problem with the Ebonys is the high new price and the lack of selection on the used market.
    And exactly why do you think that used selection is so limited?

    The 45SU is actually fairly flat when collapsed, so about the same depth and width as most any other folder, just a bit taller. However, it is arguably also the fastest 4x5 to set up. I often stored mine in my pack face up with the lens mounted. With the RRS QR release, total set-up time is measured in seconds, not minutes.

    Fair point on the Cham resale after VAT and all that. But you should know that when I sold mine, it sold for $50 less than the new price.

    Another great choice is an Arca F-Metric, but I'd definitely try and get one with front Obix tilts.

    Honestly, for the money, a used Sinar P (big studio monorail) may be a viable choice. The downside is size and weight, but it has assm tilts and swings on BOTH front and rear axes. You can sometimes find a "field P" that has a P geared assym standard on the rear and a basic F standard up front -- chepaer and lighter than a full on P.
    Jack
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    Re: Linhof Master Technika vs. Chamonix 45N-2 vs. Ebony ?

    I saw a comment somewhere that to use lenses wider than 115mm on the TK requires the wide angle bellows. If true, this is a no-go. Too bad; neat camera.

    I am guessing that when you sold your Chamonix for $50 less than you bought it for, you are counting only the camera price? Shipping from China to Europe, 20% VAT, and customs fees (20-40 Euro), are all things I would take the hit on. I would buy it second-hand locally, but there aren't any.

    The 45SU is a dream camera, but I have seen only one sold second-hand, and the savings were not that great over new. The Ebony cameras I have looked at as being suitable for my uses are all 3000 Euro, or thereabouts. Given that my first thought was a 600 Euro camera, this is a significant increase. Even if I save 20% by buying second-hand, and I think this is optimistic, it is still a barrel of money. I think an Ebony might be in my future as a second camera, but not a first.

    Aside: does anyone have exact measurements of a collapsed 45SU?

    The MT would for me be as far removed as the Ebony, except that there is a flood of them on the second-hand market, keeping the prices in check. As soon as a V costs much more than a IV, it doesn't sell. The same for the MT over the V. 1500 Euro for the MT is a very nice deal, so I can stomach the extra cost, especially because there is no new+VAT+shipping+customs hit for me, so I might lose nothing by owning one for a year.

    However, the MT (and to a similar extent, the Chammy), only make sense for me if I don't have to use rear swings and tilts on every shot, so I need to look at my photos to decide how often I would have used it.

    About Sinars and other studio cameras, the 3kg of the TK and some Ebony cameras is already pushing my upper limit. The 2.6kg of the MT is merely okay, and the 1.3kg of the Chammy is a breath of fresh air. I don't want to carry too much, or I know that in 2 years I will be shooting a DSLR again.
    Carsten - Website

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    Re: Linhof Master Technika vs. Chamonix 45N-2 vs. Ebony ?

    +1 on a used Sinar P (or other monorail view camera). With one of these, you can get a great camera and learn alot about view camera movements (even if you don't want to stay with a monorail forever). There must be some of these available in Europe. I bought a really excellent condition Sinar P last year from a GetDPI member for $570 USD....it's a beauty. Unless you're planning to hike into the backcountry with the camera....a monorail is not a problem. For the first 15 years I had a view camera....it was a monorail of one type or another.

    Gary

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    Re: Linhof Master Technika vs. Chamonix 45N-2 vs. Ebony ?

    I used my 90 on the TK all the time with standard bellows, the only issue is shifts are severely limited because of the long bellows (that's the problem with overly long bellows). The bag bellows allows huge shifts and takes seconds to swap in, but it is something els to carry. Again, why the Ebony (or Cham) with universal style bellows is so attractive -- and why I think the Cham 45 N2 is worth the extra money.
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    Re: Linhof Master Technika vs. Chamonix 45N-2 vs. Ebony ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    The Tech is a fine camera, but I suspect you will tire of the gymnastics involved with that back tilt mechanism. First thing you need to understand is once you adjust it, NOTHING will remain in focus on your GG as the entire rear standard has moved rearward, and the front standard needs to be brought rearward. So it's going to be a coarse focus, adjust rear, re-focus, tweak rear, refocus, fine tweak rear if needed, fine focus, shoot. Let's not even mention you need to loosen and re-tighten FOUR of those little knobs each time you want to adjust one axis just a tiny bit... Most folks that own the Tech and use it in the field, NEVER bother with rear standard movements unless they absolutely need them for that reason.
    I have been mulling over this comment some more, and it occurs to me that you use back movements different than I thought I would be. If I understand correctly, a typical workflow would be to point the camera in the right direction, do a quick focus, adjust the back for perspective and shape, and then focus with the front, possibly tilting for control of the sharp plane.

    Used this way, the MT's back construction hardly seems to be a disadvantage.

    So, what am I missing?
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    Re: Linhof Master Technika vs. Chamonix 45N-2 vs. Ebony ?

    It occurs to me that your review of the Chamonix covers mainly mechanics, and little anecdotal description. How was it to work with, which lenses did you use most, and why did you sell it?
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    Re: Linhof Master Technika vs. Chamonix 45N-2 vs. Ebony ?

    Re use: For landscape, most folks speed their process by "pulling" the back instead of tilting the front. I usually leveled the camera and coarse focused, then composed. Once composed, I adjusted the PoF to maximize focus for elements I felt important. On most cameras with axial movements, I usually I did this with combinations of front tilt and rear swing. This included the Cham, since you can push one side in while pulling the other side out, leaving the central axis in focus. On the Ebony it was often mostly everything done at the rear, or depending on subject, front swing rear tilt. The strength was the ease and convenience of having BOTH assym movements at the rear and axial up front, best of all worlds for rapid scheimpflug adjustment.

    Why I sold the Cham and how it was in use. I'll repeat once more -- I owned the Cham and the Ebony at the same time. I used the Cham when I wanted the lightest weight possible, like longer hikes from the car or multi-day treks, as it had all the movements I needed, but was lighter and more compact than the Ebony while being very rigid --- most uber light view cameras are not very rigid, the Cham and Phillips it's copied from are the exceptions.

    In use the Cham was fine, but takes a few field trips to feel the Zen of it -- you can do everything you're likely need to do, and it's very light and rigid, and it's economical. The Ebony by contrast is about three exposures for most users to get the Zen . I sold because I moved to digital. The Ebony and my exotic glass went first because of the greater funds generated. I kept my Cham, 4 boxes of readyloads, three lenses, meter and loupe on the off-chance I'd miss the view camera. It sat for over 6 months without being used once, so eventually I sold the Cham and lenses. It wasn't until my selloff last month that I finally go rid of my meter and back-up loupe. I kept my beloved 8x for when I get a tech camera or view cam for digital. I still miss the view camera, just not the film workflow.

    The advantage of STARTING with the Cham is it's economical, and a great second cam if you decide to pop for something more exotic later on, like an Ebony. Oh, and the Cham and Ebony (and Tech and TK) all use the same lensboards. You might be surprised to learn I'd sometimes leave both the Ebony and Cham set up with lenses in the back of the car, and just grab whichever one the image called for. Usually the 90 or 110 was on the Ebony and the 150 or 210 on the Cham.

    PS: One disadvantage to the Cham design is changing focals takes added time, because you need to reposition the front standard in a new threaded slot for the longer or shorter lens. We're talking a few minutes is all, but notable when the light is changing fast and you want a different focal. By contrast, Cham or other is just extending or retracting the bed.
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    Re: Linhof Master Technika vs. Chamonix 45N-2 vs. Ebony ?

    Thanks for explaining why you got out of LF. I guess you, being a pro and presumably selling prints, the impetus is a little different than for people like me, who only have to please themselves. I am getting into LF precisely because it is a little quirky and slow And for the added flexibility and resolution over MF film.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    Re use: For landscape, most folks speed their process by "pulling" the back instead of tilting the front. I usually leveled the camera and coarse focused, then composed. Once composed, I adjusted the PoF to maximize focus for elements I felt important. On most cameras with axial movements, I usually I did this with combinations of front tilt and rear swing. This included the Cham, since you can push one side in while pulling the other side out, leaving the central axis in focus. On the Ebony it was often mostly everything done at the rear, or depending on subject, front swing rear tilt. The strength was the ease and convenience of having BOTH asym movements at the rear and axial up front, best of all worlds for rapid scheimpflug adjustment.
    Okay, so if I understand correctly, when you don't need the back to correct perspective or fix forms, then it is useful to have to speed up the rest of the corrections. In that sense, if one were to use a more traditional LF workflow, the MT doesn't really get in the way of that, it is simply lacking some flexibility to use back movements for convenience and speed. Food for thought.

    I am in a bit of a quandary, as is easy to tell. The Chamonix appeals to me as a logical and good starting point, but on the other hand, the MT really fascinates me, and I loved handling it, so I guess there is a little illogical passion in that one. Maybe I should try to get my hands on one again somehow before deciding. This could prove difficult though, as the seller lives in Munich.
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    Re: Linhof Master Technika vs. Chamonix 45N-2 vs. Ebony ?

    Quote Originally Posted by carstenw View Post
    I guess you, being a pro and presumably selling prints, the impetus is a little different than for people like me, who only have to please themselves.
    Just a note: there are photographers selling prints and using LF

    I think Jack was just tired of the film workflow as his work is all mediated through the computer. We're talking shoot, send out for processing and the time involved there (or develop at home with all those extra headaches), scan, dust-bust, and you're now at the same point you are after just shooting the digital camera without having the ability to chimp.

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    Re: Linhof Master Technika vs. Chamonix 45N-2 vs. Ebony ?

    i will go with an arca F line field... the best one is the 110/141

    Precise, all movements available with short lenses, can be pack very well...
    Badger graphic have 3 second hand offers at the moment !

    In my opinion, the technikardan S is not stable enought... i had one for a year, before buying an arca to replace it !

    Tecnika is a pain with wide angle lens... but really good with a 150...

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    Re: Linhof Master Technika vs. Chamonix 45N-2 vs. Ebony ?

    Hmm, it looks like an interesting camera, but according to specs on B&H, the front rise is limited to 25mm, it has only base tilt, and the maximum extension is 240mm, not even enough for my 210mm lens, really. Finally, it has different lens boards than I do. I think it wouldn't make me very happy.
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    Re: Linhof Master Technika vs. Chamonix 45N-2 vs. Ebony ?

    Carsten,

    Coming from the noob that I am, FWIW, I think you'd be hard pressed to find a better deal than a new Chamonix [email protected] $860 USD, or the [email protected] $778 USD. I realize that you have additional costs to consider to take possession, but why worry about what you MIGHT do in regards to selling at some point in the future?

    Making an assumption now about future events falls into the category of "self-fulfilling prophecies." Who knows, you just might sell it for what you paid for it!

    On a different note, you stated in a previous post that the 45n-2 now comes with the universal bellows as "standard." I can't seem to find any information in that regard.

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    Re: Linhof Master Technika vs. Chamonix 45N-2 vs. Ebony ?

    I think you should buy the Tech --- only way you'll get it out of your system... Bottom line is all of them do the same basic thing -- hold a lens in place and film in place all in a light-tight container. And all of them have enough movements for what you need to do.
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    Re: Linhof Master Technika vs. Chamonix 45N-2 vs. Ebony ?

    I'll repeat what I said before - keep your investment down, three years from now you'll either not shoot LF anymore or use another camera based on what you learned using your first camera.
    Monochrome: http://mochro.com

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    Re: Linhof Master Technika vs. Chamonix 45N-2 vs. Ebony ?

    Quote Originally Posted by lilmsmaggie View Post
    On a different note, you stated in a previous post that the 45n-2 now comes with the universal bellows as "standard." I can't seem to find any information in that regard.
    That was directly from Hugo Zhang when I asked him to add me to the waiting list. The other change was not a hole in the Fresnel, but some way to quickly remove it. I don't know that either of these is a certainty, but that is apparently what they currently plan to do with the 45N-2. I guess we will get it confirmed when there is an official announcement.
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    Re: Linhof Master Technika vs. Chamonix 45N-2 vs. Ebony ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    I think you should buy the Tech --- only way you'll get it out of your system... Bottom line is all of them do the same basic thing -- hold a lens in place and film in place all in a light-tight container. And all of them have enough movements for what you need to do.
    Funny, I had that thought myself... I am currently *very* curious about it, the price is right (if it is indeed still available), and if I don't like it, I can sell it in 6-12 months and get something else.

    Lars, I am in the process of selling some items which remove the concern over the initial difference in price, so I am thinking more about long-term value, where the Master Technika may well beat the Chamonix. At least, it seems more likely for the balance to tilt in this direction than the other, given the new Chamonix, VAT, shipping and customs fees, as opposed to the already well depreciated MT, and a local purchase.

    Ultimately, if I get the Master Technika, I will either keep it or sell it for something quite different, there is no upgrade path from it; it is already the ultimate in its genre. However, if I get the Chamonix and like that kind of camera, there is a distinct possibility that I might switch for an Ebony one day.

    There are many ways to think about it, but I have kind of made my peace with the fact that whichever way I start, I will have a great camera, and in the worst case, the open possibility to switch to the other.
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    Re: Linhof Master Technika vs. Chamonix 45N-2 vs. Ebony ?

    I think that is sound logic carsten -- and Lars is correct: No matter what you start with today, you will likely be shooting something different 6 months from now. The only three field cameras I know folks have stayed in love with over time, are the Ebony, the Phillips (and also Cham since it is a copy) and the Arca F-line.
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    Re: Linhof Master Technika vs. Chamonix 45N-2 vs. Ebony ?

    I did a quick weight-comparison of my kit for my current project, and thought I would post it for others to see. Since the Contax 645 doesn't have an L-bracket, I cannot use it with the Burzynski, which penalizes the MF kit a bit (I take the Manfrotto 405 in that case). The highlighted numbers are for the Master Tech, and the Chamonix would only differ in the camera's weight. The Contax kit should be self-explanatory. I often also carry a book in my Tenba, which would tend to reduce the difference in weight, proportionally. The weight of the Tenba already includes small items like lens cloth, etc. I still need to add a dark cloth, but I guess they are not so heavy.
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    Re: Linhof Master Technika vs. Chamonix 45N-2 vs. Ebony ?

    You want the Tech. Buy the Tech. If you find yourself wishing you had more movements. Sell it. Come back to this post and buy one of those cameras. Great advice all around. I have a Tech 3 or 4(honestly I don't care which it is)Works great.
    Can you just borrow a camera from someone and go make a couple of pictures? I think you'll know pretty quick how you want to work.

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    Re: Linhof Master Technika vs. Chamonix 45N-2 vs. Ebony ?

    Quote Originally Posted by jeffvk View Post
    You want the Tech. Buy the Tech.


    I was watching this YouTube video which very quickly made me realize the value of asymmetrical movements. Somehow I had in mind that the workflow would be more fluid than jerky like this, but I guess without geared swings and tilts you have to do it like this. The movie also made me realize that it is not necessarily easy to see which way to swing or tilt, if you are already close.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_RgL2MKfWTo

    However, if the corners of his cereal box had not been on the asymmetrical lines, this feature would probably have gotten in the way more than it would have helped.

    I also don't quite get why when setting up the swings, he focuses on one corner, then swings, then re-focuses on that corner, checks the other, and so on.

    The accuracy would only be about half, but wouldn't it be much quicker to work like you would with an asymmetrical camera, i.e. focus on something in the middle, then swing until the edge was sharp, done, without re-focusing? For tilts, this wouldn't work with base tilts, but it would with axial tilts.
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    Re: Linhof Master Technika vs. Chamonix 45N-2 vs. Ebony ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lars Vinberg View Post
    I'll repeat what I said before - keep your investment down, three years from now you'll either not shoot LF anymore or use another camera based on what you learned using your first camera.
    That is what I did --- Shen Hao TFC45-IIB non folder, which was cheap in comparison to most... and lenses off of Ebay. I upgraded to Maxwell screen, a well worthy investment...

    Works great, and is a sold keeper!

    Anders

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    Re: Linhof Master Technika vs. Chamonix 45N-2 vs. Ebony ?

    Quote Originally Posted by carstenw View Post


    I was watching this YouTube video which very quickly made me realize the value of asymmetrical movements. Somehow I had in mind that the workflow would be more fluid than jerky like this, but I guess without geared swings and tilts you have to do it like this. The movie also made me realize that it is not necessarily easy to see which way to swing or tilt, if you are already close.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_RgL2MKfWTo

    However, if the corners of his cereal box had not been on the asymmetrical lines, this feature would probably have gotten in the way more than it would have helped.

    I also don't quite get why when setting up the swings, he focuses on one corner, then swings, then re-focuses on that corner, checks the other, and so on.

    The accuracy would only be about half, but wouldn't it be much quicker to work like you would with an asymmetrical camera, i.e. focus on something in the middle, then swing until the edge was sharp, done, without re-focusing? For tilts, this wouldn't work with base tilts, but it would with axial tilts.
    em, that appears to be a video of some bulgarian idol show, funny but i suspect its not what you had in mind

    Did you mean this one?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gR4m70xr9mE

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    Re: Linhof Master Technika vs. Chamonix 45N-2 vs. Ebony ?

    Huh? Funny, how did that happen. I guess the URL didn't correspond to what I was seeing. That was a link I posted for the benefit of one Ken Lee on LFP

    Yes, your link is the right one, thanks! Isn't there a blush icon here somewhere?
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    Re: Linhof Master Technika vs. Chamonix 45N-2 vs. Ebony ?

    Well, I hemed and hawed for a year.

    Now I'm committed. Placed my order today for a 45N-2 YIPPPEEEE!

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    Re: Linhof Master Technika vs. Chamonix 45N-2 vs. Ebony ?

    Congrats, you will love the little Cham!!!!
    Jack
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    Re: Linhof Master Technika vs. Chamonix 45N-2 vs. Ebony ?

    I'll add my 2 cents as I traveled a *very* similar path-- a gradual step up from 35mm to MF to LF. Although in all honesty this is a delightful thread, so I am mostly just echoing here.

    First, I completely "get" the interest in the MT -- I maintain a pretty healthy fascination with the engineering and overall feel of the camera. Every time I have the opportunity to fiddle with one I start following auctions.. In my case, the combination of the weight (I'm pretty small) and, as Jack described so clearly, the tweaky nature of the back tilt usually makes me back off.

    I remember being warned that I would not stick with my first LF camera- figured everyone was wrong because I had done so much research--- bought a nice Shen-Hao. Never meshed with that camera-- it was completely amusing, here everyone raved about them and every outing with it felt like a bad blind date. I finally switched to the original Cham 45N-1 and it was like night and day. Just feels intuitive, is a joy to hike with and to use. It is definitely one of the best bangs-for-the-buck out there. I think the only camera I would trade it for is an Ebony. But I can't rationalize the cost of the Ebony ... yet .

    I think one of the very best things about LF is that you aren't locked in by your glass -- the freedom to trade among different cameras is a huge advantage and is so different from the smaller formats and their "systems" that it takes some time to get used to. So, while it feels sort of nuts to buy a camera with the thought that you may just sell it and buy another in the relatively near future -- I think that is just the nature of LF, and you should resign yourself to it (and enjoy). Besides, if you buy good gear and treat it well, the resale is often quite good, as Jack mentioned. I usually just chalk up any loss to a "rental" fee and go forward.

    So if you're feeling a match with the MT -- go for it.

    Oh and a nice starter lens set-- at first I was amazed at how I could spend an entire trip using 2 lenses without feeling constrained. Sometimes only used one...

    Enjoy,

    JT

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    Re: Linhof Master Technika vs. Chamonix 45N-2 vs. Ebony ?

    Hello JT, and thanks for your thoughts. Yes, the MT is very attractive, and I am still thinking about that camera, and if I should invest in it. I suppose I will continue to think about this until I have enough money to buy it (or the Chamonix), and at that point I will make a decision. I also have a very good feeling about the Chamonix, and like you, there is something about the Shen Hao which doesn't appeal to me, although I couldn't really explain what it is. I think whether I get the MT or the Chamonix, I will be happy for a long time.

    I can see myself going to 8x10 at some later point, but probably not a ULF camera. 5x7 is also interesting, as is 5x8, although both are too close to 3:2 for my taste. If I do get an 8x10, I would want to buy something which pairs up well with my 4x5, i.e. not too similar, and this is another reason I could imagine getting the MT, and then an 8x10 Chamonix. I don't want to plan to buy an 8x10, but knowing that the possibility is there, the MT has another little notch in its favour.

    Anyway, I will just continue to save and mull it all over, until I have the money. Then I will probably see if the MT I came across is still available, and then make a decision about that. If it isn't, I will likely end up with the Chamonix.

    The 90/210 is my starter set. The 135 was just so cheap, and I was curious about the special rendering Jack was talking about, so I bought it on a whim. It is not part of my project kit though, just another lens to play with.
    Last edited by carstenw; 13th February 2010 at 07:17.
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    Re: Linhof Master Technika vs. Chamonix 45N-2 vs. Ebony ?

    Quote Originally Posted by lilmsmaggie View Post
    Well, I hemed and hawed for a year.

    Now I'm committed. Placed my order today for a 45N-2 YIPPPEEEE!
    Congratulations! Did you get an estimate on when you will have it?
    Carsten - Website

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    Re: Linhof Master Technika vs. Chamonix 45N-2 vs. Ebony ?

    I actually bought my 8x10 on a whim . An 8x10 Deardorff in user condition but light-tight bellows plus 6 holders, a 4x5 back and 2 lenses in functional shutters (14" Commercial Ektar and a 210 Angulon) for $750. My best camera score ever -- definitely not a take-anywhere sort of item, but wow, the negatives! My teenager went with me one day and said it felt like she was watching TV on the groundglass. And I agree about ULF, for me that is the point where the hassle/film expense takes over.

    Sounds like you're well on your way!

    JT

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    Re: Linhof Master Technika vs. Chamonix 45N-2 vs. Ebony ?

    Quote Originally Posted by carstenw View Post
    Hello JT, and thanks for your thoughts. Yes, the MT is very attractive, and I am still thinking about that camera, and if I should invest in it. I suppose I will continue to think about this until I have enough money to buy it (or the Chamonix), and at that point I will make a decision. I also have a very good feeling about the Chamonix, and like you, there is something about the Shen Hao which doesn't appeal to me, although I couldn't really explain what it is. I think whether I get the MT or the Chamonix, I will be happy for a long time.

    I can see myself going to 8x10 at some later point, but probably not a ULF camera. 5x7 is also interesting, as is 5x8, although both are too close to 3:2 for my taste. If I do get an 8x10, I would want to buy something which pairs up well with my 4x5, i.e. not too similar, and this is another reason I could imagine getting the MT, and then an 8x10 Chamonix. I don't want to plan to buy an 8x10, but knowing that the possibility is there, the MT has another little notch in its favour.

    Anyway, I will just continue to save and mull it all over, until I have the money. Then I will probably see if the MT I came across is still available, and then make a decision about that. If it isn't, I will likely end up with the Chamonix.

    The 90/210 is my starter set. The 135 was just so cheap, and I was curious about the special rendering Jack was talking about, so I bought it on a whim. It is not part of my project kit though, just another lens to play with.
    Carsten,

    You should perhaps not brush Shen-Hao off so speedy... but perhaps take a look at the TFC45-IIB that I have. While everyone is not at all of same preference, what makes it interesting is that it is a non-folder and thus is speedy to set up and use. Do compare it to the Camonix 45-N which appear to have less rigid connections between members (flimsy) and seeming not same smooth for focus. This is per me seeing on photos, but do take look at one in person if you can. Also Shen-Hao makes a similar light weight camera to the Chamonix, but... I would not recommend it, based on Shen-Hao in Shanghai themselves saying it being not same good as mine and more difficult to focus etc...

    A 4x5 camera is a box between lens and groundglass/film, and as such a rather simple thing, but need be steady/rigid (at least when locked and simple to focus. Also simple to set up is of great value in m book. Perhaps an Ebony SW45 is of higher preciseness than both the Chamonix and my TFC, but... do you need it, and want to pay the $$? Granted I frequent visit Shanghai, so my preference was granted... for price of an Ebony I could buy near five TFC;s... if mine malfunction I can simply replace it! And, extra accessories are cheap from them there too...

    For lenses, I do not know of your specific focals, but the Schneider XL's are indeed very very good and sharp. I got both the 58mm and 72, the 72mm is super stellar sharp. Perhaps as a general rule newer generations are frequent sharper because of later technical developments, but not always so as with the 80XL vs 72XL, as also based on Schneider the 72XL is far sharper but the 80 being less weight. I also have a Rodenstock Sironar-N 150mm which can be bought for 400 USD or less on Ebay and is super sharp. A good website to describe such classics is following... http://www.thalmann.com/largeformat/future.htm

    There is frank an abundance of used high quality lenses on Ebay, and by lurking around and placing smart bids one can make outright bargains at very fine conditions. Paying for new will be $$$.

    Regards
    Anders

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    Re: Linhof Master Technika vs. Chamonix 45N-2 vs. Ebony ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Anders_HK View Post
    Carsten,

    You should perhaps not brush Shen-Hao off so speedy... but perhaps take a look at the TFC45-IIB that I have.
    I'd have to agree with this. I owned the folding Shen, and it was maybe a notch behind the Cham in overall quality, but also about 40% less expensive. And it made excellent images, and it was rigid enough to use with my Betterlight scanning back. It was not elegant, but functional. Now the thing that is interesting, is this Shen TFC is a copy of the Ebony SW, which is the basic non-assym, non-folding verison of 45 SU. For the price, I'd definitely consider at least looking at one of these before you make your final purchase -- you get about 80% of the Ebony 45 SU features at 1/5th the price, or 100% of the SW features at about 1/3rd the price... Pretty compelling if you ask me...

    What I can guarantee you from knowing what I know about view cameras, if I were getting back into LF again today, I would buy either the Cham or this Shen. Then if I really got stuck with the bug again, I'd pony up for the Ebony assym non-folder.
    Jack
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    Re: Linhof Master Technika vs. Chamonix 45N-2 vs. Ebony ?

    Anders, I already have my lenses for now: Schneider 90mm f/5.6 Super-Angulon MC Linhof Select, Schneider 135mm f/3.8 Xenar, Schneider 210mm f/5.6 APO-Symmar. None are the latest greatest, but the 90 and 210 are probably close enough for all practical purposes other than the most uncompromising very large enlargements.

    The TFC45-IIB is a copy of the SW45, if I understand correctly, and this is non-folding and has a rigid back with only rise. I could imagine leaving out rise, fall and shift on the back, but not tilt or swing. Without tilt and swing on the back, I might as well get a Canon 5D2 with a couple of T/S lenses, in some ways. For this reason, I had already eliminated the SW45 and SW45SII. Only the SW45SIII starts to look interesting to me, and at that point the 45SU is just more attractive.

    In general, one problem I have with Shen Hao is that they seem to copy cameras, pretty literally. Not only that, but they copy current cameras. They even have a copy of the Chamonix, although it apparently hasn't done that well for them, maybe because it is heavier and less rigid (no carbon fibre bed), and only slightly cheaper. There was apparently earlier a Mr. Kwok who did some original designs, but he left, and now they just do copies, mostly of Ebony cameras.

    Chamonix on the other hand have copied and improved the Phillips camera, which is no longer made, and is very hard to find second-hand, and only at large prices.

    To me this makes a large difference in how I feel about the companies. The Shen Hao cameras also seem to be a little cheaper, and more cheaply made, than Chamonix and some other cameras in the same price class, and I prefer to pay a little more and get a little more.

    Anyway, sorry about this, I don't mean to criticize your choice, and this is just my decision process for myself. Thanks for the suggestion in any case.
    Carsten - Website

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    Re: Linhof Master Technika vs. Chamonix 45N-2 vs. Ebony ?

    Carsten, this Shen has rear swing and tilts and IIRC it even has rear shifts. They're axial, not assym...
    Jack
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    Re: Linhof Master Technika vs. Chamonix 45N-2 vs. Ebony ?

    You forgot Arca Swiss ! I find the Field model to be the absolute best and I've owner an Ebony 45SU as well as an MT2000. You will need a Maxwell screen to replace the POS stock Ebony screen; the A-S screen is superb out of the box. But that's not the only reason just an important one.

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    Re: Linhof Master Technika vs. Chamonix 45N-2 vs. Ebony ?

    Is that the Arca Swiss F-Line Field? We had that above, my answer here: http://forum.getdpi.com/forum/showpo...9&postcount=16

    Or is it another model?
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    Re: Linhof Master Technika vs. Chamonix 45N-2 vs. Ebony ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    Carsten, this Shen has rear swing and tilts and IIRC it even has rear shifts. They're axial, not assym...
    Jack, aren't you thinking of the HZX? The TFC has only rear rise:

    https://www.badgergraphic.com/store/..._detail&p=3165

    and the HZX has base tilts and only a little axis tilt...
    Carsten - Website

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    Re: Linhof Master Technika vs. Chamonix 45N-2 vs. Ebony ?

    IOC. Yes same model. Well it will work fine with a 210mm lens assuming you aren't trying to do macro work. As far as the rise goes you can tilt the camera then level the front and rear standard to get all the rise you want.

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    Re: Linhof Master Technika vs. Chamonix 45N-2 vs. Ebony ?

    While the Arca does look like a very nice camera, it also looks like I would need to switch to the bag bellows for wides (?), and so between that, gymnastics with getting rear movements, and limitations in the close focus distance with my 210, and I just don't see the particular attraction of the camera, compared to either the Master Technika or the Chamonix. The MT is a battle tank, true gothic heavy metal, and the Chamonix is a modern classic with great flexibility and strength. What does the Arca Swiss bring to the table?

    I don't mean to disparage your choice, it might be perfect for you, and I have great respect for Arca Swiss products in general, but for what I am looking for, I see no advantage of this camera.
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    Re: Linhof Master Technika vs. Chamonix 45N-2 vs. Ebony ?

    Quote Originally Posted by carstenw View Post
    Jack, aren't you thinking of the HZX? The TFC has only rear rise:

    https://www.badgergraphic.com/store/..._detail&p=3165

    and the HZX has base tilts and only a little axis tilt...
    My bad, I thought it had the same movements as the 6x9 version, stupid it doesn't: https://www.badgergraphic.com/store/..._detail&p=3164

    Yeah, so I'm back to the Cham for you
    Jack
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    lilmsmaggie
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    Re: Linhof Master Technika vs. Chamonix 45N-2 vs. Ebony ?

    Quote Originally Posted by carstenw View Post
    Congratulations! Did you get an estimate on when you will have it?
    According to Hugo, it should ship the last week in March.

  46. #46
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    Re: Linhof Master Technika vs. Chamonix 45N-2 vs. Ebony ?

    No problem, whatever. I'd never consider a Chamonix personally.

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    Re: Linhof Master Technika vs. Chamonix 45N-2 vs. Ebony ?

    I would be interested to know what you find lacking in it?
    Carsten - Website

  48. #48
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    Re: Linhof Master Technika vs. Chamonix 45N-2 vs. Ebony ?

    You know I'm really tired of this banter. Do as you like. I've better things to do than convince you of anything.

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    Re: Linhof Master Technika vs. Chamonix 45N-2 vs. Ebony ?

    I wasn't trying to be difficult, I was just curious why you didn't like the Chamonix. I thought you might have a viewpoint I hadn't considered.
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    Re: Linhof Master Technika vs. Chamonix 45N-2 vs. Ebony ?

    Quote Originally Posted by carstenw View Post
    Anders, I already have my lenses for now: Schneider 90mm f/5.6 Super-Angulon MC Linhof Select, Schneider 135mm f/3.8 Xenar, Schneider 210mm f/5.6 APO-Symmar. None are the latest greatest, but the 90 and 210 are probably close enough for all practical purposes other than the most uncompromising very large enlargements.

    The TFC45-IIB is a copy of the SW45, if I understand correctly, and this is non-folding and has a rigid back with only rise. I could imagine leaving out rise, fall and shift on the back, but not tilt or swing. Without tilt and swing on the back, I might as well get a Canon 5D2 with a couple of T/S lenses, in some ways. For this reason, I had already eliminated the SW45 and SW45SII. Only the SW45SIII starts to look interesting to me, and at that point the 45SU is just more attractive.

    In general, one problem I have with Shen Hao is that they seem to copy cameras, pretty literally. Not only that, but they copy current cameras. They even have a copy of the Chamonix, although it apparently hasn't done that well for them, maybe because it is heavier and less rigid (no carbon fibre bed), and only slightly cheaper. There was apparently earlier a Mr. Kwok who did some original designs, but he left, and now they just do copies, mostly of Ebony cameras.

    Chamonix on the other hand have copied and improved the Phillips camera, which is no longer made, and is very hard to find second-hand, and only at large prices.

    To me this makes a large difference in how I feel about the companies. The Shen Hao cameras also seem to be a little cheaper, and more cheaply made, than Chamonix and some other cameras in the same price class, and I prefer to pay a little more and get a little more.

    Anyway, sorry about this, I don't mean to criticize your choice, and this is just my decision process for myself. Thanks for the suggestion in any case.
    Carsten and Jack,

    The Shen-Hao being copy of Ebony? Well... is it really, or no more copy of an IDEA than Canon vs. Nikon vs. Sony and all the rest?? Think about it. How about the Linhof Techno being copy of the Ebony SW? Same idea or principle of cameras.

    No worry about being critical, like I said we all have tad different preferences.

    In regards to movements, do consider this;
    1. Shifts and rise/fall = perspective corrections.
    2. Front tilts and swings = DOF extensions.
    3. Rear tilts = enables exaggeration of nearby subjects vs. far distance.

    Do you need 3? Or, in the few cases when you do can you tilt the camera?

    Looking back I feel lucky in my choice because I now do not see need in 3 for me. I prefer more rigid back and SIMPLE set to set up. The TFC has both 1 & 2.

    If you want a more rigid camera, probably a rigid metal mono rail camera like an Arca is better than any of your other choices. Perhaps the MT is somewhere inbetween the wooden ones and that, not sure.

    Perhaps read up what people say here http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/

    Regards
    Anders

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