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Thread: Ebony RSW45

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    Senior Member johnnygoesdigital's Avatar
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    Ebony RSW45

    This is a really nice portable set up. I was curious if anyone shoots with it, and how long you can go with lenses. I think a good general purpose 210mm can work, but not sure. Ideally suited for more wides with no rear standard, but the weight is perfect!

    Would love to get one used or new!

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Ebony RSW45

    I used to own the slighter larger and heavier SW45Ti -- it was a dream to use, and one of my all-time favorite view cams. It did just focus a 210, so I think you'll be out of luck with the RSW45 and anything over 180. If I got back into view cam shooting, the SW45Ti is on the short list -- and right up there with it is the Chamonix, a really nice Phillips copy, and actually more versatile than either of these Ebony's.
    Jack
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    Re: Ebony RSW45

    I used to own a RSW45. Jack is correct, it will focus a 180 fine (except close ups) and a 210 with a top hat lens panel.

    Flexibility and movement with ultrawides is exceptional and you can just about shoot a 47mm on a flat panel.

    I used a tiny 203mm Kodak Ektar on a top hat panel. With a host of other light lenses, I would travel with less weight than a comparable Mamiya 7 kit, assuming a quickloads/readyloads or a small number of DDS.

    They're great cameras and I loved mine. I ended up going up a rung to a Walker 5x7XL, but always missed the minute Ebony RSW.

    PS, they are great for use with roll film holders too, so I could always pop on the 6x9 back for greater reach and in order to not waste 5x4 sheets with lots of cropping.

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    Senior Member johnnygoesdigital's Avatar
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    Re: Ebony RSW45

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack View Post
    I used to own the slighter larger and heavier SW45Ti -- it was a dream to use, and one of my all-time favorite view cams. It did just focus a 210, so I think you'll be out of luck with the RSW45 and anything over 180. If I got back into view cam shooting, the SW45Ti is on the short list -- and right up there with it is the Chamonix, a really nice Phillips copy, and actually more versatile than either of these Ebony's.
    Thanks for the reply Jack, I think your right about the 210mm, but the 180mm is not too far off, so I think it would work. For wides it's really superb. I'm going to take a look at the Chamonix for comparison.

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    Senior Member johnnygoesdigital's Avatar
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    Re: Ebony RSW45

    Quote Originally Posted by turtle View Post
    I used to own a RSW45. Jack is correct, it will focus a 180 fine (except close ups) and a 210 with a top hat lens panel.

    Flexibility and movement with ultrawides is exceptional and you can just about shoot a 47mm on a flat panel.

    I used a tiny 203mm Kodak Ektar on a top hat panel. With a host of other light lenses, I would travel with less weight than a comparable Mamiya 7 kit, assuming a quickloads/readyloads or a small number of DDS.

    They're great cameras and I loved mine. I ended up going up a rung to a Walker 5x7XL, but always missed the minute Ebony RSW.

    PS, they are great for use with roll film holders too, so I could always pop on the 6x9 back for greater reach and in order to not waste 5x4 sheets with lots of cropping.
    Great info - Thank you! I guess the top hat for the 210 is a must. The roll film is a great accessory too.

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Ebony RSW45

    FWIW, the old Kodak 203 Ektar is a great lens, Tessar design, but try and get a coated one if you go that route -- the shutters they came in were not great, but operable. As long as you're going to a top-hat board, I'd reco an SK G-Claron 210, here try to get one that was factory-mounted in a shutter as a taking lens (there are a ton of copy versions homespun mounted into whatever shutters). The G-Claron is larger than the Ektar, but tiny and lightweight by Plasmat 210 standards, and has a much larger IC than the Ektar.
    Jack
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    Re: Ebony RSW45

    The best thing about old large outdated view camera is that even less people want them than MFDB Tech cam XD so lens are cheap and so are the cameras! A fancy new Chamonix F1 set you back just over $1000 and you can get other great cameras (not the Ebony :-) ) for even less.

    A "cult" lens is $1000+ (the Xenar 150/2.8 is over $2500 now) but most lens in the $200-$500 range would give you the best results that anyone would need.

    View camera - the poor man's MFDB Tech Cam :-)

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Ebony RSW45

    Hard not to like the Chamonix design, build and price. The new F1 seems an especially good deal.
    Jack
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    Re: Ebony RSW45

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack View Post
    Hard not to like the Chamonix design, build and price. The new F1 seems an especially good deal.
    I love the F1. I have not used other view camera except the Shaohao PTB 617, but IMHO, the Chamonix is a better tool. The only thing I miss is a carrying strap like the SH617.

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Ebony RSW45

    If I had a lab nearby -- or could get beyond the hassle of processing in my sink -- I'd go back to shooting LF. I've even somewhat seriously considered a small 4x5 and a few 6x9 insert roll holders -- those I can ship off for processing and then would have a good MF neg to scan. I get that itch about once per month and it's getting closer to being scratched.
    Jack
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    Re: Ebony RSW45

    Developing 4x5 slide with a lab is $6-8 a piece (if not more)! Yes, that can hurt. Fortunately, I have been processing my own films using a Jobo since 2003. pennies for B&W and even color is still at most just a buck to 2.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack View Post
    If I had a lab nearby -- or could get beyond the hassle of processing in my sink -- I'd go back to shooting LF. I've even somewhat seriously considered a small 4x5 and a few 6x9 insert roll holders -- those I can ship off for processing and then would have a good MF neg to scan. I get that itch about once per month and it's getting closer to being scratched.

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    Senior Member johnnygoesdigital's Avatar
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    Re: Ebony RSW45

    Jack, I found your review of the Chamonix, that's a good read.

    I use a paterson tank for 120mm and they also make one for 4x5. It will develop (6) 4x5 sheets with the same convenience. I saw a portrait with the RSW45 using the 180mm at 5 feet. It was a head and shoulders composition, but was quite useable as a portrait camera.

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    Re: Ebony RSW45

    Johnny:

    The way LF cams focus, you get multiple uses out of a lens. Example for the 180 for portraits is you've had to extend the bed achieve portrait distance focus and this moves the entire lens group further from the film to around 220mm total extension, giving you an effectively longer focal than you started with; yet it's still a 180 at infinity. In fact all bed-focus lenses work like this, and actual focal length is only for infinity. It's just that when you move into LF, the differences get magnified -- a 300mm is a normal lens on an 8x10 cam, but it needs almost 1:1 magnification ratios to do a head-shot, so the final focal can be closer to 450mm or 500mm.
    Jack
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    Re: Ebony RSW45

    Quote Originally Posted by richardman View Post
    The best thing about old large outdated view camera is that even less people want them than MFDB Tech cam XD so lens are cheap and so are the cameras! A fancy new Chamonix F1 set you back just over $1000 and you can get other great cameras (not the Ebony :-) ) for even less.

    A "cult" lens is $1000+ (the Xenar 150/2.8 is over $2500 now) but most lens in the $200-$500 range would give you the best results that anyone would need.

    View camera - the poor man's MFDB Tech Cam :-)
    I had a 135mm Sironar S (mint) that I sold 2nd hand 5 years ago for about $400, they're worth about triple that now. Nice to see that the Caltar's are still cheap though still more than when I bought them. They were nice lenses.
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    Re: Ebony RSW45

    Nah, cult lens are funny things, 150mm APO Sironar S, got hyped up by a couple blggers/photographers, so they go for $700+. OTOH since no one says the same thing about the APO 135mm Sironar S, it's only about $400-$500!

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    Senior Member johnnygoesdigital's Avatar
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    Re: Ebony RSW45

    I just purchased a Rodenstock geronar 150mm 6.3 for $100. It resolves around 76 lines/mm @f/16. Not too shabby...

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    Re: Ebony RSW45

    Okay, I purchased a used, but mint Ebony SW45, with 452 extender and Cambo viewfinder. I'm really drawn to the size and weight of Ebony non folders, but couldn't justify the price, and used Ebony's are practically non existent. Lo and behold one was available within a 2 hours drive and was considerably cheaper than a RSW 45! I'm excited about shooting 4x5 and hopefully will upload images soon! Thanks to all.

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    Re: Ebony RSW45

    Hello,

    Could someone please provide me with some resources as to where I can buy Large Format lenses from in the US? Also what lenses would you recommend for portraits?
    Is there a good way convert negatives into digital?

    Thanks
    Po
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    Re: Ebony RSW45

    Badger Graphics carries several brands: Large Format Lenses

    I haven't dealt with them in years, but when I did, they were very good.

    Steve

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    Re: Ebony RSW45

    Thanks Steve!
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    Re: Ebony RSW45

    Quote Originally Posted by pophoto View Post
    Hello,

    Could someone please provide me with some resources as to where I can buy Large Format lenses from in the US? Also what lenses would you recommend for portraits?
    Is there a good way convert negatives into digital?

    Thanks
    Po
    I have purchased most of my LF lenses from Buy & Sell New & Used Cameras & a couple from B&h's used department.
    What format are you using? Typically anything from a 150-300mm on a 4x5 could be used for a portrait of some sort.
    I have my good images drum scanned, but it's up to what you will be using them for. Anything from a home scanner to using your digital camera can be used to digitize negatives.
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  22. #22
    Senior Member johnnygoesdigital's Avatar
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    Re: Ebony RSW45

    Here's an update...
    The used Ebony SW45 had cracks in the base and was one of the earlier models. The bellows was not properly stored either and doesn't hold its pleats so...Another look at the Chamonix. I'm not sure which model is their newest, but must, say I ordered a "wet plate" holder to use with another 4x5, and the build quality for the holder is amazing!
    One of the features I like about the Chamonix, is the bellows allows the use of longer lenses, imo, much more functionality. I did read about focus shift with Chamonix and the fresnel lens, so that will require a little research too. Personally, I would think that a base made of anything other than wood would be better for any kind of climate or temp variations one might encounter in the field.

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    Re: Ebony RSW45

    Johnny, I think you are overthinking this. I bought a Chamonix F1 a couple years ago and never looked back. I used it in studio, in the field, every where. You can see my images at the image thread right below this thread currently. Just go to the last page.

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