REVIEW: EBONY SV45U2
From "The 30 Best Cameras": Review of SV45U2, by Mark Dubovoy in Nov/Dec. 2004 issue of Photo Techniques magazine, http://www.phototechmag.com
The top of the line Ebony 4x5 camera is a true work of art. It's made of quarter-sawn Macassar ebony heartwood, one of nature's hardest, strongest and most stable materials. The ebony is aged more than 20 years before it is used in the construction of a camera. The metal parts are solid titanium. The level of craftsmanship in this camera is stunning.
It's immediately apparent that the Ebony was designed by a photographer (Hiromi Sakanashi, one of Japan's leading large-format photographers). Down to the smallest details, this camera is a joy to use; every feature has been extremely well thought out. The knobs, for instance, have different shapes that are instantly differentiated by touch, so that you know exactly which knob you are working with without looking. The back part of the bellows has the usual accordion shape, but the front of the bellows is shaped like a bag bellows. As the front and rear standards are brought together, the accordion part collapses into itself and you are automatically left with a bag bellows ready for wide angle work.
The Ebony SV45U2 offers the most extensive movements of any flatbed camera. It's a true universal multi-purpose camera, offering the movements, precision and rigidity of the best studio monorails, combined with the portability of a field camera. With the longest maximum bellows extension of any field camera (590 mm), it takes lenses from 35-800mm, using standard Linhof Technika lensboards.
The SV45U2 sports precision and rigidity comparable to a Sinar or a Linhof, but the focusing track and movements are even smoother. This camera is truly a photographer's dream-come-true.