Ratical : Analog Photography

Ebony SW23

While looking for a larger format I was intrigued the 6x9 format for several reasons. It's wider than the 6x7 aspect ratio, and it's a roll-film format so I can quickly set up for the next shot when shooting small creatures. 6x9 is aproximately double the area of a 645.


Model Type Weight Max Bellows Max Focal Length
23S non-folding 1.8kg 275mm 308mm
SV23 folding 2.0kg 420mm 453mm
SW23 non-folding 1.3kg 157mm 190mm

The focal length for the SW23 is my measurement, I inferred the max focal length for the other models. Weight and Max Bellows is based on the 2002 Ebony Catelog. The 23S and SV23 feature a full range of rear movments.

The Shen-Hao TFC69-A appears to be modeled after the Ebony 23S.


After shooting a few rolls of film, here is what I like

The only feature missing is a extension scale on the base.

Fujion 105mm W f/5.6

The first challenge for the new owner of a view camera is lens selection. The image circle defines the limits of camera movements. The Fujion leaf shutters have a very sooth continuous aperture with ⅓-stop markings.

Horizontal Field of View: 43.6°
Filter Size: 46mm
Shutter Speeds 1/500 ‐ 1s, B, T

At full extension this provides a magnification of approximately 1:1.

Exposure values were calucated using

log_2((extension / focallength)^2)

The first prt of the equasion determines the filter factor, and the log2 function converts this to an f-stop. Example in Ruby

Math.log2((118.0/105) ** 2)  # 0.337 or 1/3

Film Backs

Like many "2x3" cameras, the Ebony line follows the Graflex standard.

The Horseman 8EXP/120 is a superb film back except for the fact that it is easy to confuse with the 10EXP/120 back which takes 6x7, not 6x9.

The Mamiya RB67 6x8 can be operated with or without batteries, and includes a slot to put the film label in.

On both backs the film is advanced by pulling a small lever to the side.

Make Weight (grams) Visible Area (mm)
Horseman 120 10EXP 425 (15 oz) 56×68
Mamiya RB67 Pro SD 6x8 Power Back 596 (21 oz) [1] 56×74
Horseman 120 8EXP 425 (15 oz) 56×82
  1. Without batteries

TTL Metering

One of the strange accessories available for 6x9 is a Horseman light meter back. I'm not sure why I would use this instead of hand-held measurements, but it's cool nonetheless. This back takes an obsolete 5.4V battery, but a more common 4LR44 6V battery will work as well.

On Display

Last updated on January 27, 2021