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Lens limits with Ebony 45RW

tim hyde

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A search revealed lots of informed speculation but not much

experience from actual users. I have a new Ebony 45RW and am wonder

what the lens limits are at both the short and long ends. The Ebony

website gives "usable" ranges from 65 to 500mm, but this clearly

isn't the case. I'd like to get an 80mm, but are there

photographers out there who have actually used a lens shorter than

90 on this camera. Same question for the long end. I'd like to get

out with a 400mm, but is this too long? Thanks.

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I use an Ebony RW45 and all that follows is ACTUAL experience. There is a certain amount

of manufacturers hype an dyou do need to read the fine print very carefully. Here's how it



1) A 90 mm lens works fine with no special adjustments or fiddling at all. To go wider

than 90 mm you need to configure the camera in "the wide angle mode" which means

using the front and rear tilt features to get minimum bellows compression. You need to

do this BEFORE you mount the lens. The Ebony website walks you through the procedure

but neglects to mention tht you must do it before mounting the lens. Once done you can

easily use a 75 mm lens with some movements (mine is a 75 mm f5.6 Super Angulon). I

don't own a 65 mm lens so no direct experienc there although my gut feeling is that it is

not going to workk with ANY room for movement at all. As for your 80 it should work but

you will need to go through the gyrations. This is not a super quick process BTW, you

need to allow a few extra minutes to get setup this way.


2) On the long end I own and regularly use with the camera a 300mm Fuji A. No

problemsm no special configuration it all works very well. Bellows draw from the lens

standard to the film plane (as measured) is ~ 325-330 mm. If you fiddle again with the

front and rear standards using tilt you can further extend this approximately 40 mm. I

have used a 360 mm on it on rare ocassions but the additional 60 mm has never been

worht the effort to me. OTOH you can get a lens extender that should easily take you out

to 400 mm.


Bottom line is that the camera requires some extra work if you are using it shorter than 90

mm or longer than 300 mm. Can be done but not the ideal solution, but then there is no

camera that is for that wide a range of lense.

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Whoops .... Tim is absolutely correct. In fact you may want to look at the DLC before you

make your final purchase, the Walker Titan too (although you will need a bag bellows for

teh Walker with a 65).


I am not a fan of the Canham but must admit that I have never used one in the field, just

fiddled with it in a store. My objections are that it seems too lightweight and prone to

movements and lack of rigidity when fully extended. The Ebony is solid and rigid at full

extension. Look at the Wisners too for that matter and the world knows I am not a fan of


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<p><i>Bottom line is that the camera requires some extra work if you are using it shorter than 90 mm or longer than 300 mm. Can be done but not the ideal solution, but then there is no camera that is for that wide a range of lenses.</i></p>


<p>Another camera that can easily handle this wide a range of lenses, with no gyrations: the Linhof Technikardan 45. I use mine with lenses from 72 to 450 mm. This is with flat lensboards. (Shorter is possible; longer only if telephoto.) If you want to do movements like front rise with short lenses, you need to use the bag bellows, which can be quickly and easily installed.</p>

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I use a Fuji 400T on it with no problems at all, and also a Super Symmar 80XL. You do have to drop the bed for the 80mm but you do NOT have to do this before putting the lens on. It's very easy, takes me about 30 seconds to set up I'd say. It might be even easier without the lens on, but I've never tried it that way as it is so simple the other way.


I don't use MASSIVE movements with either of them, but for general landscape use (say), a bit of shifting the horizon line or a bit of tilt is very easy to achieve with both lenses.


To use a 500 or 65, you'd need some of the accessories I suspect. I susepect with a recessed lens board the 65mm would be a goer.


Robert White in the UK (and specifically Matt Sampson) know a lot about this and can help you out with quetions, they were great when I got mine.


I think I have the universal bellows. Not having seen any alternative I suppose I am not sure. I remember asking for them! In any case, whatever bellows I have are no problem. (How can I tell??)


80-400 is absolutely no dramas.

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