Ebony Professional View Cameras


Ebony are frequently asked about which lenses are compatible with which Ebony cameras. The range of usable lenses mentioned in the specifications table for each camera gives a rough idea of whether a particular lens will focus at infinity with a particular camera.

For more detailed information however, please consult the following tables of large-format lenses. The tables cover lenses made by the four main manufacturers, and are for reference only. Many of the lenses are no longer in production. Ebony accept no responsibility for any errors or omissions.

There are two factors to consider when choosing lenses for cameras, or cameras for lenses.

The first involves the image circle of the lens: the lens must produce an image of sufficient size and quality to cover a given format. The second issue concerns focus, and involves the flange focal distance (also known as 'flangeback') of the lens. If the flange focal distance of a certain lens is too long or too short, it will not be possible to focus the lens at infinity with certain cameras.

1) Image Circle

The image circle is the circular area of light produced by a lens when focused at infinity at f22. The size of this illuminated area increases as the distance between lens and subject decreases, so that, in general, if the diameter of the image circle produced by the lens is greater than the diagonal length of the film, the lens may used with this film format.

There are several provisos to consider however. First of all, as the aperture increases, the image circle shrinks. Thus while a lens may cover a certain format at infinity and f22, it may not cover this format at larger apertures.

Secondly, one of the main features of a view camera is the ability to move the lens, and hence the image circle, relative to the film. Obviously if the image circle of a given lens just barely covers a given format, even a small amount of movement may mean that the film is no longer completely covered by the image circle - the phenomenon known as vignetting. In general, the shorter (wider) the lens, the smaller the image circle, and the greater the possibility that using movements will cause vignetting.This is less of a problem with modern lenses which produce large image circles and thus allow a generous amount of movements.

Thirdly, with many lenses, again particularly the older designs, image quality and brightness deteriorate to a certain extent towards the edge of the image circle. Thus while the film may still be covered by the outer edge of an image circle, the quality of the image may not be acceptable. The 'Largest formats' column is therefore a rough guide only, and is partly subjective: for example, some might think that a certain lens covers 5x7" with acceptable image quality, while others would disagree and say that it only provides acceptable quality over 4x5". In general the "largest format" column below is conservative - it may be possible to use a larger format with a certain lens in some situations. Also, although several lenses with longer focal lengths may be used with formats larger than 8x10", only the following commonly-used formats are mentioned: 6x9cm, 6x12cm, 4x5", 5x7" and 8x10".

2) Flange focal distance

The second factor involves the flange focal distance (or 'flangeback') of the lens, and the minimum and maximum bellows extension (also known as flangeback) of the camera in question.

The flange focal distance of a lens is the distance from the rear surface of the lens shutter (i.e. the front surface of the lensboard) to the focal plane (i.e. the film plane) when the lens is focused at infinity. The 'flangeback' of a camera measures the same distance, but in the case of the camera it is variable, in order to accommodate lenses with different flange focal distances. The flange focal distance of the lens must fall between the minimum and maximum bellows extension of the camera for it to be able to focus at infinity. Knowing the flange focal distance of a lens will enable you to determine whether it is possible to focus a particular lens at infinity with a particular camera.

With standard lenses, the flange focal distance is usually slightly less than its focal length. However this relationship does not hold for wide-angle or telephoto lenses - the flange focal distance is somewhat greater than the focal length in the case of wide-angle lenses, but very much less in the case of telephoto lenses.

Thus, while knowing the focal length of a lens gives you a rough idea of which cameras might be suitable, if you want to be absolutely certain of being able to focus a particular lens at infinity with a particular camera you have to know the flange focal distance of the lens. In the case of a lens with a short flange focal distance, you will needto know the camera's minimum belllows extension, and in the case of a lens with a long flange focal distance, you will need to know the camera's maximum bellows extension.

For example, the Ebony 45S has a maximum bellows extension of 270mm. Nevertheless, it will allow a 400mm telephoto lens to focus at infinity, because the flange focal distance of this lens is only 252mm. On the other hand, the SW45 has a minimum extension of 46mm. Nevertheless, it is possible to focus a 38mm super-wide-angle lens because its flange focal distance is 52mm.

Although it is easy to determine whether a lens may be focused at infinity with a certain camera, determining how close it will focus is another matter. Closer focusing is achieved by extending the camera bellows. With short to normal lenses for a given format it may be safely assumed that a lens may be used for close-ups. However longer lenses require a large amount of extension for close-ups. The procedure for determining the closest distance at which a long lens may be focused at the maximum extension of a certain camera is too complex to describe here - if you have a question about a specific combination please contact us directly.

A final factor to consider is the use of modified lensboards or camera backs to alter the minimum or maximum extension of the camera. To continue with the example of the 45S, with its maximum bellows extension of 270mm it does not allow a 500mm lens with flange focal distance of 350mm to focus at infinity. However with an Ebony 452 extension back, the maximum extension of the camera is increased by 90mm to 360mm, which is now long enough for this particular lens to focus at infinity. Again, the 45S does not normally allow a 300mm compact lens with a flange focal distance of 282mm to focus at infinity. However, if this lens is mounted on a 35mm extension tube (a lens board with a 35mm front extension), the camera's maximum extension is increased to 305mm and it is now possible to focus the lens at infinity. Lastly, the minimum bellows extension of the 45S is 60mm. With a flat board it is not possible to focus a 45mm lens with 55.5mm flange focal distance. However with a 10mm recessed lensboard, the camera's minimum extension is reduced to 50mm, and it is now possible to focus the lens.

Lens model Focal length Max aperture Copal shutter #
Image circle (f22)
Largest format
(up to 8x10")
Flange back
SWD (Super
Wide Deluxe)
65mm f5.6 0 169mm 4x5" 73.4mm
SWD 75mm f5.6 0 196mm 4x5" 85.1mm
SWD 90mm f5.6 0 236mm 5x7" 102.5mm
SW (Super Wide) 90mm f8.0 0 216mm 5x7" 99.2mm
SW 105mm f8.0 0 250mm 5x7" 116.2mm
SW 125mm f8.0 0 280mm 5x7" 138.8mm
CMW (Wide) 105mm f5.6 0 174mm 4x5" 103.4mm
CMW 125mm f5.6 0 204mm 4x5" 119.9mm
CMW 135mm f5.6 0 214mm 5x7" 132.4mm
CMW 150mm f5.6 0 223mm 5x7" 144.3mm
CMW 180mm f5.6 1 260mm 5x7" 170.7mm
CMW 210mm f5.6 1 309mm 5x7" 208.7mm
CMW 250mm f6.3 1 320mm 8x10" 239.9mm
CMW 300mm f5.6 3 412mm 8x10" 295.5mm
CMW 360mm f6.5 3 485mm 8x10" 354.1mm
CMW 450mm f8.0 3 520mm 8x10" 442.9mm
A (Apochromat) 180mm f9.0 0 252mm 5x7" 178.2mm
A 240mm f9.0 0 336mm 8x10" 237.9mm
C (Compact) 300mm f8.5 1 380mm 8x10" 282.3mm
C 450mm f12.5 1 486mm 8x10" 425.3mm
C 600mm f11.5 3 620mm 8x10" 573.0mm
T (Tele-type) 300mm f8.0 0 213mm 5x7" 195.3mm
T 400mm f8.0 1 220mm 5x7" 252.4mm
T 600mm f12 1 260mm 5x7" 383.9mm
SF (Soft Focus) 180mm f5.6 1 200mm 4x5" 177.5mm
SF 250mm f5.6 3 300mm 5x7" 256.8mm

Lens model Focal length Max aperture Copal shutter # Image circle
(f22 unless
otherwise stated)
Largest format
(up to 8x10")
Flange back
AM ED 120mm f5.6 0 250mm 5x7" 115.9mm
AM ED 210mm f5.6 1 400mm 8x10" 202.7mm
M 200mm f8.0 0 210mm 5x7" 193.7mm
M 300mm f9.0 1 325mm 8x10" 290.0mm
M 450mm f9.0 3 440mm 8x10" 428.4mm
SW 65mm f4.0S 0 170mm (f16) 4x5" 70.8mm
SW 75mm f4.5S 0 200mm (f16) 4x5" 81.3mm
SW 90mm f4.5S 0 235mm (f16) 5x7" 97.4mm
SW 90mm f8.0S 0 235mm 5x7" 97.0mm
SW 120mm f8.0S 0 312mm 8x10" 130.7mm
SW 150mm f8.0 1 400mm 8x10" 165.9mm
T ED 270mm f6.3 1 160mm 4x5" 187.6mm
T ED 360mm f8.0 1 210mm 5x7" 261.0mm
T ED 500mm f11 1 210mm 5x7" 349.9mm
T ED 600mm f9.0 3 310mm 5x7" 409.2mm
T ED 720mm f16 1 210mm 5x7" 469.2mm
T ED 800mm f12 3 310mm 5x7" 527.4mm
T ED 1200mm f18 3 310mm 5x7" 755.7mm
W 105mm f5.6S 0 155mm 4x5" 103.2mm
W 135mm f5.6S 0 200mm 4x5" 133.8mm
W 150mm f5.6S 0 210mm 4x5" 146.8mm
W 180mm f5.6B 1 253mm 5x7" 177.0mm
W 210mm f5.6S 1 295mm 5x7" 207.0mm
W 240mm f5.6 3 336mm 8x10" 225.6mm
W 300mm f5.6 3 420mm 8x10" 284.9mm
W 360mm f6.5 3 494mm 8x10" 345.8mm

Lens model Focal length Max aperture Copal shutter #
Image circle (f22)
Largest format
(up to 8x10")
Flange back
Apo-Grandagon 35mm f4.5 0 125mm 6x12cm 43.2mm
Apo-Grandagon 45mm f4.5 0 131mm 6x12cm 55.5mm
Apo-Grandagon 55mm f4.5 0 163mm 4x5" 67.6mm
Grandagon-N 65mm f4.5 0 170mm 4x5" 70mm
Grandagon-N 75mm f4.5 0 195mm 4x5" 82mm
Grandagon-N 75mm f6.8 0 187mm 4x5" 79mm
Grandagon-N 90mm f4.5 1 236mm 5x7" 98mm
Grandagon-N 90mm f6.8 0 221mm 4x5" 94mm
Grandagon-N 115mm f6.8 1 291mm 5x7" 121mm
Grandagon-N 155mm f6.8 1 382mm 8x10" 169mm
Grandagon-N 200mm f6.8 3 495mm 8x10" 215mm
Apo-Sironar-N 100mm f5.6 0 151mm 6x12cm 100mm
Apo-Sironar-N 135mm f5.6 0 200mm 4x5" 130mm
Apo-Sironar-N 150mm f5.6 0 214mm 4x5" 142mm
Apo-Sironar-N 180mm f5.6 1 262mm 5x7" 173mm
Apo-Sironar-N 210mm f5.6 1 301mm 5x7" 200mm
Apo-Sironar-N 240mm f5.6 3 350mm 8x10" 231mm
Apo-Sironar-N 300mm f5.6 3 425mm 8x10" 282mm
Apo-Sironar-N 360mm f6.8 3 435mm 8x10" 333mm
Apo-Sironar-N 480mm f8.4 3 500mm 8x10" 452mm
Apo-Sironar-S 135mm f5.6 0 208mm 4x5" 132mm
Apo-Sironar-S 150mm f5.6 0 231mm 4x5" 147mm
Apo-Sironar-S 180mm f5.6 1 276mm 5x7" 177mm
Apo-Sironar-S 210mm f5.6 1 316mm 5x7" 202mm
Apo-Sironar-S 240mm f5.6 3 372mm 8x10" 230mm
Apo-Sironar-S 300mm f5.6 3 448mm 8x10" 277mm
Apo-Sironar-S 360mm f6.8 3 468mm 8x10" 330mm
Apo-Sironar-W 150mm f5.6 1 252mm 5x7" 141mm
Apo-Sironar-W 210mm f5.6 3 352mm 8x10" 191mm
Apo-Sironar-W 300mm f5.6 3 490mm 8x10" 280mm
Apo-Macro-Sironar 120mm f5.6 0 277mm   236mm
Apo-Macro-Sironar 180mm f5.6 1 415mm   176mm
Apo-Ronar 150mm f9.0 0 135mm 6x12cm 149mm
Apo-Ronar 240mm f9.0 1 212mm 4x5" 235mm
Apo-Ronar 300mm f9.0 1 264mm 5x7" 296mm
Apo-Ronar 360mm f9.0 3 318mm 5x7" 351mm
Apo-Ronar 480mm f9.0 3 396mm 8x10" 463mm
Imagon 200mm H5.8 3   6x9cm 216mm
Imagon 250mm H5.8 3   4x5" 276mm
Imagon 300mm H5.8 3   5x7" 332mm

Lens model Focal length Max aperture Copal shutter #
Image circle (f22)
Largest format
(up to 8x10")
Flange back
Apo-symmar 100mm f5.6 0 145mm 6x12cm 95.5mm
Apo-symmar 120mm f5.6 0 179mm 4x5" 116.3mm
Apo-symmar 135mm f5.6 0 195mm 4x5" 128.2mm
Apo-symmar 150mm f5.6 0 220mm 4x5" 142.2mm
Apo-symmar 180mm f5.6 1 263mm 5x7" 177.7mm
Apo-symmar 210mm f5.6 1 305mm 5x7" 208.1mm
Apo-symmar 240mm f5.6 3 352mm 8x10" 238.5mm
Apo-symmar 300mm f5.6 3 425mm 8x10" 283.1mm
Apo-symmar 360mm f6.8 3 491mm 8x10" 339.9mm
Apo-symmar 480mm f8.4 3 500mm 8x10" 454.0mm
Apo-symmar 480mm f9.4 3 500mm 8x10" 455.2mm
Super-symmar XL 80mm f4.5 0 212mm 4x5" 84.7mm
Super-symmar XL 110mm f5.6 1 288mm 5x7" 117.2mm
Super-symmar HM 120mm f5.6 0 211mm 4x5" 135.3mm
Super-symmar XL 150mm f5.6 1 386mm 8x10" 157.9mm
Super-symmar HM 150mm f5.6 1 254mm 5x7" 168.3mm
Super-symmar XL 210mm f5.6 3 500mm 8x10" 216.3mm
Super-symmar HM 210mm f5.6 3 356mm 8x10" 227.2mm
Xenar 150mm f5.6 0 173mm 4x5" 142.6mm
Xenar 210mm f6.1 1 249mm 5x7" 206.0mm
Super-Angulon XL 38mm f5.6 0 137mm 6x12cm 52.1mm
Super-Angulon XL 47mm f5.6 0 166mm 4x5" 59.1mm
Super-Angulon 47mm f5.6 0 123mm 6x9cm 52.2mm
Super-Angulon XL 58mm f5.6 0 166mm 4x5" 70.0mm
Super-Angulon 65mm f5.6 0 170mm 4x5" 72.5mm
Super-Angulon XL 72mm f5.6 0 226mm 5x7" 82.2mm
Super-Angulon 75mm f5.6 0 198mm 4x5" 84.8mm
Super-Angulon XL
90mm* f5.6 0 259mm 5x7" 103.5mm
Super-Angulon 90mm f5.6 0 235mm 5x7" 102.7mm
Super-Angulon 90mm f6.8 0 216mm 4x5" 103.4mm
Super-Angulon 90mm f8.0 0 216mm 4x5" 98.8mm
Super-Angulon 120mm f8.0 0 288mm 5x7" 133.1mm
Super-Angulon 165mm f8.0 3 395mm 8x10" 179.2mm
Super-Angulon 210mm f8.0 3 500mm 8x10" 229.4mm
Apo-Tele-Xenar 250mm f5.6 1 190mm 4x4" 195.1mm
Apo-Tele-Xenar 400mm f5.6 3 250mm 5x7" 285.1mm
Apo-Tele-Xenar 600mm f9 3 400mm 8x10" 461.3mm
Apo-Tele-Xenar 800mm f12 3 480mm 8x10" 628.2mm
G-Claron 150mm f9.0 0 189mm 4x5" 148.3mm
G-Claron 210mm f9.0 1 260mm 5x7" 205.0mm
G-Claron 240mm f9.0 1 298mm 5x7" 234.6mm
G-Claron 270mm f9.0 1 335mm 8x10" 264.6mm
G-Claron 305mm f9.0 1 381mm 8x10" 301.7mm
G-Claron 355mm f9.0 3 444mm 8x10" 350.0mm
Makro-Symmar HM 80mm f5.6 0 160mm (1:1)   159.4mm
Makro-Symmar HM 120mm f5.6 0 251mm (1:1)   235.0mm
Makro-Symmar HM 180mm f5.6 1 375mm (1:1)   354.3mm
* The rear flange of the Schneider 90mm Super Angulon XL must be removed to allow it to fit through the hole in the front board of 4x5 cameras. See FAQ's.