Ebony: universal or bag bellows?

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I have an Ebony SV45U, which came with the standard bellows. I plan to buy an 80mm soon, and another lens in the 58-65mm range sometime in the future. I currently use a 110 and 180, and foresee a lens in the 300mm range in the more distant future.

The standard bellows will not work with the 80mm lens. Even with my 110, the standard bellows limits the range of movements.

Ebony offers a bag bellows, and a "universal" bellows. The universal bellows is mostly pleated, but becomes bag-like for a couple of inches near the front standard.

The advantage of the universal bellows is that I can avoid carrying an additional piece, and avoid changing the bellows. On the other hand, the bag bellows probably works better with wide lenses, and changing bellows on the Ebony is a fairly simple process.

If anyone has experience with either of the Ebony bag or universal bellows, and would like to make comments or recommendations, I would surely appreciate reading your input.

-- Michael Chmilar (chmilar@acm.org), January 23, 2002


I to have the SV45U but with the universal bellows. I think it would be a better investment than the bag bellows. I have used mine with the SS 80 with good movements. I have even used it with a 58XL using back tilt and some front rise (not much). If you do mostly wide- angle photography I would think about the bag. If not, go with the bag. It's one less thing to carry.

-- Scott Hoerner (scott@skylightimaging.com), January 23, 2002.

Hi Michael,

I have an SV45U2 with Universal bellows. I definitely suggest the Universal rather than bag. I can use 72XL and 80XL lenses with no problem using the Universal bellows; in fact I've even used a 47XL (with recessed lensboard) and the Universal still works OK. Perhaps if you were using wides the majority of the time, you'd get a bit more flexibility, but for general use you will be very pleased with the Universal.

-- Danny Burk (foto28@aol.com), January 23, 2002.

I use an early SV45. I have the bellows which have a heavy pleated main body with a much more finely pleated few inches to the front. Using these with shorter lenses causes these bellows in time to distort. I also have a set of bag bellows with which I can get ample draw to use with up to a 210mm lens @ infinity with any reasonable shifts/swings for landscape work. My bet would be the bag bellows with which I can use a short Biogon on a flat panel. The Sinar zoom back for rf is a great asset with this set up.

-- Brian Colin (fzmreels@hotmail.com), January 23, 2002.

Hi Michael,

I use the Ebony 45S with the universal bellows and I find that the Nikkor 65mm f4 works fine with these bellows and the IC runs out before the bellows does. If I was going wider I would probably look at getting a WA/bag bellows and a wide angle fresnel, but I agree with Danny and for the SV 45U where you have the ability to use longer lenses as well as the wides, I'd be inclined to stick with the universal bellows which are very flexible.

-- Quality is remembered, long after the price is forgotten.

Kind regards

-- Peter L Brown (photo_illustration@bigpond.com), January 23, 2002.

Thanks for the responses. I will get the universal bellows, as it sounds like it meets my needs. I certainly like avoiding carrying a second bellows.

-- Michael Chmilar (chmilar@acm.org), January 24, 2002.

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