Mounting lenses on a Speed Graphic. Why is this hard???

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by ntenny, Oct 2, 2013.

  1. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    I've got a Speed Graphic. I've got a bunch of random lenses, so I ordered lensboards to suit.

    First fun problem: The 10" Tele-Optar, which on casual inspection appears to be sized for a #1 hole, *isn't*; it's about a freakin' MILLIMETER too big to go through. So I've got this nice lens, historically correct, distance scale for it already on the camera, but after a week of trying, I still can't mount it. What was done with these historically? Are there lensboards with a 45mm hole instead of the usual 43mm, and if so, why can't I find them? Or were they always mounted in shutters?

    All right, so as it happens, I have a couple of brass lenses that front-mount conveniently in an Ilex #3 shutter, and I have an electronic Ilex #3 sitting around that isn't a useful shutter (it can't be triggered manually, except for the preview lever) but works fine as a holder for a barrel lens. The good news is that the shutter fit nicely in a #3 lens board, and after some farcical switching around of flanges from one shutter to another, I got it actually mounted. Trouble is, the shutter body is so big that I can't mount it on the camera; it collides with the little arm at the end of the linkage from the body shutter release!

    Well, there are #3 lensboards for Graphics, so I can't be the only one who ever tried to do this. Is there a trick to release the shutter arm so it gets out of the way? (And while you might say "just mount the barrel lenses directly", and you'd have a point, I don't have flanges for them and I don't have lensboards sized for them, so I'd have to find more parts, and I bet you anything those parts wouldn't fit together as expected either! The Ilex is actually a sort of convenient lens adapter in some respects.)

    My current plan is to have a fit of frustration, jump up and down a few times, then spend money I don't have buying lenses I don't need. That's a good solution, right? :smile: But seriously, where do I find the odd-sized lensboards for the Tele-Optar, and how do I keep the shutter release from getting in the way of things?

    -NT
     
  2. Tom1956

    Tom1956 Inactive

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    Creativity. If you're determined to make assorted frivolous lenses adapt, then the first thing is to forget about buying lensboards. Just fabricate. Get some hobby plywood of proper thickness, cut it with T-squares, rulers, Stanley Knives or hobby saws. Use adjustable brace-and-bit for hole boring, files, sandpaper, and whatever creative implement you can find. Don't cut yourself.
     
  3. Fotoguy20d

    Fotoguy20d Subscriber

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    Is this a pacemaker speed with the metal lensboards? The arm is held to the shaft by a little screw - just loosen it and either pull the arm forward and out of the way or slide it off the shaft. I buy boards, undrilled, from heavystar on ebay, and drill them with one of these. You can also spend a lot of money and get a universal iris.

    Dan
     
  4. wombat2go

    wombat2go Subscriber

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    nt, Not sure what your difficulty is exactly but I agree with Tom.
    Here is a lens that is almost as big in diameter as the lens board, with the shutter release in its original position but out of action
    The rear focal plane shutter is used. The lens board is of laminated aluminum, machined in a lathe.
     

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  5. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    It's not hard, it's a challenge.
    challenge #1: if you have a 1/2 round file it's easy, insert file and rotate the file against the sides of the hole. The file will cut sideways.
    You could use the push-pull technique if you sandwich the board with some sort of ply or the like.
     
  6. Tom1956

    Tom1956 Inactive

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    What you do is get a tapered or conical-shaped table-leg, or vacuum-cleaner attachment, or pipe-fitting; whatever, and wrap it in emery cloth or sandpaper depending upon what you made the lensboard out of, and rotate it in the hole you bored slightly undersize, and worm it out like that, round and round, not back and forth. Might have to throw a half-round file into the mix
     
  7. Vaughn

    Vaughn Member

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    I have a small casket set set up for a Speed/Crown Graphic. Easy as pie with a store-bought crust. :cool:
     
  8. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    Thanks, I didn't know about those little circle cutters---I've been assuming that without metal-shop tools we couldn't cut metal lensboards in reasonable safety. (Wood is easy, but wouldn't hold up to being cut as thin as the little rolled lip on a Pacemaker boards.) I don't know why it didn't occur to me that the release arm was removable!

    I think mostly I just needed to vent after a frustrating succession of "looks like it should work but it doesn't" moments.

    -NT
     
  9. Tom1956

    Tom1956 Inactive

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    Planning is an acquired art.
     
  10. wombat2go

    wombat2go Subscriber

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    To use that trepanning circle cutter you are going to need a heavy duty machine that can run at slow speed, with a rigid table .
    I have one of those cutters here but I can't use it.
    Here is how i do it in the lathe.
     

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  11. shutterfinger

    shutterfinger Member

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    Nathan,
    Vintage lens have their own measurement for Shutter and Barrel sizes. They are not standardized from one brand to another. Modern shutters are standardized to Copal sizes. I do not know when the Copal standardization came about, probably the 1960's or 1970's. Best bet when buying used lens boards is by hole diameter not by shutter number size. If a seller cannot provide the hole diameter in millimeters skip it.

    Now, as previously mentioned, making your own is not that hard.
    A 4x5 Pacemaker lens board is: Left - right = 3.710 inch; Top - bottom = 3.648 inch.
    1/4 inch baltic birch plywood available at craft stores works well for lens boards. Start by cutting a blank then round the corners so that the blank just sits into the front standard opening. From the back mark the bellows opening. Remove the material outside of the bellows opening mark leaving a 1/16 - 3/32 thick lip between the bellows opening and outer edge of the board so that the board just sits into the front standard and the board locks just slide over the board. Drill the mount hole countersinking it if needed for the lens to fit. Paint the back side flat black, finish the front as you like. The board fitting into the bellows opening negates the need for the lip on the outer edge for the light trap.

    A Dremel in a router attachment with a straight cut bit works well for reducing the outer edge as does a table saw.
    A brake cylinder hone in a drill should work for enlarging a metal board hole also.
    Black acrylic works well also but is harder to work with. Sand the gloss off the back side. Black ABS sheet is difficult to work with and is slightly flexible.

    The factory aluminum boards are .049 inch thick.
     
  12. momus

    momus Subscriber

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    A round hand file will get you that extra mm very easily, and I agree, a Dremel and a few appropriate bits is one handy, relatively inexpensive tool to have around the house.
     
  13. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser

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    hi nathan

    sorry for your troubles ...

    i use black board, or foamcore.
    draw a circle where the lens would go
    cut an X then cu the board out, slide the lens
    in / friction mount with a flange.
    it takes about 40seconds to do, and is cheap as dirt :smile:
     
  14. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    Another approach to such a problem: take board and lens to a camera repair shop and pay them to mount it for you. Doesn't cost much. Steve's Camera Repair in Culver City took care of one situation in which I was not able to do it by myself. I think the price was around $30... which is much less than the price of frustration.
     
  15. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    For Pacemaker boards, http://www.ebay.com/itm/181226020577 is my favorite solution if I can't find a used one with the right hole size. They'll make a snazzy carbon fiber board with the hole size you specify.

    [​IMG]

    For anniversary/pre-anniversary, I make lensboards myself with a table saw and hole saw/drill press and thin finish plywood.

    [​IMG]
     
  16. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    This is the part that I'd assumed wasn't feasible---getting that thin lip between the standard and the locks, without thinning the wood so much that it's a break waiting to happen. But if there's that much clearance...I've pointed my captive woodworker at this thread and I'll see what she says. She has a mess of thinstock available in interesting woods and historically has done a fine job on Eastman 2-D lensboards with it.

    -NT