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View Full Version : Why is the Chamonix lens board hole off center?



AtlantaTerry
11-Jul-2017, 20:26
My background of 4x5" cameras includes Speed Graphics, Crown Graphics, Toyo Views and Cambo Views. Recently, I wanted a lighter weight view camera so purchased a lovely Chamonix. This is where I became confuzzled - all of the other 4x5" cameras I have worked with needed lens boards where the hole was in the center of the board but the Chamonix uses boards where the hole is lower than the center of the board. Why?

I understand that the folks at Chamonix use a Linhof Technika-style lens board where the hole is off center. Why would they do that? There certainly were other styles of lens boards extant with centered holes. When they were a new company designing cameras from fresh scratch, why not simply use lens boards with centered holes? Is there an advantage to an offset hole? Would a center hole board not be easier for the photographer to align the center axis of the lens and film?

Thank you.

Alan Gales
11-Jul-2017, 21:15
If you look at Chamonix's website they say that they can custom make your lens boards the way you want them.

http://www.chamonixviewcamera.com/lensboard.html

Chamonix's can use Linhof Technika boards or Linhof Technika style boards. True Linhof boards have the holes off center for Linhof Technika cameras. The Linhof Technika style boards made by other manufacturers have the lens holes in the center. At least that is what I have seen. I use the Technika style boards with holes in the center for some of my lenses for my Wehman camera.

AtlantaTerry
11-Jul-2017, 23:42
If you look at Chamonix's website they say that they can custom make your lens boards the way you want them.

http://www.chamonixviewcamera.com/lensboard.html

Chamonix's can use Linhof Technika boards or Linhof Technika style boards. True Linhof boards have the holes off center for Linhof Technika cameras. The Linhof Technika style boards made by other manufacturers have the lens holes in the center. At least that is what I have seen. I use the Technika style boards with holes in the center for some of my lenses for my Wehman camera.

Alan, thank you for the reply. Geez, I wish I had this information at hand when I ordered the camera along with several Carbon Fiber lens boards because their default is to have an offset hole. If the offset is not needed for their cameras, why then is it their default??? :confused: To do that seems like they just slavishly copied the Technika boards! It seems kinda dumb to my way of thinking. Maybe Hugo can offer up an answer.

Yes, I know I can buy the boards with a centered hole because there are several vendors who offer them. My favorite boards that I have tried are made by Gaoersi - very nice quality for a reasonable price (the boards have a gold coat of arms in the upper right corner). BTW, Nikon in Japan also offers centered hole Technika-style boards through their resellers.

plaubel
12-Jul-2017, 00:47
Thinking of my sold Shen Hao:
Having a centered hole, this would automatically place the front standard out of the axis of the camera ( rise).
Using a centered hole is possible but would loose some rise distance, because there then is already 1 cm rise.
This were possible reasons I have seen on my Shen Hao.

Ritchie

Alan Gales
12-Jul-2017, 10:02
Bromwell Marketing also makes custom lens boards.

http://www.bromwellmarketing.com/boards.htm

I've swapped emails with Ted Bromwell and he seems like a really nice guy.

xkaes
12-Jul-2017, 12:37
With Linhof-type boards, there are two "centers". One (#1) is obviously the middle of the top and bottom edges. But there is also another "center". That is the middle of the light ring/baffle on the back (#2). #1 and #2 are not in the same location. I've seen Linhof-type boards with the hole centered on #1, centered on #2, 10mm lower than #1, 10mm lower than #2. The list goes on.

It really is a mess because some camera manufacturers don't mention if the camera needs an off-set board, and by how much -- mine didn't. Most lensboard sellers don't mention where the hole is "centered", and many photographers don't know, or even think about, which is best for their camera(s). It's important, especially for lenses with small image circles. A good test is to set your front standard to the ZERO setting and see if the middle of your ground glass is perfectly lined up. If it is, you need boards with the hole at #1. If it is not, line it up and measure how much your hole needs to be off-centered. You might be surprised.

B.S.Kumar
12-Jul-2017, 16:19
Wista and Toyo also make Linhof Technika type lens boards with center holes. There used to be Nikon, Fuji and NSE brands as well. I have some used Toyo and Wista boards available, and can also get you new Toyo boards.

Kumar

Greg
12-Jul-2017, 16:39
On my Chamonix I added 2 "dots" to the front standard to align either an offset or a center mounted lens. I color coded the 2 pairs of dots on the front standard to match a color coded dot on each of my lens boards.... simple solution.

Challenge for me was how to know when the lens was accurately centrally aligned on axis to the back standard.... suggestions very, very welcome on how to easily do this.

B.S.Kumar
12-Jul-2017, 16:43
Challenge for me was how to know when the lens was accurately centrally aligned on axis to the back standard.... suggestions very, very welcome on how to easily do this.

1. Cover the hole in the lens board with a piece of cardboard.
2. Make a tiny hole in the center of the cardboard as accurately as possible.
3. Take the camera outdoors.
4. See if the light is hitting the center of the glass.
5. Adjust as necessary.

Kumar

Greg
12-Jul-2017, 16:45
1. Cover the hole in the lens board with a piece of cardboard.
2. Make a tiny hole in the center of the cardboard as accurately as possible.
3. Take the camera outdoors.
4. See if the light is hitting the center of the glass.
5. Adjust as necessary.

Kumar

Thank you... Greg

Bill_1856
12-Jul-2017, 16:47
Linhof had to put the hole in their lensboard low to center the lens fairly close to the center of the ground glass. This occurred because they raised the position of the front standard when they stacked three front tracks to allow for triple bellows extension without increasing the height of the camera body.

xkaes
12-Jul-2017, 16:49
That's great. Make sure you get the front and rear standards as close together as you can. That will make for a smaller light-point on the groundglass.

xkaes
12-Jul-2017, 16:50
Linhof had to put the hole in their lensboard low to center the lens fairly close to the center of the ground glass. This occurred because they raised the position of the front standard when they stacked three front tracks to allow for triple bellows extension without increasing the height of the camera body.

That might work great on Linhof cameras, but maybe not on others. Best to test.

Bill_1856
13-Jul-2017, 07:04
That might work great on Linhof cameras, but maybe not on others. Best to test.

Yes. On my Nagaoka 4x5 it needs to be centered, which can be done by using the front rise (If I don't forget to do it).

Keith Pitman
13-Jul-2017, 17:35
I think worrying about a centered hole vs lowered hole (except on a Linhof) is a clear sign of OCD. Just adjust the front standard to the composition you need.

xkaes
13-Jul-2017, 18:14
I think worrying about a centered hole vs lowered hole (except on a Linhof) is a clear sign of OCD. Just adjust the front standard to the composition you need.

Easily done if your IC is not 155mm.

blue4130
13-Jul-2017, 20:23
Easily done if you IC is not 155mm.

Surely most cameras have enough movement to compensate for the slight offset. I use both on my chamonix and even with small image circle lenses, I can raise or lower the standard as needed to center the image circle over the film

xkaes
14-Jul-2017, 05:13
Surely most cameras have enough movement to compensate for the slight offset. I use both on my chamonix and even with small image circle lenses, I can raise or lower the standard as needed to center the image circle over the film

You obviously haven't used a Schneider 47mm f5.6 XL.

AtlantaTerry
14-Jul-2017, 18:01
I think worrying about a centered hole vs lowered hole (except on a Linhof) is a clear sign of OCD. Just adjust the front standard to the composition you need.

LOL! Yes, that's me!

... and I'm anal, too! :D

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Being born a Virgo has been a real pain...

Doremus Scudder
15-Jul-2017, 10:46
The real question here is: Do the Chamonix cameras require a lensboard with an offset hole in order for the lens to be centered on the film? If so, that explains why they have lensboards with offset holes as default. If not, then it would appear to be a design flaw. No one seems to have looked at their Chamonix camera and determined where center should be yet...

As an aside, I've always thought that the ideal camera design would incorporate a square lensboard that had a mounting hole intentionally offset from center. It would be able to be mounted in all four orientations so that the offset could add a little extra distance to the rise, fall and shifts in both directions. Centering would be accomplished by shifting a bit in the opposite direction of the offset. I modified my Woodman camera a bit to allow mounting Technika boards upside-down to get extra rise; it was a real help at times. Can the Technika boards be mounted upside-down on the Chamonix cameras?

Best,

Doremus

RedGreenBlue
15-Jul-2017, 12:17
Doremus,

I like your clever design idea for getting extra movement. But to answer your question, the Technika style boards can't be reverse mounted on the Chamonix. There are reasonably priced boards from China on the auction site. That's where I got my center hole boards and I'm very happy with the quality.

Scott


The real question here is: Do the Chamonix cameras require a lensboard with an offset hole in order for the lens to be centered on the film? If so, that explains why they have lensboards with offset holes as default. If not, then it would appear to be a design flaw. No one seems to have looked at their Chamonix camera and determined where center should be yet...

As an aside, I've always thought that the ideal camera design would incorporate a square lensboard that had a mounting hole intentionally offset from center. It would be able to be mounted in all four orientations so that the offset could add a little extra distance to the rise, fall and shifts in both directions. Centering would be accomplished by shifting a bit in the opposite direction of the offset. I modified my Woodman camera a bit to allow mounting Technika boards upside-down to get extra rise; it was a real help at times. Can the Technika boards be mounted upside-down on the Chamonix cameras?

Best,

Doremus

Doremus Scudder
16-Jul-2017, 11:26
Doremus,

I like your clever design idea for getting extra movement. But to answer your question, the Technika style boards can't be reverse mounted on the Chamonix. There are reasonably priced boards from China on the auction site. That's where I got my center hole boards and I'm very happy with the quality.

Scott

That's kind of what I thought. Now back to the crucial issue: Does a lensboard with an offset hole center the lens on a Chamonix camera or not?

Best,

Doremus

Jim Andrada
16-Jul-2017, 22:08
I think saying a lens board is "Technika board" would imply that it could be used on a Technika, ie offset - and if some other company decided to use "Technika" boards I'd suspect that the'd be offset too.

Anyhow, I made adapters for my other cameras so I can use lenses mounted in a Technika board which I also use on my Technika and I've never had any problem raising the front standard on any camera enough to compensate. YMMV

xkaes
17-Jul-2017, 04:47
I think saying a lens board is "Technika board" would imply that it could be used on a Technika, ie offset - and if some other company decided to use "Technika" boards I'd suspect that the'd be offset too.

I hate to break the news, but there are plenty of Linhof-type boards that are sold with "centered" holes (however one defines that). And the ones that are off-set are off-set by different amounts. I found this out the hard way, years ago. Fortunately for me, it only was a couple of boards.

Not only should Linhof-type lens board users check to see if their boards are offset, they should check to see by how much their boards are off set, AND if their camera(s) need an offset -- AND by how much.

My cameras need a 10mm offset, but I have two lenses -- a Mamiya 37mm and a Fujinon 600mm that will only fit on my cameras with a centered board. Fortunately, I can adjust the front standard enough to compensate.

Sure, on some lenses, it won't make a big difference, but the closer you are to the optical axis of the lens, the better your results will be -- and give you a greater movement range.

RedGreenBlue
17-Jul-2017, 10:16
That's kind of what I thought. Now back to the crucial issue: Does a lensboard with an offset hole center the lens on a Chamonix camera or not?

Best,

Doremus

Right, back to the issue.

When I received my 45H-1 I checked this with a center hole board that I had that was drilled for a No. 1 Copal. Using a square and calipers I came up with approximately a 1.5mm difference measuring from the top and bottom hole edges to the inside top and bottom edges of the back - with the ground glass removed. The lens board hole was centered in the circular light baffle. It seemed to me that with setup and measuring error and any slight discrepancy in the ground glass position, a center hold board would center the image. So I ordered more center hole boards.

I like Kumar's suggestion of using a pinhole in cardboard but I'd already taken a different approach. It may be that other models are different in this area.

Scott

Greg
17-Jul-2017, 16:43
On each vertical metal front standard on my 4x5 Chamonix, there are 2 very small drilled indentation holes 2mm apart. One shiny metal inside and the other colored red inside. Using OEM Chamonix lens boards, one of the pair of dots aligns up with the inset round piece of wood towards the bottom of the wooden front frame. But my offset Linfof style boards are all offset by 4mm and not 2mm.

Reason for the second dot, anyone?

FYI: I believe my Linhof style boards not to be OEM. They have the Linhof logo in the upper right but not the word "TECHNIKA" to the left of the logo. Though the logo does match the quality of the Linhof logo on my Linhof Heavy Duty Tripod... I could be wrong.

Sean Mac
17-Jul-2017, 18:11
There are "Technika" lens boards from a Chinese source that even have the "West Germany" feature correctly placed in the top right hand corner of the back of the panel.:)

The front looks identical to a real one in the auction site image.

I don't own an example of the Chinese version but it amused me to see it.

I suspect it is less funny in Munich.

xkaes
17-Jul-2017, 18:30
Makes me think that some energetic graduate student needs to put together a list of cameras, and models, and lens boards that are compatible.

Corran
17-Jul-2017, 19:20
Now back to the crucial issue: Does a lensboard with an offset hole center the lens on a Chamonix camera or not?

I figured someone had already mentioned this by page 3, but I guess not.

The Chamonix 45n1 I have is designed for the offset hole. If you have a center hole and crush the bellows down to minimum extension for ultrawide lenses, you'll discover this very quickly. It's impossible to drop the lens into the "correct" position with extreme bellows compression.

I found this out after being perplexed for awhile about my cut-off corners when using a 47mm XL. I had a bunch of center-cut boards from my first field camera that used those instead. It's actually good that it's made to be offset IMO so that I can interchange with my Technikas. On the other hand, if you happen to love your 90mm and use extreme rise all the time for architecture, you might want to put that one on a center board if you are binding up. Of course newer models have "universal bellows" so maybe that's not a problem.

Speaking of which, I assume the newer Chamonix cameras are the same? I'd be interested to know. I've thought about upgrading but my older one is nice and light and works fine.

xkaes
18-Jul-2017, 05:48
The Chamonix 45n1 I have is designed for the offset hole. If you have a center hole and crush the bellows down to minimum extension for ultrawide lenses, you'll discover this very quickly. It's impossible to drop the lens into the "correct" position with extreme bellows compression.

That's exactly how I discovered the need for an off-set board for my cameras. The "problem" is that camera A might need a 5mm offset while camera B needs a 15mm offset. That's where the graduate student comes in.

consummate_fritterer
22-Jul-2017, 11:41
LOL! Yes, that's me!

... and I'm anal, too! :D

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.
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Being born a Virgo has been a real pain...

Only if you're asked to do something you've never done before. :D

Doremus Scudder
22-Jul-2017, 15:54
I figured someone had already mentioned this by page 3, but I guess not.

The Chamonix 45n1 I have is designed for the offset hole. If you have a center hole and crush the bellows down to minimum extension for ultrawide lenses, you'll discover this very quickly. It's impossible to drop the lens into the "correct" position with extreme bellows compression...


That's exactly how I discovered the need for an off-set board for my cameras. The "problem" is that camera A might need a 5mm offset while camera B needs a 15mm offset. That's where the graduate student comes in.

xkaes: You're not confusing offset holes with recessed boards by any chance are you? I really can't imagine Chamonix making different models of camera that required lensboards with holes in different positions...

Corran: I suspected that the Chamonix cameras required the standard Linhof offset. Thanks for finally confirming that. Using a board with a centered hole gets you a bit of extra rise, but at the expense of being able to center the lens on the film with very short lenses and very compressed bellows. Does the Chamonix take recessed boards? That might alleviate the centered-hole crush just a bit.

In any case, unless one desires the extra rise at the expense of that or losing a bit of fall potential, one should probably get the boards with the proper offset for the Chamonix.

Best,

Doremus

Corran
22-Jul-2017, 22:43
I personally have never seen a recessed board that is centered on the board. All of the recessed boards I have are offset (they are all Linhof I think except one made by Gaoersi which is also offset).

xkaes
23-Jul-2017, 06:09
xkaes: You're not confusing offset holes with recessed boards by any chance are you? I really can't imagine Chamonix making different models of camera that required lensboards with holes in different positions...

Corran: I suspected that the Chamonix cameras required the standard Linhof offset. Thanks for finally confirming that. Using a board with a centered hole gets you a bit of extra rise, but at the expense of being able to center the lens on the film with very short lenses and very compressed bellows. Does the Chamonix take recessed boards? That might alleviate the centered-hole crush just a bit.

In any case, unless one desires the extra rise at the expense of that or losing a bit of fall potential, one should probably get the boards with the proper offset for the Chamonix.

Best,

Doremus

I wasn't talking about Chamonix cameras specifically. I know nothing about them. That is why I used the terms "camera A" and "camera B". Perhaps you -- or someone -- knows what the proper offset for the Chamonix is. But, as I mentioned in an earlier post, it needs to be specified -- OFFSET from where? Offset from the center of the board or offset from the center of the light ring? Those are two different locations -- at least on all of the Linhof-type boards that I have. Perhaps some energetic, graduate, photography student would like to but together a list of the needed offset of all large format cameras.

I am "not confusing offset holes with recessed boards", but I'm not sure I know exactly what you mean here. I have several flat boards, an extended board, and a recessed board. My recessed board is offset -- both from the center of the board, AND the center of the light ring. I have seen recessed boards that are not offset, but the vast majority are -- if for no other reason than to allow the operation of the shutter functions (at least for larger shutters). All of my other boards are offset from the center of the light ring AND the center of the board -- offset lower (but as I mentioned in an earlier post, I did end up with a couple of boards that were NOT offset, by mistake, and had to sell them). But I actually have one flat board and one extended board that are offset from the center of the board, yet are NOT offset from the center of the light ring -- only because if they were offset any lower on the board, they would not fit on the camera. However, with these two lenses, I can center them on the GG after I attach the lens.

I hope this clarifies.

When we buy a Linhof-type board (whether flat, recessed, or extended), many of us never think about if it is offset, let alone how much it is offset, let alone how much offset our camera(s) need.

Greg Davis
23-Jul-2017, 06:23
You keep talking about energetic grad students doing all this work, but having been there myself I ask where the money to buy all those cameras and lens boards will come from? Or are you offering to fund this project?

xkaes
23-Jul-2017, 06:58
You keep talking about energetic grad students doing all this work, but having been there myself I ask where the money to buy all those cameras and lens boards will come from? Or are you offering to fund this project?

Having been a struggling grad student myself, all I can say is, nowadays grad students have an alternative that I never had. It's called "GO FUND ME". Beats the approach that I had to use -- digging pennies out of the couch!

AtlantaTerry
23-Jul-2017, 18:03
I personally have never seen a recessed board that is centered on the board. All of the recessed boards I have are offset (they are all Linhof I think except one made by Gaoersi which is also offset).

I have several for my Cambos and one from Graflex. All have centered holes.

Click for a series of photos of the Graflex one that I uploaded to Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/terrythomasatlanta/8647861748/in/photostream/

I also have one from Lihnoff in a box somewhere but can't remember about the center hole.

Corran
23-Jul-2017, 19:18
Apologies if I was obtuse - I am talking specifically about Linhof-style 96x99 recessed boards, as are being discussed on this thread. I do not know much about any other lens boards since I don't use them.

xkaes
24-Jul-2017, 05:11
You're not obtuse, but it's the perfect word to bring up in this discussion because the use of the terms "centered" and "offset" in this thread has been obtuse. When someone uses the term "centered", they should specify what it is "centered on". Similarly, when someone uses the term "off-set", they should specify by "how much". Otherwsie, it's clear as mud.

Corran
24-Jul-2017, 07:30
Here is a random assortment of lens boards. From left to right: ShenHao brand centered #0 hole, Wista brand center #0 hole, Wista brand offset #0 hole, and Linhof brand offset #1 hole

http://www.garrisaudiovisual.com/photosharing/DSC_6108s.jpg

I am not taking lenses off boards (especially not recessed boards) to do a survey. The one or two millimeter differences between any two boards is not important to me. If it is to you, well have fun (I suggest buying the Linhof-brand boards for best consistency probably).

I notice now that the centered ShenHao brand board is slightly higher than normal (centered usually means centered on the light trap) but perhaps this is because the batch I bought were factory rejects. I bought a large number of boards from a well-known eBay seller, not ShenHao, for about $8 a pop, and they all were marked ShenHao on arrival. That is complete conjecture though.

xkaes
24-Jul-2017, 08:33
MANY thanks for the pictures. I only have one empty board so it would have been a bigger task for me -- and probably would not have helped anyway. Your results show to me that a "centered" board for one manufacturer can mean centered on the board OR it can mean centered on the light ring. Shen Hoa centers on the board and Linhof centers on the light ring. I know it's only a couple of millimeters, but for some lenses and circumstances it can be important.

Likewise, off-set might mean different things to different camera manufacturers. If you buy only their boards, everything might work out, but my camera company never made boards. Some companies, like mine, just say "uses Linhof boards" without details. But what my comany and Linhof used as off-sets may or may not be the same. My camera has a ZERO setting, but it is about 2mm off from the center of my ground glass when I use GENUINE WISTA boards.

Maybe I should have just stuck with using subminiature cameras. Oh Well!!! From them, I learned that a "silly, little millimeter matters" -- oh no, that was from a cigarette ad:

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