Since many know that Paula Chamlee and I use a Kodak Master View cameras, recently we received a couple of inquiries about where to get Kodak Master View lens boards. Since this is where discussion about cameras takes place, it seemed appropriate to post this here. I hope it will not be seen as a commercial solicitation. Our purpose here is to help others, not to make money on this.
I have been using a Kodak 8x10 Master View since 1967. Over the years, as it has become increasingly difficult to find original Master View lens boards, we have had many lens boards made for our use. Although most of them worked okay, not all of them fit well, and there were occasionally other problems--like light leaks! Because we needed new lens boards for ourselves and because many other photographers have asked us where to get lens boards for the KMV, we set about having some made that were finally exactly right.
We succeeded. These new lens boards are absolutely perfect--they are even better than the originals.
Here's the story: After considerable searching, we finally located a precision machinist who makes special parts and machines for the avionics industry. To do this work the shop has special certification—and the materials, the tools, and the machinists all have special certification. We were not aware that machinists and tools ever needed to be certified, but the work from this shop is so precise that the federal government requires it.
To make these lens boards they had to cut away an original Master View lens board in order to get the most precise computer analysis down to one thousandth of an inch of its subtle measurements in the light trap design. They then had a special tool made just for these boards. Though the Kodak Master View lens board looks pretty simple, we learned there are a number of subtleties to it. Even after all the fine measuring and precision work done on the prototype there were three more tries to get it exactly right. But with further looking, measuring, and analyzing, the problems were found and the lens boards are now perfect.
In fact, they are better than the originals because they are made with a better grade of aluminum--aircraft aluminum. They are now stronger and less susceptible to bending. Occasionally we have found that even one of our original KMV lens boards bent ever so slightly and leaked light. This should never happen again.
After fabricating, the lens boards were anodized in black.
Because we had quite a few of these lens boards made, we're selling them quite reasonably. If anyone is interested, send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.