View Full Version : Wide angle lens/field camera - rear element

Sharon S.
1-Nov-2004, 10:53
I have a monorail 4x5 and am now researching field cameras and compatibility with my two lenses (150mm Rodenstock, and 90mm SAXL F5.6). I am getting very confused. In most of the discussion threads, it seems that the wide angle lens compatibility has to to with the bellows (solution is usually a recessed lensboard). Yet in the manufacturer's literature, some limitations actually seem to be due to the rear element diameter. Can someone explain/help? Also, given the lenses that I have, what suggestions would you have for a field camera?



David A. Goldfarb
1-Nov-2004, 11:11
I think just about any modern 4x5" camera should be compressable enough to handle a 90mm lens, but the other issue is whether the front standard is physically large enough to allow you to insert the rear cell of the lens into it.

I'm not sure whether the rear cell on the 90/5.6 SA XL will clear the front standard of a Linhof Technika, for instance. Looking at the diagram for that lens, the outside diameter of the rear cell is 86mm, and I believe the light trap on the Technika is 84mm (I don't have my Tech V in front of me at the moment). You could mount the lens in such a situation by removing the rear cell, attaching the lensboard, removing the back, and screwing in the rear cell from behind the standard, but this would be kind of cumbersome as a regular practice.

Glenn Kroeger
1-Nov-2004, 11:32

I think the only field cameras that can't accomodate this rear element are the Horseman FA/HF/HD series (unless you want to attach the rear element from behind as David described).

Kirk Gittings
1-Nov-2004, 11:54

I did not buy a Walker for this very reason. The rear element of my 120 Nikkor would not fit thru the front standard opening. Then I ran into Walker himself at the VC conference and he said no problem! He would just make the opening larger for me! Unfortunately I had already invested in something else.

Gem Singer
1-Nov-2004, 11:58
Hi Sharon,

If the 4x5 field camera you are considering uses Linhof Tech/Wista lensboards, the rear element of the lens won't fit into the "throat" of the camera's front standard if the outer diameter of the rear element is larger than 85mm. There is a circular ridge on the back of the Linhof Tech/Wista type lensboards that just fits into the field camera's round "throat' opening and serves as a light baffle.

If the 4x5 field camera you are considering uses the larger Toyo field type boards (the Toyo 45AII, AX, Canham 4X5 woodfield, and DLC,etc.) you will be able to mount a lens that has a larger diameter rear element. Those cameras have a larger square "throat" opening.

Assuming that you want to use your 90XL on a field camera. The rear element is probably too large to use it on a 4x5 field camera that is built to take Linhof Tech/Wista lensboards. However, you may be able to use it on a field camera that uses the Toyo field type lensboards. You probably won't need to use a recessed lensboard with a 90. It should be able to work with a flat lensboard on just about any 4x5 field camera.

Ralph Barker
1-Nov-2004, 12:37
The rear element of the 90mm f/5.6 Schneider SA XL just fits through the throat of my Toyo 45AX, with minor, but inconsequential distortion of the first couple of pleats of the tapered bellows. I use it with a flat lens board with no problems.

1-Nov-2004, 15:04
In the case where the rear element interferes with the pleats of the bellows, a bag bellows will alleviate that particular problem.

The above advice to look at cameras with lensboards larger than the Linhof Technika style is good advice. That's the advantage of large lensboards, that they accommodate large lenses.

Another restriction I learned about the hard way is Technika boards with #3 Copal shutters, as required by some of the largest lenses. The shutter is slightly larger around than the lensboard -- if the lensboard is reset in the front standard, you may find you have yourself a problem.

Slightly off topic, in the field you may find that the extravagant movements provided by your 90mm SAXL are overkill. It might be advantageous to exchange it for something (or two things) more compact. In the field, compactness, weight, & convenience are more important to me than the nth degree of movement. Then you would be free to consider the more compact & lighter-weight cameras that use the small Technika boards. Or a Technika itself, if it suits you (and you have a big budget). They sure do suit a lot of people. Or a Walker, like I have, and can recommend.

Sharon S.
1-Nov-2004, 17:01

Thanks for the input. I had suspected that the 90 SAXL would be problematic, but it's such a beautiful lens with the monorail. However CXC posed another good possibility which is to get a different lens for the field camera. Suggestions? I had often thought that a 110 Super Symmar XL would have been a better alternative to the 90 SAXL...


Ralph Barker
1-Nov-2004, 17:48
If you're open to getting an alternative lens, Sharon, the 110mm SSXL would be a good choice. Mine has virtually replaced use of my 90mm.

Brian Ellis
1-Nov-2004, 18:00
"Another restriction I learned about the hard way is Technika boards with #3 Copal shutter. . . . The shutter is slightly larger around than the lens board. If the lens board is reset in the front standard you may find you have yourself a problem."

I don't understand this. Are you sayiing a Copal 3 shutter can't be used with a Linhof lens board? That seems odd since Linhof makes a lens board for a Copal 3 shutter. Also, what does it mean to "reset" the lens board in the front standard?

Gem Singer
1-Nov-2004, 19:56
You're correct, Sharon, the Schneider 110XL is the way to go. Talk to Jim, at Midwest photo Exchange (jim@mpex.com). He might have a new, or previously owned 110XL that you can trade for your 90XL. He's a good guy to know when you're putting a field camera outfit together.

1-Nov-2004, 22:15

I also have and recommend the 110 SSXL. Also, pretty much any other 90mm will be smaller and cheaper and adequate for the field.


The exterior diameter of a Copal #3 shutter is maybe a centimeter greater than the width of a Technika lensboard. If the mounted lensboard is flat with the front of the camera, this may not be a problem. but if it is sunk into the front surface, or if there are vertical protrusions surrounding the board seat, then the shutter, and particularly the various controls, may collide with them. If I am still not making myself clear, go to www.petergowland.com/camera and scroll down to the Gowland All Moves camera, and note how the lensboard sits down inside a box-like frame, that limits the size of the shutter.

Gem Singer
2-Nov-2004, 06:40
CXC, the word youwere looking for is "recessed", not "reset". I think Brian knew that and was just pulling your leg.

Jean-Louis Llech
2-Nov-2004, 10:52

I use a Schneider Super Angulon XL 5,6/150 on a Linhof Master Technika.
I have no problem to insert the lens on the front standard of the Linhof.
There is no limitation, I repeat : no limitation, concerning the XL S.A. 90 rear element.

Jean-Louis Llech
2-Nov-2004, 10:54

Sorry. I made a typing mistake :
I use a Schneider Super Angulon XL 5,6/90 on a Linhof Master Technika.
I have no problem to insert the lens on the front standard of the Linhof.
There is no limitation, I repeat : no limitation, concerning the XL S.A. 90 rear element.