View Full Version : Lens mounting questions & which lens(es) should I keep?

2-Oct-2015, 03:45
Good morning all,

Apologies for the number of questions here, I'm relatively new to LF and have stuck with my one-lens kit for a year to get used to it. Now I'm looking to expand my lens range and have hit some problems.

I have a Sinar F with a Sinaron SE 135/5.6 & I have borrowed some lenses to try this weekend, namely:

Rodenstock Grandagon (NOT N) 90/6.8 in an unidentified Japanese shutter (speeds up to 1/500, f/6.8-f/45)

Schneider Super-Angulon MC 90/5.6 in a Synchro-Compur shutter

Rodenstock Geronar MC 210/6.8 in a Prontor-Press shutter

Does anyone have any opinions about these lenses, good or bad, including things to look out for? Which should I keep if all are in good working order? Should I trade my Sinaron SE 135 for one of these?

Additionally, I am having trouble mounting both the 90mm lenses (actually having trouble mounting the shutters). If I screw them to the lens board, the aperture ring is pushed against the board so I can't move it? Am I missing something? I have attached pictures of the rear of the shutters. Is there something physically missing from the back of the shutter or do I need to put some washers/shims in place? How do washers/shims affect the lens performance - I'm assuming that the front and rear elements need to remain a certain space apart for the lens to function properly, so if I stick a number of spacers in between them how do I know how many to use?

Additionally, the Super Angulon was mounted on a lens board with an 18mm extension? Why? I know some wide lenses need to be mounted on a recessed board, but why extended and to such a degree. My guess is to stop the large rear element touching the film plane when focussed to infinity?

Last question - are lenses available with different screw threads to mount to different shutters? The Prontor-Press mount is huge compared to the other two, so I can't use the other lenses on that shutter and vice-versa.

Sorry and thanks!


Doremus Scudder
3-Oct-2015, 02:05
First things first. Lenses usually come mounted in shutters. That, for most of us, constitutes a "unit." Not many of us swap lens elements in and out of one shutter regularly. Not only do different shutters have different size mounting threads for different size lens elements, spacing is often fine-tuned by shims, and these are easy to lose if you're constantly swapping elements in one shutter.

As far as mounting: When you say "screwing the lens into the lens board" I assume you are speaking of inserting the threads on the rear of the shutter through a hole in the lens board and then securing it with the retaining ring using an appropriate wrench. Your pictures show the retaining rings, so I hope you are using them... Sorry if this is basic, but your description is a little vague.

Some shutters require a spacer between shutter and lens board to keep the aperture ring from contacting the board. It's hard to see which shutters you have, since you only picture the back. One of the shutters looks as if it was taken from a hard-body camera, i.e., not intended for stand-alone LF lenses, or is missing part of the back. More pictures would help.

Your Sinaron SE 135/5.6 is a great lens. The Sinaron SE is bascially a cherry picked and individually tested Sironar-S. I would likely keep that for a couple of reasons. Not only is the lens good, but 135mm is a perfect slightly-wide "normal" lens (and my favorite focal length).

The Rodenstock Grandagon 90/6.8 is also a great performer. I'm not sure about the shutter you describe, however. If the lens has been swapped into a different shutter, then spacing, etc. may be a problem. If it is a factory shutter, then there should be no problems. The Grandagon f/6,8 lenses and the SA f/8 lenses are smaller and more compact than their cousins with larger maximim apertures and have a bit less coverage...

So, the Schneider Super-Angulon MC 90/5.6 will have more coverage then the Grandagon. Again, if it's in a factory-mount shutter, there should be no problems. If the shutter came later, who knows? 90mm is a standard wide-angle for 4x5. Both the ones you have are good performers. You need to decide if you like smaller and less coverage or larger and more coverage.

The Rodenstock Geronar is an entry-level lens. The Geronar's are 3 element lenses, and they are usually cheaper than other designs with more coverage. The 3 element design gives less coverage than a lens with more elements, but at 210mm it should have enough for 4x5. A larger plasmat design lens will give you more flexibility and sharpness and are not hard to find used. If, like me, the 210mm plasmats are too large, there are other alternatives as well that may serve you better: G-Claron lenses are small and have a great reputation. I use a 203mm Ektar f/7.7; it's small and sharp but often hard to find in good condition these days. Tessar designs like the Fujinon L f/5.6 or similar are somewhere in the middle size-wise and are good performers on 4x5.

FWIW, most people with multiple lens kits for 4x5 like lenses spaced fairly evenly apart as far as focal length goes. A kit with 90mm, 135mm and 210mm (plus maybe a 300mm for a longer lens) is really common and one I like a lot personally.

More pictures of your shutters, etc. would be a help to the community here helping you with your mounting problems...



4-Oct-2015, 00:54
I'm assuming that the front and rear elements need to remain a certain space apart for the lens to function properly, so if I stick a number of spacers in between them how do I know how many to use?

Stop! This is not what you are supposed to be doing!

Everything you need to be doing is on the rear of the lenses in the two photos. You need to be unscrewing the lens retaining ring with a lens wrench, placing the lens onto a lens board the reattaching the retaining ring. That is it.

BTW, some lenses such as wide angles and telephotos do have rear sections that need to be removed prior to installing a lens onto a lens board because the rear portion is too large to fit though the lens board hole. For those, remove the rear section and the lens retaining ring. Place the front section along with the shutter onto a lens board that has the correct size hole in it. Once the threads on the back of the shutter are sticking though the hole, screw on the retaining ring. Tighten with a lens wrench. Then reattach the rear portion of the lens. You will not need to mess with anything like spacers inside the lens. Be sure no large amount of dust or lint got into the shutter or lens elements. Use a rubber air puffer to move away any dust or lint, do not use your mouth to blow air.

You will need a recessed lens board for your 90mm lens in order to get the rear of the lens close to the film. Also, for the same reason you will need a bag bellows. In addition to allowing the rear of a wide angle lens to get close to the film, a bag bellows will also allow you to have lens movements. A standard bellows would be too compressed to allow any movements. Shop local camera stores and eBay for a used recessed lens board and bag bellows. Be sure the recessed lens board is drilled with the correct size hole to match the rear of the lens that will be mounted on it. Most wide angle lenses will need a Copal 0 or Copal 1 hole. Know in advance what size holes your lenses require.

Some lenses will have a small pin or screw on the back. These are there to prevent the lens from rotating on the lens board while in use. Ideally, the lens board will have a small slot or hole into which the pin or screw will fit. If your lens board does not have such a hole, it is fairly easy to drill one. Make sure any debris from your drilling is removed.


Let's talk about your two photos:

In this one we can see a black ring that has two notches. That is the lens retaining ring. Use the proper tool (a lens wrench) to unscrew it. Then place the lens on a lens board drilled with the correct size hole. Finally on the back of the lens board where the rear of the lens sticks through, screw on the retaining ring and tighten it with the lens wrench.


The back of this lens looks unusual, normally one can not see a mechanism like those gears. Did you remove something from the back?

I see a black retaining ring on the back of this lens, too. Unscrew the retaining ring with a lens wrench. If that control mechanism hits the lens board, find something such as a metal ring, washer, grommet, etc. from a hardware store that will fit between the back of the lens and a lens board to give it a bit of space to operate. Once that is in place go, to the back of the lens board and screw on the retaining ring. Tighten with a lens wrench.

Another idea:
How was this lens attached to the previous camera? Can you take the camera apart and affix only the front portion to a lens board? Then restore the lens to the front portion and install the retaining ring on the back of your lens board.


You can find lens wrenches from several eBay sellers for about US $12 and up. I like the ones with angled tips instead of straight.

Try this search: http://www.ebay.com/sch/Replacement-Parts-Tools-/162047/i.html?_from=R40&_nkw=lens+wrench&_sop=15

While you are shopping eBay, pick up a couple extra lens retaining rings. I like to have on hand at least one extra Copal 0, 1 and 3 ring, just in case they are needed.

For example, this seller has several sizes to offer: http://www.ebay.com/sch/m.html?_odkw=&_sop=15&_ssn=jinfinance&item=200541321748&_osacat=30059&_from=R40&_trksid=p2046732.m570.l1313.TR1.TRC0.A0.H0.Xlens+retaining+ring.TRS0&_nkw=lens+retaining+ring&_sacat=30059

5-Oct-2015, 07:51
Thanks for your replies.

In terms of mounting, I'm all good. Fully versed in how to mount lenses - sorry if I didn't make that clear. So the problem with the shutters pictured above is that when I have them in place on the board and I have screwed the retaining ring tight, the aperture will not move. Interestingly, the Sinar boards I am using have a plastic middle section - not a solid piece of machined metal like the board my Sinaron is on. So I have now tried mounting the lenses on a standard, all metal board, and the problem has gone! This is interesting in itself - it's as if the boards with plastic have too much play, meaning the retaining ring can be over tightened stopping the aperture lever from turning. Can anyone confirm this?

Regarding the recessed / extended lens board. If I mount the Super Angulon on a flat board with bag bellows, the rear element touched the film plane, so deffo dont need recessed and am thinking extended is the way to go?

All the lenses have been given to me as seen. None were on boards and I've not removed anything from them.

Andy Eads
5-Oct-2015, 09:51
The gent is using a Sinar so he should not need a recessed board but rather a bag bellows to use the 90 mm.