View Full Version : 5x7 b and j lensboard

24-Feb-2005, 05:27

I am wondering about the purchase of a b and j 5x7 camera. The camera has a schneider 210 lens. The shutter, however, is one that used a bulb to open and close it. There are aperture marks as well as shutter speed marks on the lens. I am wondering if it is possible to place the lens in a copal (or other more modern) shutter. Will I find that the lensboard is of a readily available standard size? I have absolutely no tools with which to fasion a home made lensboard.

The camera seems to be in good shape for its age; the red bellows seems light tight. The asking price is $300. Is this reasonable. or too much? I'd really like to aquire an 8x10, but this will due, as 5x7 seems a good option for contact printing. (no room, $, for 8x10 enlarger)

Thanks for looking.


MIke Sherck
24-Feb-2005, 06:36
Note: B&J made many models of view camera, including wooden "field" cameras and monorails. I have a wooden field camera and the following assumes that you do too:

I have a B&J 5x7 camera, with both the 5x7 and 4x5 backs, which I have used more or less happily for a number of years now. In all honesty, I don't know how easily one can purchase B&J lensboards or not as I've made my own since I got the camera. Tools required are a coping saw and a sanding block with sandpaper: total investment is about $10. Since the B&J was once a very widely used camera I suspect that finding lens boards will not be difficult or expensive. As in all things view camera arcane, call Jim at Midwest Photo Exchange and ask whether they have any. They probably do and they're probably not on the web site, so calling Jim is probably the most direct solution.

As cameras go the B&J wooden view camera is a reasonable solution for not very much money. It has more movements than most modern wooden view cameras have; as many, in fact, as have many monorail cameras. Some of the joints and screws may have loosened over the years but that's easy to fix and requires neither exotic tools nor expensive materials. You'd be amazed what a few toothpicks, a bottle of glue, and a sharp knife can accomplish.

$300 for the camera and an old lens sounds a bit high to me, but it may be that the lens is more modern than the old Packard shutter indicates. There should be writing around the lens that would indicate what model the lens is, and how old. That would be useful to know. Also, what back(s) does it come with, are there any extras such as film holders, that sort of thing. If the lens is as old as the shutter (uncoated,) and it only has one back and no film holders, I would think that $200 would be a more than generous price, $150 a "good" price. That's just my opinion: your mileage may vary. :)

Steve Feldman
24-Feb-2005, 14:39

I aggree with Mike. $300 is a bit pricey, unless it's in pristine condition and includes an extention rail, lensboard(s) and a 4x5 and a 5x7 back and the original leather covered hood.. $150-$200 is more in line with recent eBay sales. Lensboards do come up for auction on eBay occasionally for about $15-20. The boards are 5.25x5.25".

Jim Galli
24-Feb-2005, 15:31
Percy, I think there may be some confusion here. If the Schneider lens has shutter speed marks it may well be in a useable shutter. The big shutter with the bulb would be for other larger lenses like portrait lenses that don't have a built in shutter like the 210 probably has. A photo would be helpful, or even more info about what's written around the lens area. If it says Copal or Compur, then it's in it's own shutter and the lens alone may well be worth the price of the camera. I've found the old B&J cameras very straight forward and forgiving for learners. You could do much worse. Yes, lens boards show up on ebay. 4 of them ended last evening for $26. Pretty cheap.

25-Feb-2005, 07:42
Hi. Thanks for the replies.
The lens is not in a copal nor a compur shutter.
I think it's a packard.
Thanks for saving me $!