View Full Version : Wide Angle Lens advice for MPP MKVIII

1-Sep-2016, 07:22
I'm looking for advice on getting a 90mm lens to fit my MPP MKVII. I'm aware that field cameras have limitations when used in conjunction with wide angles, so would appreciate some advice. I know that many MPPs were originally supplied with an 89mm Wray Anstigmat f/6.3 on a flat lens board, but I have no idea if this lens is any good. My questions if you can help me are as follows:

1. Is the Wray 89mm any good?
2. If not, what would be a reasonably priced alternative 90mm lens?
3. What are the advantages and pitfalls of using coned or recessed lens boards with wide angles on field cameras?

Many thanks.


Dan Fromm
1-Sep-2016, 08:39
I don't think there's much for you here http://www.mppusers.com/ but you might want to look there anyway.

The VM says that the 89/6.3 Wray is not quite as good as a 90/6.8 Angulon - a tiny bit less coverage, more flare - but is a close match for most purposes.

Alternatives include the 90/6.8 Wollensak Raptar (also badged Optar), 90/6.8 Angulon and 88/6.8 B&L.

Re coned lens boards, it seems that MPP recommended using one with a 90 Angulon. I'm not sure why.

Graham Patterson
1-Sep-2016, 10:10
I have put a 90mm f8 Super Angulon on an MPP VII. As I recall the lens panel opening on the VIII is the same, but that is going to limit the physical size of the rear element of the lens you use. The 90mm f8 Super Angulon certainly fits the VII, but you should research your chosen lens. The following comments ought to apply to the VIII, but they are based on my VII.

The MPP has separate rails inside the body and on the bed. They are linked, but the links mean you cannot over extend the focus with the bed dropped. A 90mm puts the infinity extension of the lens from the film smack over the join. The MPP solution is to use a cone board to project the lens forward while keeping the front standard on the inner rails.

If you use something like the 90mm f8 Super Angulon then your cone board has to accommodate the rear element. The VIII has a slightly better choice of boards than the VII (they are slightly different in shape), but I think you might have to fabricate one. I did it for my MPP VII (see http://gapatterson.org/mpp.html ) and it works. Using front movements is possible, but finicky and the compressed bellows does not help. If you plan on using the rear movements, verify the extension of the top hat board to make sure you have focus range as the back tilts or swings away from the body. I put together a rough ABS board/box to test my estimate before going for the final version.

It might pay to adjust the depth of the top hat and start with the back extended. There are trade-offs either way.

Summary: You will need a cone/top-hat board, and you are probably looking at a 90mm f8 or f6.8 for the lens. Movements are restricted by the camera body/bellows. The 90mm f8 Super Angulon has vastly more coverage than this camera can use.

1-Sep-2016, 14:11
Graham, thanks for your help. The Super Angulon 90mm seems like a decent bet in conjunction with the right lens board. I don't intend to use tons of movements but will be using some rise, what is your experience of doing so with the 90mm SA on the VII?

It strikes me that a recessed board would be superior to a cone/top hat, in that it might allow the front standard to sit on the base board rather than those inside the body. This would allow better access to the geared movements, and produce less compression of the bellows allowing a better range of movements. Does such a think exist to your

Dan Fromm
1-Sep-2016, 15:13
Graham, thanks for explaining why cone boards make sense on MPPs. Now I know, until I forget.

Graham Patterson
1-Sep-2016, 20:53
A recessed board works on the Linhof/Wista style board, which is about the same size as the MPP, because there is a big circular lens throat behind the board. The MPP has a smaller square aperture. You would have to recess the board and the lens/shutter into that, and I think that's optimistic. If it wasn't for the extension on the board, the Super Angulon rear element would prevent it being used - it will not fit.

Rise is possible with my cone/top-hat. It's a tight fit - try it with any lens and the front standard moved forward to the front of the inner rails to see what is possible.

2-Sep-2016, 00:21
OK so recessed lens board is no use for Super Angulon. Having done some research, it seems that a Kodak Wide Field Ektar 100mm f6.3 has an image circle large enough to provide some movements on 5x4, and is significantly smaller than the 90mm SA. Whilst I agree the recessed board would be a tight fit into the lens throat, but it might be feasible with this lens.

2-Sep-2016, 01:51
As mentioned by Dan the Wray doesn't have a good reputation, I was warned off buying one many years ago by a friend who had one.

Good 90mm f6,8 Angulons can be found at very reasonable prices and are very small, look for one with a SN over 5,000, 000 as Schneided had better quality control by then, earlier versions were more variable but still better than the Wray 89mm.

I use a 90mm f6.8 Angulon fairly frequently and it's an excellent lens but no room for movement and needs careful alignment when using front tilt but at f22 the results are to all practical purposes on a parr with my 90mm f6.8 Grandagon or 90mm f5.6 Super Angulon. While I have a WA RAptar I've yet to test it :D

Graham's comments are helpful, I'm about to take delivery of a complete MPP MkIII and another almost complete parts MkIII camera.


2-Sep-2016, 02:01
Thanks for the info on buying an Angulon re serial numbers, very useful! Whilst I certainly don't want to contradict you Ian, especially as you own as you own the lens and I don't, but I had read that small amounts of movement are possible on the Angulon when stopped down, is this absolutely not the case?

Have fun with the MPP I love mine!

2-Sep-2016, 03:51
Thanks for the info on buying an Angulon re serial numbers, very useful! Whilst I certainly don't want to contradict you Ian, especially as you own as you own the lens and I don't, but I had read that small amounts of movement are possible on the Angulon when stopped down, is this absolutely not the case?

Have fun with the MPP I love mine!

Yes a very small amoumt of movement is possible but it's nothing compared to a an f8 Super Anglon, and the f5.6 Super Angulon has a touch more. The only movement I tend to use with my 90mm Angulon is front tilt and I compensate with slight rise to remain in the image circle.

The MPP's are a restoration project as they were incredibly cheap :D


13-Sep-2016, 01:14
I'm posting this in case it is of any use to people looking to use wide angles on an MPP. Many thanks for those who gave their advice it was very useful. I purchased a Schneider Angulon 90mm (serial number 8968181). It seems a great little lens to me. Finding a coned lens board for the MKVIII proved difficult, so I ended up getting one made. Some kind soul has made a 3d model of both flat and coned boards for my camera and made them available for free online (http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:282047). I used an online 3d printing service and the part cost 21.00 inc delivery. The part required some finishing but does the job perfectly.

The coned lens board allows the 90mm to be focused when the standard is sat on the inner rails of the camera. This allows you to drop the base board so it doesn't obstruct the view of the lens. Having said this, I was shooting with the camera last week, and my coned board had not arrived in time so I was forced to sue the flat board, and frankly I think it's better. The flat board means the standard sits further forward, allowing easier use of movements due to the bellows being less compressed. Not dropping the baseboard keeps the standard nice and solid, but of course the base board will be in shot with this set up. You can get round this by either using a small amount of rise, or tilting the whole camera down then compensating by bringing front and back standards to the vertical using tilts. (see pic). I think even better than the flat or the coned board would be a recessed board, which would allow the standard to sit even further forward, which in turn allows even better access to geared movement controls. I might see if I can have one of these made, if I do I will post results.

On to the lens. I was concerned that the Angulon would not allow any movements on 5x4. I can report that it does allow movements. Certainly not loads, but in the case of the MPP I think it allows more movement than the camera actually affords, due to the standard being inside, or very close to the camera body when using a wide angle. I can see how the Super Angulon is a superior lens on a monorail because you can make use of the larger image circle, however in my opinion on the MPP it's superfluous. Considering the Angulon is smaller, lighter and cheaper, it is superior for my needs. It's also faster (f/6.3 vs f/8). 154974