View Full Version : How were barrel lenses used to make exposures on process cameras?

10-Dec-2016, 12:43

I have been looking at lenses that might be useful for a 8x10 and/or 11x14 and have been intrigued to see that various LF photographers are using so-called "barrel" lenses to make exposures, either with a Packard shutter, lens cap, felt hat, or by reworking into a modern shutter.

What is unclear to me is how these lenses were used in the first place in process cameras if they didn't have shutters. Didn't they require a shutter somehow for accurate reproduction etc.?

The APO-Nikkor process lenses don't see to have shutters but there is a different control slider on the lens that is apart from the aperture control. What is that?

I would love a pointer to any articles/essays relevant to the topic.

Thank you!

Steven Tribe
10-Dec-2016, 12:59
Old process lenses often had a slider which covered a broad Waterhouse slot opening. The slider kept the dust out. Used for filters and the strange patterns cut out in connection with graphic reproduction.

Many large cameras studio/reproduction were supplied with a Packard/dallmeyer or a Grundner shutter fixed inside the front standard. The brass connecting pneumatic fixture is often found on front standard or the 1/4" hole where it used to be.

10-Dec-2016, 13:02
At the newspaper I worked at in the 70s, the camera had an electronically-controlled Packard, as have the several other graphics cameras I have seen since.

10-Dec-2016, 13:22
And in the REALLY old days -- when film was so slow that the backing was a sheet of glass and the subject could not move for several minutes -- taking off, and putting back on a lens cap was the easiest part of the procedure.

Dan Fromm
10-Dec-2016, 13:38
Flash. Darken room. Remove lens cap. Pop. Replace lens cap. Continuous hot lights, on time controlled by a time, were an alternative to flash.

10-Dec-2016, 15:07
In the olde days, either the entire process camera or just the "business end" (film end) of the process camera was in a darkroom. You shot orthochromatic film so the red light could be on the entire time, and then as Dan Fromm mentioned, turning on the continuous lights for a period of time made the exposure. No need for a shutter.

In this example, the film plane end of the process camera is in a separate darkroom to the right.

10-Dec-2016, 15:12
At the newspaper I worked at in the 70s, the camera had an electronically-controlled Packard, as have the several other graphics cameras I have seen since.

Thanks for that. I deleted my earlier post because I recalled incorrectly. Given the huge mass of the process camera, a Packard shutter was feasible.

10-Dec-2016, 15:31
I know about process cameras with highspeed shutters while using bulbs for reproduction.

10-Dec-2016, 16:55
Thanks for all the informative responses! Makes sense now. I think I'll keep an eye out for some of the APO-Nikkor lenses with an eye to using them eventually on a 11x14 and/or 8x10.

Dan Fromm
10-Dec-2016, 18:46
Hmm. The shortest Apo-Nikkor that will cover 8x10 is the 455/9. So will all longer ones. The shortest that will cover 11x14 is the 610/9. So will all longer ones. Prices are all over the map and real bargains, relative to a few years ago, turn up.

Believe it or not, a 610/9 mounted in front of a Copal #1 will easily cover 8x10 and will cover 11x14 with a little room for movements. SKGrimes can make an adapter. If you're not comfortable with a #1, get a #3 or a Compound #4 or #5. Again, Grimes can make an adapter. I b'lieve a Compound would best be hung in front of the lens, otherwise access to the shutter controls will be very tight. If you're not comfortable with front-mounting or hanging a shutter in front of a lens, discuss putting the Apo Nikkor of your dreams in a large Ilex with Grimes.

Jim Andrada
11-Dec-2016, 00:46
The process cameras I was familiar with had vacuum backs inside the darkroom and timed lights in the room where the front of the camera was.

12-Feb-2018, 16:40
Thanks again for all the information shared here!
I have a follow up question to this thread about APO Nikkor lenses:
Are they too large to mount on a Linhof-sized lens board? I'm looking at possibly using the APO-Nikkor 305mm/9 (available from a friend) on a Chamonix 4x5.

Dan Fromm
12-Feb-2018, 17:21
A link that will take you to the information you want can be found here: http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?138978-Where-to-look-for-information-on-LF-(mainly)-lenses

If, that is, you know the board's size.