View Full Version : Feasibility of tele-xenar lens on calumet monorail

5-Jan-2017, 12:19
I've seen lots of postings regarding the wrong choice of lens and camera mix.

So, I'm after opinions as to the practicality of a possible purchase for my Calumet CC400 4x5 monorail.

On eBay (UK) a Schneider Kreuznach Tele-Xenar f5.5/360mm Large Format Lens in a compound shutter and fitted in MPP Lens Board is being offered.

I'm assuming (to be confirmed following message to seller) that the MPP lens board is the same as a Calumet lens board [4x4 or 100x100].

Too big, too heavy, won't fit ??????????? --- opinions please



5-Jan-2017, 12:23
Shouldn't be any problems, especially with a telephoto lens. It is a big lens but not that big - certainly not larger than your 4x4 boards. I had one a long time ago and used it on a Toyo monorail.

The only problems you would run into is with a long focus lens and running out of bellows or a massive lens that didn't fit on your boards.

5-Jan-2017, 12:49
Thank you, according to the Calumet info I've got 16 inches of bellows draw circa 406mm)

5-Jan-2017, 12:55
You mentioned the lens board size, but I hope that you are aware of the light-baffle grooving on the Calumet. I'm not familiar with the MPP board, so I don't know if they are actually interchangeable, but in any case moving the lens to a compatible (if not actually "correct") board is not a big deal.

Graham Patterson
5-Jan-2017, 13:11
There are two types of MPP boards. The ones used on the Micro Technicals up to the VII have square corners, the ones for the VIII and monorail had rounded corners. There is also a rebate on the inside with the smaller area 87mm x 87mm. Overall thickness about 6mm. I have an early type MPP board in front of me. On the up side, MPP boards are not that common, and you should find a buyer for it if you swap it out.

5-Jan-2017, 13:28
I use a Wollensak 15" f/5.6 Raptar Telephoto (380mm) on my Graflex Series D 4X5. I believe infinity focus is about 9.5". I only have about 12" of bellows draw so you should be able to get a lot closer to your subject than I can. I really like the lens, quite sharp (if you need sharpness). It is a bit heavy but manageable. My lens-boards are smaller, about 3.5" square, but I don't have my lens mounted in a shutter.

Dan Fromm
5-Jan-2017, 14:10
The horse's mouth is here: https://www.schneideroptics.com/info/vintage_lens_data/large_format_lenses/tele-xenar/data/5,5-360mm.htm Look in it.

Tobias Key
5-Jan-2017, 14:17
I have this lens and I use it with a Toyo monorail. I can't see you would have any problems, the bellows draw is about 220mm at infinity. The only thing I like to do is use a manfrotto superclamp and fix a monopod to the end of the monorail to make sure the camera is rock solid.

6-Jan-2017, 01:39
The horse's mouth is here: https://www.schneideroptics.com/info/vintage_lens_data/large_format_lenses/tele-xenar/data/5,5-360mm.htm Look in it.
Dan, I'm aware of that info, my concern is that the horse's mouth might have some unseen and dangerous teeth I'm not aware of!!!!!
Please clarify your posting

6-Jan-2017, 02:46
Tony, I'm in the odd situation of having not one, but two 360 Tele-Xenar lenses, one in barrel, one in compound shutter. Surely carelessness rather than misfortune on my part. I bought the one in shutter sort of cheaply as one cell has strange mottling that rendered it an inadvertent soft focus lens. I bought the second in barrel cheaply to transplant the cells into the shutter. As yet I'm not sure it was worthwhile.

Anyhow...unfortunately I don't know anything about Calumet 4x5 monorail cameras. Perhaps Dan was suggesting that with the size / weight data on the Schneider site you could draw your own conclusions about the usability of these lenses with your camera.

I am able to mount that lens on a 13x18 ICA Juwel (which has rather a small wooden lens board), and the elderly wooden camera can bear the weight - so imagine you should be fine with a sturdy looking monorail, judging from a google image search of Calumet 4x5 cameras.

Also, possibly of interest - the Schneider site has a 1938 tele xenar leaflet:

that points out that the front cell can be used alone for close up photography. Think I tried it on ground glass once without exposing film. I mention it in case it's of interest to you.

6-Jan-2017, 02:50
You won't have a problem, the MPP lens board is much smaller than the Cambo, they aren't heavy lenses and as been pointed out due to being Telephoto doesn't need much bellows extension. I use mine on a Wista 45DX field camera and don't have stability issues, your Cambo should be a bit more rigid anyway.

The only downside could be the fastest shutter speed of 1/100, not the lens itself. I'm pleased with my 360mm Tele Xenar and can live with 1/100 max, I doubt I've ever shot LF faster then 1/200 preferring slow speeds unless working hand held usually at 1/100 , or with moving subjects.

I should add that even the more modern Copal #3 shutters only have a top speed of 1/125.


6-Jan-2017, 04:12
the MPP lens board is much smaller than the Cambo,
My camera is the CC400 not a Cambo. My camera uses a 4"x4" board and I think that the MPP board to which the lens is fitted camera (based on notes on the seller's site) is a 4x4. So, famous last words, it should be okay.
The reason for the posting was in case there were any functional/structural problems/features of the 360 tele-xenar that would prevent its usage on my camera.


6-Jan-2017, 06:54
Tony, I was forgetting that the CC-400 was before Calumet and Cambo merged. However by chance I'm sat here with a 1919 21cm f4.5 Tessar in a Coompound #3 shutter on a Seneca lens board 3.5"x 3.75 and it fits fine, in this case the flange is quite wide but there's enough clearance (it's on the back like a retaining ring).

If you look at the photo of the rear of the lens you are referring to the flange is being used the same way and is clear of the recessed edges of the lens board. Your CC-400 boards actually have greater clearance, I have one somewhere that came with an Ilex Paragon lens but I think the Acme shutter was larger than a Compound #3.

The flange is designed so it can be screwed to the front of the lens board and that's what you'd do with smaller lens boards and clearance issues. It was also common for flanges to be modified to allow clearance but you won't have that problem.


6-Jan-2017, 07:31
Ian, thank you