View Full Version : Using a Nikkor T 1200 mm lens on Tech 5x7, anyone?

Paul Schilliger
16-Sep-2005, 09:52

While checking out the maximum extension that the bellows that fits mine can reach (740mm without gross overstretching), I saw that it is enough to focus the Nikkor T 1200 at infinity (755mm) with an extended lensboard or Wista tube. But the mechanical extension is only 560mm. Wista for instance has a stronger long extension bed profile that replaces the last section of the original one for long lenses. I don't think that Linhof has ever made such an item, but has anyone tried a DIY solution? I ruled out the long tube from lensboard for it seems that this would really add too much stress and the bed is too weak.

George Stewart
16-Sep-2005, 10:14
I had skgrimes.com make me a six-inch extended lensboard for my Canham 8x10. It was to be used with the Nikkor 1200mm. While the camera alone works with the 1200mm, It has little room for additional close-focus with that lens. The extended lensboard was a good idea, however it should be made with a block that has 1/4-20 threads to help support the lens (something I didn't do in my design). Based on my experience, if I did it over again, I'd go with a four-inch extended board with a means to support it.

Paul Schilliger
16-Sep-2005, 12:15
Looking at the bed closely now, I think it would be possible to work a piece of plywood with metal hooks to hold behind and under the geared bed, securing it someway, and which would receive the bed extension on the other end. This would shift the lens up for the thickness of the plywood, but would not matter for such long lens. Probably the best cost/weight/strength savvy solution.

Eric Woodbury
17-Sep-2005, 10:53
I use a Nikkor T 800 with my Deardorff 57 on occasion. This is fairly easy, although you are right in thinking that with the front standard that fair out, things get a bit shaky. For this I devised a support that is very light and works well. It is a piece of aluminum (0.040" thick) 13" long and 5" wide. Centered in one end is a 1/2" wide slot, 5" long. This slides under the camera after I've loosened the tripod screws (I use two 3/8" tripod screws). I then re-tighten the screws and the support goes forward and under the extended portion of the camera. On the far end is a little block of wood that just fits up under the camera. Gravity holds the camera in place. To give the support stiffness, I have rivetted 3/4" 'L' extruded aluminum down the sides that stradles the tripod head on both sides. Under the camera I have glued that thin cork so the contact surfaces are padded. The support is tapered a bit, narrower at the front of the camera. so as not to be so Klunky.

I have not used the 1200. I suppose it would work, but for those rare occasions I would just use the 800 and crop the negative. There is plenty of it for my use.

Paul Schilliger
17-Sep-2005, 15:11
Thanks for sharing your experiences. Every camera is different, so solutions are multiple. I had thought of the aluminum support, but for the 1200 it would have been a long piece of metal, not very easy to slip in the back pack.

After asking the question yesterday, a solution finally pointed as I looked at the camera closer. I purchased a piece of plywood and two different aluminum profiles in a DIY store today, and with some sawing and screwing the thing is already made. It's a 12mm thick piece 41 cm long and 10,6 cm wide, narrower on one part that joins the geared bed and the extension. It adds the few inches that were lacking to focus the lens without altering the camera integrity. I must say that when I ordered a new bellows from Camera Bellows, I ordered it a bit longer than the original, so maybe this would not work so well on some other Techs. I also use a Wista extension with two rings to avoid over stretching the bellows (my lenses are on smaller Tech boards). This thing mounts in a minute, is pretty secure and I can use the geared focussing as before. The camera has also just what is needed in lens fall to compensate for this add on if it would be needed. It is relatively steady when extended and mounted on a headless tripod. The extension did only cost a few swiss francs in stuff.

Now that's just the beginning. Shooting in dim light and the often breezy end of the day with this lens isn't the easiest thing I have seen. I find it hard to set the precise point of focus. It is a f18 lens. Unlike with my Toyo, with the Tech it would be possible to put a mark on the bed for the infinity, it's probably what I will do for those occasions when the ground glass is too dark and fuzzy for my old eyes. Any further experience and tips on using this lens?