View Full Version : Nikkor W 360 6.5

Alonzo Guerrero
23-Apr-2006, 20:37
I just acquired a used Nikkor W 360 6.5 from a reputable camera shop and took it out today for a test drive. I have been shooting 4x5 for about a year now. I started with a Caltar II N 90 6.8, bought the Caltar II N 240 5.6 about 5 months ago, and just traded some extra gear for the Nikkor. Usually, I setup, frame, focus, and shoot. So far, I've gotten good results and I am happy with my gear. Everything looks as it should with my 2 Caltar lenses when focusing at infinity using the wide-open aperture. However, when using the 360 today, there was a noticeable "softness" as I was trying to focus wide-open at infinity. I checked all points, removed the lens and checked it, but I could see no reason whatsoever for the softness I was experiencing. I should mention that the sun was somewhat behind me, not directly above me, and at about my 8 o'clock position (the lens pointing to 12), and I was using a lens shade and a Horseman mask type focus aide, both to minimize light problems. I had to stop down to about f8 to focus.

Is this normal for this type of lens, or should I send the lens back? Any help is greatly appreciated.


23-Apr-2006, 21:44

That definitely doesn't sound right... I'm assuming the lens is mounted properly onto your board?

And, I don't think it would be your camera given that your other lenses work fine on it when focusing wide-open.

I use a number of Nikkor lenses ranging from 90 to 240 and they all focus well, wide-open!

So, I'm not sure why your 360 would soft-focus wide-open.


Alonzo Guerrero
23-Apr-2006, 22:13

Thanks for the reply. Yeah, it didn't seem right to me at all. I had the lens board drilled by the same guy that has drilled my other boards. That part seems to be standard, or at least I have not had any problems with the others. I did notice a distinct and loud "squeal" the first time I removed and replaced the rear element to mount it to the lens board. I don't think they would have intentionally sold me a defective lens, but I guess it happens. Is there a way to check the lens for correct focus, or to check if the rear element is actually what it is supposed to be? Maybe someone put the wrong rear element on this lens by mistake??

Anyway, thanks for confirming that this is not normal. I am going to contact them tomorrow.


Dan Fromm
24-Apr-2006, 05:09
Hmm. Check to make sure that the rear cell is screwed all of the way into the back of the shutter. Y'r report of a squeal when removing and replacing the rear cell makes me think that your board is relatively thick wood, not thin metal, and that it is preventing the rear cell from going all the way in.

Ted Harris
24-Apr-2006, 07:38
Wht Dan said and a little tip to make sure it is screwed in properly. Gently sit the element on top of the threads of the shutter and turn it backwards gently until you hear and/or feel a slight click. This willindicate that the male and female threads are properly mamted and you can then screw the cell into the shutter correctly without danger of stripping the threads or having it out of alignment.

Another off-the-wall possibility that I thought of. I wsn't sure from your original post if you had been actually able to focus the lens at all. If you have not then the possibility ... perhaps you don't have enough bellows extension for a 360 mm lens. There are a number of field cameras that do not. To focus a 360mm lens at infinity you need 360mm (about 14 inches) of bellows draw. What camera are you using, is this a possibility?

Patrik Roseen
24-Apr-2006, 07:50
I found a way to test a lens...its best done in a 'dark' room (not darkroom) with only having a 'circular halogen bulb' turned on and projected horisontally to a 'calm' wall a few meters away. Putting the lens wide open in front of the bulb with the rear end toward the lamp (NOT too close - you might hurt yourself or DAMAGE the lens) you will see the image of the halogen bulb show up on the wall as you adjust the distance to the lamp. The larger the lens the further away from the lamp you will have to be. Mind though that the depth of field is very short so you will see different parts of the lamp come into focus as you adjust the distance. (It's also interesting to see the effect of the large image circle as its possible to wiggle the lens and still get a good image projected). Note the image from the 360mm lens will be much smaller than if you put a 150 or 240mm lens in front of the lamp.)

24-Apr-2006, 21:24
Dan, Ted,

"However, when using the 360 today, there was a noticeable "softness" as I was trying to focus wide-open at infinity. I checked all points, removed the lens and checked it, but I could see no reason whatsoever for the softness I was experiencing."

"I had to stop down to about f8 to focus."


These comments lead me to believe it's a problem other than what has been suggested...

I could be wrong though. :)


Andre Noble
25-Apr-2006, 07:38
First off, do you have enough bellows draw for a 360mm lens?

Alonzo Guerrero
25-Apr-2006, 22:52
Thanks for all of the replies. Let me clarify a couple of things. The camera is a Horseman LM, the predecessor to the LX, with the extended rail that lengthens to accommodate longer lenses to about 500mm, so I don't think bellows draw is the problem.

I realized the squeal when the owner of the camera repair shop I use removed the rear element from the front element to measure the retaining ring. The lens did not come with a lens board, so this eliminates a lens board problem and this same person has bored a couple of lens boards for other lenses I own. I carefully examined the thread but did not see any damage, and used the reverse turn-to-click method several times before threading the lens all the way down to mitigate accidental cross threading. The pieces just didn't seem to go together, and the only thing I can think of is that the rear element was accidentally swapped and placed on the wrong lens at some point before I bought it.

At any rate, the camera shop I bought it from made good on the deal and will be sending me a different lens that we agreed on. I think this was just a fluke, and hopefully they still have the right rear element for this lens. It looked great, and I would have been very happy with it if I could have focused it.

Moral of the story...If at all possible, always get a warranty!

Thanks again for all the relpies.