View Full Version : loose lensboards!?

Scott Kathe
18-Mar-2007, 10:43
You might want to skip the first paragraph unless you like horror stories.

This morning I composed and exposed a couple of sheets of FP4+ with my Shen-Hao 4x5 and Nikkor-W 150mm lens in a Nikon lens board. I wasn't too far from my house and after I got home I thought I should got back and try for a bit more depth of field. I had the capped lens on the camera mounted to my tripod with a film holder in my pocket and light meter around my neck. I trudged through the snow on our driveway, down the road a bit and into the school grounds. I set up the camera to get some more depth of field to insure that the entire snow covered crabapple would be in focus. I stood to the side of my camera and reached to the front to remove the lens cap and there was a GAPING HOLE! The lens and lens board had fallen out somewhere!!!! I quickly traced my steps back to the the house afraid that I would see the lens on the snow covered road just as a car drove over it or a plow tossed it aside. To make matters worse my wife would be driving up that same road and back up the driveway at any time. Of course as I was running back to the house the first time the film holder went flying out of my pocket and into the snow-at least it stuck up a bit and I could find it. The lens wasn't in the road and wasn't in our driveway-but who knows our driveway and the school grounds were covered with 3" of snow-it could have been anywhere. I traced my steps back and forth twice, no luck and thankfully no cars or plows. I was in a panic but tried to remain calm. I hoped the lens would be near the camera. Two swipes through the snow at the base of the tripod and there it was covered with snow. It was a nice powdery snow and I could blow most of it off. The front lens cap was still on but the rear element was covered with snow. The lens seems to be fine. I used to REALLY like the Nikon lens board, with the offset hole I can reverse the lens and store it in the camera. Now I DO NOT TRUST IT!!!! and I was thinking about buying more of the darn things!

Last week I made a lens board from 3/16" birch plywood for a 203mm Ektar that I won on eBay and since returned, faulty shutter. The home made lens board cost me $3 for the wood and I can make two more. That lens board fits nice and tight in the camera, I guess I'll be making two more today with the leftover wood. Anyone know of better lens boards for the Shen-Hao?


18-Mar-2007, 10:51
Doesn't the camera just use Linhof style boards?

You sure it's the board and not something else?

Scott Kathe
18-Mar-2007, 11:18

It does take Linhof style boards. I bought the camera used and it came with two boards. I just checked the other board that came with the camera, it doesn't have a name on it and it isn't nearly as loose as the Nikon board. After looking at the two boards I think it is a texture issue. The front of the Nikon board has a tiny amount of texture (little bumps spaced far apart) and the back is completely flat. The other board has a lot more texture kind of like a pebbled leather finish, if you know what I mean, on the back and the front! The no name board fits in snug frontwards and backwards.

Oops, just figured it out. The sliding lever that holds lens board in has to slide ALL the way down for a snug fit. I probably just didn't slide the lever down far enough:) The Nikon board is a LOT looser than the no name board with the lens facing forwards or backwards. I may have nightmares about this for a while. It's good to learn these things now while snow is on the ground and not while on the top of a rock covered mountain or on the banks of a stream, river, pond or lake ;)


18-Mar-2007, 11:33
I was thinking it might be that. I'm sure we've all done something similar at one point or other.

Ed Richards
18-Mar-2007, 13:55
The Nikon boards are thinner and do not fit as tight. I have noticed the problem with other cameras. The real linhof boards and the Wista boards are a much better fit.

Colin Graham
18-Mar-2007, 18:01
That happened to me once with a reducing board, had the camera on the tripod slug over my shoulder and heard the lens fall and skitter down the asphalt trail behind me. I never shoulder a camera anymore!

Robert Hughes
19-Mar-2007, 12:45
Hi, I'm Bob, and I'm an LF'aholic...

I've been making lens boards for my Busch Pressman out of cardboard, using electrical tape to hold them on the frame. Why do my lenses keep falling off?:confused:

Gary Smith
19-Mar-2007, 15:02
Glad your lens was okay.

Personally, I have had problems with both a couple of no name Chinese and a Nikon board, for exactly the same reason you desribe. The boards fit so loosely into the front the the camera, they they would either be not light tight or would have a tendancy to fall out.

As a result, I have stuck to Toyo, Wista and real linhof boards and no more problem.

Hope it helps.


Scott Kathe
19-Mar-2007, 17:40
I keep wishing I didn't write this post-makes me feel not so smart;) I'm glad to hear that some other people have experienced loose Nikon boards. I'll keep using mine with a great deal of caution. The lens still seems to be firing fine. Anyone want to sell a good lens board? ;)


19-Mar-2007, 17:41
I've had good luck with the Walker boards which Badger sells.

Brian C. Miller
20-Mar-2007, 10:42
Hi, I'm Bob, and I'm an LF'aholic...

I've been making lens boards for my Busch Pressman out of cardboard, using electrical tape to hold them on the frame. Why do my lenses keep falling off?:confused:

You are supposed to use more tape around the edges. Also, use friction tape or cloth duct tape instead of vinyl.