View Full Version : Linhof lens mounting question

Don Hall
9-Mar-2001, 23:24
Linhof users, does anyone have any comments about the practicality of mounting lenses on center drilled Wista erected lensboards. Will it screw up the front ti lt (i.e. harder to focus with front tilts) ?? Will I lose image circle (i.e. have less movement available) by effectively havi ng automatic rise from useing a center drilled board ?? Am I worrying about no thing ?? Thanks for any input. Don Hall

John Hennessy
10-Mar-2001, 02:41
For what it's worth, I have Linhof, Nikon, Wista and no-name (sold through Bromwell) boards and none are drilled in the center. They're all off center (down about 15 mm I'd guess). So if you have or are looking some boards drilled dead center, you would loose about 15mm of rise and it would throw off axis tilts. That is not nothing but is not an earth shaking difference either.

All the boards snap right in as well as the Linhof except for the Wista; they need a little twist. They seem thicker.

My main point is you don't have to pay a king's ransom to get a Linhof , off-center board. The clone boards can also be off-center. Evidently many are not judging from the questions about it on here. Check e-bay for new or used ones.

Bob Salomon
10-Mar-2001, 06:22
Linhof boards are actually not off center.

The reason for the hole placement is so that when the front and rear standards a re zeroed the lens is centered on the film allowing for equal movement in all directions and for even light spread in all directions (especially important with wa lenses which have a hot spot. This ensures that the fall off is equally spread across the film.

As for fit Linhof invested in some very precise milling eqipment a few years ago which allows them to make the fit of their lensboards on recent Technika and Technikardans very tight. So tight that third party and o lder LINHOF BOARDS MAY NOT FIT UNLESS THE PAINT ON THE LONG EDGES ARE SCRAPED OFF.

They went to this precision fit to eliminate any movement in the board and to en sure that the lens mounts at exactly the same point all the time.

John Hennessy
10-Mar-2001, 13:34
HP speak "Linhof boards are actually not off center."

Logical standard English "The hole in a linhof board in not in its center; it is lower."

Take your pick!

Kerry L. Thalmann
10-Mar-2001, 14:22
The mounting holes on genuine Linhof boards are definitely physically off center with respect to the dimensions of the board (and the circular light trap on the back of the board). What Bob is really saying is that the lens must be mounted bellow center on the board for it to align with the center of the ground glass when the front standard is in the neutral position.

WRT to fit and finish. Bob is partially right. I have a relatively new TK45S, and some lensboards are just too tight. NEW Linhof lensboard fit perfectly (as you would expect), but cost a King's ransom (as you would expect). I have a few older Linhof boards (not sure how you can determine the age of a lensboard). Most fit, but one did not and had to have the long edges sahved off a little. New Wista boards do NOT fit very well. I bought three of them new less than a year ago to use with my TK45S. They have way too much thick paint both along the long sides and around the small slots on the bottom edge of the board. You can scrape/grind off this excess paint, but the new Wista boards still do not just snap into place as well as a properly fitting board. Oddly, I have a couple older Wista boards with much thinner paint that snap right into place just like the new Linhof boards. Seems like Wista made their boards wider/thicker about the same time Linhof decided to make their's narrower. WRT to generic boards. I have a couple of the ones labeled "NSE" on the reverse side. These fit perfectly, but the holes on the ones I have are centered (WRT to the board). I have enough of the off-center Linhof/Wista boards that I only have to result to using these boards with the centered holes when carrying more than the usual amount of lenses. In that case, I just use them with my longest lenses (like 450mm Fujinon C), where things like coverage and fall-off are non-issues. Not sure if these "NSE" boards are available with the off-center holes like the Linhof/Wista boards, but if they are, I'd definitely recommend them. They (at least the ones I bought several years ago) fit perfectly on my TK45S and have a nice finish. They don't have the fancy crest like the Linhof/Wista boards (big deal), but they also cost a LOT less. I think I bought mine from Bromwell, but it might have been Midwest Photo Exchange. I would also recommend checking with Jeff at Badger Graphics. He may sell these or some other "generic" board that will fit your camera and carry a reasonable price tag. I believe he sells the Walker lensboards that should be compatible with your camera. I have not personally used these boards, so I can't comment on he fit and the location of the holes. I'm sure Jeff could answer those questions.

Since Don specifically asked about the Wista erected lensboards, he's most likely planning to use it with a long lens. If that's the case, all this talk about fall-off and coverage are probably non-issues. Don, what lens are you planning to use with the erected board? If it's a telephoto, like the 720mm Nikkor T-ED, the movements will be a bit screwed up even on a flat board (due to the location of the nodal points). If it's a long focal length non-telephoto, the erected lensboard will have an effect on front tilt and swing due to the fact that the lens axis will be forward of the tilt/swing axis (think of it like a long lever). I am currently using a long extender with the 450mm Fujinon C on a different brand camera, and I don't find this to be an issue for ME. When I use a lens this long, I am either trying to isolate a distant subject that I can't physically get closer to, or for the compression effect - NOT to get a big leading foreground as I might with a wide angle lens. So, I use much less in the way of swing and tilt with such long lenses. And if I do need a little, I just use back tilts/swings. Depending on the lens you are using and the length and diameter of the tube, you may lose some coverage due to mechanical vignetting. Again, depending on your situation, this may not be an issue. With the extender I'm using, I'm sure I lose some of the 486mm image circle of my 450 C, but since I'm only shooting 4x5, I still have more than the maximum achievable with my camera (with full front rise and the lens wide open, there is no mechanical vignetting). Again, this depends on your particular camera/lens/extender combination, but is easy enough to determine by looking through the corners of the ground glass to check for vignetting. Since HP is now the official US distributor for Wista products, Bob can probably tell you the physical dimensions (length, inside diameter) of the Wista erected lens board, and he should also be able to let you know how well it will fit on your Linhof camera.


Don Hall
10-Mar-2001, 14:49
Thanks to all of you for your input. Kerry, I was thinking of the 450 Fujinon with the extended board. You are correct, I probably would not be using much in the way of movements with the telephoto. If I recall from another thread you had a custom extender made for your 450. How much extension does it give you ? Also, if you don't mind me asking, who made it for you ? Off the subject, I have the chance to pick up a mint Nikon W 135, have you had any experience with this lens ? Sorry to hear your large format homepage will be history, I and a lot of others have certainly gleaned a lot of useful information from it. Thanks again. Don Hall

Kerry L. Thalmann
10-Mar-2001, 17:13
Hi Don,

The custom extender I had made for my Toho was made by Steve Grimes per my specifications. I had a rather elaborate variable length extender system made to try out several different lenses. The length (from 1 1/2" - 4 3/8") and shutter size (Copal or Compur No. 1 or Compur No. 2) are configurable. Steve did his usual great job. A fixed length extender dedicated to a specific lens would be a piece of cake for Steve. I'm working on an update to my online Toho review that will include pictures and information about the extender system Steve made for me. It should be online in a couple days, if you'd care to check it out.

The 135mm Nikkor W is a fine lens. I had one for years. It was the first new large format lens I ever bought, and was a big step up from my 127mm Kodak Ektar (especially in terms of coverage). I eventually replaced the 135mm Nikkor with a 135mm APO Sironar-S, which I find to be ever so slightly sharper in the corners, and of course has a little more coverage. Still, I always liked the Nikkor and many of my best images over the years were taken with that lens. If the price is right, go for it.

I'm looking into other free hosting services for a new home for my large format homepage. There are a lot of them out there, so I'm confident I'll find one that suits my needs. Problem is I'm pretty busy with other things right now, so finding a new home and moving everything over might not happen by the end of the month when homepage.com goes down. So, it may be temporarily offline, but not gone forever. Once it has a new home and is up and running, I'll post the new URL here and in rec.photo.equipment.large-format.


Don Hall
10-Mar-2001, 17:37
Kerry, Thanks for the info. I will keep checking in on your large format home page. Don

Bob Salomon
10-Mar-2001, 22:58
Wista makes a Linhof style lens board that take scre on extenders that can give you more extension then the Wista erected boards. The front of the extensions accept drilled round boards that screw directly in t o them.

James Meckley
11-Mar-2001, 22:11
The Wista folks in Japan told me recently that the Wista erected lensboards offer ten (10) millimeters [!] of entension. Is this true? If so, it hardly seems worth the trouble.

Kerry L. Thalmann
12-Mar-2001, 13:08

I believe what Don was referring to is what Wista calls: Adaptor Ring Set for tele/close up photography. They actually make two versions of this set: Set A No. 4570 and Set B No. 4569. Set A consists of a set of threaded spacers and threaded lens mounting disks (one each #0, #1 and #3) that can be combined in various combinations depending on desired length and shutter size. This is identical in concept to the extender set I had Steve Grimes make for my Toho FC-45X. Set B has the same spacers, but rather than a set of lens mounting disks, it has an adapter on the front that allows the mounting of any lens in a standard Linhof/Wista style board. This would be beneficial if you have more than one lens you wish to use with the spacer set, or you share the lens(es) with another camera that accepts standard Linhof/Wista Boards.

Unfortunately, there are no dimensions listed on the Wista web site for these spacer sets, but it's MUCH more than 10mm (from the photos, it looks to be somewhere in the 3 - 4" max. range). Again, Bob Salomon would be the one to contact for mechanical specifications. There are some pictures at the Wista web site. Unfortunately, because of the screwy way they use frames, I can't post a direct link. You need to go to:


Click on "For Foreign Residents" to get to the english language pages. Click on "Showroom". Click on "Accessories". Click on "Accessories-2".

To see the photos of these spacer sets.