View Full Version : Information on how to mount and use old lenses

Stephen Lumry
25-Oct-2008, 14:30
I feel that there is an old lens in my future, perhaps one of the many brass Petzals offered in the for sale forum. I have searched the internet extensively and have found a lot of bits and pieces of information on these lenses; however, I have not seen anything that looks like a primer on the care and feeding of these old gems. I get the impression that all these lenses follow no standards as far as dimensions; that you have to be a machinist to mount them and for a shutter you generally use a hat. I know this is not entirely true, but I am bringing to wonder if perhaps they are only usable by the truly geeky inclined. I have an Arca Swiss 4x5 with 110mm lens boards and was wondering where to get information about getting some of these lenses to work with such a setup.

25-Oct-2008, 15:28
for the small and medium sized lenses, I make lensboards out of cardboard (usually from the box it arrived in, haha!) and use tape to secure the lens in the hole. This can be done even if there is no retainer ring on the lens. If I end up liking the lens after using it on the cardboard lens for a while, then I will make or modify a lensboard out of sturdier material.

and if I get into a situation where I need a shutter (to bright for a 'hat/hand' shutter), I'll rubberband the cardboard lensboard to the front of my largest shutter (Betax #5), that seems to be working pretty well so far :-) Sometimes I'll hold an piece of ND sheet or two infront of the lens, to reduce the amount of light even farther, if I don't have an aperture to stop down with (or if I don't want to stop down)


Frank R
25-Oct-2008, 19:01
These two things are in your future: a Packard shutter and a universal lens mount.

Use them separately or, with a little bit of woodworking, you can mount them together.

25-Oct-2008, 20:42
Before my carpenter finish off my custom made wooden lens board and Packard shutter box, here is how I cope with the need for instant gratification. Empty 4x5 sheet film box and a lot of gaffe tape. Although it does not have a shutter nor an aperture iris, you can always use a very slow film (e.g. Adox Pan 25) and the black hat trick, or use strobes in the studio.


25-Oct-2008, 20:45
For my 8x10, I have a Packard shutter box with a universal iris. It works fine, but it's bulky, heavy, and it's not easy finding a universal iris. It is very nice for trying out just about any small-medium barrel lens easily. For my 4x5 I mounted a 4.75" projection petzval on an Alphax #4 shutter using a compression ring I cut out of foam core. It works really well and keeps things compact. It's also nice having the petzval on a "real" shutter.


Turner Reich
25-Oct-2008, 23:09
These are great constructions, it reminds me of the Apollo 13 air scrubber, the round hole and square plug, or was it the other way around.

25-Oct-2008, 23:16
These are great constructions, it reminds me of the Apollo 13 air scrubber, the round hole and square plug, or was it the other way around.

just gotta hold the lens infront of the film :D