View Full Version : APO Grandagon 55, Horseman VH, Recessed Boards

Brian Wallen
23-Feb-2009, 18:32
I've read earlier posts about using the APO Grandagon 55mm on a Horseman VH and apparently this can work marginally. I also saw mention of a recessed 80mm recessed board that I gather was a small volume production, but probably no longer available. Since a recessed board would make this lens/camera combination much more useful, I am considering either making or having made a custom recessed board.

First, I need the diameter of the shutter. I don't find that information on the Linos site. Perhaps Bob Salomon can provide that and any other notes of wisdom about this project.

There is apparently a cable release that works well in close quarters. If that doesn't work in this case, I am wondering about a cable with a 90 deg fixture at the shutter end that might be mounted through two holes--one in the tub wall and another in the board section. Once the cable was attached to the shutter, the holes could be sealed. This might result in a completely dedicated installation on the 80mm Horseman board, but then there are board adapters from the 80mm to Wista boards, and probably others.

The VH is a lovely little camera and reports are that this is a lovely little lens--seems like a heavenly match if this project could be made to give better focusing capability.

Oren Grad
23-Feb-2009, 20:01
Here's a drawing, with detailed dimensions, of a Copal 0:


I think my Horseman VH is cool, too, but I cringe at the thought of trying to use a lens on a recessed board. Also, I have Horseman field-to-Technika and Horseman field-to-Sinar/Horseman view adapters. Although I don't have them in front of me at the moment, I doubt very much that either could accept a board with recess extending to the rear.

I'm pretty sure it was Bob Eskridge who made some recessed boards for Horseman field, a good while back. Although those are long gone, he might be able to give you good advice about what's required to make it work, which will be much more useful than my skeptical gut reaction.

Good luck!

Brian Wallen
25-Feb-2009, 02:49

Thanks, I'll try to contact Bob Eskridge.

Yes Horseman 80mm boards are just too small. I've got an older 65mm SA f/8 on a flat board and its in a #00 shutter. I fantasized about a recessed board for it, but wasn't sure that I'd be able to set shutter and aperture without a magnifier, tweezers and a dental mirror. I look strange enough in the field, as it is without appearing to be doing open-heart surgery on an old camera. Since the Grandagon 55mm is in a #0 shutter, I don't imagine a recessed board is a possiblitity. The port in the front standard is only about 65mm in diameter, which doesn't leave much space for the well in a recessed board.

I have one of the Wista rear framework boards for my VX and it is a pleasure to use. Because it is open except for the four support posts, it can be 40mm deep, but the rear mounting to the front standard can only work because the Wistas have interchangeable bellows.

Joshua Dunn
1-Mar-2009, 11:44

In reference to your question about a cable release see this post http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?t=45211&highlight=gepe+cable+release for a discussion a a Gepe flexible cable release extension.

1-Mar-2009, 19:56
Actually, it was my friend Scott Bonnett of Phototype Design who manufactured them. I bought the last of Scott's boards and they are now long gone.

The boards recessed the lens about 6-7mm and worked with a regular cable release but you needed to make a few changes to the shutter controls. Too bad the Chinese haven't manufactured something similar as they have copied a lot of other stuff.

Brian Wallen
2-Mar-2009, 15:20
Thanks for the information.

I will probably go ahead and get a 55mm Grandagon, since it will work nicely on my Wista VX with the recessed board. It will be easier to come up with a prototype Horseman recessed board if I actually have the lens and shutter to work with to estimate the feasible depth of the well and the problems in accessing shutter controls.

Joshua, thanks for the pointer to the cable release thread. Bob had mentioned the Gepe earlier, and I may get two or three of these to see the possibilities in permanently mounting them through the well and face of the lensboard. They look to be useful more generally so they won't go to waste.

Brian Wallen
30-Mar-2009, 11:33
Just to put some closure on this...I bought an Apo Grandagon 55mm and there is no hope for making a recessed lens board that will enclose the #0 shutter. While it may be possible to laboriously focus it on a flat board on the VH, I've found that the special recessed lens board and bag bellows for my Wista VX allows convenient focusing and pretty complete front standard movements--perhaps as much as it would be possible to have on any camera, so it will spend most of its life there.

30-Mar-2009, 12:27
I know it is not cheap, but have a look at a Linhof Master Technika recessed lensboard.
I have at least 3 lenses in Compur 0 / Copal 0 mounted in them and it works fine !
(58XL, 75 SA and 150mm Sironar)


John T
30-Mar-2009, 12:39
How would you attach Technika boards on a Horseman VH?

30-Mar-2009, 13:55
Never thought about that, but just looking at one of them could give you an idea that fits....


John T
30-Mar-2009, 14:51
I have a Chamonix 45 and a Horseman VH. The Technika board is a monster compared to the tiny Horseman board. Back in my crazy days, I made modified a 00 shutter so that all the controls were extended to the front of a recessed Horseman Board. While it worked fine, I will never do it again. A Copal or Compur 0 housing will barely fit inside the well of a custom made recessed board. You would actually need to shave down the diameter of the shutter speed ring, remove the pc jack and change the aperture lever, focus lever and transfer the aperture scale to the lensboard itself.

Brian Wallen
31-Mar-2009, 00:16
I have an older 65mm SA in a #00 shutter and I believe I could make a recessed board for it, possibly with some controls extensions. I'd start with the base unit of my extension tube set which has a rimmed hole nearly as large as the port in the VH front standard. Then I'd find a cylindrical measuring cup of that size and bond them together.

For someone wanting a short lens for 6 x 9 Horsemans, the 47mm SA could work well, since I think it was in a #00 Compur shutter. The 58mm Grandagon that was available for Graflex XLs would also be a candidate and already comes equipped with controls extensions; the only problem here is that many of these Grandagons had adhesive separations.

What is surprising is that no one besides Wista seems to have developed the kind of recessed lens arrangement they use. The idea of a mountable superstructure behind the front standard would seem to work for any camera having removable bellows. It makes the shutter controls very accessible and can create setback that most recessed lensboards can only dream of. Of course, it wouldn't work with the Horseman technicals that did not have removable bellows.


31-Mar-2009, 10:36
This is the best solution I have seen for a folding camera.


Brian Wallen
31-Mar-2009, 14:49
Incidently, while the idea of mounting a Wista board on a Horseman technical defies one or two physical laws as we know them, going the other way is possible. Horseman made a Horseman 80 => Wista converter and there are after market versions available from Chinese suppliers (~$150/new). These provide at least some help in sharing lens kits.