View Full Version : Lens caps and front element protection what's the best ? - was Schneider 58XL vs. Rodenstock Apo Grandagon 55?

Peter Brown
2-Jan-2002, 03:22
Hi all,

I also remember reading the thread not so long ago about the poor fitting and soft plastic of a lens cap on a Rodenstock lens, causing damage to the front element. This happened to me also, some years ago after a rough outback trip when the lens cap rubbed on the front element damaging the multi-coating.

As we were getting a bit off subject on the other thread, I thought comments on the lens caps we use and how to protect our lenses may be of interest.

I use the provided lens caps but also now keep a filter in place to protect the front element. I also keep anything that could contact the front or rear elements well away from the lens. This is easy when travelling in a vehicle and the lenses are in a hard case but more difficult when backpacking.

The Japanese lens caps seem to be stronger and better designed. I have just recently purchased a new Fujinon 135mm 5.6 CMW lens and one of the first things that impressed me with this lens was the excellent packaging and presentation.

Compared to the German lenses I have bought, which usually come in a little flimsy cardboard box and cost a lot more, the Fujinon came in a solid, large, cardbord box with plenty of packing to prevent any damage from knocks or rough handling. Inside this outer shell was the lens, cocooned in it's own high-impact plastic, lens box, about 12 x12 x 9 cm. This is a well-designed, smart, gray lens box with a strong clip, which opens up at the top. Inside is a row of slots (5) so that the lens can be stored with it's lensboard attached, out of harms's way and ready for use.

The lens was mounted on it's own "Linhof style" hard plastic lensboard and another lensboard, without a shutter hole, was sitting in front to prevent any damage to the front element and also as a useful cover for the front lens standard when the lens is not on the camera. The lens front & rear caps are also plastic (like the German ones) but are firmer and fit very well, but if the lens is stored in this box for travelling, then worries about the lens elements being damaged would be negated.

We shouldn't have to buy after-market caps because the original one's are not strong enough. This Japanese lens manufacturer has taken the time to design a solid, practical way of protecting a valuable lens - perhaps the European lens makers could take a leaf from their book.

Kind Regards

Peter Brown

Paul Schilliger
2-Jan-2002, 04:31
Peter, I had forwarded the thread you mention above to Schneider-Kreutznach with a kind word explaining that if their lens caps had been better, my Super-Angulon would not have been damaged . I also mentioned the clear superiority of the japanese products in this regard. They did not even thank me for that ;-) but that's not a problem as long as making better caps is part of their New Years resolutions!

2-Jan-2002, 07:08
Paul - be careful. You've left yourself wide open when you mentioned Schneider. In the other thread you complained about Rodenstock being the culprit for the damaged lens - now you also have a damaged Schneider lens? BTW Kerry's damaged lens was also a Schneider, a Schneider 150HM - I know because I now own that lens.

2-Jan-2002, 07:12
Forgot to mention that I own lenses from the "Big 4" - and Nikon's and Fuji's lenscaps are world's ahead of the lenscaps from both Schneider and Rodenstock. It might be nice if the posters can check and see if they have lenses with cross-compatablity of lenscaps from the other manufacturers - I think it would be sweet justice if we posted the lenscaps from Nikon and Fuji that could be used to protect our Rodenstock and Schneider lenses.

Mark Nowaczynski
2-Jan-2002, 08:12
The very best lens caps I have ever seen are machined from acetal (Delrin) by S.K. Grimes. For complete details see his website:


He machines these custom lens caps to order to any size and all 6 that I ordered fit perfectly. They make the Rodenstock lens caps supplied with new lenses look like temporary dust covers used for shipping only which should be discarded with the packing materials. It is a shame that such fine optics are supplied without real or adequate lens caps.

2-Jan-2002, 08:24
Let form follow function - and function determine form. The Schneider and Rodenstock lenscaps are indeed "dust covers" and the Fuji and Nikon caps are "lens protectors". Nothing against Steve Grimes, but there may be a better way. If we could determine cross-compatability of caps, perhaps we could convince Jeff at Badger Graphics to make a buy of caps from Fuji and Nikon to supply us with our needs. It would probably be cheaper than going with Steve - and again be ironic to see us walking around with Japanese covers on our German lenses. We're probably only talking about the few wide and extreme wideangle lenses that tend to have "proud" elements. The Schneider 110XL, 150XL, and 150HM are the three that I have that come readily to mind. I'll have to swap caps tonight and see what I turn up. One possibility is the cap from the Fuji 600/11.5 on the lenses that take 67mm filters.

Paul Schilliger
2-Jan-2002, 09:30
Wayne, you must have thought of Armin who had a damaged Rodenstock and who got r eplacement. Mine was a Super-Angulon 90mm. I second your idea to have a supply of Fujinon caps availab le. They are great. The difficulty is to find caps for the back elements who are not standard sizes (my Schneiders back elements are 42- 46- 54- 57- 63.5- 76.6 outer rim, not all standard sizes!) Best for the larg e sizes would be aluminium caps.

Paul Schilliger
2-Jan-2002, 09:33
By the way, the Nikon caps are no better than the Schneider.

2-Jan-2002, 16:32
Sorry Paul - I've really got to stop posting before the morning coffee. I went from one thread to the other without paying attention to the names.

2-Jan-2002, 17:40
I'll have to check my Nikkor 90mm tonight - maybe the impression that the lenscaps are better made than the Schneider ones is due to the elements being recessed better than they are in the XL series lenses. I am certain that I need to replace the caps on the XL's, but the Nikkor is fine the way it is.

John Burnley
2-Jan-2002, 21:43
Nikon lens caps for large format are JUNK. Many times in use in hot weather they will loosen and just about fall off the lens. I have replaced some with Steve Grimes excellent custom caps. For my 90mm and 75mm lenses I wanted caps that will leave some room between it and the strongly convex front elements. I bought step up rings 67 to 72mm and metal caps for these (72mm). Auto store threadlocker combined the caps and rings into a nice screw-in cap that really protects the front element and easily screws on and off. BTW, my 75mm Nikkor front element coating has abrasions in the center from the Nikon cap, hence my upgrading.

2-Jan-2002, 22:22
Well I have the Nikkor 90/8 and the lens cap is just fine. In fact, it's much stiffer than even the Fuji cap, the only drawback is that it's very shallow when compared to the Fuji. It works great on the Nikkor lens because the front element is nowhere near as close to the front edge of the lens barrel when compared to the Schneider 110XL In comparing the caps for the Schneider, Fuji, and Nikon, for lenses with 67mm filter threads, the Fuji comes out on top due to the depth of the cap. The Schneider is very slightly dished, which gives it added clearance on the 110XL. But the Fuji can easily have some dabs of hot glue added to the inside edge of the cap, giving it a new bearing surface on the front edge of the lens, and a much better separation from the front element. Now to talk Jeff into ordering a cap... Shame that there doesn't appear to be a 95mm Fuji available.