View Full Version : Big Mass of Brass and Glass onto a Deardorff V8 - Wood or Metal Lensboard?

Len Middleton
1-Apr-2011, 15:50
I recently acquired a Cooke 12-3/4" f4.5 Series IIE lens and looking to mount it onto a lensboard for my Deardorff V8. The Cooke is a massive brass and glass structure, and the centre of the weight does sit some distance from the front of the lensboard.

I have a Deardorff style three piece lensboard in good condition conditon that I can hog the hole some more and mount the retaining ring onto it. I also have a metal Calumet C1 lensboard with a much smaller hole.

I would like to use the wood board, but certainly do not want to test the Cooke's ability to sustain impact damage while remaining functional. :eek:

On another note, if using wood should one use self tapping screws, or use through drilled holes with nuts on the back of the lensboard.

If anyone else has a similar lens, I would be interested on how they did it.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts and information,


P.S. Did do a quick search, but the one thread on wood versus metal lensboards was somewhat generic.

Tracy Storer
1-Apr-2011, 16:01
You may be able to use the lens flange on the back of either wood or metal board as a retainer.
It's hard to say without knowing the actual sizes, number of mount-holes in the flange, length and balance of the lens.
Heavy lenses with a lot of front projection (360 Heliar in my case) sometimes make me worry about the lensboard retainer hardware on the camera more than the board itself.

Len Middleton
1-Apr-2011, 16:31

It is a TH flange with 6 holes, not retaining ring, and I believe it to be the orignal one.

I had not considered the top retainer plate on the Deardorff, but it looks OK.

Yes, the Heliar would probably a comparable unit. How have you mounted it?

Thanks for the additional insight,


Craig Tuffin
1-Apr-2011, 16:33
I've got the Cooke Portrait Soft Focus 12.5" f 3.5 (a massive piece of glass) and the 18" f4.5 (even bigger) and debated about nuts and bolts or screws. I ended up going the screws as that was what was on the original 18" with its board anyway. It is scary when it's on the camera, not because I'm concerned about the lensboard but the chance of it falling forward due to a poorly prepared tripod. I ended up using them only on my 11x14 wet-plate camera because it has a cradle the camera sits on and may be clamped to.

Just take the time to well prepare your set-up before mounting your lens and try to avoid any angle of more than 30 degrees down at the front to avoid the whole thing falling forward. A friend of mine actually uses a second tripod with foam to support the lens alone.

1-Apr-2011, 17:38
Deardorff lens boards are pretty substantial. I've mounted some fairly heavy lenses to them and never had any issues. I prefer nuts, bolts, and washers for anything substantial. Be aware that the dorff front standard doesn't handle big lenses gracefully, so always make sure the lens board is locked in and be careful when loosening the front standard locks.

Tracy Storer
1-Apr-2011, 17:45
I believe my Heliar flange has 6 holes, didn't do anything extra, #4 wood screws, as long as I could use without them coming out the back of the board.
I have on occasion, used a flange as a retainer, on the back of the board. It's a trick Steve Grimes showed me to save having to drill and tap holes in a metal board, most wooden boards are probably too thick.


Len Middleton
1-Apr-2011, 18:17
Be aware that the dorff front standard doesn't handle big lenses gracefully, so always make sure the lens board is locked in and be careful when loosening the front standard locks.


Aware of that with my 600mm Apo-Ronar mounted in front of a Packard shutter box. Going to have the same situation with the Cooke, so likely worse. Makes for a long moment arm lever with a big weight on the end.



1-Apr-2011, 19:30
It's less about the material of the lens board than the weight of the lenses against the front standard wingnuts - they simply will not hold anything more than a 18" Verito which is quite a bit lighter than a 12" IIE. And using a C1 metal lens board adds to the problem as it adds more weight - weight is the bigger problem than rigidity IMHO.

I also have a 12" IIE and I know it is always a problem on my V8, since to use it I must also sandwich it with a Sinar Shutter. Both add up to almost 6 lbs and that's a real stretch for the two flimsy wingnuts and washers on the V8 front standard. On the other hand, my 16-lb. 18" IIE sits comfortably on my P8 and it works great. I actually bolted this flange through the standard 8x8 mahogany lens board with nuts on the back side so I need not worry about wood screws tearing up that pretty wood and covering the floor with expensive English glass.....

For any heavy lens, most of the weight is actually loaded on the Deardorff name plate on the upper edge of the lens board opening. Although this plate on the P8 is held down by 4 wood screws, it being very wide spreads the weight across the width of the 8" front standard. The V8 nameplate is much smaller and can be very risky. I may still one day bolt my P8 nameplate through just so I can sleep at night.

So think twice about the V8 and the IIE - the C1 is better than a V8 for heavy lenses like the IIE but a p2 is better still.


Jim Noel
2-Apr-2011, 08:20
A very small alteration to the lens board standard solves the wing nut problem. The "Baby" Deardorff true 4x5 had a small piece of metal attached to the top of the standard so it could slide behind the upright and keep the lens board parallel to the upright. It prevented the lens from tilting forward when not wanted.
I would send pictures but sadly I sld my Baby several years ago. It is too bad this and other features wre never incorporated into the larger models.

Len Middleton
3-Apr-2011, 11:25

Thank you for that insight. I found that the front standard would tilt down when a large lens (in my case, a 600mm Apo-Ronar) was used with the Deardorff Packard shutter box. Even with tightening the windnuts, this remained a problem where I was thinking of making a small wrench to tighten the wingnuts. I quickly abandoned that thought when I realized that could potentially pull the studs right out of the front standard.

I had then thought about making a removable brace from the front standard to the shutter box, but thinking further it need not be that complex, as the example you provide, that one could install a small brace that could slide in the slot the front standard rides on and use that to limit the tilt, and maybe even the sag caused by the weight out front.

Carver's solution of a dedicated portrait camera is more elegant and correct, but I think it is a non-starter at this time for me.

Thank you all for your insights,


Robert Opheim
7-Apr-2011, 11:45
I broke the front standard of a Kodak 8x10 with a large 12" Wollensak Velostigmat lens in a Betax #5 Shutter . the lens was just too heavy for the light weight wood field camera. I would advise making a rest to lay the front of the lens on so that you don't create too much twisting (moment arm) from the lens weight to the camera body.