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View Full Version : Technika lens boards - what's so special?



Thom Bennett
4-Jul-2012, 09:44
I see a lot of references to Technika lens boards and they seem to be very popular. Also see a lot of references to adapters from other popular brands to Technika. What is so special about the Technika lens boards?

Thanks!

vinny
4-Jul-2012, 09:48
It's a piece of metal with a hole in it that's anodized black. Many camera makers use this size and it's the most popular size for 4x5 field cameras.

Alan Gales
4-Jul-2012, 09:50
They are small and take up less room in your camera bag. The Technika style boards (not original) are cheap. Also adapters are easy to find to swap Technika boards from camera to camera. I own a Tachihara 4x5 which takes Technika boards. With an adapter I can mount the same boards onto my 4x5 Sinar P and also my 8x10 Wehman.

Graham Patterson
4-Jul-2012, 10:42
Lensboards around 4"/100mm (the Technika is 96/98mm) are about the practical minimum for mounting lenses with large rear elements. The camera mount aperture is smaller, of course. The actual camera is usually the limiting factor - my Wista has a circular opening and will take my 90mm f5.6 wideangle while the MPP has a square opening and won't take the lens (I have an adapter to shim the board to MPP standards). It may be the closest thing to a universal form-factor.

The other practical reason for this board being popular is that it is readily re-sellable if you get a lens pre-mounted, but you use something else 8-)

Len Middleton
4-Jul-2012, 12:39
Actually they are pretty good boards...

The originals have a light baffle on the back to match the step around the circular opening on the front standard they mount on.

They are about the closest thing to a standard lensboard if you want to mount lenses in standard shutters Copal 3 size or smaller. Standard sizes bigger than that could be 6x6 Deardorff or Kodak boards, or the Sinar / Horseman boards, all much bigger than the little Technika board.

Like many others (see Alan's comments above), I use them on other LF cameras through the use of lensboard adapters, as well as on my 45 Technika.

Maybe not special, but a practical solution for the situation of multiple cameras...

mandoman7
4-Jul-2012, 16:13
I would reiterate Alan's mention of the use of adapters with the Technika style boards. This gives the huge advantage if you have different cameras of not having to commit a lens to a given system. Some lenses I like to use with both the 8x10 and 4x5 outfits. Most 300mm's for instance, can be used pretty interchangeably. If I'm out and finding good scenery close to the car, I like the 8x10 for ease of viewing and the incredible negs. If its going to be a trek, the lightweight 4x5 might be called upon. Having the adapter capability allows me to make the decision while I'm in the field rather than at the studio.

Leigh
4-Jul-2012, 16:26
I have five LF cameras (three 4x5 and two 8x10), and about 18 lenses.

Each of the 4x5s take a different lensboard; the two 8x10's can both use Sinar boards.

Most of my lenses are mounted on Technika boards because I can adapt them to any of the cameras.

- Leigh

Brian Ellis
4-Jul-2012, 17:05
To the extent that there's a standard size for 4x5 boards the size of the boards made by Linhof for the Technika cameras (from the Technia IV camera forward, boards for the Technika III and earlier cameras were a different size) comes closer to being a standard than anything else. More 4x5 cameras made today - e.g. Tachihara, Shen Hao, Wista, Chamonix, Ebony - take that size board than any other. There are some 4x5 cameras still made that take a different size - e.g. Canham - but the Technika size is the most common today.

If you're asking what's special about the Linhof-brand boards that makes them so expensive, AFAIK it's just the fact that everything made by Linhof is very expensive. I've owned about ten or 12 4x5 cameras including three Linhof Technikas. While I mostly used Linhof-brand boards I also occasionally used boards of other brands (e.g. Wista, Horseman Woodfield, Ebony) as well as the generic boards sold by places such as Midwest Photo Exchange and Adorama. The non-Linhof brand boards worked just as well as the Linhof-brand boards. I've read attempted explanations for why the Linhof boards are supposedly better but they didn't ring true for me. A lens board only has to do two things, hold the lens in the correct position and not leak light. The non-Linhof boards did that just as well as the Linhofs.

Leigh
4-Jul-2012, 17:15
I've read attempted explanations for why the Linhof boards are supposedly better but they didn't ring true for me.
The most common explanation I've heard for high prices is "precision" or "tight tolerances".

While that might be true for a lensboard, it makes absolutely no difference as to how well that board performs its function.

If the size is held to .001" rather than .010", or the hole position is held to .001" rather than .010", it doesn't matter.

- Leigh

Sal Santamaura
4-Jul-2012, 17:15
It's a piece of metal with a hole in it that's anodized black...I'm unaware of any Technika or Technika-compatible boards that are anodized. Doesn't mean they don't exist, I just haven't seen any in around 30 years of involvement with large format photography.

All such boards I've encountered were painted black. The better ones were crinkle finished on their front surfaces and flat black on their rear. Cheap generics are typically crinkle-finished front and rear.

JBAphoto
4-Jul-2012, 19:27
Bigger lenses,

Linhof made bigger lenses in Compound IV shutters fit via an extension tube thingie, which is how the Technika Heliar 240 f4.5 is mounted - To my amazement my T/Heliar mounted by Linhof actually works on my STv - I expected the front end to fold forwards

A slight digression, when using big lenses, the Heliar, Tele-Xenar and 300mm Symmar on my STv I pull the rear extension rod thingies out to bring the CoG back towards the rear standard as the hole in the base plate is in the wrong place

John

Frank Petronio
4-Jul-2012, 20:01
The Linhof OEM boards do fit better on Linhof cameras, they snap into place "just so". Also, if you own a Technika, Linhof has calculated and tested a lot of different lenses with them and made spacers to optimize where the lens sits so that you can get more focusing track underneath a wide angle lens - more precise focusing over a greater range. And also to allow borderline-sized lenses to close up inside the camera. Subtle details but part of the reason why they are such great cameras.

If you can handle the bulk, larger boards allow easier handling of the lens controls. If they are square all the better because you can mount the lens at different 90-degree orientations, which makes odd vantage points easier to do (overhead or low shots).

Crown Graphic boards should have been universal IMHO.

Jim Jones
5-Jul-2012, 05:58
. . . Crown Graphic boards should have been universal IMHO.

No! I'm about to adapt my Pacemaker series SGs to the ubiquitous and easy to make 4x4 board so only the tiny Inba Ikeda will remain out of step with its (also easy to make) Linhof style board.

Eric Rose
5-Jul-2012, 07:28
I think it has something to do with the Technika "glow". You know, just like Leica.

Frank Petronio
5-Jul-2012, 07:46
I actually bought an enameled emblem to replace a missing one, call me a fan boy but it looked sharp!

E. von Hoegh
5-Jul-2012, 07:55
I see a lot of references to Technika lens boards and they seem to be very popular. Also see a lot of references to adapters from other popular brands to Technika. What is so special about the Technika lens boards?

Thanks!

What's special? Mine have an enamel badge of a crest on them.

DrTang
5-Jul-2012, 08:14
What's special? Mine have an enamel badge of a crest on them.


long time ago..I pried the crests off a couple boards to make cufflinks and lapel pins

course..I never wear shirts that need cufflinks or anything I could stick a lapel pin on - but it was a good idea I think

Drew Wiley
5-Jul-2012, 08:35
I've had so-so luck with generic boards. With my ebony, some fit, some don't. The tolerances are more than a "little" off on some of these import products. I use a Grimes
adapter board to my Sinar and Phillips, and it is tightly machined, so won't accept a half-
assed cheapo board ether. Just like those generic Horseman "or" Sinar boards that don't fit either, but only fit sloppy wooden cameras. In other words, I sent Grimes an actual Sinar
branded board to adapt to the Technika plates. Well worth the price.

E. von Hoegh
5-Jul-2012, 10:06
long time ago..I pried the crests off a couple boards to make cufflinks and lapel pins

course..I never wear shirts that need cufflinks or anything I could stick a lapel pin on - but it was a good idea I think

Linhof, or perhaps their distributor, sold a badge as a lapel pin.

Bob Salomon
5-Jul-2012, 10:34
Linhof, or perhaps their distributor, sold a badge as a lapel pin.

Marflex may have them. We do not. But Linhof, in the past, did make some stick pins with the crest.

Thom Bennett
5-Jul-2012, 12:30
Thanks everyone. I should have been more specific, in other words, Technika-style lens boards. Apparently, because of their size and quality, the Linhof brand became the standard for lens boards. If I go with generic I will go with Grimes.

Sal Santamaura
5-Jul-2012, 12:55
...If I go with generic I will go with Grimes.Note that, unless something has changed very recently, S.K. Grimes doesn't make the generic Technika-type boards it sells. Adam told me that manufacturing them himself is something he's been thinking of doing, but hasn't gotten around to yet.

adam satushek
5-Jul-2012, 12:57
It seems to me, and many others have said the same, that the main appeal is small size and cheap (for generics at least). These are the same reasons I standardized on KB Canham (110mm i think). They are easy to pack, and I have a nice Canham to Sinar adaptor to use with my Sinar 4x5 and 8x10. The only issuse would of course be lenses with monstorous rear elements, but luckily I have not had this issue yet.

Alan Gales
5-Jul-2012, 14:10
Thanks everyone. I should have been more specific, in other words, Technika-style lens boards. Apparently, because of their size and quality, the Linhof brand became the standard for lens boards. If I go with generic I will go with Grimes.

I have bought generic boards from Badger Graphics and they work fine on my Tachi and reduction boards. I have never tried them on a Technika. Fine camera but too rich for my blood! :)

Ernest MacMillan
5-Jul-2012, 14:22
Perhaps it is an idiosyncrasy of my Technikardan 45S that only the later versions of Linhof Technika boards will snap in properly and authoritatively. I have to fiddle with the top fitting on the camera to attach generic and older lenboards.

Bob Salomon
5-Jul-2012, 15:24
No, that is the way they are supposed to fit after Linhof tightened up the specs a few years ago. You can fiddle less with the other boards if you take a table knife and run it down the side edges a couple of times to remove some of the paint.

Thom Bennett
5-Jul-2012, 20:46
Anyone use these? http://www.adorama.com/VWLB0.html

Frank Petronio
5-Jul-2012, 20:50
No, that is the way they are supposed to fit after Linhof tightened up the specs a few years ago. You can fiddle less with the other boards if you take a table knife and run it down the side edges a couple of times to remove some of the paint.

How many other manufacturer reps bother to advise someone how to use a knock-off product on what's very likely to be a decades-old version of their product?

Thank you Bob, you are a tremendous asset here.

Alan Gales
5-Jul-2012, 21:08
How many other manufacturer reps bother to advise someone how to use a knock-off product on what's very likely to be a decades-old version of their product?

Thank you Bob, you are a tremendous asset here.

I'll second that! I have learned a lot from Bob.

Leigh
5-Jul-2012, 21:17
And I'll third it. :D

Thanks, Bob.

- Leigh

Jim Jones
6-Jul-2012, 06:07
And I'll fourth it. Anyone for a fifth?

arthur berger
6-Jul-2012, 06:22
I have a Master Technica and the Linhof Boards always had a little play in them which I solved with some tape on the top edge. When I added some Wista made technica boards I was surprised to find no play and a tighter fit. They have their own crest emblem.

Brian Ellis
6-Jul-2012, 06:40
Anyone use these? http://www.adorama.com/VWLB0.html

Yes. On two occasions. The first time I was very happy with them, the fit and finish were virtually identical to the Linhof boards I owned except for the absence of the Linhof crest. And that was fixed by buying the crests from Midwest Photo Exchange, which used to sell the crests in packages of five or so, and using a little glue. The second time not quite so happy. The boards fit fine but the finish was all smooth and the board just felt kind of flimsy and cheap. Obviously Adorama doesn't manufacture these boards and presumably they changed suppliers between my first and second purchases. I haven't bought any lately so I don't know what they're like today.

BrianShaw
6-Jul-2012, 07:07
And I'll fourth it. Anyone for a fifth?

Make mine Makers Mark, please.

Thom Bennett
6-Jul-2012, 07:14
Other than Adorama and S.K. Grimes does anyone have a reliable resource for Technika-style boards?

BrianShaw
6-Jul-2012, 07:19
ebay.

Bob Salomon
6-Jul-2012, 07:59
Our factory store. Right now we have a recessed Technika 45 board and a Wista extended 45 board on special close out. Only 1 of each though. I believe there may also be a Kardan to Technika adapter board also.

William Whitaker
6-Jul-2012, 08:25
Like Alan, I've bought generic boards from Badger Graphics and they worked very well for me. But that was several years ago and I don't know if they have the same supplier. And too, I don't use them specifically on a Technika. The size variation in some generic boards can be a source of frustration, especially after you've paid someone good money to mount your lenses. One adapter board I have (Sinar-Technika) would accept generic boards, but a genuine Technika board would not fit it. Go figure. And it wasn't a Chinese import, either. The adapter board had to be made over.

But once you get the minor glitches worked out, the [general] universality makes them a good choice for smaller lenses. I've tried to standardize on Sinar and Technika boards. They're both common and are sizes which work for most of my lenses. The big cameras have wooden lensboards for the big lenses, but also adapters to take Sinar boards. It's nice to have the different cameras all speak the same language.

One thing I like about the Technika boards is that there are three milled lands on the back which define the lens plane. It doesn't rely on the edges of the board or the light trap for that. The light trap is left alone to do its job. Small potatoes, perhaps, but some thought went into engineering the things and that adds to the beauty in my eyes. Don't ask me about the dog-ear corners, though; I haven't figured that one out.