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Thread: Fitting lenses to a Graflex Series D 4x5

  1. #1

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    Fitting lenses to a Graflex Series D 4x5

    It has been a lousy day weather wise here so I have been amusing myself making lensboards for and trying to mount some of my lenses on a Graflex Series D 4x5 SLR camera.

    The lenses in question are a 15" Graflex Tele Optar, a 8 1/2" Ross Xpres which fortuitously has the same flange size as the Tele Optar and a 9" Wollensak Verito.

    I am encountering some unexpected problems mounting the Xpres which has a sunken mount and the Tele Optar. The rear of those lenses would appear to foul the action of the reflex mirror when the bellows is in an unextended condition. I had not anticipated this problem particularly as the Tele Optar was sold as an accessory for the Graflex Super D. I was not aware that the Series D was that much different from the later camera or was it an issue when that lens was mounted to a Super D camera as well. That is if it is an issue at all and I should just remember to rack the lens forward before moving the reflex mirror into place.

    Another problem I have is I possess a very limited amount of personal RAM and have found that idiot proofing my technique to discourage operator error pays dividends. So I am considering making some very thick lens boards up to 3 to 4 times thicker than normal to move the lenses further forward to clear the mirror. Is this a daft idea? I appreciate the need to introduce slots top and bottom forward of the first normal thickness of the lenses board to facilitate mounting the lens board to the camera.

    If anyone should have a suggestion of a more elegant solution to the problem I would appreciate your advice please.

    Thanks in advance

    Roger

  2. #2

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    Re: Fitting lenses to a Graflex Series D 4x5

    You might build lens boards which resemble reversed recess boards. I used to do this for long lenses on cameras with short bellows.

  3. #3

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    Re: Fitting lenses to a Graflex Series D 4x5

    Thanks Jim. It is a good idea.The lensboard is only 3 3/4 inches square and sadly I'm not that skilled. What I suppose I am hoping for is that someone who has had this problem before will chip in with a suggestion as how to mount a lens board further forward in a non destructive way. It is very unlikely I am the first to encounter this albeit minor problem.

  4. #4

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    Re: Fitting lenses to a Graflex Series D 4x5

    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Hesketh View Post
    ... I should just remember to rack the lens forward before moving the reflex mirror into place.
    You can't rack the lens forward prior to taking a photo (so the mirror will not strike the lens), that would make it out of focus. Your only solution is to use an extended lens board.

    Question: if you make an extended lens board will you be able to focus at infinity? Some tests and measurements may be in order.

  5. #5

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    Re: Fitting lenses to a Graflex Series D 4x5

    Quote Originally Posted by AtlantaTerry View Post
    You can't rack the lens forward prior to taking a photo (so the mirror will not strike the lens), that would make it out of focus. Your only solution is to use an extended lens board.
    Hi Thank you for your reply. It depends on the lens. The shortest lens that can be used with this camera and still achieve infinity focus is a 190mm lens and even then their is a little wiggle room.Longer lenses have to be racked forward to achieve infinity focus anyway.Thinking about it now probably the best way might be to get a short length of tube fashioned for the job. It is also probably the most expensive way so I will have to pass on that.

  6. #6

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    Re: Fitting lenses to a Graflex Series D 4x5

    Roger, pardon my confusion. If I understand your posts correctly, your problem is not that the TeleOptar and sunk-mount Xpres get in the mirror's when focused to infinity, rather that if you rack the camera's front standard all the way back they'll hit the mirror. Is this correct?

    If so, where's the problem?

  7. #7

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    Re: Fitting lenses to a Graflex Series D 4x5

    Hello Dan

    The problem is it is not very convenient to walk around with the bellows partially racked out. It is much better to rack out the bellows to the infinity focus position the bellows is then protected except when you are taking a photograph.

    Also with the bellows partially extended the front of the bellows is more susceptible to knocks which would tend to push the bellows back on it's focusing rack and if the reflex mirror is down the lens would be pushed into it. This I feel is not just a theoretical possibility. It's pretty close to a certainty it would happen. At the resting position with the bellows fully retracted the lens is really rather deeply recessed within the camera body. With a short lens (190mm) this position is not that far off the the infinity focus position for that lens. To achieve infinity focus with a longer lens obviously you need to rack the bellows further forward. Even with the bellows extended forward the lens board is still very deeply recessed. So deeply recessed that I have just discovered that I cannot actually reach the aperture ring on the Optar lens to adjust the aperture if that lens is mounted on a lens board mounted in the conventional position. The front group on this lens is really rather large and the aperture ring is immediately behind it.

    Now this is not some oddball Aero Ektar type lens which for various reason can not be mounted normally on the camera. It is the lens that was sold by Graflex themselves for use on the updated version of this same camera. Their must be some Knack to using this lens with this camera that I am unaware of and I am hoping someone on here will be able to enlighten me.

  8. #8
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    Re: Fitting lenses to a Graflex Series D 4x5

    Sounds to me like (and I may be as confused as Dan) the 15" Tele Optar, when focused at infinity, the rear element sits to far inside the camera, interfering with the movement of the reflex mirror. If that is the case, then you will not be able to use that lens focused at infinity. No amount of lens-board modification will change that fact.

    If, on the other hand, when focused at infinity, the rear element does not interfere with the mirror, then you just have to remember to run the front standard out to infinity (for that lens) before playing with the mirror release. Using a modified lens-board that moves the lens out farther will not have any different effect than just turning the focus knob to move the front standard out.

    On my Series D 4X5, there is about 1/2" of space between the reflex mirror and the inside of the lens-board as the mirror frame passes the center of the lens-board (when the front standard is racked all the way back). The distance gets less as the mirror travels up.

    So, focus at infinity and trip the mirror release. If it hits the real lens element, I would suggest not using that lens on that camera, but if you must, you will just not be able to shoot at infinity.

    Edit / Sorry Roger, we posted at the same time. I think I understand now. Sounds like some sort of lens cone, like some enlargers use, is what you need. I am new to this camera so I just figured my 190mm Kodak Anastigmat was the standard lens for them.
    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/52893762/bigger4b.jpg

  9. #9

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    Re: Fitting lenses to a Graflex Series D 4x5

    Roger, according to Wollensak (see http://www.cameraeccentric.com/html/...llensak_5.html , p 4.) the 15"/5.6's flange-focal distance is 9 5/16". According to the bible, 10th edition, the 15"/5.6 is recommended for 4x5 Ser. D and Super D. Graflexes. The only possible problem with it on a D is that it won't focus as close as desired.

    The sunken mount Xpres is a whole 'nother problem. Sunken mount lenses have the flange right at the front, so need more extension to make infinity than plain ordinary lenses with the flange in the middle or all the way back. The solution is a tube that accepts the lens and screws into the flange on the board. I think that the problem here is stubbornness, of the "I wants to use what I has as as it is" type. Common ailment, I contend with it m'self.

    You're not going to like this suggestion, but it has been implemented many times. See http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...um_Format.html for a relatively elegant implementation. You should be able to cobble up a lens protector as the Horseman from plywood and attach it to the body with wood screws. No particular skills and very little equipment needed. Don't bother to tell me its ugly.

    Cheers,

    Dan

  10. #10

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    Re: Fitting lenses to a Graflex Series D 4x5

    I am interested in this topic because I have a 4x5 R.B. Super D Graflex #4167xx (circa 1947) with no lenses at all.

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