Lenses, lenses, lenses...WHAT FITS?

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The sizes of filters and other attachments for lenses, are usually hidden by the different manufacturers with an undecipherable code of names and numbers. Probably an attempt to sell their own products. Wouldn't this be a great website to begin a chart listing the various lenses with the sizes of the attachments that are compatable? I think the experiences of others could make things a lot simpler and less expensive.

-- Dave Richhart (pritprat@erinet.com), January 25, 2000


The size of a lens is usually on the front, the size of filters are on the band that holds the glass, in large format the bellows extension in relation to the lens determines if it will work with your given camera, you cannot put a 20 inch lens on a camera with 18 inch bellow draw, you will never have infinity focus, you can put a much shorter lens if you are going to do 1:1 or closer, the other thing that you need to remember is the lens board must be the correct size and if the lens board, bellows draw, are sufficient you can use any lens you wish. Pat

-- pat j. krentz (krentz@cci-29palms.com), January 25, 2000.

I know what you're saying, Dave, but it really isn't so bad. Most of the questions you see in this forum about filter and accessory size have to do with older lenses; in recent years the standardization to a finite number of front element sizes has been pretty thorough among the "Big Four" lensmakers (e.g., 52mm, 58, 67, 72, 82, 95, etc.).

One other point worth noting is that--for me, anyway--a MAJOR advantage of LF over 35mm and MF is the ability to mix and match from almost all manufacturers. You say you like your expensive wide-angle lens but don't like your camera? In MF, you're screwed, but in LF, you get to keep the lens and change cameras. Ditto for modular front accessories, most of which sell adaptors to allowing fitting to each new addition to your lens collection, and for "backs" (film holders and roll-film holders), which are cross-brand compatible in LF unlike in MF or 35mm.

As far as I'm concerned, in fact, these are the good ol' days in photography; never before has there been so much choice (in all formats), and with enough hunting around (especially with the internet) you can usually find what you need--whereas in the old days you'd have to make it yourself or do without.

Finally, I believe that the lens charts on this website (e.g., "Lenses for 4x5 cameras") already list the front accessory size for all current lenses. Someone can correct me if I'm wrong. . .

-- Simon (fourthpres@aol.com), January 25, 2000.

I fully understand what you are all saying...I just think it would be great to check out EBAY and know for certain if a "72mm Tiffen filter" will screw onto my "14 inch Koday Commercial Ektar lens" without an adapter. It's frustrating when you mail order and things don't fit! So many fine lenses are available in large format, that it's hard to find a definite answer to such a simple question.

-- Dave Richhart (pritprat@erinet.com), January 25, 2000.

Modern LF lenses have standardized on a small number of threads. The Large Format Photography Homepage http://www.cs.berkeley.edu/~qtluong/photography/lf/ has several tables listing filter threads for current lenses from the big four, e.g., New lenses for 4x5 (Fuji, Nikon, Rodenstock, Schneider).

There is no simple answer for lenses more than a few decades old. Some lenses weren't made with filter threads, or were made with threads that are unusual by today's standards. Over the years, manufacturers may have changed the threads on a particular lens.

-- Michael Briggs (MichaelBriggs@earthlink.net), January 25, 2000.

I know Michael...that is why I think it would be helpful if other photographers could pass on the information on the older lenses because they have had the experience. It's a trial and error process at best. And if the results of past experience were stored in one easily accessable location, it could prevent a lot of problems. I think a list like that could be helpfut to a lot of people!

-- Dave Richhart (pritprat@erinet.com), January 26, 2000.

In the past it was easy. You just measured the outside diameter of the lens, and Kodak had a slip-on filter holder within 1/32 inch of that figure. You could jiggle the tines in or out to make it fit as snugly as you wanted. (There were also clamp-on filter holders for those who didn't want to gouge the outside of the lens). These adapters fit standard series IV, V, VI, VII, etc or gelatin holders, and life was easy and relatively cheap, and truely interchangable. There were, of course, step-up and step-down rings from series to series. Every dealer had cigar boxes of used adapter rings, and would frequently give them away if you bought a filter. Kodak's filters were, unfortunately, colored gels between two glass plates, which always went bad in a few years and had to be replaced. Optical glass was available from Ednalite and others.

-- Bill Mitchell (bmitch@home.com), January 26, 2000.

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