RE: Filter touch on Nikon LF lenses : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

A recent thread brought attention to a concern regarding potential harm to the front element of certain Nikon and Schneider lenses caused by a screw-in filters.

I called the Nikon US tech support line (800-NIKONUS)and asked their opinion. They claimed to have NO knowledge of a problem with any of their lenses, or of any warning given with the lenses. I wonder, what gives?

By the way, series filters give a good bit more clearance, but are less convenient than regular screw-ins, unless an adapter is dedicated to each filter.

-- Henry Friedman (, March 10, 2000


I read the previous thread and was more than a little concerned myself. To determine if I had a problem with my 150mm SW Nikon and B+W filters, I placed a single layer of tissue paper over the center of the lens and watched while I screwed in the filter. No doubt about it, if I were to take it to the end of the machined threads I would make contact. Fortunately, I rarely use the filters on this lens and did not scratch it. I talked to S K Grimes aboout it and he suggested a plastic insert inside the filter ($35) or a machined spacer ($125). Neither made me jump for joy. I am trying to find a thin round gasket that I could place in tha threaded area to act as a depth gauge. It should not be this difficult ! I am not surprised that Nikon drew a blank.

-- Michael Kadillak (, March 10, 2000.


I am surprised Nikon USA tech support even knows they make LF lenses. My attempts to get information from them, and a search of their web site produced nothing.

-- Glenn C. Kroeger (, March 10, 2000.

Once again,

Heliopan filters are made so that the glass is further forward in the rim to reduce the possibility of the filter glass touching the lens surface.

-- Bob Salomon (, March 11, 2000.

If you have the coverage to spare, you can purchase a lens coupler ring. I got a 67mm one a couple years ago from Brandess-Kalt. This can be screwed into the front of the lens and will provide what essentially looks like the part of a screw-in filter that goes into a lens. You would simply screw the filter on backwards to attach. The only thing you have to watch out for is extending a tunnel of filters too far out in front of the lens. This can cause vignetting. Like I said, if you have the coverage to spare!

-- Robert A. Zeichner (, March 11, 2000.

The people at Nikon should read the instruction manual that comes with their large format lenses; page 9 to be exact.

-- Mark Windom (, March 11, 2000.

Note to Michael K. and others with the Nikkor 150 SW: watch those lens caps too! When I bought my 150 SW (many years before the internet would have told me others were having the same problem), I thought there must be some mistake; the lens caps clearly contacted the front (and, I believe, the rear) element. One bouncing ride in a car trunk with the lens caps on, I figured, and the lenses would be permanently scarred.

I first tried putting a gasket inside the lens cap to keep it away from the lens, but the cap kept falling off. My solution--imitate it at your own risk!--was to GRADUALLY and carefully heat only the center of both lens caps over a gas stove and then gently bulge the center of the cap outward until it cooled into a convex shape. This fix has held for 10 years now. . . .


-- Micah (, March 11, 2000.

Thank you Mikah for the note on the lens cap. I have had my Nikon 150 SW lens for a little over one year. The lens caps that came with the lens seems to have been recessed away from the lens surface in the center to prevent contact with the lens. Nikon must have more knowledge of this subject than they claim otherwise they would not have modified the design for these wide angle lens caps. Thank you for mentioning the well founded concern.

Michael Kadillak

-- Michael Kadillak (, March 11, 2000.

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