mounting lens/board : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

How easy is it to take a lens off one board and put it on another? a)idiot proof, b)somewhat tricky, c)leave it to S.K. Grimes.

-- Raven (, May 20, 2000


Without looking at the lens and board, I'd have to say that it kinda depends on the way its mounted. Could you tell me what shutter and lens it is? With more info, it'll be easier to advise you?

In general though, if the lens is in a shutter (e.g., Copal, Compur, Pronto, Compound, Ilex, etc) mounted the 'common way', the process is basically one of removing a retaining ring that secures the shutter to the lens board. That's right, its the shutter that's being gripped onto the board by a ring.

You basically need a two pronged tool, and if you don't already have one, it pays to own one for such uses. Rodenstock makes a very nifty one which is just a flat piece of very hard metal with cutouts and prongs to fit current standard size 0, 1, 3 shutters. There are other brands of 'lens wrenches' designed for mounting and removing shutter retaining rings as well - you can get these from Calumet or B&H say.

BETTER YET: SK Grimes has a very nifty lens wrench tool you can use for this - see his website ( It's a very adjustable tool as it'll fit all shutter retaining rings including the older non standard ones.

It takes about a few steps:

1. Unscrew rear lens group

2. Unscrew front lens group

(With just the shutter mounted on the board)

3. Unscrew retaining ring (securing the shutter at the rear of the lensboard)

Now, if you are in a hurry, have no tools in hand, and simply need to get the shutter off, you could usually grip the shutter (after removing the lens groups) and unscrew it from the board. Just make sure there is no retaining pin and be careful not to twist the shutter speed ring etc. With sufficient care (!), a lot shutters can be removed from their boards this way.

Some shutters or lenses might be mounted differently and there could be screws involved.

I don't think you'll need Mr Grimes help here, but if you think its potentially tricky, why not just give him a call?

-- K H Tan (, May 21, 2000.

Thanks for the response. The lens is a 150 APO Symmar Schneider. The board is a Calumet. I did send it to Grimes, but only because I needed the shutter checked for acuracy anyway. Its just that at some point I'd like to get a camera better suited for the field, and will need to remove the lens from one camera to the other, and back again. Will it effect the lens to do this?

-- Raven (, May 21, 2000.

Do it carefully, and it shouldn't matter at all, but it would be easier just to get a camera that takes the same lensboards as your current camera or mount all your lenses on the lensboard of the smaller camera and get a lensboard adapter for the larger camera.

-- David Goldfarb (, May 21, 2000.


If you're not going to perform this process regularly, it's fine. But if you're going to switch the lens often, as David has already mentioned, it might be easier to get a lensboard for your studio camera that allows you to mount the smaller lensboards from your field camera. Ask Calumet if they have one. They might not be cheap however.

As a matter of fact, if you can supply a blank board for your larger camera to Mr Grimes, he does make custom adapter boards such as these.

-- K H Tan (, May 22, 2000.

A neat description of such an adapter on Grimes' most informative site.

-- K H Tan (, May 22, 2000.

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