Packard shutter box for using barrel lenses : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Not too long ago I saw an item on ebay that basically consisted of a large packard shutter mounted in a box assembly that would fit onto the front of a Deardorff 8x10. After mounting this apparatus on the front of the camera, you would then mount your board-mounted barrel lens on the front of that. Having accumulated a few old lenses now that I would like to play around with more, I'm interested in building something like this. Has anybody here built or even seen something like this? It doesn't seem like a terribly complicated sort of thing, but I'd like to get some feedback on the idea nonetheless. Thanks.

-- David Munson (, May 12, 2001


I dont know what the box dealie is, though I'd be interested to learn more about it. Keep your eye out for a locking iris diaphram. With a Packard and one of these, you can quickly (seconds) change lenses and you dont need them on boards. They arent easy to find but well worth the search. You mount the diaphram in a board and simply clamp it down around any lens, in shutter or not. Its amazing nobody makes these anymore, they are so handy to have.

-- Wayne (, May 13, 2001.

You might take a look at the lensboard adapters offered by SK Grimes:

Is there any reason the "Packard Box" would mount in front of the camera? I mounted a Packard behind the lensboard on a DIY 11x14. The lensboard mounts like a normal lensboard and the Packard shutter rests inside the bellows. The problem with this, of course, is that you need to feed the shutter release tube through a hole in the lensboard. To accomodate this hole the lensboard has to be slightly larger than the shutter itself. Packards come in several sizes depending on the size of the shutter opening. The one I mounted was 4.75 square with a shutter opening of 2.5 inches. The shutter was placed behind a 6 inch square lensboard. This left approximately 5/8" on either side of the shutter to drill a hole for the tubing (The shutter tubing is 1/4 to 3/8 wide).

The box that you saw would be bulkier but would avoid the problem of feeding the shutter release tube behind the lensboard. I hope this helps.


-- Dave Willison (, May 13, 2001.

The Deardorff Packard Shutter "box" is necessary to allow the front lens panel of the camera to rise and fall without interference. It is part of the design of a Deardorff front panel, among others. If the Packard was simply mounted behind the lensboard as is common on other camera designs, it would limit the rise and fall. Of course the entire front standard can also rise and fall also. Not as convenient as the sliding panel, though.

I've made one for my Deardorff some time ago. Not much to it. If you want a jpeg of it let me know. Otherwise you can see one in the Deardorff brochure scans at: deardorff4.jpeg

-- Dick Streff (, May 13, 2001.

Perhaps I wasn't really clear in my original post about the actual purpose and use of the box assembly....let me see if I can explain it a little better. As Dick pointed out, putting the packard shutter behind the lensboard would interfere with the rise/fall movements on a Deardorff. However, the main thinking behind this apparatus would be using a single packard shutter for a variety of barrel lenses, each one mounted on its own lensboard which would in turn be mounted on the front of the "shutter box." This way, you don't have to ue a different packard shutter for every barrel lens, just a different lensboard. It seems to me that it would save quite a bit of time and money if you're prone to fiddling around with barrel lenses like i am.

-- David Munson (, May 14, 2001.

David: I just dealt with this problem (cheaply) so here's what I did. I wanted to use an APO nikkor process lens with my Deardorff. So I screwed the lens into the lens board (mostly on the front of it) using a flange. I then went to a Plastics store (we have those in Los Angeles, I go to Solter Plastics on Pico in West LA). They cut me a 5 1/2" square of opaque black plastic. They then cut a 2 3/4" hole in the middle of the black plastic,and cut me a short length of 3" inside diameter tube. You glue the tube to the back of the plastic square. The tube fits very nicely over the lens, holding the black plastic with the hole right in front of the lens. Since the packard shutter is also 5 1/2" square, I just use a couple stationary store clips to sandwich it on the outside of the black plastic. Total cost of the adapter was $14. Making a different one for a different lens would be same process and cheap. If the other lense has a smaller adapter you wouldn't need to do anything other than come up with a spacer to use the 3" one with it. You can easily move the packard shutter over to another adapter by taking off the clips. Since the back of the shutter has a spongy rubber on it, it mates very nicely with the adapter. The 3" tube is not available in black plastic, only clear, but a ring of gaffers' tape takes care of that.

-- Kevin Crisp (, May 16, 2001.

If you want more than one shutter speed, Lotus offer a shutter-in-a-box which works in much the same way. See the bottom of this page:

Another option would be to make an adapter so you can use Sinar lens boards and then use the Sinar DB setup. These days it tends to be sold on it's automation and convenience, but you don't *have* to use all its features and the older versions are simpler and fairly cheap on the used market.

The only disadvantage of most of these systems is that they put the lens out in front of the tilt and swing axes on the front standard. If you use a lot of movements this can be a pain, since you have to reframe to account for the lateral movement of the lens - rather like when you use a tele.

-- Struan Gray (, May 17, 2001.

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