Filters for 4X5 : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Just moving in to the 4X5 world and I'm as bit confused on the use of filters such as polarizers, ND's, ect. - in the 35mm world your screw these babies on the front for circular polarizers, add an attachment to the front on ND's - welll, you understand. In the 4X5 world do all filters go BEHIND the lens like a gel? Can anyone direct me to a tutorial or site? Thanks.

-- anthony williams (, October 11, 2001


They work the same as MF or 35mm. They screw on the front of the lens. Graduated filters(4x4 or 4x6) go into a holder that screws onto the lens, just like any other camera.

All of my LF (4x5) lenses take 67mm filters. Same filters that I use on my Hasselblad and Leica cameras.

-- Jim Brick (, October 11, 2001.

Anthony, you can indeed screw on filters to LF lenses just like 35mm or MF lenses. You can also use a filter system such as Lee, or Cokin. Many LF camera manufacturers offer compendium hoods, which can accept filters. Although I'm not sure, I think some LF lenses have threaded rear elements which can accept filters as well.

-- Michael Mahoney (, October 11, 2001.

Any way you can get 'em in the light stream. If you put them at the back, remember that you're bending the light 1 more time and your focus will be affected by the same distance as the width of the filter. Are you starting out with an older lens that doesn't have a filter thread at the front? A lot of the earlier lenses like used on '50's era press cameras didn't have filter threads and you'll have to invent a way to mount them. Steve Grimes at actually makes push on adapters to solve that exact problem.

-- Jim Galli (, October 11, 2001.

"your focus will be affected by the same distance as the width of the filter" He means thickness not width.

And if you are using multiple filters with any lens and any camera the polarizing filter should be the one furthest from the lens.

-- Ellis Vener Photography (, October 11, 2001.

I knew I'd screw it up...........Thanks E

-- Jim Galli (, October 11, 2001.

And actually, it's a focus shift equal to 1/3 the thickness of the filter. For gels, the resulting shift is negligible. For glass filters on the rear element - focus with the filter installed for best results.


-- Kerry Thalmann (, October 11, 2001.

sorry for the bad html.

-- Ellis Vener Photography (, October 11, 2001.

Mounting filters between the lens and ground glass also reduces reflections (when mounted on the front) that can cause flare.

In addition to a negligible focus shift, there is also an amount of spherical aberration that's introduced, because oblique rays pass through more filter than center rays. So, the plane of focus can depend on the angle of the ray. This should also be negligible, except perhaps for very wide angle lenses. (75mm or less? Not sure.)

In spite of all this, I use an inexpensive Xenophon 4" filter holder (from Calumet) on the back of my reduction lens board adaptor, and this holds all my 4" gel filters for 65mm up through 360mm lenses.

-- neil poulsen (, October 12, 2001.

I would like to add that I have a Nikkor 210 with a screw in filter size of 70 mm and a caltlar 135 with a screw in filter size of 40. I cant find the right screw in filters anywhere. I even checked B&H, all I found there was a Linhof 70mm filter (UV) and it was well over $150.00! Wow! Anyway any thoughts as to how I might be able to find these filters, Uv and circular polarizer?

Thanks ClarK

-- Clark King (, October 12, 2001.


Actually, the 210mm Nikkor takes standard 67mm screw-in filters. I used to have one and standardized around 67mm filters for my general purpose lenses. All the major manufacturers make polarizers (not sure why you would need a circular polarizer for LF, unless you want to also share it with a 35mm system that requires a circular polarizer) in this size.

The 135mm Caltar takes 40.5mm filters. I have a 135mm APO Sironar-N (same lens) and use a B+W 40.5mm - 52mm set-up ring with this lens. I've standardized around the 52mm filter size for all the small, lightweight lenses I use for backpacking. For the ones smaller than 52mm, I've bought step-up rings to 52mm that I leave mounted on these lenses at all times (and I use 52mm Nikon snap-on lens caps - the kind made for their 35mm lenses). You might have to look to find a 40.5 - 52mm stp-up ring. Your local camera store might not have one in stock (40.5 - 49mm seems to be more common). So, you might have to order one. In addition to the B+W, Horseman also makes a 40.5mm - 52mm step-up ring. Calumet used to stock them. They were something like 12 bucks. Then you can use easy to find, inexpensive 52mm filters. Or just get a 52mm - 67mm step-up ring and use the same 67mm filters you'll be buying for your 210mm Nikkor W. For years, I just carried one set of 57mm filters that I used for all my lenses. I still do that for most of my general purpose shooting, but now I also have a set of 52mm filters I use when backpacking with my small, lightweight lenses. I also carry them as spares in my big bag in case I should lose or break one of my 67mm filters.

If you end up with a set of lenses with various filter sizes, it can be a lot more cost effective to standardize around one size of filters and buy step-up rings to that size for all the smaller lenses. Then you only need to buy one set of filters.


-- Kerry Thalmann (, October 12, 2001.

Another option is to use one of those barndoor type shades with a gel filter holder. Good for backpacking - its light, cheap, doesn't take up too mcuh space, has the barndoors to provide some shade on the lens, and will hold 3" gels like the Kodak Wrattens. Cheers, DJ.

-- N Dhananjay (, October 12, 2001.

Perhaps the reason Clark thought his lens takes 70mm filters (actually 67mm as suggested) is due to info on his lens cap. My Nikkor 210 (67mm thread) takes a 70mm cap.

-- Brad Cheers (, October 13, 2001.

I made a holder out of some nylon flat stock and some 1/8 in aluminum I had. I use Kodak Wratten 3x3 filters for my 4x5 and have not had a problem. The bracket I made has a tab that fits the slot that is machined into the top of the front standard of my Graphic Vieww II, this slot also has the thumbscrew for fastening. I set it up so when mounted the filter is centered on the lens, if using a front rise or fall the holder goes along for the ride and is always centered. The nylon was cut to about 3/4 in. wide (it is 1/2 in. thick) and a 1/4 in. groove about 5/16's wide was cut into it for the filter. Just picture a U shaped thing that the filter slides down into in front of the lens. Works great. Tim

-- Tim McDonald (, May 16, 2002.

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