APO Grandagon bad lens cups

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Hi all

Troubles with my APO Grandagons back lens cup. Following happend: I was travelling for 2 days with my Arca and Horseman and many of my lenses but didn`t use the APO Grandagon 55mm. The lens was the hole time in a stable Arca box mounted on the Arcas board and the lens could not move arround and did not touch a wall. But at home when I wanted to use it I had a very unpleasent shock! The covering cup of the back element was touching the lens in the middle and I have now a sign of defective multi coating, because the cup was a bit rough exactly in the middle were it touched the lens, maybe because it get a bit to warm so it deformed a bit. But it was only about 30 degrades Celsius in my car for about 2 houres. But anyway I`m pist about the quality of the Rodenstocks lens cups, for thad specific lens. It is a shame for Rodenstock to create so beautifull lenses but not a secure cup for it! Did have anybody similar expiriences?

-- Armin Seeholzer (armin.seeholzer@smile.ch), October 15, 2001


Most manufacturers use a sort of flexible plastic "blow molded" out of flat stock. There's a general perception that lenscaps should be inexpensive. (When the U.S. Navy spends $150.00 for a lenscap its considered one of those government contractor corruptions.)

So its difficult to justify the added expense of a really good lenscap on an already high priced product.

See: My lenscap page for some pictures of these.

Although your experience with the light duty caps is not an everyday one its cerainly not unusual. I make custom lenscaps of Delrin or other rigid ABS plastic which are more rigid than the usual blow- molded factory originals.


-- Steve Grimes (skgrimes@skgrimes.com), October 15, 2001.

I guess there's a lesson to be learned from your misfortune, and other's similar experiences. I just purchased a Schneider Super Symmar 150HM on Ebay at a very low price. The reason? The front element had rubbed against the lens cap and damaged the coating. I guess that this is a valid reason to run out and purchase UV filters for all of my lenses (as opposed to the reasons usually cited). With the Schneider XL lenses and their aggressively curved front elements it's only a matter of time until the inevitable happens.

-- Wayne DeWitt (wdewitt@snip.net), October 15, 2001.


I now exactly how you feel. It has long been a pet peeve of mine that when you pay $700 - $1500 for a new LF lens that some manufacturers are too cheap to include a decent lens cap. I always thought the purpose of a lens cap was to protect the lens. As your experience shows, this is not the case with some modern LF lenses. In some cases, as yours illustrates, not only does the lens cap not protect your expensive new lens, it inflicts the damage. This is ludicrous. Lens manufacturers have the technology to produce these marvelous APO lenses with advanced multicoatings and they can't make a lens cap that won't rub on the surface of the glass? This doesn't seem to be a problem with 35mm or MF lenses. Why can't (or more accurately, why won't) LF lens manufacturers supply a decent lens cap that will actually protect those expensive lenses they make (and we buy).

In my experience, the current Rodenstock lens caps are the worst I've ever seen. They are so thin and flimsy they are almost guaraneteed to rub on the glass and cause the type of damage you describe. I recently bought a 75mm f6.8 Grandagon - not a big lens with or one with exceptionally curved front or rear elements. The caps were so thin and flimsy (the worst I've ever seen) that just lightly tapping them with my finger was enough to cause the cap to contact the glass on both front and rear elements. I immediately replaced both caps with something more rigid (Nikon slip-on cap on the rear, plastic snap-cap on the front). This problem is not exclusive to lenses of large diameter or bulbous shape. I had the same problem with the rear lens cap on my 135mm APO Sironar-S. On the other hand, the front cap on that lens, as well as both caps on my 150mm APO-Sironar-S are dome shaped and rigid enough to avoid contact with the glass. They obviously have the technology to build better caps, but don't in many cases. Why?

Schneider caps are marginally better, and only seem to cause a problem on lenses with larger diameters. I have never had a problem with Fuji caps (but have never owned a Fuji lens of exceptionally large diameter), and Nikkor caps seem to be the best design and most rigid of all (but nothing short of a metal cap is as rigid as the custom made caps Steve Grimes makes).

It seems ridiculous to have to replace the factory supplied caps on an expensive new LF lens with something generic that costs but a few bucks, but that is often what I do immediately upon purchasing a new LF lens. I use the Nikon plastic snap-caps (supplied standard on their 35mm lenses) on the fronts of my lenses of smaller diameter. These fit well, are quite rigid, and are fast to install/remove. So, they actually stand a chance to protect my expensive new glass without any self-inflicted damage. Unfortunately, they don't come in all the sizes I need and won't work on most rear elements. Tamron, Pentax and others make similar caps that probably cost a little less than the Nikon caps. I started using the Nikon caps years ago, and have been happy with them, so I haven't bothered to try other brands. I also use the Kaiser brand slip-on caps with some of my lenses of odd diameter, but they are so tight fitting they create a vaccuum when installing/removing them that makes it a bit tedious to do so. They are also flat with no dome shape (like the Schneider caps) with raised lettering on the inner surface (size and "Made In Germany"). I have not had any damage using these caps, but I've only used them in smaller sizes (preferring Nikon caps - either slip-on or snap-cap, when I can get them).

I boggles the mind that a company like Rodenstock that makes some of the most advanced lenses on the world can't seem to make a decent lens cap to protect (not damage) those lenses.


-- Kerry Thalmann (largeformat@thalmann.com), October 15, 2001.

We have distributed Rodenstock lenses in the US since 1989. In that time we have sold 1000,s of Rodenstock view camera lenses and have a very large inventory of lenses in stock.

After seeing your post we checked with our service center.

Since 1989 they have seen exactly 1 (one) case of a marred coating on a current series of lenses due to a contact between the lens cap and the front or rear element.

Repeat 1.

This is not what you would call an epidemic or a problem.

If you have a new lens damaged by the lens cap you should immediatly contact the distributor who is resposible for warranty service in Switzerland and have him fix the problem.

had it been a new lens covered by our Lifetime Warranty on Rodenstock we would have replaced the lens. providing the problem was caused by the Rodenstock cap being the culprit.

This would not apply if the problem was caused by pressure in your case pushing the cap in.

As for Kaiser caps. They are made in sizes from 15mm to 120mm. From 15mm to 58mm they are sized in 1mm increments. From 60 to 62mm they are in 1 mm incremats (there is no 59mm) From there on they are sized 64, 65, 70, 72, 75, 77, 80, 85, 90, 100 and 120mm.

So if a cap is too tight in many cases are very slightly larger diameter cap is available.

-- Bob Salomon (bob@hpmarketingcorp.com), October 15, 2001.

Hi Bob

1. I have used lenses since over 30 years now and I made not only one damage or just a little scratch on any lens up to now. I handle them like an raw egg. 2. It is a problem were I see especially with the APO Grandagon 55mm and maybe some other wide ones, because the backlense is only about 1/2 mm inside of the outside metallframe and thad cheap plastic cup isn`t save at all. 3. Of course Bob I wroted also to Rodenstock Munich and to Robert White UK where I have the lens from and I wait for the answer from Rodenstock. I get not a replacement from Robert because it was a demo model but looked like new up to the point of the damage! I agree with Kerry thad only Nikon have realy good cups I just checked all my different lens brands on that point and I fully agree with Kerry!

-- Armin Seeholzer (armin.seeholzer@smile.ch), October 15, 2001.

From the way you described the problem it sounded like you bought a new lens.

Now it turns out to be less then new.

Why do you immediatly take Rodenstock to task for a problem we have seen once in a dozen years?

Your complaint is with the seller of a "demo" not the manufacturer.

Was this lens shipped around to shows/ How often and how was it cleaned? Had it been rented? How long had it been on display? Is it the current version even that uses 67mm filters rather then the old version with the 58m m front mount?

-- Bob Salomon (bob@hpmarketingcorp.com), October 15, 2001.

Well Bob,

It only takes once (I repeat: once) to ruin your day (right Armin?).

Funny, I haven't owned THAT many Rodenstock lenses since 1989, and I've seen it twice (not counting Armin's recent experience). Once to the front element of a 115mm Grandagon-N and once to the rear element of my 135mm APO Sironar-S. The latter was fortunately not permanently damaged. It happened the VERY first time I went for a hike with my 135mm APO Sironar-S. It was a reasonably short dayhike. Upon returning home, I was horrified when I removed the rear lens cap and saw a big smudge in the center of the rear element where the cap had contacted the glass. Fortunately, I was able to clean the plastic residue from the surface of my lens with no sign of permanent damage. This after one (I repeat: just one) short hike. Rather than give it a second chance at inflicting permanent damage, I replaced the stock cap. In fact now, as a matter of course, I replace all my Rodenstock lens caps with something thicker and more robust than the average paper towel. It's much more cost effective and a lot less of a hassle to take steps to prevent the damage than to wait until it happens and send the lens away for repair. That's what properly designed, properly designed lens cap does - PREVENT damage - not cause it.

Like I said, this is a pet peeve of mine brought recently to light by the flimsy caps that accompanied my 75mm f6.8 Grandagon-N and stirred up by Armin's posting of his unfortunate experience. Maybe Armin and I are isolated cases. If everybody else is happy with their factory caps, more power to them. For me, it's worth the peace of mind to replace the flimsy factory caps with more rigid after market caps. I do think it's silly that I feel compelled to do so, but I also think it's silly that this would ever be allowed to happen - even just once - when it is so easily preventable.

"This would not apply if the problem was caused by pressure in your case pushing the cap in."

I don't carry my lenses in a "case". Nor do I leave them sitting in a studio somewhere. I actually carry them with me in the real world Imagine that) on my back. They are carried in indiviual, soft-sided padded cells or wraps, and then placed in a set of padded dividers in my pack. The fact is, many of the current Rodenstock caps are so thin and flimsy that there is no way they will NOT contact the lens surfaces when carried in a pack. The caps that came on my 75mm f6.8 Grandagon-N are the most useless lens caps I've ever seen. Actually, they are less than useless, they are damage inducing. There are only two scenarios where these caps will not contact the lens elements on this lens: if I leave the lens at home, or I replace the supplied caps. Which is why the Rodenstock caps sit here at home while the lens goes out in the field with its replacement Nikon caps to properly protect it. I find it difficult to believe that the engineers at Rodenstock, with their vast technical expertise, can't design a better lens cap. Even if it adds 50 cents to the cost of a $1000 lens, I think it would be worth it.

"As for Kaiser caps. They are made in sizes from 15mm to 120mm. From 15mm to 58mm they are sized in 1mm increments. From 60 to 62mm they are in 1 mm incremats (there is no 59mm) From there on they are sized 64, 65, 70, 72, 75, 77, 80, 85, 90, 100 and 120mm. So if a cap is too tight in many cases are very slightly larger diameter cap is available."

It's not a question of improper fit. It's one of poor design (again). Every other plastic slip-on cap I've ever seen has some mechanism to allow air to escpape when putting the cap on, or taking it off the lens (either groves or raised ridges). The Kaiser caps lack this feature. I use them on one of my lenses that takes 44mm slip-on caps. The fit is perfect (too perfect - without any way for the air to escape). A 45mm cap doesn't fit at all. I tried one and it falls right off. Oh well, this is just a minor inconvenience. At least the Kaiser caps haven't threatened to cause any damage to my lenses.

I remember a time back in the 1970s when even a no-name cheapy 35mm zoom lens came with both proper fitting rigid lens caps and a nicely lined hard case. Such was standard packaging back then, even on lenses costing about $100. I haven't bought any 35mm lenses in several years, so I don't know if that is still the case. It sure isn't standard practice when buying an expensive large format lens these days. The one exception being Fuji. Their new CM-W line comes standard with hard cases of molded plastic designed to hold (and actually protect) their lenses mounted in lensboards of a reasonable size.


-- Kerry Thalmann (largeformat@thalmann.com), October 15, 2001.

Ialways wondered why they stopped shipping lenses with those gourgeos stiff leather , velvet lined lens hoods.

And Bob you are missing the point: if the lens didn't have any marks on it when he got he lens , is it likely that years of accumulated latent damage just suddenly appeared? Spooky!

-- Ellis Vener Photography (ellis@ellisvener.com), October 15, 2001.

"And Bob you are missing the point" - Ellis, are you at all surprised?

-- Wayne DeWitt (wdewitt@snip.net), October 16, 2001.

Hi Bob

The lens is the newest design with 67mm. Robert is a very honest guy, he used thad lens as demo model and it really looked like new! I`m shure some other lens seller would just have sold it as new! Bob notting was pushing the cup in, or maybe the 5mm air between the wall and the cup did it! And I`m still waiting for a answer from Rodenstock! Live warranty would be nice, but not on that cups, I think only on the lens! Better cups for all!!

-- Armin Seeholzer (armin.seeholzer@smile.ch), October 16, 2001.

Hi all


I just get the answer from Rodenstock I can send it to them and I get it repaired and they will talk and think about the cups! So it is definitly good old german quality! I`m happy again, greatings to Bob.

-- Armin Seeholzer (armin.seeholzer@smile.ch), October 16, 2001.

"And I`m still waiting for a answer from Rodenstock!"


When you send a request like this to Rodenstock it is good to mention the dealer - you did.

But nowhere in your request to the factory did you mention that this was a demo lens.

They to assumed you were talking about a new lens.

It is very generous of the factory to take care of the problem under warranty but don't you think that they were entitled to know not only that you have 6 other lenses but that this one was a demo?

-- Bob Salomon (bob@hpmarketingcorp.com), October 16, 2001.

Bob, Camera stores rutinely sell demo equipment, I worked at one when I was going to college and we used to sell the customer the item we had on display, there is nothing wrong and/or inferior with these items provided the store is reputable and inspects the item before giving it to the customer, in addition it it still has the warranty even though it has been taken out of the box, it has not been "sold". I understand he got it from Robert White, who appear to be very reputable, why are you knocking this demo lens as inferior? BTW "Demo" lenses are NOT lenses that have been "rented", are usually well taken care of since it is still stock and has to be sold and with the turnover that Robert White has I am sure the lens was not on display for that long. BTW I am sure Rodenstock would not have done anything to the lens if it had not been under warranty. Wether Rodesntock is being nice or not, is not the point. The fact remains that the lens covers are flimsy, the lens although a "demo" still a new lens and under warranty and if Rodenstock insists on sending the lens with these type of caps then they are taking the risk of having to repair the lens later on. I find Armin's complaint valid and very straight forward. BTW 3 of my lenses are Rodenstock and ALL have UV filters (heliopan) precisely to prevent this problem.

-- Jorge Gasteazoro (jorgegm@worldnet.att.net), October 16, 2001.

"It is very generous of the factory to take care of the problem under warranty but don't you think that they were entitled to know not only that you have 6 other lenses but that this one was a demo?"

What does how many other lenses he owns have to do with whether or not THIS lens is covered under warranty????? I should think he would be treated the same whether this was his only lens or 1 of 100. When I take my car in for warranty service, nobody asks me how many other cars I own.

He bought the lens from an "authorized" dealer (in the country where he purchased it). Yes, it was a demo. No, as he has stated repeatedly, the damage was not present at the time of purchase. It was not damaged because it was a demo. It was damaged because the incredibly cheap, poorly designed lens cap made contact with the glass. Is not a demo lens from an authorized dealer covered by the same warranty as a new lens? If so, what is so generous about a company honoring their warranty? Isn't the purpose of a warranty to protect the consumer from damage due to poorly designed or poorly built products? Don't get me wrong, I think Rodenstock did the right thing by honoring their warranty. I would expect no less from such a fine, reputable company - but I would not characterize such behavior as generous, no more than I am being generous with my bank when I pay my mortgage payment every month - it is merely what is expected.


-- Kerry Thalmann (largeformat@thalmann.com), October 16, 2001.

Hi Bob

I think it could be Bob, thad you had sold thad lens as new! I would be happy Bob if I would be in your case I made a good AD for Rodenstock and in the future we get all better cups! So it helps us all! Peace on earth!

-- Armin Seeholzer (armin.seeholzer@smile.ch), October 16, 2001.

Hi all

Today I got my APO back repaired by Rodenstock Munich. 2 weeks ago I sendet it to Munich and now it is perfectly repaired in my hands. It looks again like new! Really warranty!

-- Armin Seeholzer (armin.seeholzer@smile.ch), November 23, 2001.

Great that you could have Rodenstock service take care of the problem, Armin. To add my own misfortunes, I have had my Schneider Super-Angulon 90/5.6 back element damaged exactly the same way (the front lens is protected by a hard Cokin lens cap). It is a pitty and real non-sense that such lenses are furnished with these unprotective supple lens caps. What did they do in your case? Recoat the lens or replace the back element?

"Since 1989 they have seen exactly 1 (one) case of a marred coating on a current series of lenses due to a contact between the lens cap and the front or rear element. " " had it been a new lens covered by our Lifetime Warranty on Rodenstock we would have replaced the lens. providing the problem was caused by the Rodenstock cap being the culprit. This would not apply if the problem was caused by pressure in your case pushing the cap in.

Bob, I'm sorry, but I'm sure there are many more non-reported problems! That's typical political cant. Everyone knows the lenses are transported in supple bags. Pressure against the lens caps in unavoidable and they should therefore be designed to protect the lens against pressure on the lens cap. And once the one year warranty offered outside US is expired, nobody is going to ask the repair of the damage, knowing it will cost half the lense's price! So please don't tell Rodenstock (or Schneider) that everything is fine with their junk caps!

-- Paul Schilliger (pschilliger@smile.ch), November 25, 2001.

i have a similar problem with the front cap of my 150xl. the s.n. (or some number) easily touches the front element. i was lucky there was no permanent mark. now i use a new microfiber cloth as a barrier between the cap and the lens. still it is annoying.

the front cap of the 210xl should be the standard for expensive, large diameter lens caps.

-- adam (asfberg@hotmail.com), November 25, 2001.

Hi Paul

I`m not sure but I think the last lens element is new. But I will ask the man from Rodenstock if he is back from hes holidays. Peace and better lenscups to all!

-- Armin Seeholzer (armin.seeholzer@smile.ch), November 25, 2001.

Hi Paul

Just to answer your question I got a new backlense and they talk about better lenscaps. Good shooting to everybady!

-- Armin Seeholzer (armin.seeholzer@smile.ch), January 25, 2002.

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