Protection! : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

The subject of lens protection seems fairly topical at the moment!! I think we all agree that it is the responsibility of the manufacturer to provide lens caps that do exactly what they are intended to do, ie protect the lens. It seems that ALL of the lens makers (with the exception of, it seems, Fuji) have lenses in their ranges that have front/rear elements that touch the caps - THIS NEEDS TO BE ADDRESSED BY THE LENS MANUFACTURER!! Anyway, a slight change of tack! A while back I posted a thread regarding lens cases for LF lenses, and their apparent lack of!! It seems that we all use whatever comes to hand from Tupperware boxes, lens wraps to hand-made wooden cases. Well, I've found some!! Whilst leafing through the new Dykinga book, I saw that he uses multiple padded lens cases, made by Justin Gnass in California. THese hold either 3 or 4 lenses on their panels and appear from the photos in the book to be very well padded. He also makes a film holder case that you can hang from the tripod and which holds either 10 or 8 sheet film holders. I placed an order with him today and he is happy to ship outside the USA. Thought some of you may be interested! BTW the lens cases range from $55 for the 3 lens version to $65 for the 4 lens version. The film holders are the same sort of price. I will let you know what they are like when I receive them. His web site is Regards Paul

-- paul owen (, January 03, 2002


Thanks for that information Paul.

I saw those in the book and thought they looked like a good idea, especially the padded lens cases. I'll be interested to hear what you think of the quality and whether they are as practical and functional as they look. They also seem well priced.

Kind regards

Peter Brown

-- Peter L Brown (, January 03, 2002.

Also check out Alan W. Brubaker's lens cases at Click on 'Cordura soft cases' and scroll to the bottom. I don't know how much they cost, but they're an alternative.

-- Tony Karnezis (, January 04, 2002.

Shame on you for putting down an American institution like Tupperware. I'll bet you don't purchase your mother's cosmetics from Avon or Mary Kay either!

In defense of these venerable companies, I would like to describe a less expensive and equally solid protection system that I built for my lenses. It consists of a Rubermaid rectangular servin' saver. They have several sizes, but I use the 2.2 gal size, model 3863. It's about 4.5" deep, and 8"x12" across. Also required are an ensolite pad and gaffer tape. Use your choice of weapons to cut the pad and tape. This system works for lenses mounted on boards used in the Linhof teknikardan 4x5 and Wista cameras.

The base of the container is covered with a layer of foam. Cut a strip of foam to line the interior sides of the container; tape it down in a few places. Next, arrange your lenses in the container in a fashion that allows room for a layer of foam to separate the lenses. Because of the sizes of my lenses and boards, the lens boards are vertical. Cut foam pieces to fill the gaps and then tape them into place. You should cut these so that you lay a layer of foam over the top and still close the lid. This top layer will ultimately be glued to the underside of the lid. If you find that your foam is too thick to allow this, you can use 1/4" bubble wrap or a more compressible foam for the top liner.

The chief drawback to this case is that you cannot pick it up upside down without risking the lenses falling out. This problem is easily overcome by using a nylon pack strap with a buckle to surround the case.

On the plus side, this case is water and dust proof. Sort of like a poor person's Pelican case, but lighter.

Total cost: under $20. And I still have plenty of ensolite pad left to take with me on winter trips or to use as a knee pad for my aging knees when I'm working low to the ground.


-- Bruce M. Herman (, January 04, 2002.

OOPS!! Didn't mean to "disrespect" Tupperware!! There are many ingenious methods used for lens storage, however, I've been looking for a purpose made device, rather than making-do!! The Brubaker cases are for single lenses (I seem to remember) and each costs about $40+ The Gnass case seems both good value and well padded. I'll let you know! Regards Paul

-- paul owen (, January 04, 2002.

"Ding - Dong!"

"Who's there?"

"Avon lady."

"Avon lady, we're having a Tupperware party now. Can you stop by later?"

-- Andre Noble (, January 04, 2002.

After dragging home various bags from the name brands, and variations on Tupperware, I now look like a carpetbagger for Arctic Zone when I go to field with my Tachi. I have settled on one of their side opening style lunch bags for lenses, their inexpensive end openers carry approx 4-6 film holders, a polaroid 545 and 505 holders, and they all pack nicely in a variety of backpacks that I have, depending on for where and for how long. The lens are on their boards (linhof style), and in my usual mix of SA 65, Fuji 90, SA 210, and rodie 135, I get can get the four in the bag. My 240 Nikkor is a bit of a lump, and tends to stay home. Each lens, with caps (+Sky 1A's in a couple of cases), gets wrapped in a square of blanket fleece, which nicely locks and pads each lens in the lunch bag. The tachi travels in fleece wrap and is nicely tucked in its own "Glacier Gear" lunch bag from Walmart (Model PLB1) - the bag was $10 Cdn, has two little zippered side pockets, is quite weather proof and reasonably padded and has a shoulder strap - couldn't have designed a better camera bag for the camera, at least certainly not for 10 bucks. A neat little benefit to the Arctic Zone bags I use for film holders is a velcro strap on the back - it folds around the tilt/pan handle on my tripod and hangs sedately, keeping the holders right there where I use them. Saved enough money by not buying name brand bags to actually buy film.

-- Paul Coppin (, January 05, 2002. my studio kit, the cambo lens boards with their lenses go into bubble wrap bags and are stacked horizontally loaf of bread style in a fairly heavy travel bag that has a layer of foam laid in the bottom. Makes for a fairly easy grab and go when the Cambo goes on the road. The Arctic Zone bag for the Tachi gear is probably shippable in a suitable exterior bag, tho the Cambo kit would not be.

-- Paul Coppin (, January 05, 2002.

I told you - loads of ingenious ideas!! It would be interesting to see how LF users here in the UK carry/protect their gear inside their packs/holdalls, or if indeed they bother with any protection! We don't appear to have the luxury of these "superstores" that sell the sorts of bags you describe for a few quid! Here it is probably Tupperware/bubblewrap/lens wrap options that are used the most.

-- paul owen (, January 06, 2002.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ