Reversing Lense? : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

How do you reverse a lense? Never seen this configuration. Is the front of the lense attached to the lense board or is the lense actually inside the camera? Are some lense better for this than others? Thanks.

-- John Forrest Grunke (, March 18, 2002



I've reversed a lens for macro on 35mm, but never on LF.

The procedure for 35mm is add a "reverse ring" (it's a double male thread adapter ring) to the front of a 50mm lens on the camera. Screw on another 50mm face to face. Open up both lenses to widest opening and focus with the body side lens. Auto metering will work OK. Depth of filed is VERY SMALL.

I know this doesn't help much. But it's all I know. If you find out LF reverse procedure let me know also.



-- Steve Feldman (, March 18, 2002.

i imagine it'd be somewhat difficult to do with LF, considering that your shutter would be inside the bellows! maybe the idea would be to screw the lens off the lensboard and reverse the front and back elements. for what, i have no idea, but that'd be what you'd have to do...

~cj (Seattle)

-- chris jordan (, March 18, 2002.

With a lens mounted on a lensboard, simply turning it around and attaching it is all that needs to be done to reverse it. Then, you unhook the bellows just behind the lensboard, set your f/stop, and use your lenscap or hat for a shutter.

-- Roger Urban (, March 18, 2002.

I have not tried it, but you could probably reverse the lens on the lensboard and drill a small hole in the board to pass a cable release through. Light seal around the hole with black silicone and you are in business!

-- David Rose (, March 18, 2002.

Hi John

Sounds for me a bit strange for LF! If it is for makro then think new! Edward Weston and many older stars did just take their normal lenses for those shoots cloused the lenses down to f32, f 45 or f64 and make your shoot! Or if you need better quality then buy one of the cheapest new lens for example a 150mm G-Glaron from Schneider optimiset for 1:1 and you have more sharpness up to f 32 but then starts the diffraction to make every lens go down with resolution.

Good luck!

-- Armin Seeholzer (, March 18, 2002.

I use a 60mm componon mounted backwards on an old shutter for 4 x 5 macro. It works very well, see

-- julian bell (, March 18, 2002.

Well, the 100/6.3 Zeiss Luminar, a macro lens if ever there was one, is threaded at both ends so it can be mounted on shutter as best suits the working magnification. Its useful range is 0.8:1 to 8:1, it wants one orientation below 1:1 and the other above, if I have things right. If not, send corrections.

-- Dan Fromm (, March 18, 2002.


It seems ridiculous to simply reverse the lensboard, as the shutter is inside the camera. I would remove the lens from the board & use a threaded capture ring in the filter threads. this isn't as quick as turning around the lensboard & I probably wouldn't do it for just a shot or two, but you would at least have access to the shutter.

If I couldn't find an off-the-shelf threaded ring, my first visit would be Steve Grimes.

Good Luck!

PS: This has also crossed my mind at points in the past

-- Ted Brownlee (, March 19, 2002.

If the lens is mounted in a number 0 or 3 shutter, the front and rear threads are the same, and the front and rear components of the lens can be simply unscrewed and swapped over.
If you're going to do this, make sure that you don't lose any of the shim rings that are sometimes fitted between the lens housing and the shutter. And don't forget to swap the lens back after you've finished the macro job!

Number 1 shutters have different thread diameters at the front and rear, so you can't swap the lenses over in these shutters.

-- Pete Andrews (, March 20, 2002.

High-quality nlarging lenses make high-quality macro lenses. If you already own an enlarging lens, this can be a low cost approach.

Schneider (and maybe others) makes an adapter that accepts any lens with the standard 39 mm enlarging lens thread, and which screws into the front of a #1 shutter. This is a good setup when the subject is roughly a few times larger than the image. The Schneider part is numbered 92-056002.

When you want the image to be larger than the subject, it is better to reverse the orientation of the enlarging lens, so that the lens is used for the optical reproduction ratio for which it was defined. This is easy to do with an adapter made by Nikon and Rodenstock (and maybe others), which adapts the 40.5 mm front filter thread of many Nikon and Rodenstock enlarging lenses to the standard 39 mm thread for enlarging lenses. In this configuration you use two adapters between the lens and the shutter. On some lenses you may also need to cover the port that normally illuminates the f-stop number with a piece of opaque tape.

I have used these adapters with enlarging lenses of focal lengths 63 mm and 105 mm. Don't forget the bellows extension exposure correction, which can be quite a few stops.

-- Michael Briggs (, March 21, 2002.

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