Strange Looking Pictures Made With Nikon 300M Lens : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I've experienced the strangest problem with photographs made on a recent photography trip with my Nikon 300M lens that I've ever seen. I used the lens for about five photographs. A friend of mine borrowed it from time to time during the trip and made about the same number of photographs. All of the photographs that we both made with this lens (using two different cameras, my Technika V, his Master Technika)look very strange. It's difficult to describe and unfortunately I don't have a web site where I can post an example but typically there is a small sharp area somewhere in the picture, then everything is so blurry in front and behind of that small sharp area that you can't tell what the picture is supposed to be of. Also, there are "ghost" images in the pictures. For example, in one there is a small island in the center of the photograph that is in focus, then there is what looks like a larger version of the island, completely black and very blurred, towards the foreground. It looks like a big black blob and you couldn't tell what it is except that it is the same shape as the island. I've used this lens before and haven't had this problem. If anyone would like to see exactly what I'm talking about, let me know and I'll send it as an attachment to an e mail message. I'm at a complete loss as to what the problem could be. Since two different photographers experienced the same problem using this lens on two different cameras, it seems almost certain that the problme lies with the lens. I've looked at it and it looks normal to me. If anyone has any ideas, I'd like to hear them. Thanks.

-- Brian Ellis (, May 26, 2002


Brian -

What do you see on the ground glass when you focus using the lens? Is everything in focus (from corner to corner)? I have no idea as to what the issue might be, but it seems that you should be having a WYSIWYG experience even with a suspect lens.

-- Robert Ruderman (, May 26, 2002.

Howdy B! Just a wild guess, but maybe the shutter is the fly in the ointment here...

What about giving Steve Grimes a call or shipping the lens to him for evaluation???????

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-- miles feigenbaum (, May 26, 2002.

I had a focussing problem with a 300mm lens with symptoms similar to yours until I realized I had forgotten to remove the anti-rotation screw on the lens, preventing it from resting flat against the lensboard. But this wouldn't explain the ghost images ...

-- Stewart Ethier (, May 26, 2002.

Verrry bizzarre! Is there a loose element inside when you shake it?

-- Paul Schilliger (, May 27, 2002.

Possible: 1. Loose (adrift) or missing glass element. 2. Shutter blades not closing all the way. 3. Lens elements not screwed all the way to the shoulder of the shutter due to wrong mounting on lensboard or wrong deco ring on the front of the shutter. 4. Uncovered screw-hole in the lensboard, such as where the Linhof remote cable release connector mounts. 5. Accidental mismatch of front and back elements. Be sure both elements are for the same lens.

If you figure out what's causing it, there are lots of photographers trying to have that result of sharp at the center and blurry elsewhere.

-- Steve Grimes (, May 27, 2002.

Brian: I would look for a hole in the lensboard or lens mount that might be causing a pinhole image. That is assuming that the lens elements are still mounted solidly and in the proper alignment. Also, the shutter might not be closing completly, which can cause a pinhole image to form.


-- Doug Paramore (, May 27, 2002.

Thanks to all who responded. Steve and Doug got it. There originally was a cable release gadget on the Linhof lens board. That gadget fell off a while back. I didn't pay any particular attention at the time since I didn't use the gadget. However, I now see that when it fell off it left a tiny hole in the lens board and that undoubtedly was the cause of the problem. Hopefully I can cover the hole with something and salvange this ridiculously expensive lens board. Thanks again.

-- Brian Ellis (, May 27, 2002.

Oh! I thought you had an accidental transmutation capable of rivalling the new Cooke Portrait at much lower cost! ;-)

-- Paul Schilliger (, May 27, 2002.

Howdy B, In my old college days, we used to cover the holes in the walls at the dorm with peanutbutter...

-- miles feigenbaum (, May 27, 2002.

Brian - I have the same ridiculously expensive lensboard with same hole and it is covered with very cheap electrical tape. Tacky but effective. Some year I WILL fix it right.

-- Bob Finley (, May 27, 2002.

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