Attaching a lensboard to a large format lens

I have to confess that I’m a little intimidated by my new camera. My first question, “How do I attach the lens to the camera?”

So I went to the two books I have: Jack Dykinga’s Large Format Nature Photography and Ansel Adams’ The Camera. But these didn’t quite have the practical information I needed. So I went to the Internet, which of course had plenty of contradictory information. One site recommended using a camera repair shop for the task. Another said I could do it myself if I sent the kids out of the room. All of this contradictory information was tempered by David C. Karp’s authoritative lens primer, which gave me the confidence to try it myself.

My experience is that attaching a lens to a lensboard (which attaches to the camera) is really easy.

Here’s what you need:

  • A lens
  • A lensboard
  • A lens wrench that matches the shutter on your lens

I’m going to assume that the shutter is already attached to your lens. It may be more difficult if this isn’t the case.

To attach the lens to the board:

  1. Unscrew the rear half of the lens from the shutter.
  2. Unscrew the ring collar from the shutter.
  3. Place the lensboard on the shutter and align it to suit your tastes.
  4. Screw the ring back onto the shutter, sandwiching the lensboard between the shutter and the flange.
  5. Tighten the ring so that the lens does not move when you try to mount it on the camera or use the controls. You will need to use the lens wrench to get the ring tight. (See the picture below.) I’ve read that you should avoid overtightening.
  6. Screw the rear half of the lens back on, and you’re done.

That was easy!

I plan on posting more of these little tidbits as I learn how to use my camera. Next up: loading film.

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One Response to Attaching a lensboard to a large format lens

  1. Nikonfan says:

    This past December, 2007, I decided to try shooting 4X5. I’ve taken photos with 35mm, DSLR’s and medium format, but until now I’ve never tried 4X5 film. I’m having a hard time finding info on the basics of the art of using a 4X5. I’m reading Adams The Camera, but as you point out, there’s little on the fundamentals like attaching a lens to a lens board. So thank you for this lesson. It was both timely and useful!

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