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Secure a Lens to Your 4x5 Graflex Camera Using a Lens Board

A lens board provides you with a way to attach a lens to the front of your Graflex 4x5 camera. These boards can vary in shape and size, but they are usually square, made of plastic or metal, and between 1 and 4 millimeters thick. If you are looking for a lens board for your photography equipment, you may find it helpful to know what boards there are, how to attach them, and how to maintain them.

What is a Copal number?

Each lens board has a hole that is pre-drilled in its center. These holes can vary in diameter, depending on the focal length or overall size of the lens you intend to use. One company manufactures several replacement lens boards and assigns a Copal number to each one thats based on the hole diameter. This number is expressed in millimeters and may help you choose the product that suits your photography needs. Some common Copal number designations and their sizes are:

  • 0 - Boards with this number have 34.6 mm diameter holes.
  • 1 - Boards with this number have holes that are 41.6 mm in diameter.
  • 3 - These lens boards have openings that are 65 mm in diameter.
  • 3s - This offshoot of the number 3 board has a hole that is 64.5 mm in diameter.
What tools do you need to mount a lens?

It may be possible for you to mount a lens to your lens board by hand. However, depending on the type of backing you get and the accessories it includes, some tools may help you as well. The basic tools that may help you complete the mounting process include:

  • A screwdriver - Helps you remove the locking pin if necessary.
  • A wrench - Helps you tighten the retaining ring to ensure a secure fit.
How do you attach a lens to your camera?

Each lens model may have a slightly different procedure, so refer to owners instructions. The precise steps for attaching a lens to your Graflex equipment using a lens board can vary depending on the type of lens that you have. However, the general guidelines for attaching them to view cameras are:

  • Position the lens: The camera accessory of your choice should go in the center of the backing and directly over the opening.
  • Remove the rear assembly: Your device may include a tiny locking pin on the rear of the shutter. Use your screwdriver to remove this pin.
  • Thread the lens: The shutter will have threads that are compatible with your lens board. Push these threads through the opening. Use your wrench to tighten the small retainer ring.
  • Attach the assemblies: You can now reattach the rear lens if you wish.
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