Lensboard retention woes on a Calumet 400 series 4x5

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My poor CC-400 has lately developed a bug. The sliding plate that looks as if it should retain the top of a properly fitting lensboard no longer stays underneath the screws.

I ordered new parts from Calumet, which look identical, and they don't work either. I could probably work out some kind of kludge plate (or thick washers) for my itty bitty 150/5.6, but the weight of my new 355/9 Copal 3 behemoth makes me nervous.

The long term answer, of course, is to get a real camera, but does anyone have any insight on this particular issue which does not involve spending tons of money on a format which I'll probably shelve in favor of 8x10 soon?

-- John O'Connell (boywonderiloveyou@hotmail.com), December 03, 2000


Gaffers tape.

-- Dan Smith (shooter@brigham.net), December 03, 2000.

I am not sure from your description if this will help or not.

I once had a Calumet C that the previous owner had modified by bending one corner of the sliding clip at the top out and down, and the one at the bottom out and up and then drilled two small holes in each end. They put the ends of a small but beefy coil spring through each hole so the spring pulled the two clips together assuring they could not slide open.

It made switching lensboards a bit of a task, but the lensboard stayed put once in place.

-- Sean yates (yatescats@yahoo.com), December 03, 2000.


Looking at by old cc-402...the screw heads are ample to retain the sliding plate, and the friction is ample to keep the plate from moving without my intent. A very positive retention.

From your description the failure is the whole sliding retaining plate comes off...it isn't just sliding up and allowing the lens board to fall outward. Do you see wear in the slots or the screw heads? I'd be inclined to go back and discuss it with Calumet...sounds like you didn't get the right parts.


-- Fred Leif (frederickl@aol.com), December 03, 2000.

The situation on the ground is...

Right now the sliding plate slips up and allows the lensboard to pop out. The two screws holding it in have a built-in washer bit at the top, and the chrome plate just slips up and out from under the screws. And big G-Clarons don't like being dropped off of cameras. The screws I ordered from Calumet appear identical to the originals and the sliding plate is so similar it was tough to tell the new from the old.

Gaffer's tape sent the lens plummeting to the carpet again... I think I might try the spring. Either that or drill & tap the front standard for some beefier screws that don't rely on those odd little special-order-from-Holland two-weeks-to-receive $0.79 machine screws.

-- John O'Connell (boywonderiloveyou@hotmail.com), December 03, 2000.

John: The beefier screws seem to the a good solution. I have never understood why the lens locks are on the top instead of the bottom. I changed one of my cameras over so that the solid plate screwed tightly to the top and the moveable one was at the bottom. It works great. If the lock comes undone, the lens doesn't fall on the ground unless it is pointed straight down. I have only changed one of my cameras this way because the others lock up tightly, but I will eventually change the others. I would recommend you look into changing your Calumet to a bottom lock. Then the big lenses will stay put.


-- Doug Paramore (dougmary@alaweb.com), December 03, 2000.

Has the camera body worn away under the sliding plate, I wonder? Perhaps a shim of thin brass, on the underside of the retaining plate would help, or you could try some 'wavy' washers to give some spring tension to the whole affair.

-- Pete Andrews (p.l.andrews@bham.ac.uk), December 04, 2000.

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