Picture Gallery: Toyo VX23D and Fuji GFX 50R
Updated March 23, 2020
Front view. The standard holds to the rail via the friction knob (underneath). The double-knob on the left is for fine focus and focus lock. The knob on the right locks the tilt mechanism. The lever under the standard locks the swing mechanism. Shift takes place using the flat wheel on the left, underneath the number "4" on the shift scale. Swing and tilt are manual. Shift and focus are geared.
Standards can mount on either side of the tripod block, or both on one side. I use them like this because it balances better on the tripod. The tripod block on the VX23D uses a foot that looks similar to an Arca-Swiss foot, but it's too wide for most Arca clamps. The clamp in this picture is a Hejnar F63, which opens wide enough for the Toyo VX23D foot.
I replaced the supplied Toyo rail with a 12cm piece of a Toyo/Omega aluminum rail. It's hollow and very light compared to the original rail. I don't need more rail because all of the lenses I use can reach infinity using just the amount of space that can be created by moving the standards forwards or backwards with the fine focus knobs. The fine focus knobs allow 14mm of travel in each direction. This is enough to allow focusing to 1:2 with my longer lenses.
I had to fabricate a custom "camera board" to mount my Fuji GFX 50R. My first one was a simple aluminum plate. This one is 3D-printed plastic. The camera mounts to a section cut from a Fotodiox Pentax 645 to Fuji GFX adapter. The weight of the GFX 50R camera is carried by a rim that was milled into the adapter; the rim fits into the hole in the camera mounting board. Screws hold the mount piece tight to the board.
Fuji GFX 50R attached in landscape orientation. There is plenty of room between the front of the camera and the camera board for my fingers to reach the front function button and the lens release button. It's possible to mount the camera even closer to the board, but that makes using the buttons impossible without a tool.
Switching to portrait orientation simply involves unclipping the board, rotating 90 degrees, and re-attaching. Both orientations work (i.e., top camera controls on the left, or on the right). The clip that holds the lens board in place does not lock. Not shown here is a small locking device I built to prevent that.
The Fuji GFX 50R sensor, seen from the front. The piece from the Fotodiox adapter is held to the camera board with four screws that are recessed into the board. The holes are filled and painted. Importantly, the weight of the camera is carried on the milled rim of the adapter, which rests on the inside of the hole. The screws simply hold the two pieces together.
Medium format lenses that can be mounted to a lens board and spaced to reach infinity usable on the VX23D. I use Pentax 645 lenses. To mount these, I used a Toyo recessed lens board and attached the front section cut from the Fotodiox Pentax 645 to Fuji GFX adapter that supplied the section I used for the camera mount. This part has the same milled rim as on the camera mount. Therefore, the weight of the lenses is carried by the milled rim, rather than by the four screws that hold the adapter part to the lens board. My heaviest lens is 1,165 grams (the SMC Pentax-FA 150-300mm f/5.6).
Many other kinds of lenses can be used. Typically, people who used this camera when it first came out would have used lenses mounted in traditional shutters (Copal 0, Copal 1). This is a Schneider Kreuznach Apo-Digitar 80mm f/4 in a barrel. Normally these are fitted into a Copal 0 shutter. Both styles mount directly to a Copal 0 recessed Toyo lens board. (This is the shallow recessed board. The one used for the Pentax lenses is the deep board.)
My Bogen 6x6 Wide Angle 60mm f/4 enlarger lens is mounted to a deeply recessed lens board. I attached a Durst enlarger plate to the rear of the Toyo board. The lens simply screws into the 1/26" thread of the Durst plate. Other 60mm wide angle enlarging lenses from Schneider Kreuznach and Rodenstock fit on this board, but I preferred the Bogen. It's an 8 element Biogon design, manufactured by Hoya.
My Rodenstock Rodagon-WA 120mm f/5.6 enlarger lens mounts to a flat Toyo lens board. To avoid using the long Toyo rail, I had a special extension tube built. It's M42x1mm on the board side and M50x0.75mm on the lens side. The tube is held to the lens board with a simple M42 locking ring. The board and lens disassemble easily for transport. This is a superb lens -- easily as sharp as my SMC Pentax-A 645 120mm f/4 macro lens (which is extremely sharp).
Most enlarger lenses are single-coated, so hoods are especially important. I can use the compendium shade, but most of the time I use a short metal screw-in lens hood with an extension hood (a simple plastic tube lined with telescope flocking material). I can slide extension hood forwards and backwards depending on how much shading I need.