It seems like the camera and lens shouldn't matter, but I've been wrong before. Can cameras like the Graflex Speed Graphic or Tachihara 4x5 field camera, and lenses like the Ektar 127mm shoot color film simply by swapping the type of negative in the film holder?

2 Answers 2


The camera doesn't matter.

The lens might.

Many older lenses used glass that contained chemical elements that can shift color over time. Most notable are the lenses that used glass containing radioactive thorium oxide that yellows and eventually browns as it ages.

Some of the most well known lenses containing thorium were several of the Kodak Ektar and Aero-Ektar lenses produced between the 1940s and 1960s.

If the color of the lens has shifted over time then there would be a color cast on images captured on color film using such a lens.

Even with B&W film the color cast of the lens can affect the relative tonal values of the various colors of light passing through the lens in much the same way that a color filter affects the relative tonal densities of differently colored objects on a B&W negative.


Cameras are boxes that focus light onto a plane. That process works regardless of what you put at that plane. Whether it's black and white film, color film, or a digital sensor doesn't matter to the lens projecting the image and the box keeping the rest of the ambient light out.

  • Except as noted in MC's answer. Feb 27, 2017 at 12:22
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    @Carl: That's quite a rare exception. You can check for that simply by looking thru the lens yourself and seeing if there is a color cast. Clearly it can happen, but I've looked thru many lenses, and have never personally seen it. Most people are simply not going to bump into this. Feb 28, 2017 at 12:46
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    True enough. I just like learning "corner case" trivia. Feb 28, 2017 at 12:53

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