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Thread: How do I make a shutter to use with $1 lenses? (For soft focus portraits.)

  1. #1

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    Lightbulb How do I make a shutter to use with $1 lenses? (For soft focus portraits.)

    I have been buying some inexpensive magnifying glasses (US $1 to $6 or so) with the goal of creating some soft focus portraits.

    I have a couple 4x5" Cambo cameras and will be buying a Crown Graphic to replace one that was stolen. I have experimented with making Cambo lens boards out of black foamcore boards and they seem to work just fine. The advantage of the Cambo lens board is the size - at something like 6x6 inches there is more room to work with than a Crown board which is about 4x4 inches. Plus the Cambo has a much longer bellows available than any Crown or Speed Graphic.

    The next step I have in mind is to make a shutter to use with the lenses. I don't have a workshop but do have a couple woodworking tools (jig saw, router, hand tools, clamps, drills, etc.) I don't want to use my hat,

    Can anyone give me some advice on building a simple / fairly reliable shutter? (Yes, I know Packard shutters are available but I am retired and don't have much money to spend on this project.)

    I was thinking something like a Harris drop shutter might be a way to go. Any opinions on that?

    Thanks in advance for any help.

    Terry
    Last edited by AtlantaTerry; 7-Apr-2016 at 22:37. Reason: Cleaning up my prose.

  2. #2

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    Re: How do I make a shutter to use with $1 lenses? (For soft focus portraits.)

    What sort of exposure times are you expecting? I suspect that's going to be the limiting factor on a home-built design... the shorter the time, the less accurate I think it might be.

    One might posit some sort of elastic band powered device, say a rotating segment with a slit in it that sweeps the lens. Or a small solenoid might be used to open and close a flap, though with perhaps longer exposure.

    Mount the lens behind the lens board, so you've room to play with the bit that's going to break in front of it!

    I don't think shutters are an *easy* thing... but at least with a dark slide at the film end you don't have to worry about resetting the thing and maintaining light-tightness; it's just got to work once (per shot).

    Neil

  3. #3
    Tim Meisburger's Avatar
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    Re: How do I make a shutter to use with $1 lenses? (For soft focus portraits.)

    Drop shutters work fine, but the weight involved might be too much for a foamcore lensboard. I did what you are doing. Hot glued a lens to a board, then glues on a piece of cardboard shipping tube (painted black) and cut a slot for cardboard waterhouse stops. I like the simple glass at around f8. Its still wild, but not too much. Wide open is extreme. I've used a galli shutter and a cap. I've made drop shutters with cardboard, but the best would be made out of something like darkslide material, I think.

  4. #4

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    Re: How do I make a shutter to use with $1 lenses? (For soft focus portraits.)

    Would a drop shutter be the way to go? If you could put together a light tight box which could take various slotted pieces of wood or aluminium at the front, they could be actuated by pulling a pin. Slot would drop across the lens, after which the shutter would be light tight again. Varying sized slots would give you different shutter speeds.

    I have seen these used on a TV program about historical processes and they seemed to work well, gravity being nothing if not consistent. This link shows the design under guillotine shutters although they describe it as rubber band or spring powered going across the lens, I think it might simpler and more consistent dropping down with gravity.

    http://www.earlyphotography.co.uk/site/shuttern.html

  5. #5

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    Re: How do I make a shutter to use with $1 lenses? (For soft focus portraits.)

    Have had great luck with purchasing lenses in shutters in which the glass is all but unusable but the shutter still good. Throw away the glass and use the shutter. Have won a few on that auction site for $20-$30.

    Also self cocking Polaroid MP-4 shutters can be had for same cost. Front opening is 1.5 inches. I've hot-glued meniscus elements and old brass lenses onto the front of these shutters... works and is easily removable.

  6. #6
    Drew Bedo's Avatar
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    Re: How do I make a shutter to use with $1 lenses? (For soft focus portraits.)

    Go to the-Bay and look at oscilloscope lenses. Sometimes they come up for not too much and have an Ilex leaf shutter.
    Drew Bedo
    http://www.artsyhome.com/author/drew-bedo




    There are only three types of mounting flanges; too big, too small and wrong thread!

  7. #7
    Randy's Avatar
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    Re: How do I make a shutter to use with $1 lenses? (For soft focus portraits.)

    Terry, I use one Packard shutter behind my lens-board on my 8X10 camera, held in place by magnets - so I can use any of my 5 lenses in barrel on that camera - so - no need to have a different shutter for each lens.
    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/52893762/bigger4b.jpg

  8. #8
    Sean Mac's Avatar
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    Re: How do I make a shutter to use with $1 lenses? (For soft focus portraits.)


  9. #9

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    Re: How do I make a shutter to use with $1 lenses? (For soft focus portraits.)

    All you need is a couple of dark slides, or similar, to make a Galli shutter. It will take a little practice to get consistent, but it works. Look for posts by Jim Galli on this forum.

  10. #10

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    Re: How do I make a shutter to use with $1 lenses? (For soft focus portraits.)

    Dark cloth, and shooting with flash works like a charm. Just need to have relatively low light in the room

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