Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 17

Thread: Shutter speed sequence: when did it change?

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    So Cal
    Posts
    19

    Shutter speed sequence: when did it change?

    Hello. I have a question about shutter speed sequence. I've noticed that most pre-war and immediate post-war shutters, and light meters, had the following speed sequence:

    1/10, 1/25, 1/50, 1/100, 1/200, 1/400

    Of course, the "modern" sequence is:

    1/8, 1/15, 1/30, 1/60, 1/125, 1/250, 1/500, etc.

    I've been thinking about this recently, in relation to film ISO speed. It appears to me that film speed still largely mirrors the "old" shutter speed sequence. Seems odd that Kodak, Fuji, Ilford, and others wouldn't have updated ISO, over the years, to line up with the newer shutter speeds.

    I'm curious if anyone knows the history of the change in speeds and when that happened within the shutter industry. Thanks in advance.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Norwood_Dial.jpg 
Views:	23 
Size:	82.6 KB 
ID:	172171

  2. #2
    Jac@stafford.net's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Winona, Minnesota
    Posts
    4,462

    Re: Shutter speed sequence: when did it change?

    It is not just shutter speeds (duration). Exposure ratings on meters changed sometime during the introduction of color film. If you can place a lot of Weston meters side-by-side it is clear.

  3. #3
    jp's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Maine
    Posts
    4,661

    Re: Shutter speed sequence: when did it change?

    It's an interesting topic.. My 1949-1950-ish Rolleiflex has a mix.. 25/50/100/250/500. I just round 250 to 200 especially when it's cold and 500 to 400. I'm shooting negative film so it's not too critical.

    I wouldn't tie film speed too closely with the old speeds. We had films like Kodachrome 25 & 64, Pan X film at 32 , FP4+ at 125. It's been a mix.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    So Cal
    Posts
    19

    Re: Shutter speed sequence: when did it change?

    Thanks for the responses. My Rolleiflex was manufactured in 1954, based on SN, and has the complete "modern" sequence. The Norwood meter shown in the initial post is a Model B, manufactured between 1948 and '51, has the "old" sequence, so whatever prompted the change occurred in the early '50s.

    At this point, the question is primarily one of curiosity, as to what prompted the sequence change. My suspicion is that it had to do with the creation of the ISO at the end of the war and a desire to harmonize standards worldwide, and that it took a decade or so to develop and ratify the standard, and for the industry to adopt it. Looking at Leica, the M3 (1954) has the mixed sequence like jp's Rollei, and the M2 (1957) has the modern sequence.

  5. #5
    8x10, 5x7, 4x5, et al Leigh's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Maryland, USA
    Posts
    5,139

    Re: Shutter speed sequence: when did it change?

    The correct power-of-2 sequence is (and always has been):
    1
    1/2
    1/4
    1/8
    1/16
    1/32
    1/64
    1/128
    1/256
    1/512
    1/1024

    If you choose to start from 1/1000 as the fastest speed, you get:
    1/1000
    1/500
    1/250
    1/125
    1/62.5
    1/31.25
    1/15.625
    1/7.8125
    1/3.90625
    1/1.953125
    1/0.9765625

    Obviously, speeds slower than 1/125 are unusable as engraved values.

    You can see how the sequences were derived by combining the two series.

    - Leigh
    If you believe you can, or you believe you can't... you're right.

  6. #6
    Moderator
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Posts
    6,499

    Re: Shutter speed sequence: when did it change?

    The transition happened more slowly in large format lenses, presumably because everyone was using the same limited range of shutters. Calumet was still selling house-brand lenses in Ilex shutters with the old sequence into the 1970s, well after Copal and Compur shutters had become available with the new sequence. Compound shutters with the old sequence were offered new at least into the 1960s.

    Of course, focal plane curtain shutters in cameras like the Graflex and the Speed Graphic lived in an entirely different world, with a matrix of speeds arising from the independent adjustment of opening and tension.

  7. #7
    multi format
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    local
    Posts
    3,789

    Re: Shutter speed sequence: when did it change?

    it probably has to do with
    when all the old fstop systems
    were squeezed into one uniformly
    accepted/adapted system, or ... maybe not.

    ive had ( and still have ) lenses
    where reality has nothing to do the numbers
    they seem to be just what whoever made the lens
    decided to put there to mess with people who might
    have bought / used / found &c the lens years later.
    so i guess fstops like shutter speeds values are just a state of mind,
    not a real concrete value. that's one of the reasons i never CLA any of my shutters.
    "ceci n'est pas une pipe"

  8. #8
    ic-racer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    4,873

    Re: Shutter speed sequence: when did it change?

    Perhaps when the EVS system was popularized. For that system to work, the f-stop and shutter speed click intervals need to alter the exposure by the same amount across the scale. So, if one second is in the mix, the shutter scale will deviate by one-third of a stop by the time it gets to 1/100, 1/200, 1/400 etc. So those need to be changed to 1/125, 1/250, 1/500, etc. to use the EVS system.

  9. #9

    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Greenwood Lake NY USA
    Posts
    172

    Re: Shutter speed sequence: when did it change?

    Quote Originally Posted by EarlJam View Post

    I've been thinking about this recently, in relation to film ISO speed. It appears to me that film speed still largely mirrors the "old" shutter speed sequence. Seems odd that Kodak, Fuji, Ilford, and others wouldn't have updated ISO, over the years, to line up with the newer shutter speeds.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Norwood_Dial.jpg 
Views:	23 
Size:	82.6 KB 
ID:	172171

    It seems to me that both film and camera makers adopted the modern step sequence for exposure increments years ago. The basic increment is one third of a stop and this is frequently used for aperture scales, shutter speeds and film speeds on professional equipment, including digital cameras.

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    1,579

    Re: Shutter speed sequence: when did it change?

    If Leica counts, I believe the 1954 M3 used 1/25th, etc, and the 1956 version of the same camera switched to 1/30, etc.
    Thanks, but I'd rather just watch:
    Large format: http://flickr.com/michaeldarnton
    Mostly 35mm: http://flickr.com/mdarnton
    You want digital, color, etc?: http://www.flickr.com/photos/stradofear

Similar Threads

  1. Copal 0 Shutter Change
    By holgerjacob in forum Lenses & Lens Accessories
    Replies: 19
    Last Post: 18-Sep-2016, 08:34
  2. Replies: 7
    Last Post: 24-Aug-2015, 23:20
  3. Can you change from copal to electronic shutter yourself?
    By philipkarlberg in forum Lenses & Lens Accessories
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 19-Feb-2014, 18:04
  4. Symmar 360/5.6 shutter change?
    By Jerry Bodine in forum Lenses & Lens Accessories
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: 18-Feb-2009, 09:25
  5. Why is the shutter speed sequence inaccurate by design?
    By Larry Huppert in forum Style & Technique
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 15-Sep-2000, 14:32

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •