View Full Version : new shutters for process lenses

Rob Vinnedge
18-Mar-2006, 13:19
Now that ULF photographers are using large process lenses more than ever, has anyone looked into the idea of newly manufactured shutters for such lenses? I know that S.K. Grimes and Packard Shutter Company are excellent resources at this time, but it would be handy, and I would think profitable, for someone like Copal, Melles Griot, or others to actually manufacture large shutters to fit these large lenses we're picking up. I did send an inquiry to Melles Griot but got no response. Has anyone else looked into this?

Bob Salomon
18-Mar-2006, 13:54
Want to guess what a shutter larger then a 3 from Copal would cost new if it were to be made new today for such a small market?

Bob Fowler
18-Mar-2006, 13:56
Melles Griot still makes #4 ans #5 electronic shutters and controllers. Picey, yes, but available new.

Robert McClure
18-Mar-2006, 14:07

With a rudimentary undertanding of business and supply/demand my guess would be that there isn't the market for such a shutter, though your idea is certainly an interesting one. As Bob Salomon seems to imply the shutter might be prohibitively pricey. Additionally, my suspicion is that as time passes, this market will shrink further. You may have to content yourself with a Packard. Just my thoughts - hope I'm wrong, too!

Good Success!

18-Mar-2006, 14:12
Profitable? Absolutly not! Too many parts, too much human labour on it, very small market.

Bob Salomon
18-Mar-2006, 14:24
You might be better off trying to adapt an old Sinar Copal shutter to your camera.

Rob Vinnedge
18-Mar-2006, 14:30
Just how small is the market? I've got seven process lenses in need of shutters. What about all the Lotus, Canham, Wisner Ebony, Tachihara, Gandolfi, Deardorff, and custom built camera owners who have such lenses? It would be interesting to know what the market demand actually is. The new Schneider lenses are expensive, the new Kodak and Ilford sheet film offerings are expensive, everything associated with ULF is expensive, but there seems to be enough demand to justify manufacture of those items. Why not shutters?

Bob Salomon
18-Mar-2006, 14:38
"Just how small is the market"

Think there are 100 shooters?, 500?, 1000?

It is a very small market for a company like Copal and it is not growing over the long term. But Photokina is this year. Why not go and explain to manufacturers just what they are missing?

Oren Grad
18-Mar-2006, 15:21
Rob, the size of the market - demand for the product - depends on the price. So to make this more concrete, how much would you be willing to pay per shutter?

Merg Ross
18-Mar-2006, 15:39
As Bob suggests, consider adapting a Sinar Copal shutter for use with your process lenses. I have adapted one for the 8x10 and mounted all of my barrel lenses on homemade wooden boards. Also, an old Luc shutter is an option. The Packard works well if 1/25th of a second is acceptable as the top speed. I suspect that for the price of a shutter, one could acquire a good selection of lenses in the current market.

Michael Kadillak
18-Mar-2006, 16:16
Although it was know for a long time that the Red Dot Artars were fabulous lenses at infinity (the reason that they were produced as taking lenses in shutter), the process markets that the longer lenses were relegated to kept their design conditions consistent with the static cameras they were used on. That is not to say that this condition was not terminal for shutter mounting these lenses. I have a 42" Red Dot that Steve Grimes mounted in a #5 Ilex that while it sacrificed a bit of its design illumination in the mount process it works like a champ. Ditto for the Packard. I have a 35" Red Dot with a front mounted Packard that does its job admirably. I also found a 30" Doctor lens that was mounted from the factory in a Copal #3 like the new Schneider ULF lenses.

I agree with the assessment that producing a larger modern shutter for this application is highly unlikely to come to fruition. Why? Not enough volume as a function of time. I know that it is not what you want to hear but a new offering from the ground up simply will not meet the economic criteria necessary to get it even on the drafting table let alone produced.

All is not lost however. Folks have been relying on the #5 Ilex and the Packard for years and they simply work. If that does not work, there is always f128 and a double dark felt stovepipe hat.


Paul Fitzgerald
18-Mar-2006, 18:52
Hi there,

Just a thought;

the auto-blackout glass from a welding visor could be adapted as a shutter, but you would lose at least 1 f/stop of light. electric on-off, no vibration, getting cheaper by the week. would be a lot easier than starting a shutter company.

David Van Gosen
19-Mar-2006, 11:31

That's a fantastic idea. You'd even have electronic timing.

19-Mar-2006, 11:56
Why is a new design required?

If people really wanted a new #5 would it possible for somebody like the folks at SKGrimes to build a run of them? I'm not talking about the shutters being built on spec but people paying/committing up front. It would seem if you could get enough people interested then the cost per unit would come down. It wouldn't be cheap but then what about ULF is?

19-Mar-2006, 13:37
It would be even easier for Copal to build them as they have all the necessary machinery. Why would it be more advantageous for SKGrimes to build them?

John Berry ( Roadkill )
20-Mar-2006, 06:57
I don't know if I would take a new one if available. I would prefer one of the older shutters with many iris blades.

Bob Salomon
20-Mar-2006, 08:53

There is another problem.

Today lens manufacturers make theis lens cells to fit into a standard size 0, 1 or 3 shutter. No additional thread adapters are necessary to screw these lens cells into the front or rear threads of a shutter.

However this was not always the case. Many of the lenses that are being adapted for ULF are older designs with whatever thread the manufacturer wanted on the mount.

Now, should someone make a new ULF shutter what size thread should they use? They are not going to make adapters for lenses that no longer are produced and for which there may be fewer each year.

Or should they make the shutter to fit into a camera body like the Sinar or the old Linhof/Prestor shutter for the Kardan? If so which body should they make it fit?

Shutters this big do not have very short shutter times, how fast a time do you normally use? Or are your shots all time exposures?

Lastly there is an industrial shutter that may still be made that one could probably adapt if they were willing to make a power supply for it. The Prontor Magnetic E/150 shutter which is/was mounted on a flat plate 29cm square and has/had a shutter diameter of 15cm. Powered by 11 to 24V DC.

Other, smaller sizes were/are made.

For information you would have to contact Protor Werke directly or a Prontor werke distributor/dealer - if they still have any. My information on these shutters is several Photokinas old.

Rob Vinnedge
20-Mar-2006, 11:35

Thank you very much for your attention to my inquiry. I do understand the difficulty of adapting all the old threads and sizes to a new shutter design (I would imagine S.K. Grimes would still have a lot of business from this). I would just like to find another alternative to old #5 Ilexes (which are harder to find) or the bulkier Packards - something new, off the shelf, that can be purchased without a wild goose chase all over Ebay and other auction sites. Perhaps your idea of one shutter such as the Sinar or Prontor is the way to go. Then the oddball lenses could be mounted in front with a simple lens board without any machining other than a bored hole. If I remember correctly, the Sinar has a 3.25" opening which may not be large enough for some of the larger lenses if positioned behind the rear element. I'll follow up on your Prontor suggestion and see what they offer.

I've got seven lenses that have mounting threads of at least 4". I would prefer to leave them intact and place a shutter behind them. Most of my exposures would be slower than 1/60 sec., but I would like accurate, repeatable speeds of 1,1/2,1/4, 1/8, 1/15, and 1/30. The other alternative would be a new shutter as large or larger than an Ilex #5 with accuracy and repeatability that could be fitted to anything by someone like S.K. Grimes. This seems unlikely, I guess.

tor kviljo
21-Mar-2006, 05:37
If You need shutters up to approx 3" (don't remember) it's hard to beat the Sinar Copal as You can have this precision 8 sec to 1/60 sec rear shutters for a few hundred $$ these days. If You need anything bigger, it is in fact possible to remount the shutter of a speed graphic 4"x5" to a biig lens panel, or mount it behind front standard. I have a superbly odd, toolshop-machined (probably hideously expensive) all aluminium instrument camera fitted with a speed-graphic shutter of old vintage, (meticulously adapted to this aluminium-camera body and its grid of 14 or so cine lenses...). Gives You everything from one second (or whatever You want on B) up to 1/1000 and better. Shutter opening is 4"x5" as it is a focal plane shutter = will take hand of most lenses.... Cost: some evenings in the toolshed + US $$ 50 for a abused speed-graphic. However, shutter seems to be a solid piece of hardware, and the shutter curtain is home-fixable...

Oren Grad
21-Mar-2006, 08:56
Interesting idea from Tor. To take it a step further, although focal plane shutters larger than 4x5 aren't common, they do exist - a Graflex 8x10 focal plane shutter sold on eBay just last week, for $420. With a suitably clever mounting to a suitably robust front standard, that ought to be large enough for just about any lens you might want to use.