View Full Version : Prontor Press versus Copal Press Shutters

Frank Petronio
16-Nov-2006, 22:09
I'm interested in hearing your opinions and experiences with regards to the usefulness, reliabilty, speed range of the Copal and Prontor press shutters, as well as the Prontor professional shutters.

I'd like to know more about self-cocking shutters for natural light portrait work... one less thing to do when making the photo you know...

Kirk Gittings
16-Nov-2006, 22:27
I have one or the other on every lens. I need them to do multiple exposures for multiplying flash power for interiors.

I prefer the Prontors as under heavy use they are far more dependable. On a given shoot we may do 20 images a day, half of them with 2, 3 or 4 sometimes 8 pops. Multiply that by the bracketing (4 trans each) and you can see how heavily my two primary lenses are used. Also the prontors have 1/3 stop aperture detents, which I prefer because with a little practice I can bracket by feel from behind the camera without looking at the aperture scale.

Drawbacks-big one! the Prontors are not sold new anymore. Parts are still readily available, but how long?

Copal Press drawbacks. They are not as durable under heavy use, mainlly the flash sync gets corroded and has to be disassembled and cleaned, but these do not hold a calibrated speed as long either. Also on a 47mm the little press shutter is so far under the glass barrel that I need a magnifying glass and a light to set the aperture. So on the Copal press I keep a spare shutter to switch out if the one I have mounted fails. It takes about ten minutes to switch one out with the aperture scale too. We don't have to do this but about twice a year. The prontors need work about every two years. But the Copal is easier to use with a standard lever to open the aperture fully for focusing vs. the prontor where you have to manually open the lens, aperture and shutter and lock it with the cable lock or use two cable releases.

All in all I think the Copals are fine unless you shoot the heavy schedule as we do and they are still readily available.

Emmanuel BIGLER
17-Nov-2006, 02:02
To what Kirk says we can add that the Prontor Professional offers features not offered by other mechanical self-cocking shutters, namely the capability to visualize the image with either full aperture or actual aperture, thanks to a second cable release.

The prontor pro 01S and 1s are limited to 1/250.

As an amateur I would probably mount all my lenses on a prontor professional if they werre still available...

Ted Harris
17-Nov-2006, 06:22
Kirk, to clarify for the original poster .... are you referring to Prontor Press or Prontor Professional shutters? I totally agree with what you have said as it regards the Prontor Professional shutters. Don't hve enough experience with the Prontor Press models to comment. I only have one and it has nver gotten much use.

Frank Petronio
17-Nov-2006, 06:59
Do the Prontor Professional Shutters use regular cable releases for both functions? I just bought on lens on eBay with one but if I have to scrounge a special $200 cable I will be p-o'ed.

Ted Harris
17-Nov-2006, 07:18
Frank, I don't recall if you can actually use two cable releases instead of the fancy double onemade specifically for the shutter. My procedure has always bee to use a single locking cable release to open the shutter and keep it open.

John Kasaian
19-Nov-2006, 08:33

I had a Prontor Press shutter and I thought it was a very cool piece of work---I never had a problem with it. I wish I still had it!

Kirk Gittings
19-Nov-2006, 12:49
Ted yes you can use two cable releases (though I only use one) and also all Prontor Professional shutters are press shutters.