View Full Version : Humbling, To Say The Least

29-Mar-2007, 18:23

I've been shooting MF for nearly a decade now and 35mm for at least a couple before that. New to LF.

I've had an 8 X 10 (C1) for some time now but only dabbled.
Recently, I got a great deal on a Calumet monorail 4 X 5 and the film (Arista EDU) just arrived yesterday. I couldn't get a good neg to save my life.

Then, I noticed "M", "X", & "V" on the lens barrel. Here I am thinking it's the development.:o

I switched from "M" to "X" and all seems to be right with the world.
I post this, despite my embarrasment at my obvious ignorance, for two reasons.

1. I couldn't seem to find the info in a search (other noobs may benefit).
2. I want to be clear I now have it right.

So, is this correct?

"X" = Electronic Flash
"M" = Medium Peak Flash Bulb (AKA: virtually useless now)
"V" = Self Timer



JW Dewdney
29-Mar-2007, 18:29
Hi - they ought to be flash sync modes - having to do with delay time before the sync signal is sent. You could be right about the 'V' setting. But if I'm not mistaken - the 'M' should be for flash bulbs, yes.

Brian C. Miller
29-Mar-2007, 18:53
Have you been using flash instead of available light?

Yes, X=electronic, M=flash bulb, but none of mine have V.

You can still get flash bulbs (http://www.flashbulbs.com/index.shtml), and there's some that produce a HUGE amount of light.

29-Mar-2007, 18:59
Should have been clear on that. Available light.

I did plug the thing in to the strobes and it seemed to trigger okay.

I'm still wondering if there's a problem with the shutter.
When it was on the "M" setting (as when I picked it up), the shutter looked to sort of close most of the way and then all the way only when re-cocked. Surely, that can't be right?

Regardless, at this stage, I'm happy to have one setting that allows me to make adequate exposures in ambient light.

Brian C. Miller
29-Mar-2007, 19:30
OK, the M/X/V settings don't mean anything with available light, only when its hooked up to a flash. My 1960s Wollensack has black M, red M, F-X, and Off. My 1948 Schneider doesn't have a flash setting. My Caltar only has X.

Now, if your shutter has M/B/T setting on it, that means metered, bulb (shutter opens when triggered, closes when released), and timed (shutter opens when triggered, and then shuts when triggered again).

You might have a problem with your shutter, and a CLA (clean, lube, adjust) is all that might be needed. Shutters tend to get messed up when the lubricant gets old.

Brian Ellis
29-Mar-2007, 19:53
"I'm still wondering if there's a problem with the shutter.
When it was on the "M" setting (as when I picked it up), the shutter looked to sort of close most of the way and then all the way only when re-cocked. Surely, that can't be right?"

That's definitely not right, the shutter should close all the way at the end of its cycle, otherwise some amount of light continues to strike the film until you replace the dark slide. The problem might be remedied by a CLA or the problem may be beyond repair. I bought a Schneider Xenar lens years ago that had the same problem. When I took it to a repair person for a CLA I was told that the lens had been sitting around unused for so long that everything was too gummed up to be fixable.

Jim Jones
30-Mar-2007, 07:23
Paul, the "V" is self timer. This is sometimes the first function to fail on these shutters, as it involves a gear train that has to delay tripping the shutter for maybe 10 seconds. I avoid using it. The shutter should open fully and close promptly on M and X. It may have initially been gummed up a bit to give the symptoms you encountered. Sometimes using the shutter frees it, although a CLA is definitely advisable: a shutter like that can gum up again when you most rely on it, as in cold weather.

30-Mar-2007, 08:15
Nail on head.

The camera belonged to a guy who died some time ago (not sure how long ago).
His daughter sold it to me a couple of weeks ago. I'm sure it could benefit from a cleaning and I agree the flash settings SHOULDN'T have any effect on ambient light shooting, but they do.

The good news is that I can now make decent negs. Off to Florida in the morning.
It will get plenty of use and I'll be experimenting with tray processing. The JOBO drum is WAY to big to bring along.;)

Thanks for your patience. I'm sure I'll have more challenges and questions as time goes on. Man, it's like starting over again...

Gene McCluney
30-Mar-2007, 10:50
The "M,X,V" markings are on the particular shutter your lens is mounted in. Not a camera thing, but a "lens" thing. You are correct that M=flashbulb, X=electronic flash, and V=self timer. The lever set to either M or X should not affect your available light exposures, but rather a sluggish shutter will.

Glenn Thoreson
30-Mar-2007, 15:37
If the shutter operates properly on the X setting, and fails to close all the way on the M setting, the problem is in the flash delay gear train, all else being OK. If you don't use flash bulbs, just don't use the M setting. I don't like to use the self timer (V) on older shutters unless the shutter has been serviced. These things have a nasty habit of hanging up at some very inopportune times.

30-Mar-2007, 15:58
Thanks Glenn, that's good to know.

You've described exactly what happens.
Hopefully, Mr. Jones' statement will come true and just putting the thing to use will free it. The place where it lived was not well heated and it could have been there for quite some time. The bellows are good though and it cleaned up nice.

I have no idea what a lens service costs but I'll look into it when I get back.
I'm just happy it works for now. Really looking forward to playing with the little LF beastie. Maybe the excercise will get me in shape to lug the 8 X 10 around!

1-Apr-2007, 05:37
If the originial question you asked about the shutter flash connections still interests you, there is a web site run by Douglas Kerr that has a lot of detail on the history and operation of the M, X, and V shutter settings. It is an interesting read on how/why things evolved to the current state.
Dave B.

8-Apr-2007, 16:18
Thanks Dave!

I looked it up and here's the link: http://doug.kerr.home.att.net/pumpkin/MXV_on_shutters_DAK.pdf

Looks like a valuable resource.