View Full Version : Betax #3 shutter

2-Jul-2008, 17:45
I am new to 4x5 photography and just bought a Graflex Graphic View II Camera on eBay. It came with an unmarked wide angle lens. The shutter is a Betax #3. The markings for shutter speeds are marked as follows T B 50 25 10 5 2. I know what the T and B are but I am educated guessing at the rest. Could some one explain them to me please.

Glenn Thoreson
2-Jul-2008, 18:20
They are the old shutter speed progression. 1/2 sec, 1/5 sec, 1/10 sec, etc. They are approximately 1/3 stop slower than modern speeds, which may not matter much. It depends on what you're using for film. B&W doesn't much care. Transparency (slide) film does. Not that it makes much difference until you find out how accurate it is. It's quite old and not likely to be that accurate. If you know the actual speeds and they are consistent, you can work around what you have.

3-Jul-2008, 07:04
The speed sequence you have on your Betax were standard through the first half of the 20th century, but later replaced by a speed sequence that simply doubles the previous speed. The speeds are not slower on your Betax than on a modern shutter, but were designed to run within about 5-10% of the stated speed (within the limits of the simple clockwork construction). You should be able to find the correct setting on your light meter. Betaxes are well made, reliable shutters, and unless really gunked up should run fairly close to stated speed up to 1/25 of a second (25 on dial), but always a bit slow at 1/100 of a second. Of course there is no substitute for a shutter speed testing, though you can get a pretty good sense of the accuracy at slower speeds by comparing the sound against a shutter that you know is accurate. You may want to carefully open the shutter and blow out any dust or lint that has accumulated - leave it at that though. The cable release may be a bit trickier. If you are lucky a standard tapered release may work, but Wollensak used different sizes and you may have to hunt for a older style cable release with a non-tapered thread.

Jim Galli
3-Jul-2008, 07:13
Modern shutters have notched lands on the inner dial for a tab that changes each speed. There is no in-between. The older Betax has a continuous french curve that the tab slides down as you set the dial. If it makes you feel better you can set it between 1/5 and 1/10 and get 1/8 second. Problem is the accuracy on these was only about 1/2 stop anyways so who knows if it was actually doing 1/8 when it was set at 1/10th. If you're shooting chromes You could take a Nikon FM along and simply 'listen' to what it's doing at 1/8, 1/4, 1/2 etc. and play with your Betax until you're satisfied it's sounding exactly the same as the Nikon. Another thing folks do is send their shutter off for a calibration. It will come back with a list of what it was actually doing at the different settings so you can at least make an imformed choice.

Glenn Thoreson
9-Jul-2008, 18:44
Gaaack! SPAM ALERT! :(