View Full Version : timer for shutter

26-Oct-2008, 02:18

I would like to do some long exposures and could use some sort of timer to trip the shutter I know i can time it with my watch but a device of some sort would be way useful and make things more accurate



26-Oct-2008, 02:39
This Prontor timer is what you need.
I wish someone could build an electronic version, with enough throw for my Prontor Professional shutters. This one does not fit into recessed boards, and the Gepe extension does not work with these shutters.


Ernest Purdum
26-Oct-2008, 19:06
The Prontor device is nice, but somewhat pricey. Kerry Thalmann has called attention to a (usually) much less expensive alternative, the Autoknips II, which shows up on eBay on occasion. I think, though, that it would only work with cocking shutters. Forget about B.S. Kumars Prontor Professional, or big Alphax shutters.

The need for accuracy is often exaggerated. With most films, doubling or halving the exposure time is a moderate change. If, therefore, we intend an eight second exposure and wind up with seven or nine seconds, we are well within the latitude of most films.

I dislike having to look at my watch during exposure. I find that putting a container of water into the microwave and counting down with it enables me to calibrate myself to a sufficient degree of accuracy. Just now I have an opportunity to check myself. I am getting radiation treatments. Counting against the machine, I find myself usually within one second of a fifteen second exposure, sometimes two seconds off. If I were film, that would be close enough.

J. Patric Dahlen
26-Oct-2008, 20:33
The Autoknips II is a selftimer, and not an exposure timer.

David A. Goldfarb
26-Oct-2008, 20:41
I actually have my doubts that a spring operated timer is more accurate than using a watch. It gives the illusion of accuracy, because you're setting a time on a dial to a precise number, but anyone who has checked their shutters or tried to repair one knows that these things have some variability.

As Ernest Purdum points out, a little inaccuracy with long exposure times doesn't usually matter, but even if it did, I think you could do better by using a metronome or a watch and subdividing the seconds in your head. That's how musicians do it, and musicians have to be able to do things more complex than pushing and releasing a cable release with a precision on the order of a few thousandths of a second.

Greg Lockrey
27-Oct-2008, 05:09
I recently got into doing some pinhole photography. It would be good to get one that will do 15 minute to say 4 or so hours. :)

Alan Davenport
27-Oct-2008, 07:48
Accuracy is overrated.

By the time you get to 10 seconds, one second either way won't make any real difference. When you reach 15 minutes you could be off by a couple of minutes and still have the shot.

Ernest Purdum
27-Oct-2008, 09:23
J. Patrick Dahlen. Are you sure about that? My understanding is that while the "Autoknips" without roman numerals is a selftimer, the Autoknips II is an exposure timer. I could be wrong, I don't have one. I'm just passing along what I remember of Kerry Thalmann having said and my memory is not always correct.

I just thought of an item that might be helpful, a kitchen timer. The better of these are electronic and there is a beep as the time is up.

27-Oct-2008, 11:47

If you want a shutter that has a timed delay, then Compur MXV will work. This will allow you to cock the shutter, then set the timer. When you trip the shutter, the timer will wind down first before tripping the shutter itself. This is useful if you want to be in a group photo for instance. I think the timer is an 8-10 second timer.

For long exposures, I find that its best to avoid times around 2 seconds. At 2 seconds I find that my mistakes cause a little too much impact with the slide films I use. By 4 seconds I can usually use my watch to time accurately enough for a good exposure. I use a timex ironman watch with a coundown timer for this, holding the watch in one hand and the cable release in the other. I prefer lenses with time mode for this but bulb is OK.

Jim Rice
28-Oct-2008, 12:54
I use an electronic metronome with great success. The price is right, too.

Jan Pedersen
28-Oct-2008, 12:59
Timing is important. Get well soon Ernest.


28-Oct-2008, 15:29
J. Patrick Dahlen. Are you sure about that? My understanding is that while the "Autoknips" without roman numerals is a selftimer, the Autoknips II is an exposure timer. I could be wrong, I don't have one. .

The Autoknips II I have is (or would be, if I'd fix it) a self timer. But every self timer can be abused as a exposure timer if the shutter has a T setting and a release that can be triggered independent of the cable - simply fire the shutter and set off the timer at the same time, and the second impulse from the self timer will close the open shutter again.