View Full Version : Tominon and Polaroid Copal Shutter

28-Mar-2010, 07:20
Bunch of these lenses on eBay:

1. These Copal shutters Polaroid branded. Seems simplified form regular Copals.
Are they any good?

2. Same for these Tominon lenses?

Peter K
28-Mar-2010, 07:51
The Polaroid MP-cameras used mostly Copal Press (http://www.skgrimes.com/press/index.htm) shutters. Such shutters can also be used with other lenses but the shutter/diaphragm plane differs a little bit from other shutters.

The Tominon, as often discussed here, was intended for close-up but is also usable at infinity.

Dan Fromm
28-Mar-2010, 08:28
Um, gth, Polaroid used Copal shutters in a variety of cameras.

"Gel cams" (CU-5, DS-34, DS-39, and who knows what else) use lenses, mainly Tominons, mainly in shutter. I say mainly in shutter because the CU-5 version of the 17/4 Tominon is front mounted, and in a shorter barrel than the MP-4 version.

The Polaroid MP-3 used mainly Rodenstock lenses, some front mounted on Prontor Press shutters, others in Prontor press shutters, the MP-4 Tominons, all front mounted on #1 Copal Press shutters.

Polaroid shutters (Prontor Press, Copal Press) for front mounted lenses have no diaphragms. They're good only for front mounting. The MP-4 shutters have "Polaroid MP-4" on the face place. And now you know why they sell for relatively so little.

Polaroid shutters with lenses shorter than 127 mm in them frequently have restricted maximum apertures. You can search for the discussions, I've seen assertions that the restriction can be, um, undone.

The Gel Cam 127/4.7 Tominon in #1 Copal Press is a fine general purpose lens on 2x3. I'm not sure how well it covers 4x5, which is near the limit for a 127 tessar type. Same goes for 127/4.7 Ysarex (I think that's the one, I have to check whether -ron or -rex means taking lens) in #1 Prontor Press.

The 127/4.7 Tominon's shutter is slightly longer, flange-to-flange, than the #1 standard (20 mm). It will give incorrect cell spacing. This matters for some, not all, lenses.

I found this when I put one of my Saphir BX's cells in a Gel Cam #1 and found it ~0.2 mm longer than in barrel. I asked Eric Beltrando (see his site, www.dioptrique.info) about this. He replied to the effects that his calculations (he wrote a ray-tracing program, 030) find plasmats are not very sensitive to spacing and told me not to worry, just use my lens and be happy. This isn't the case, though, for many design types.

Peter is absolutely right about the location of press shutters' diaphragm, it is closer to the rear than in comparable cock-and-shoot shutters. Whether this is a problem depends on the lens. Ages ago I was given a set of 80/2.8 Planar cells. And more recently I bought a 60/5.6 Hexanon in a Koni-Omega Copal #0. Both lenses rear cell's interfere with a press shutter's diaphragm. See the shutter dimensions table on www.skgrimes.com for details.

I don't fully agree with Peter's report that Polaroid Tominons are in general usable at distance. The 127/4.7 in shutter, absolutely is; perhaps he had this lens in mind. The MP-4 135/4.5 and 75/4.5 (sorry, I've never had a 105/4.5), absolutely not. I'm not sure about other Gel Cam Tominons in shutter. I've seen reports that the 75/4.5 is a useful w/a lens on 2x3, suspect that the reporters were mistaken but could be mistaken about this m'self.

I've had all of the MP-4 Tominons but the 105/4.5, have tested all I had (several examples of some) as macro lenses. Short answer, a good 35/4.5 or 50/4.5 is well worth the money, but not all are good -- 35s, in particular, seem quite variable -- and good ones aren't up to the equivalent Luminar or Macro Nikkor. Same for the 17/4. The longer ones (but I haven't tried a 105) aren't worth bothering with.

28-Mar-2010, 08:37
Indeed. A few years ago I mounted 210mm Dagor type G-Claron in a Copal Press shutter and it turned out that the shutter body was .5 mm to long. When I tested the lens it was very poor at infinity and at closer distances the negatives looked quite “overcorrected.”

As an experiment I shortened the shutter body to approximately the correct length and the lens performed admirably.

28-Mar-2010, 10:18
hi gth

i have a tominon 127 4.7 in a polaroid press shutter.
it was the lens that came with my speed graphic
when i purchased it from ep levines way back in the 1980s.

it covers a 4x5 sheet just fine ( or at least mine does ) ...

i have attached uncropped enlargements made with this lens ..
unfortunately, i don't have anything in my computer that i took at medium distance
but i have used it for portraits and not had any coverage issues ...

Renato Tonelli
28-Mar-2010, 11:42
This has reminded me that I have a Tominon 75mm/Copal; I dug it out and wondering what to do with it. Maybe I'll try it on the baby Linhof for macro... or maybe I'll put it back in the drawer.

28-Mar-2010, 12:54
There are a number of them and not all seem to be of the same design. I have a 114mm f4.5 Tominon here, someone stole the shutter and put it into a prontor svs, I believe it came from a NPC Polaroid 195 but know nothing about the lens, it came as extra cells with a fungi'ed Ysarex. One day I suppose I should mount and shoot it, I know that camera has a bit of a cult following.

Dan Fromm
28-Mar-2010, 14:28
Thebes, Tomioka, bought by Yashica in 1969 and now part of Kyocera, made many types of lenses for 35 mm cameras. Their lenses for the Polaroid MP-4 and for Polaroid 180 and 195 instant cameras are, with the exception of the MP-4 50/4.5 (described in Polaroid literature as a symmetrical six element triplet) and 17/4 (6/4 double Gauss, IIRC) all tessar types. Some are reversed.

I have a 180/5.6 Tominon that looks like it ought to be an MP-4 lens -- same livery, screws into the front of a #1 -- but it wasn't cataloged for the MP-4. It is a triplet and mine is terrible.

28-Mar-2010, 20:19
One of the reasons I asked about the copal/polaroid was that I am looking for shutter for a Goerz 6 in f/9 lens and I have come to the realization that the most inexpensive way to do that is by front mounting (it already is - on Packard!). So since some of these Copal/Polaroids were used in front mount installations this should work out, if I can find the necessary mounting hardware and the right size x polaroid shutter.

Thanks for the in depth info!

Dan Fromm
29-Mar-2010, 02:54
Odds are that the mounting hardware is not available off the shelf.

I've had SKGrimes make a number of adapters, mainly cup-shaped, with female "rear of lens" threads at the front and male M40x0.5 (IIRC, that screws into the front of a #1). The least expensive shutter for your purpose is the MP-4 #1. Unlike the other Polaroid Copal shutters, this version has an "open shutter" lever.

29-Mar-2010, 07:49
Thanks Dan, that was the confirmation I needed. I will contact Grimms.

Meanwhile I am learning how to operate the Packard!


9-Apr-2010, 07:50
I usually do landscapes and portraits. 105/4.5 Tominon landscapes are no good in 4x5 causing soft corners almost to the extent of vignetting. But portraits are decent. Closeups, on the other hand, are keepers. The lens is pretty bright. So depending on your requisite use the lens. YOu can fit it on any copal #0 shutter (may require resetting f values though. Think somewhere around f11 is its sweet spot.


19-Oct-2018, 19:37
I have a Polaroid Copal 127/4.5 ... I was planning on playing with it on my View camera ... I got a copal 1 board and then discovered that on the back of the shutter is a small screw the looks like a post protuding and prevents the shutter from setting flush to the lens board --- I contemplated removing the screw :/

Any thoughts on (1) remove the screw? or (2) ways to mount: maybe placing a spacing material, like foam core?

19-Oct-2018, 19:46
I have a Polaroid Copal 127/4.5 ... I was planning on playing with it on my View camera ... I got a copal 1 board and then discovered that on the back of the shutter is a small screw the looks like a post protuding and prevents the shutter from setting flush to the lens board --- I contemplated removing the screw :/Hi Robert,

That's an anti-rotation screw.
It's designed to fit into a hole drilled through the lensboard (it won't leak light).

I always use those screws when I mount a shutter since I like to know that the shutter will not rotate when I cock or adjust it. Some folks never use them. It's very much a personal choice.

You can remove it if you want, and the shutter will mount flush.
Or you can drill a hole of the proper size at the proper location and use it as intended.

- Leigh

20-Oct-2018, 15:00
Excellent, thanks ;) I appreciate the info.

20-Oct-2018, 16:11
I use a Polaroid Copal shutter when I'm using a pinhole. With the iris partially closed, I had thought that it would provide me with a viable image on the GG, very unsharp but workable to compose the image, but in practice out in the field didn't really work. Really like ultra WA pinhole images, so now compose with my 120mm Nikkor on my 8x10, then replace it with the Polaroid Copal shutter that has the appropriate pinhole for a focal length of 120mm. First time that I have been quite accurately been able to compose ultra WA pinhole images. Have heard of people adapting WA Protars 140mm and under to the shutters with success, all for little money.