View Full Version : Are Copal 1 shutters universally interchangeable?

8-Apr-2010, 14:25
I have a Nikkor-M 300mm with great glass, but an ailing Copal 1 shutter.

I often see less desirable lenses in Copal 1 shutters selling for less money than I expect it would cost me to have my Copal 1 shutter repaired.

So, If I purchase a different lens that also has a Copal 1 shutter, can I remove the Nikkor-M elements from the ailing shutter and thread them into the donor lens's Copal 1 shutter with no problems?

I've searched the forum for information on this and have seen a lot of speculation (and lots of helpful information on the difference between the different varieties of Copal shutters), but does anyone know for 100% sure whether it will work or not?

Thanks for any help!

Dan Fromm
8-Apr-2010, 15:06
A CLA should cost less than $100.

A brand X lens in Copal 1 will certainly cost more than $100, and its shutter may require a CLA. In addition, the replacement shutter's aperture may have to be scaled for your 300 Nikkor-M. I say may because you may be able to transfer the old shutter's aperture scale to the replacement. No guarantees there, though.

A #1 is a #1 is a #1. Except that #1 Press shutters have the diaphragm a little closer to the rear than do cock-and-shoot #1s and Polaroid Copal #1 Press shutters as used in Polaroid Gel Cams (CU-5, DS-34, and who knows what else) are roughly 0.3 mm thicker flange-to-flange than the #1 standard.

The first exception is a problem only with lenses whose rear cell goes deep into the shutter. Its bit me, in particular, with a set of 80/2.8 Planar cells and with a set of 60/5.6 Hexanon cells (btw, the Hexanon goes in a #0, but the difference between press and cock-and-shoot shutters is true of them too). The second can be a big problem, depending on the lens' design. The people who sell lenses they bought in barrel and remounted in Polaroid Copal #1 shutters that had held 127/4.7 Tominons dismiss it, but they have a slight bias.

All that said, if you must replace your shutter, any #1 cock-and-shoot will do you. Don't forget Compur shutters. If the rear cell doesn't come close to the diaphragm, any #1 Press will do too. Don't forget Prontor Press shutters.

Good luck, have fun, take a cold shower,


8-Apr-2010, 17:13
FYI! Not that this effects you since your looking for a complete shutter but factory copal shutters are different than nikon and fuji copal shutters. The nikon's aperture scales and shutter speeds are set up differently. I found this out the hard way when I thought I'd replace my shutter and swap aperture scales. Things are backwards.

9-Apr-2010, 17:09
Thanks for the responses so far!

Dan, can you recommend a great repair shop for Copal CLAs?

Vinny, I'll keep the German-Japanese difference in mind if I end up getting a replacement shutter.


Dan Fromm
10-Apr-2010, 01:53
I was going to suggest Carol Miller at Flutot's Camera Repair, but she's temporarily unavailable. See http://www.flutotscamerarepair.com/ContactUs.htm Her situation may not be as dire as suggested in this http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?t=61094 recent thread.

I've never used Paul Ebel or CameraWiz, who were suggested in the thread, but both have very good reputations. www.skgrimes.com is very capable, not the least expensive.

I don't know where you are, but check with your local camera repairmen. There are still many people around who know how to CLA Copals.

12-Apr-2010, 11:17

Thanks for the recommendations.

I'm in Portland, OR, and the most trusted repair shop here (Knight Camera Repair) are the ones who told me the shutter is about to die. In fact, they said it was in such bad shape that they couldn't even perform a proper CLA on it. Strange, because most of the shutter's speeds measure within 1/6 of a stop with my Calumet shutter speed tester.

They said I should go ahead and start looking for a replacement Copal 1 shutter, which is what spurred this thread.


31-May-2010, 21:44
Copals almost never fail completely. I've seen a large number and only had to do a wholesale replacement if the case was broken. Most of the parts for Copals are still available so I'm puzzled by what your repair shop told you. Sounds like it is time for a second opinion.

1-Jun-2010, 09:34
Copals almost never fail completely. I've seen a large number and only had to do a wholesale replacement if the case was broken. Most of the parts for Copals are still available so I'm puzzled by what your repair shop told you. Sounds like it is time for a second opinion.

That's very reassuring! Thanks for the information. It could be that the repair shop isn't that skilled at LF shutter repair, and I would need to send the shutter off to a specialist if or when it fails. Thanks for the info Photomagica!

Don Dudenbostel
3-Jun-2010, 07:15
I use Paul Ebel and have been very pleased with his work. I think the current price for a cla on a copal or compur is $55. Check first but that's what I have paid. He's fairly fast too.

Schneider Optics / Century in California is a Copal dealer and repairs them also and stocks all the aprts. They also service Compur and Prontor as well as servicing other makes of lenses. They just ran an optical check on my 100mm 2.8 planar and found nothing wrong other than the previous repair person mounted it in the board with the index pin in the shutter not in the hole of the board. The only charge for the check was shipping. I never thought about sending lenses back to Schneider but I understand they keep parts and elements for virtually all the lenses they have ever made so it's possible to replace a bamaged element with original parts. The Century rep tells me they have the invantory of parts in their facility in Germany.