View Full Version : Optar 135/4.7 shutter problems

4-May-2010, 11:44
Im having problems with the Graphex shutter in my Optar 135/4.7 lens which came with my Crown Graphic. At first there were several issues (T mode not working, blades closing slowly, slow speeds very slow etc.) so I tried the lighter fluid/Ronsonol soak repair method. The result is that the shutter worked perfectly at all speeds, for about a few hours after the soak. When all the fluid has dried up, the shutter is snappy and accurate until the blades are supposed to close, at which point they often get stuck. Just a drop or two of lighter fluid on the blades and they soon close themselves.

Any idea what might be the issue? Is there anything I can do that doesnt require disassembly (beyond the cover)?

Pro repairs are horribly expensive in Sweden and if there is nothing I can do myself, Ill probably try to buy another lens or shutter.

Robert Hughes
4-May-2010, 11:55
The Optar 135/4.7 is a pretty common lens. You might be better off buying another on and keeping your existing one as backup.

4-May-2010, 15:05
Yeah Ive been thinking about that. However, while Optar 135/4.7 do turn up frequently, its not often one that is working, reasonably priced and will ship to Sweden. The Optar is also my only lens on my first LF camera, so Id really like to make it work so I can get a feeling for the format before buying my next lens.

Im thinking about adding graphite powder to the lighter fluid soak. It might not be good for the lifespan of the shutter and will probably result in powder on the lenses, but that is still better than a shutter I cant use. Some people report good results...

Wayne Crider
4-May-2010, 17:21
I met a guy at a camera show once that told me about using an aviation oil that he used to lubricate LF shutters. From what I remember the oil would wick up into the shutter when it was placed into a lid of the oil. This wicking action is not normal which made it special. I guess it was a pretty light viscosity which he said performed perfectly. It's been years since our meeting... but a thought in case your interested in asking around.
I have a 135mm Optar that I'm thinking of placing for sale. Perfect speeds, clean glass but no flash synch. Coated.

Glenn Thoreson
4-May-2010, 17:30
The shutter blades have gummy, sticky residue on them. Delicate wiping with a Q-tip moistened with Ronsonol, followed by a wipe down with a cleaner such as Formula 409 will get it off. The sticky crap will not come off without wiping. You have to do both sides of the blades. GENTLY. It's hard to get the gunk out from between them wthout dismantling the shutter, but with patience it can be done. Whatever you do, do NOT put oil, graphite, or anything else on the blades. Good luck.

Glenn Thoreson
4-May-2010, 17:41
I should mention that after you clean the blades there will usually be a slight film still on the surfaces. Very gently buff it off with a dry Q-tip until they're nice and shiny clean.

Ivan J. Eberle
4-May-2010, 21:58
Would also mention that it took several Ronsonol rinses for my shutter to get clean, if that's of any help.

5-May-2010, 06:30
Thank you for the replies!

Ill try gently cleaning the shutter blades, as well as simply giving it a few more rinses. It has been in the soak two times (3-4 hours each) with agitation and fired while submerged, but the shutter cover was not removed at the time which might have meant gunk could not easily leave the shutter. Ive now opened the cover and the insides look clean, but its hard to tell.

One question though, what Im seeing, is it really a symptom of a problem with dirty blades? The blades never move slowly, they freeze when partially close. I got the impression that oil/trash on the blades generally slow them down.

Glenn Thoreson
5-May-2010, 15:05
Not always the case. Gunk that makes them stick is between the blades at the partially open position. It's not always easy to see. To check, cock the shutter and release while holding back the cocking lever. Let the blades close very slowly. I'll wager yyou'll see some crud right around the outside diameter of the opening. A tiny bit will make them stick. They must be clean and dry, right to the edge of the opening.

8-May-2010, 13:22
I tried carefully cleaning the blades but it does not seem to have had effect. Now Ive given it another long soak with the cover removed, made sure to let a lot of fluid run through the shutter to carry away gunk. Im going to give it a good while to dry, but I think what Im worried most about now is reliability. I had the shutter working for 2 days or so, but giving it a run of test fires, the blades started occasionally getting stuck after a while.

Ive recently been pretty excited about the idea of getting a multicoated Fujinon-W 125/5.6, it seems like an outstanding lens at a reasonable price, perfect match for a Crown Graphic. If the Optar doesnt work reliably at the end of the drying period, Ill have a good excuse to get a Fujinon :)