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View Full Version : Optar 135 needs a service should I get a new one instead?



Liam:
13-Jul-2010, 11:19
Well the title explains what I am asking, my Optar 135mm that is on my crown graphic needs a service as it has some dust and is sticking on the slow speeds. I have quoted about 60 to get it fully serviced, this is quite a lot as I would only have to double that to get a working better one.

Would it be easy to buy a different lens and fix it onto the current lens board I have? There is a chance that I will upgrade so it probably makes sense to have a decent lens.

Thanks

Robert Hughes
13-Jul-2010, 11:47
Depends. If you're on a budget, you could buy another Optar 135 used, but then you'd have 2 of the same lens. Perhaps you could find a nice wide angle lens like an Angulon 90 or a wide field Ektar to keep you amused while the 135 is getting cleaned.

The advantage of getting your existing lens CLA'd is that it will then be good as new, or better than new, as opposed to buying another 50 year old lens which may be in worse shape than the one you have now.

Of course if you're feeling adventurous and not too clumsy, you could attempt to clean it yourself; the worst possible outcome is that you'd break something, but it's not hugely expensive to replace either. The best outcome, which is actually pretty likely, is that you'll get it all shiny and working great without costing you a dime. :)

Bob Salomon
13-Jul-2010, 11:52
Well the title explains what I am asking, my Optar 135mm that is on my crown graphic needs a service as it has some dust and is sticking on the slow speeds. I have quoted about 60 to get it fully serviced, this is quite a lot as I would only have to double that to get a working better one.

Would it be easy to buy a different lens and fix it onto the current lens board I have? There is a chance that I will upgrade so it probably makes sense to have a decent lens.

Thanks

Your Optar apparently is fine, your old shutter appears to need a basic service. The price you are quoted is a lot less then a new shutter and probably also a new lens. Buying a used lens can still mean that the shutter is in need of service. The shutters are mechanical items like a watch or car and like them they will need periodic mautenance to perform properly.

If you are happy with the optical performance of your lens get it serviced. If you would prefer the performance of a modern lens then replace it.

Liam:
13-Jul-2010, 12:40
Ok, thanks for all the advice. I have just bought the camera (first time LF user) and I am really enjoying it, to the point that I don't think I could last 3 weeks without it!

Maybe I just need to send it off as it would be great to have a fully usable lens.

How hard would it be to do it myself?

Kevin Crisp
13-Jul-2010, 13:13
It depends. Most of the Optars in this focal length are very good within their limited coverage. So if the glass is in great shape you can have a fine lens in a working shutter that is OK for straight ahead shooting. (In other words, not using rise at all, really.) It will be fine for handheld shooting and landscapes on a tripod if you don't want or need to use movements.

There are lots of 135 mm multicoated lenses out there these days for not a whole lot more than you are spending on the CLA. Those will give you significant camera movements and better contrast in certain situations. I put a MC Symmar "S" 135mm on my Crown and have been very glad I did so. Finding the exact right position for the lens in a Copal 0 shutter to allow use of the body shutter release is tricky but it can be done.

Frank Petronio
13-Jul-2010, 13:32
I like the look that an Optar will produce, so it may be advantageous to have it CLA'ed because then you'll know it is all good. Even a late model $500 Schneider Symmar can have a gummy shutter.

Liam:
13-Jul-2010, 14:19
TBH I think your all right and that I should stick with my Optar as I need to learn the basics before spending more money.

I just need to find some UK LF shooters so that I can "borrow" a lens :)

tbeaman
13-Jul-2010, 15:43
I'd take an honest look at doing it yourself. Take a look at the following guides:

Graphex Shutter (partial disassembly) (http://pheugo.com/cameras/index.php?page=graphex)

Rapax Shutter (complete disassembly) (http://pheugo.com/cameras/index.php?page=rapax)

The first will probably be sufficient, but take a look at both. The Graphex is the same as a Rapax, just rebranded for Graflex.

Wayne Crider
13-Jul-2010, 20:20
For those interested, the two links above thru additional links on the pages opened will give a wealth of information on repairs for a number of cameras and lenses. In fact I ran across a very simple renovation to use 120 film in Kodak 616 cameras including a how to make a simple film gate mask.

engl
14-Jul-2010, 01:00
I was in the same situation as you, my first LF camera came with an 135/4.7 Optar which had some issues. The shutter often stuck, and the glass was less than perfect. The quoted price for a shutter repair was slightly higher than what you got.

I decided to buy a new lens instead and Im very glad I did. The modern lens I bought is much sharper, which may or may not matter. What does matter for sure is that it allows for a fair bit of movement, which is in my opinion one of the best things about LF, and something that should be part of "LF basics". I got the Fujinon NW 125/5.6, you should be able to pick up the NW 150/5.6 at under 200$. That is a sharp, small, multicoated lens with lots of movement on 4x5. Make sure it has "outside lettering".

Liam:
14-Jul-2010, 10:22
Before doing anything should I try the lighter fluid trick? Doe anyone have any links on how to do it?

Bob Salomon
14-Jul-2010, 11:32
Before doing anything should I try the lighter fluid trick? Doe anyone have any links on how to do it?

You have to be careful that the lighter fluid doesn't attack the blades, if they are not metal.

Michael Roberts
14-Jul-2010, 20:58
Liam, remove the lens board from the camera. Unscrew the front and rear lens from the shutter and put them in a sealed plastic bag to keep them from getting dusty. Buy an can of aerosol electrical contact cleaner from Radio Shack or similar electronics store (around $10 equivalent). The can should come with a plastic straw to fit into the nozzle. Spray a short burst into the cable release socket on the shutter. Cock and fire the shutter three times on all speeds (except 400, you probably won't be able to turn past 200; don't force the dial). You should notice an immediate improvement. Set aside for 15 minutes. Cock and fire on all speeds again. If still snappy, set aside overnight. If it's working fine the next day, reinstall the lens. If more applications are needed, repeat sprays. If it's really gunked, it may take several days. Just be patient. This works 95% of the time (at least for me) on these old press shutters. Sometimes one app is all it takes, sometimes several.

I've tried lighter fluid and had more mixed results. Plus it stinks and sometimes leaves a residue on the blades. My experience is the aerosol electric contact cleaner works much better.

Liam:
15-Jul-2010, 14:08
Liam, remove the lens board from the camera. Unscrew the front and rear lens from the shutter and put them in a sealed plastic bag to keep them from getting dusty. Buy an can of aerosol electrical contact cleaner from Radio Shack or similar electronics store (around $10 equivalent). The can should come with a plastic straw to fit into the nozzle. Spray a short burst into the cable release socket on the shutter. Cock and fire the shutter three times on all speeds (except 400, you probably won't be able to turn past 200; don't force the dial). You should notice an immediate improvement. Set aside for 15 minutes. Cock and fire on all speeds again. If still snappy, set aside overnight. If it's working fine the next day, reinstall the lens. If more applications are needed, repeat sprays. If it's really gunked, it may take several days. Just be patient. This works 95% of the time (at least for me) on these old press shutters. Sometimes one app is all it takes, sometimes several.

I've tried lighter fluid and had more mixed results. Plus it stinks and sometimes leaves a residue on the blades. My experience is the aerosol electric contact cleaner works much better.

I have done exactly this and all the speeds seem to be working, I have also cleaned the glass, so I am very happy :)

I will wait till tomorrow as it may need some more cleaning but thanks a lot!

Michael Roberts
15-Jul-2010, 21:03
Great! Thanks for posting the results. You are most welcome.
BTW, there is a wealth of information in the archives on this forum. It is an amazing source of information. And the people here are great, too.

gdi
16-Jul-2010, 16:22
Will this electrical cleaner technique help with the 400 Speed as well?

I have a Ektar/Synchro Compur that needs cleaning and the 400 speed is very hard to set and cocking it for 400 is very hard as well.

Michael Roberts
16-Jul-2010, 16:44
dunno, I've never tried to force it. without a CLA, even if you unstick the 400 speed it may only fire at 200. this is pretty common. If I really needed the 400, I would pay for a professional cleaning. my .02....sorry I can't be more helpful on this one. Maybe someone else has tried the full Monty.

Michael Roberts
17-Jul-2010, 11:10
Okay, I tried it with a recent $35 Graphex/Optar 135 purchase. I do have to use more force to turn the dial from 200 to 400, but it works. I sprayed a shot of the contact cleaner under the rim dial as well; not sure if that did any good or not.

I know these shutters have two sets of springs--one for the slow speeds and one for the faster speeds. In addition, it seems that going from 200 to 400 engages a third mechanism--does anybody know?

BrianShaw
17-Jul-2010, 11:49
I do have to use more force to turn the dial from 200 to 400, but it works.

That is perfectly normal.

Michael Roberts
17-Jul-2010, 12:15
Thanks Brian; good to know.

tbeaman
17-Jul-2010, 14:46
Keep in mind that both the lighter fluid and contact cleaner (nice idea, btw) flush methods should only be considered temporary solutions. For one thing, you're not getting rid of the gunk, just displacing it (into areas it may not belong). Secondly, although some shutters are designed to run dry, these Wollensaks are not. Certain components are meant to have lubrication, and without it, they'll wear and become damaged over time. I don't know if it will also affect functionality.

Anyway, I just want to make sure everybody is fully informed. Myself, I say do what you want, and have fun! It's all about getting out there, after all.

domaz
20-Jul-2010, 09:22
Keep in mind that both the lighter fluid and contact cleaner (nice idea, btw) flush methods should only be considered temporary solutions. For one thing, you're not getting rid of the gunk, just displacing it (into areas it may not belong). Secondly, although some shutters are designed to run dry, these Wollensaks are not. Certain components are meant to have lubrication, and without it, they'll wear and become damaged over time. I don't know if it will also affect functionality.

Anyway, I just want to make sure everybody is fully informed. Myself, I say do what you want, and have fun! It's all about getting out there, after all.

Using a solvent to clean the shutter is permanent if you disassemble the shutter enough to put it right where it needs to go and can wipe away the gunk afterwards. Just spraying a bunch of cleaner into the shutter without proper disassembly is not so effeective.

Liam:
15-Sep-2010, 03:00
Well today my shutter has decided to start sticking, I have squirted some contact cleaner inside and it is now working fine but I assume it needs some sort of lubrication to keep it going.

Is it ok if I squirt some WD40 in? Or is there something I should use instead?

Thanks for any help.

Shen45
15-Sep-2010, 07:04
NO!!

Get a pin and use a very thin oil dip the sharp end of the pin in the oil and whatever remains on the pin put that carefully at the obvious contact points.

I was told a very fine smear of high quality graphite grease could be used in a similar manner.

If you spray anything inside the shutter it will get on the aperture and the shutter blades. Others will probably give you help as to the better lubricants to use and where.

Steve

Liam:
15-Sep-2010, 08:38
To get to the contact points I assume I have to disassemble the lens?

The contact cleaner has dried up now but it is still sticking when the blades are closing, is there something I can squirt inside?

BetterSense
16-Sep-2010, 05:39
Don't use WD-40. I've had SOME luck on old shutters by flushing them with lighter fluid (naptha). It's not guaranteed to work though.

Liam:
16-Sep-2010, 05:40
Well I woke up this morning and the shutter is now firing fine :confused: I think I was lucky again and the electrical contact cleaner has dones its job :D

Ken Lee
16-Sep-2010, 06:04
That spam has been removed, along with the spammer.

john wilton
20-Sep-2010, 21:40
Re the 400 speed on these old shutters with the extra top-speed spring: remember the top speed must be set before cocking the shutter.