View Full Version : Help needed for Ilex Acme Synchro No. 4

5-Oct-2010, 23:03
I have two "repro" lenses that i would be very happy to see mounted in a shutter: a 16.5" Red Dot Artar, and an Apo-Nikkor 480mm.
According to S.K. Grimes web page, the Artar could be adapted to an Ilex No. 4 shutter.
Strange but true, very often the bigger shutters go on Ebay for an igher price when sold alone, than when they are sold together with a lens, provided that the lens is not a very desiderable one. That's my personal (and very limited) experience.
To cut the story short, i found a nice Ilex Acme Synchro No. 4 shutter, with a Kodak Ektar f/4.5 fitted on it.
When i had the shutter in my hands i immediately realized that it was made in a slightly different way from the Compur/Prontor/Copal shutters i have at home. The back cell fits in the same way, while the front cellis not fitted directly to the shutter body, there is a "tube" in between, that i could not remove! I thought that the "tube"was some kind of adapter/distancer, and that it was screwed on the shutter body. It turned out that the tube was not separable from the front shutter lid.
I did not open the shutter, cause it's perfectly working and needs no cleaning, so i am not absolutely sure about that, but i got the impression that the "tube" was one piece with the lid, and that adapting the shutter to another lens would be a traumatic option, that would make it difficult to fit the original lens back in place.
Maybe i am wrong, maybe the tube is fixed by a couple of screws and it could be easily separated, who knows, as i said i didn't open the shutter.
Before doing anything i prefer to ask for advice from somebody who's more at ease with US shutters!
If the adaptation work must be a destructive one, preventing a quick and easy replacement of the cells with the two original ones, i'd prefer to wait and see if a damaged Alphax shutter i have found could be fixed, and if it could be of the right dimension for one of my barrel lenses.

A neighbor gave me the name of a retired applied mechanics professor, who used to teach the use of lathe to the students of a high school. He makes spare parts for vintage cars and tractors, and reportedly has very sophisticated instruments at home. If i provide a detailed design, i hope i will be able to get the parts done.:)

have fun


Steven Tribe
6-Oct-2010, 02:47
You didn't mention the type of ektar it is. To be honest, it may be better to sell the shutter to someone who has this lens and needs a replacement.
I don't know this particular fitting/shutter but it is well known that the big customer Kodak Eastman was able to get shutter manufacturers to make versions with threads/distances that suited Kodak. What looks like an adaptor ring could well be an integral part of the shutter, that is, not removeable.

6-Oct-2010, 19:49
Particular fitting/shutter but it is well known that the big customer Kodak Eastman was able to get shutter manufacturers to make versions with threads/distances that suited Kodak. What looks like an adaptor ring could well be an integral part of the shutter, that is, not removeable.

That's exactly the impression i had.
I don't have the lens here, but it's a 7 + something inches Ektar, with an aperture of f/4.5. AFAIK it's a lens that's not particularly valuable, at least not as much as the Commercial Ektars.
Ilex No. 4 and No. 5, specially the latter one, are expensive, because they represent one of the very few option available for large lenses that were originally sold in barrel. The other option being No. 5 Compounds, that could be even more expensive (albeit more reliable, for my own limited experience).
As i have payed a very reasonable sum for the Ektar, and that i have almost no use for it (plenty of 4x5" lenses, i need optics in shutter, with 8x10" coverage), i think i will keep the cells for anybody interested, and i will disassemble the shutter and have the "tube" machined, if that will be at all possible.
I will wait some time, though, i'd feel a little uneasy destroying such a nice lens!

BTW, i don't regret having purchased a few lenses, when in reality i was after the shutters only! :)
For example i found a Xenar 240mm that had a Compound III/7, a perfect fit for a first generation (Dagor-like) 355mm G-Claron that i found for very cheap in barrel mount.
I also have a couple of longer plasmats (Sironar 360mm and Symmar-S 300mm) that used to belong to Sinar DB mounts. On the quest for No. 3 shutters, i have just purchased a Symmar-S 240mm, with a badly bent filter thread, for slightly less than 150 euros; i have never seen a Copal No. 3 in good shape, and perfeclty working, for that price! I could vene get something from the cells, if i ever decide to part with them...
All that to support my notion that often shutters-only could get more expensive that the exact same shutter, that comes with a lens on it.
I suppose that this phenomenon has more to do with psicology than with the simple laws of demand and offer, or maybe it's just plain lazyness: those looking for a shutter find too boring to have to browse the lenses going on auction, that doing a quick search for the needed item!

Back to the technical stuff now:
when it comes to do-it-yourself lens adaptation, versus a professional and expensive work done by the likes of S.K. Grimes, or other well known professional, i am very concerned about alignment.
Many vintage lenses had a tolerance of 0.2mm (that is 0,1 for each cell), if i remeber that's was advertised by one of the major manufacturers.
Anyone with a minimum of experience and a lathe could at least match those specs, if the measures from the original barrel are taken with some diligence.
When it comes to the the alignment of the optical axis even a small error could wreak havoc.
I suppose that a simple caliper, even those with digital reading, would not be enough to check the centering, i guess that at least a comparator is needed (plus some experience to use it a proficient way).
Nevertheless, anastigmats made in the 19th century are still good performers, and the original manufacturers didn't have any of those sophisticated instruments!:confused:
If i get the work done, i will check the web looking for a cheap do-it-yourself way to check the alignment of two lens cells... i am going to make a simple shutter tester as well:)
After all, it's everything about fun