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Richard K.
16-Nov-2010, 11:02
There's a *lens on the German eBay site that seems VERY low in price (a 300 Apo Symmar L) and that makes me a bit **wary. It comes in a Compur shutter. Is this shutter still commonly available in Europe (obviously it's available! :) )?. Would it be more common than the Copal? How does it compare in performance/reliability to the Copal? Thank you!

* http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=190466868136&ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT

**also the seller's 1% negative feedbag

Bob Salomon
16-Nov-2010, 11:17
All mechanical and electronic shutters manufactured by Prontor Werke, including all Compur shutters, have been out of production for many years. They still do supply a Prontor magnetic as an OEM item to some manufacturers who have to make a controller to operate it.

That lens is in the last version of the Compur shutter however.

Frank Petronio
16-Nov-2010, 11:22
Geezum don't be silly, the Compurs are THE highest quality shutter.

Not that Copals aren't good, but the Compur is nicer product. Sometimes lenses are cheap on German eBay, I've always had good luck there.

As for service and parts, so what? The thing is going to last lifetime and if it doesn't, it is worth the money to fix. You just don't send it to some local yokel butterknife elcheapo camera repair jockey.

Richard K.
16-Nov-2010, 11:25
Hey Frank, don't beat around the bush - say what you feel! :D
Thanks for the information!

Scotty230358
16-Nov-2010, 12:17
A couple of repair men I chatted with in the UK were of the opinion that Compurs were better made than Copal shutters. My current mechanic has no difficulty servicing these shutters. He recently service a 40 year old shutter for me and did an excellent job. I have two lenses (120mm Dagor and 240mm Apo Ronar) that are in old Compur Synchro shutters and they work fine. The only thing about them is that their speeds are the old standard (1/5,1/10,1/20 etc) but I can make allowances. I also have a compur electronic shutter that runs from 1/500 to 32 seconds. Opinion on these is divided. When their good they work fine but can be unreliable. That, combined with the fact that they use a rather obscure 4.5v Mallory battery.

jsch
16-Nov-2010, 13:22
There's a *lens on the German eBay site that seems VERY low in price (a 300 Apo Symmar L) and that makes me a bit **wary. It comes in a Compur shutter. Is this shutter still commonly available in Europe (obviously it's available! :) )?. Would it be more common than the Copal? How does it compare in performance/reliability to the Copal? Thank you!

* http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=190466868136&ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT

**also the seller's 1% negative feedbag

I bought different Sinar items and lenses from this seller (total of 3000 Euro), everything shipped as expected. Compur shutters are ok. But I think the price is too high. As far as I know this is the company website: http://www.secondhandcamera.de and the sell on ebay under secondhandcamera and fotouniversal. On their website they have also these 300 mm lenses:
http://www.secondhandcamera.de/product_info.php?info=p234_RODENSTOCK-SIRONAR-N-5-6-300-MC---PRONTOR-PROF--3.html&XTCsid=q7d00025seqq3bh90h6ua4mva7a7ene5
and
http://www.secondhandcamera.de/product_info.php?info=p143_SCHNEIDER-SYMMAR-S-5-6-300-MC---PRONTOR-PROFESSIONAL-3.html&XTCsid=q7d00025seqq3bh90h6ua4mva7a7ene5

I bought my Sinaron S 300 in Sinar DB mount for 249 Euro at secondhandcamera.

Hope this helps.
Best,
Johannes

Richard K.
16-Nov-2010, 13:28
Thanks everybody! Any idea when Schneider stopped offering Compur shutters?

Frank Petronio
16-Nov-2010, 13:43
Mid 90s I think, I forgot when the L lenses came out but it maybe something like when someone remounted a Sinar DB lens.

Funny though, first Compur came out with the black dial and, of course, Copal copied them....

Copals work great, but it's nicer to get the original, Compur really made the first modern mechanical shutters, innovated and invented.... Same reason that buying a Phillips is better than a Chamonix, not that the Chamonix is any slouch.

Bob Salomon
16-Nov-2010, 13:49
Thanks everybody! Any idea when Schneider stopped offering Compur shutters?

Everyone stopped offering them when Prontor stopped making them. Not just Schneider.

Mark Sampson
16-Nov-2010, 14:42
Hmm. I thought Wollensak, or Ilex, invented the 'modern' leaf shutter in the early 20th century, and Prontor/Compur licensed the design and perfected it. But if so, it was long before my time... and I have no reference to back that statement up. However, based on much personal experience, I'll say this: if your Compur or Copal is in good shape, ain't no difference 'tween the two. They're both excellent shutters.
And a data point- on my recommendation, my then employers bought a Schneider 150/9 G-Claron in 1988; it came in a Compur shutter. That shutter was still working just fine the last time I used it, six months or so ago.

Bob Salomon
16-Nov-2010, 15:02
Hmm. I thought Wollensak, or Ilex, invented the 'modern' leaf shutter in the early 20th century, and Prontor/Compur licensed the design and perfected it. But if so, it was long before my time... and I have no reference to back that statement up. However, based on much personal experience, I'll say this: if your Compur or Copal is in good shape, ain't no difference 'tween the two. They're both excellent shutters.
And a data point- on my recommendation, my then employers bought a Schneider 150/9 G-Claron in 1988; it came in a Compur shutter. That shutter was still working just fine the last time I used it, six months or so ago.

Sorry Mark but Valentin Linhof introduced the between the lens leaf shutter and by 1899 Kodak was selling a camera using this shutter. So were Zeiss and Dallmeyer. After Linhof's death in 1929 the shutters were sold to the Deckel company in Munich which became part of the Zeiss group of companies and the shutter became part of Prontor Werke and eventually became the Compur shutter.

And there was a big difference between Compur and Copal shutters. Compur shutters (later ones) had click stops for the aperture (1/3rd stops), Copal didn't. And on some of the very late ones the click stops could be disengaged. In addition Compur shutters could be equipped with aperture and shutter speed sticks that let you control the aperture or the shutter from behind the camera. If you have a Compur shutter with exposed gear wheels on the back of the shutter then you have a model that would accept these sticks. Copals never had this ability. But, of course, Copal shutters were a good deal less expensive then Compurs. So most lenses came in Copal afetr the 60's.

Kerry L. Thalmann
16-Nov-2010, 17:35
And a data point- on my recommendation, my then employers bought a Schneider 150/9 G-Claron in 1988; it came in a Compur shutter. That shutter was still working just fine the last time I used it, six months or so ago.

As a backpacker and nut for saving weight, I always favored the late all-black Compur 0 as it's about 30g lighter than a Copal 0. Hey, every ounce counts.

Oddly, the Compur 1 is heavier than a Copal 1. In the size 1, I prefer the Copal Press shutter as it is a size 1 shutter that weighs the same size as a standard Copal 0. So, size 1 shutter at a size 0 weight. That's a savings of about 2 oz. per lens. And, I also liked the set and forget aperture feature of the Copal Press. No more forgetting to stop down to the working aperture after compasing and focusing.

Kerry

tbeaman
16-Nov-2010, 21:44
Aside from everything that's been said already, one thing I know is that most Compurs have more than the silly 5 blades in Copal diaphragms, and most of them have classy, beautiful chrome accents. I have an irrational hatred for all-black photographic gear. I'd really like to know who started that awful trend.

There are three types of photographers. Ones who like wood and brass, ones who like black and chrome, and ones who like all-black plastic amorphous blocks.

(I'm being incendiary, but try not to take it too seriously; I'm just having fun).

Vaughn
16-Nov-2010, 22:59
...There are three types of photographers. Ones who like wood and brass, ones who like black and chrome, and ones who like all-black plastic amorphous blocks...

I do like my wood and brass 5x7 Eastman View and 8x10 Zone VI. The marks that end up on them out in the field are badges of honor.

My all-black PocketView is a cool lightweight photo ninja in 4x5, a monorail ready to follow me anywhere...down to the bottom of the Grand Canyon or up to the top of Mount Ngauruhoe.

But my first camera was the classic black and chrome Rolleiflex TLR. A beauty in its own right. The fit into the hands is perfect. Form follows function follows form. A classy machine.

But then I even like the cardboard box pinhole cameras I have made, not to mention my fun all plastic Diana! Getting close to a Space Age camera -- I am using a wood and carbon fiber 7"x17", incredibly well designed and built be Richard Ritter. Weighs about 60% of my 8x10. I seem to like any camera I can use.

My normal lenses are in the Copal shutters -- all modern plasmats. I do not own anything in a Compur. I have a TR convertible in a Betax, and a 6.25" Wollie in an Alphax. And of course, barrels with no shutters. I have a front-mounted Calumet/packard shutter affair I'd like to adapt to my 8x10. Whatever works!

At work we have a couple lenses in Compur shutters -- they don't work at the present time. Maybe early next school year when we have the money for repairs.

Kerry L. Thalmann
16-Nov-2010, 23:44
Aside from everything that's been said already, one thing I know is that most Compurs have more than the silly 5 blades in Copal diaphragms, and most of them have classy, beautiful chrome accents. I have an irrational hatred for all-black photographic gear. I'd really like to know who started that awful trend.

There are three types of photographers. Ones who like wood and brass, ones who like black and chrome, and ones who like all-black plastic amorphous blocks.

(I'm being incendiary, but try not to take it too seriously; I'm just having fun).

I have a few lenses in the older chrome ring Compur 3 shutters (one of the last 165mm Angulons ever made, it was part of a small production run Schneider did for Sinar in the late 1970s and a 360mm Schneider APO Artar). They still purr as smoothly as the day they were made close to 35 years ago.

The one problem I have with those shiney chrome rings is they can reflect light sources and cause hot spots on the subject if you aren't careful when shooting backlit subjects.

I'll have to check and see how the weight of the late all-black Compur 3 compares to the current Copal 3. I've never bothered to check the weight becuase I figure any lens that comes in a shutter this large isn't exactly an untralight lens to begin with. Although, it's all relative. Relative to the coverage, lenses like the 240mm, 270mm and 305mm Computar, the 450mm Nikkor M and 600mm Fujinon C could be considered ultralight lenses for the ULF formats.

Kerry

Emmanuel BIGLER
17-Nov-2010, 01:06
Any idea when Schneider stopped offering Compur shutters?

As Bob says, Prontor Werke, a company controlled by the Zeiss Foundation, stopped manufacturing compurs and prontor professional mechanical shutters around ~ Y2K.
I bought two new lenses mounted on the prontor professional in 2001 ; one Schneider and one Rodenstock. At the time, the option was still offered between the compur, the prontor, the copal, the copal press, and several electronic shutters : the Rollei and the Horseman ISS (not International Space Station, but out of reach for me, though ;) ).
The premium you had to pay for the compur or the prontor over the copal was in the range of 200 to 300 euros. No surprise then to learn what happened afterwards : those beloved German mechanical shutters were discontinued.
In 2003 or so the stock of compurs/prontors was about to get depleted at Schneider and Rodenstock, I still could get a new apo-grandagon 55 on the prontor pro.

I have one apo-Symmar on a last-generation, Calmbach-made, compur#1, bought used. I would certainly never swap this compur for a copal !!
Once, I a had an exchange with Swiss photographer who wanted to swap his Prontor Professionals against Copals for some unknown reason. The shutters fitted some modern high-performance wide-angle view camera lenses. I told him that if he had his prontor professional shutters available for sale, I would buy them from him immediately, but I warned him against the fact that on a top-class modern wide angle lens, for a complete shutter exchange (and not only swapping lens boards, which is not critical) he should return the whole lens to the factory so that tiny adjustements in the new shutter fitting could be performed with the utmost precision in order to retain the full original performance of the lens. Being Swiss, hence born in a precision country, he followed my advice and asked for a quotation for a new copal and subsequent fine adjustments & calibrations ; eventually, he found the price really dissuasive, and he kept his prontors.... (too bad for me..)

I am not sure that the last generation of compurs for view camera lenses made at prontor Werke in Calmbach (in the Black Forest) is exactly the same mechanism as the beloved synchro-compur shutters fitting millions of "alive-and-well" Rollei-TLR or Hasselblad lenses before ~ 1976, when the Deckel-Compur factory in Munich closed down, the Compur brand & fabrication being transferred to the Prontor Werke (both companies had actually been controlled by the Zeiss Foundation for decades)

Frank Petronio
17-Nov-2010, 01:57
The wide chrome ring and later black ring Compurs and Prontors were all five-blade apertures - these were from the late 1960s on. The last "circular" aperture Compurs (using many blades) have the narrower chrome ring (early 1960s).

Being the discount version, Copals never had circular apertures. American Acmes, Illexes, Wollys and the like were circular.

Note that the aperture blades and shutter blades are separate. I'm not sure whether it was the lens company or the shutter company who built the aperture, but I assume the lens designer specified it.

I prefer the rounder apertures but I also like the later shutters... everything is a compromise. But if you shoot wide open, the aperture blades never close so it is always circular. I end up doing this more often than you might think, at least in backlit situations.

I also like the newer Copal and Compur 3s because they have higher shutter speeds. The older large shutters, like the Acme #5, have a hard time firing at a 1/40th (real time). The compromise is that the older shutters seem smoother firing to me, sometimes the modern #3s feel like a gun going off.

The Prontors, which are self-cocking, are as well made as the Prontors except they are always short of the Prontor's top speed (they are slower - 1/250th on the smaller size Prontor versus 1/500th on the Compur/Copal - I think the Prontor 3 tops out at 1/125th) and the self-cocking mechanism requires extra force to fire the shutter, which I don't care for in spite of the convenience of not having to cock the darn thing (I fear it adds to vibration too).

All things considered, a late model Compur is probably the best. I wouldn't pay a lot extra for one over a Copal but I probably would choose the Compur first. Consider it like buying a Linhof- or Sinar-Select lens... it can't hurt ya.

Phil Hudson
17-Nov-2010, 02:51
I haven't come across a Schneider lens with that high serial in Compur shutter before. It might be at the very tail end of the Compur stock (IIRC you could order Schneider lenses in either Copal or for a premium in Compur) or more likely it is a remount in an older shutter (black face Compur shutters have been around for 20+ years).

The Compur 3 is a very smooth running machine with a faster 1/200 sec speed (versus 1/125 on Copal 3) although the printed aperture scales have a tendency to wear off with use and can't be replaced or interchanged (like Prontor Professional and Copal) to my knowledge......

Richard K.
17-Nov-2010, 05:44
I haven't come across a Schneider lens with that high serial in Compur shutter before. .....

I guess that's part of what I'm wondering about. Did you have a choice of shutters back in 2001 when the lens was made or was this lens remounted? If remounted, I guess there's no problem since Copal and Compur are interchangeable, without shims etc.?

Phil Hudson
17-Nov-2010, 08:18
All the new lenses I have bought in the past 10 years have has Copal shutters but I do have a more recent price list that shows both listed. It's unlikely that you'll have a problem even if remounted (assuming that the shutter is from a 300mm f/5.6) but shims of varying thicknesses are used (or not used) as determined by the manufacturer when they are bench tested.

I guess it is conveivable that small differences in the thickness of Compur and Copal shutters, even between batches of them, along with small variations in the machining of the barrels and lens seating, means that small adjustments are needed to tune the performance of a lens. This is always an unknown factor in buying used lenses - but I've never bought a used lens that was "bad" in that respect.

Richard K.
17-Nov-2010, 08:37
All the new lenses I have bought in the past 10 years have has Copal shutters but I do have a more recent price list that shows both listed. .........

Phil, can you tell me when the price list is from? I'm trying to figure out if that 300 (ca. 2001) could have been offered in the Compur or whether it was refitted...thanks!

Bob Salomon
17-Nov-2010, 08:37
I guess that's part of what I'm wondering about. Did you have a choice of shutters back in 2001 when the lens was made or was this lens remounted? If remounted, I guess there's no problem since Copal and Compur are interchangeable, without shims etc.?

Not necessarily. And the lens may have been in other shutters like Prontor Professional. Prontor Magnetic, Prontor, Compur Electronic, Seiko, Rollei Linear Motor, Horseman ISS (which was actually a motorized Copal) Copal Press, Sinar DB. or possibly in NF mount without a shutter. It also could have been in a helical mount without shutter or a fixed length mount without shutter for some OEM useages.

Steve Goldstein
17-Nov-2010, 08:40
The latest Copal 0 shutters have 7-bladed apertures, not 5.

Richard K.
17-Nov-2010, 08:51
Not necessarily. And the lens may have been in other shutters like Prontor Professional. Prontor Magnetic, Prontor, Compur Electronic, Seiko, Rollei Linear Motor, Horseman ISS (which was actually a motorized Copal) Copal Press, Sinar DB. or possibly in NF mount without a shutter. It also could have been in a helical mount without shutter or a fixed length mount without shutter for some OEM useages.

Thanks Bob :eek: now I'm seriously wary about buying that lens! Do you know if that lens WAS offered in a Compur in 2001? I asked the seller but no reply so far and the auction is over in 3 hours. If it WAS in Compur originally, I would consider it. Thanks!

Oren Grad
17-Nov-2010, 09:34
Thanks Bob :eek: now I'm seriously wary about buying that lens! Do you know if that lens WAS offered in a Compur in 2001? I asked the seller but no reply so far and the auction is over in 3 hours. If it WAS in Compur originally, I would consider it. Thanks!

Richard, FWIW, neither the Schneider LF lens brochure dated 2002 nor the Photokina 2002 news item announcing the Apo-Symmar L line mentions availability of Compur shutters. OTOH, the serial number places the lens in 2002, which makes it very early production for the L series, maybe catching the tail end of Compur availability.

That price is awfully cheap for a 300 L...

Bob Salomon
17-Nov-2010, 09:42
Thanks Bob :eek: now I'm seriously wary about buying that lens! Do you know if that lens WAS offered in a Compur in 2001? I asked the seller but no reply so far and the auction is over in 3 hours. If it WAS in Compur originally, I would consider it. Thanks!

Sorry, can't tell from the literature that I have.

Frank Petronio
17-Nov-2010, 10:11
If you worry about a lens being shimmed properly then you would never buy a used lens without sending out to be checked by a experienced technician (Not Joe's Klassik Kamera Repair).

It's an almost $1000 lens, it would be reasonable to ask the seller for its history and if there is none, point out your concerns and offer a lower price to budget for a check-up. This is from someone who once bought a big 8x10 Symmar f/5.6 lens only to find the sleazy seller had screwed it into a shutter marked f/6.8 and then pretended it was original.

Otherwise... that idea of getting a modern, large coverage Schneider-Rodenstock in a Sinar DB mount for >$3-400 or so is a good one, I bet a place like lens2shutter.com could do a remount into a #3 Copal for $500 or so, or less if you buy a beater $300 lens to extract a decent Copal shutter. Or just do the really obvious thing and use the Sinar shutter ;-) Given the depressed prices for DB-mounted lenses it is an attractive notion.

Of course the other logic is that for 8x10 the older 300mm Sironar-Ns and Symmar-S in their original shutters are still very capable lenses and they usually sell for half that price.

But maybe you want to do something larger than 8x10 right? But if you're doing alt process and contacts, then why would having such a high-performing lens be so important other than for bragging rights? Do you really think anyone, including yourself, can honestly perceive the difference in a contact print?

Regardless, German eBay is a great resource for lens bargains.

Kerry L. Thalmann
17-Nov-2010, 12:49
The wide chrome ring and later black ring Compurs and Prontors were all five-blade apertures - these were from the late 1960s on. The last "circular" aperture Compurs (using many blades) have the narrower chrome ring (early 1960s).

I just checked my late model all black Compur 3 and Copal shutters. The Copal 3 has a 7-blade aperture diaphragm and the Compur 3 had a 10-blade aperture diaphragm. These are both late production shutters from the late 1990s or early 2000s.

Kerry

Kerry L. Thalmann
17-Nov-2010, 12:56
I'll have to check and see how the weight of the late all-black Compur 3 compares to the current Copal 3. I've never bothered to check the weight becuase I figure any lens that comes in a shutter this large isn't exactly an untralight lens to begin with.

I just checked the weight on a late production all black Copal 3 and a late production all black Compur 3. The Copal 3 weighs 375g and the Compur 3 weighs 425g. I didn't think to check one of the chrome ring Compur 3 shutters. I'll do that tonight. They always felt heavier to me, but I'll check to make sure.

BTW, the all black Compur 3 I have looks pretty much new and the original aperture scale starts at f3.5. I have no idea what lens came with this shutter (I bought it as a loose shutter with no lens cells). I can't for the life of me think of any lens that was in production around this time (1990s) that had a maximum aperture of f3.5 that required a No. 3 shutter. Any ideas?

Kerry

Frank Petronio
17-Nov-2010, 13:01
All I have now is an all-black late Compur 0 with five-blades and it makes a pentagon-shaped aperture at f/11 and smaller.

Maybe they made different versions? I swear I recall my larger black Compurs were also pentagon-shaped.

Does 10-blades form a pretty good circle? I know 7-blades don't on my Nikkor SLR lenses....

Phil Hudson
17-Nov-2010, 13:04
Phil, can you tell me when the price list is from? I'm trying to figure out if that 300 (ca. 2001) could have been offered in the Compur or whether it was refitted...thanks

The retailers price list I have is from 2001-2. It is unclear whether the Compur shutters were actually available at this time, or whether the price list was simply copied over from an older one. Compur 3 is 80 more than Copal 3. The Apo-Symmar listed is not an L version. This is not a Schneider publication, just a retail price list from a UK distributor.

jan labij
17-Nov-2010, 13:28
FWIW, Ilex invented the "clockwork" shutter ca:1912. They immediatly licensed Frederick Dectal (sp?) to produce the design in Europe. It became known as the compur. The escapement timing of exposure was the big deal.

Bob Salomon
17-Nov-2010, 14:07
FWIW, Ilex invented the "clockwork" shutter ca:1912. They immediatly licensed Frederick Dectal (sp?) to produce the design in Europe. It became known as the compur. The escapement timing of exposure was the big deal.

Sorry, but that was the Linhof shutter and it was made prior to 1912. See my earlier post.
You might want to read about one of Linhof's early shutters here:

http://books.google.com/books?id=cnkWAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA124&lpg=PA124&dq=valentin+linhof+shutter&source=bl&ots=UHZRLipAO8&sig=NSrAiZlpea-FXg48L54S-YqESJM&hl=en&ei=-ETkTKLUD4KClAfZ1JHYDg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=8&ved=0CE8Q6AEwBw#v=onepage&q=valentin%20linhof%20shutter&f=false

Scroll up from the price list to see the shutter

Kerry L. Thalmann
17-Nov-2010, 17:07
Does 10-blades form a pretty good circle? I know 7-blades don't on my Nikkor SLR lenses....

Frank,

It's not bad. Definitely more circlular than a 7-blade diaphragm, but not quite the nearly perfect circle of the 16 - 21-blade aperture diaphragms on some of my older barrel mounted lenses.

Kerry

Ernest Purdum
18-Nov-2010, 08:32
The Linhof shutters I have control the speed by a "Lederbremse" (leather brake).

renes
18-Nov-2010, 15:31
All Compur shutters I have (most pre II war) have 10 blades, even small one with Heliar 83mm f/4.5. They work perfect. After CLA :)

jan labij
21-Nov-2010, 13:59
What Ilex patented was the variable clockwork escapement to control exposure timing. I doubt that deckel would have liscensed an appartus made 20 years earlier. I looked at the linhof site as recommended, and they say they are using a leather brake to control time of exposure.

jan labij
21-Nov-2010, 14:06
BTW, I don't have a dog in this fight. I prefer air controlled time of exposure over everything else I've used. But I should say also that I'm on the more pecunious (cheapskate?) side of the bucks-o-matic LF wars. When I bought a couple of air-braked shutters a few years ago, I was amazed at how easy they were to get functioning again. A good cleaning and waxing of the piston, and eureka!