View Full Version : Shutter Choices

John Downie
13-Oct-2003, 20:20
I am thinking of having a casket set put into a shutter and wanted to avoid buying a new Copal. What do people think is the ranking of used choices, in the Copal #1 ish size?


Ted Harris
13-Oct-2003, 20:27
All the modern shutters are good robust mechanisms. A better approach might be to contact SKGrimes (or another shop equally competent). Find out what they recommend for your particular set.

Kevin Crisp
13-Oct-2003, 20:34
John: The work to get the lenses machined to fit into a shutter they weren't originally meant for is significant and can be expensive. If you're going to go to all that work, the cost of a new or used Copal shutter as the basis for the project is relatively slight, considering that you will have something modern and reliable. Don't forget -- if you're out in the field, thinking you've got a glaxy of focal length choices thanks to your convertibles, you're done for if your one shutter has a problem. A copal 1 is a very tight fit for lots of convertible lenses, so check your dimentions to see if this is even possible as a choice. A 203mm Ektar, for example, is a very tight fit in a Copal 1, mounting it in there will cost $150 or more plus the price of the shutter, and that is hardly a big lens. Not a convertible lens, of course, you but you get the point about the size issue. Now, to answer your question in a way other than trying to talk you out of this, consider the Acme #3 of #4. The #4 has a large hole which will accomodate the mid-sized protar lenses (19" and 16" elements, for example) and I believe (but would have to check) to see that the #3 has a bigger hole than a Copal 1. This should be available on the Grimes website. These are good solid shutters and after a CLA should be fine for years. Some of the older ones have a nice art deco look to them, if you care. Most have a handy hold open feature for focussing so you don't have to switch over to B or T. Figure $35 to $50 for one of these on eBay. Lots of times they come with Ilex glass for the price of a shutter. The bottom line in my experience is that recementing and remounting lenses is often not cost effective, meaning you can't recover out of the project what you put into it when you sell it. If there is a unique package you want to put together, or an older lens or lens set that you really want to use, that's different and can make it worthwhile.

Ted Harris
13-Oct-2003, 20:43

I think $35 to $40 may be a bit optimistic for an Acme #4 and even #3. Don't forget to add an additional 60-80 for CLA ater purchase as well.

To throw a bit more cold water on the idea .... what about the weight? If you neither need or want the longer focal lenghts you may be better off with a couple of lenses in#0 and #1 shuttters.

John Downie
13-Oct-2003, 20:43
Thanks Kevin. The set I have is much like a Hugo Meyer set on the Grimes site. They recommend the Copal 1 then the Ilex 3 (Good job!) I will look for an Ilex. Since I will use the lens mostly on B, I was wondering if I could use a Prontor or a Wollensak, or another of this ilk.

John Kasaian
13-Oct-2003, 20:50

I'd consult with S.K.Grimes shop or another competent shop like Marflex first. Sadly, Steve is no longer with us. Definately check out Grime's website www.skgrimes.com as there is a load of info on older shutters. I have had very good luck with dial set compurs, ilex universals, wollensak betax and rapax, kodak supermatics and currently a prontor press off a polaroid MP copy camera. I'd be hard pressed to rate them in any particular order, though. The prontor press has it's peculiarities but I can work around them easily enough. The ilex universals prefer cable releases with a long "throw" and mine are exceptionally picky when it comes to this. Fred Lustig is the graflex guru and is the only one I'm aware of who'll tackle graphex shutters, but I understand he is recovering from an illness and might not be taking on new work right now---I could be wrong though. You can find his telephone # on the www.graflex.org site. Oddly enough, that last of my little mechanical wonders to misbehave was an almost new copal #1!----Good Luck!

Kevin Crisp
13-Oct-2003, 21:06
Yes, that's why I said $35 to $50. If you buy one where they admit it sticks a bit (which it will probably do anyway since sellers are rather reluctant to be accurate about it...and you'll be getting a CLA anyway) then I think $50 or less is realistic. A lot of times if the lens is a dog nobody bids on it and it goes for less than the shutter is worth. It takes patience.

David A. Goldfarb
13-Oct-2003, 21:27
S.K. Grimes may be able to supply a refurbished Copal shutter, which would be a good compromise of value and reliability.

I have several lenses in Ilex shutters, but I'd take the point about putting all your eggs in one basket with a casket set and one shutter seriously. Copal shutters are pretty robust and reliable and have conveniences like modern shutter speeds (1,2,4,8,15,30,60,125,250 instead of 1,2,5,10,25,50,100,200) to be readily compatible with modern light meters and P-C strobe sync instead of bi-pole sync, in case you ever decide to use the lens for some studio work. You can operate the controls of the shutter in any order without fear of damage and the lever to open the shutter for focusing is independent of the shutter firing mechanism.

On the other hand say you are using an Ilex shutter and focusing with the shutter on "T", you close the shutter, and don't notice a kink in the cable release before moving the dial to the taking speed--you've likely just stripped the mechanism, and "T" is no longer an option until you get it repaired (speaking from experience). Also the cable release trigger can migrate on an Ilex shutter so that eventually, your cable release might not be long enough to trigger the shutter until you get it serviced (speaking from experience).

Kevin Crisp
13-Oct-2003, 21:43
These Alphax shutters seem very well made too, though you don't get the depth of field preview convenience. They are self cocking. I have one factory mounted on a 15" Raptar telephoto and it never gives me trouble and runs like a fine watch. It has a huge hole in it which should handle all kinds of projects. This was has seen better days, but will probably be cheap: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=2957715631&category=15247

Ernest Purdum
14-Oct-2003, 06:33
My personal preference is for self-cocking shutters. Usually you don't have a choice, you take whatever the lens is mounted in, but in this case you can choose. I like the ability to make multiple exposures without jostling the camera. The Copal Polaroid shutters made for the MP-4 are particularly nice, in that they use two cable releases, one for exposure, plus a Bulb only release for focusing (with a locking cable release). They are also available at very low prices. If a size 1 shutter would fit, this would be my first suggestion.

If you are able to measure your thread size, I could tell you what shutters would work.

Jason Greenberg Motamedi
14-Oct-2003, 07:03
I think it a false economy to buy a cheaper, older shutter in place of a new one. While I have several well functioning Ilex, Compound, Betax and Compur shutters, they are, in my experience, less robust and dependable than copal shutters. Repair on these shutters, since parts are at times lacking, can be more expensive--and this will only get worse in the coming years, since these shutters are all orphans. In addition, beyond the purchase price you will need a CLA. I would spend the extra $100 and buy a new Copal. In the long run it will probably save, not cost.

Jim Galli
14-Oct-2003, 07:55
I have to agree with Jason and others. My first thought when I read your question and before anyone answered was that if I were going to make that investment I would protect it with a modern Copal shutter. Used is OK. Jotepper sold one on feebay last night for $160. After the divorce, your wife will want to get as much as possible for that casket set so put them in a good shutter.

John Downie
14-Oct-2003, 17:31
I spoke with Adam at Grimes. The Copal option will cost $550, if they supply the shutter. If I supply a shutter, it will be $250 - $300 to do the machining. Gotta admit, it seems a little pricey for putting threads on both ends of two cylinders, though I know everyone regards the work as excellent. Adam liked the Polaroid shutters, as well as newer Compurs.

Jim Galli
14-Oct-2003, 18:15
Worth noting: If you went with a CU-5 Polaroid shutter from the 127mm lens (don't get one from the 75 or 105) you could always upgrade later to a full featured Copal 1 with no further machine work. The clearances and tolerances are the same.

John Downie
14-Oct-2003, 18:39
Thanks Jim - something like this?


Jim Galli
14-Oct-2003, 20:21
No, like this (http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=2957865308&category=30077) but with a 5" lens. There don't seem to be any running right now but they come and go. The 3" lens has a special shutter with a max aperture of about 15mm and isn't useful for too much.