View Full Version : Copal Shutter Problems in Cold Weather

Dan Baumbach
23-Jan-2004, 18:29
I was shooting in about 10 degree weather at 7000 feet and the Copal #1 shutter on my 300mm Nikkor started acting funny. I generally shoot on T but after being in the cold for about 45 minutes, the T setting started acting like B with the shutter staying open only as long as I had the cable release pressed.

Back and sea level and warmer temperatures, I can't get the shutter to fail.

Is this typical of these shutters or does it need repair.

- Dan.

Bob Salomon
23-Jan-2004, 19:44
It probably need to be lubricated for cold weather use. Any camera repairman can do this.

tim atherton
23-Jan-2004, 22:16

What's the accepted way to do this these days? When I worked with the Arctic Continental Polar Shelf Project we had problems with some of the scientists who had this done with some of their cameras and lenses.

One method seemed to be basically to remove almost all the lubricants and basically let them run dry. Another method was to remove all the existing lubricants and replace them with special low viscosity (?) low temperature lubricants.

Trouble was, both these methods seemed to have problems. The latter, for example, was fine for the real low temperatures (and I don't remember if this was a problem with shutters, or just winterized cameras and lenses in general), but they were then not much use for normal temperatures (even, over time, just trying to use them indoors in a cold environment ) - and certainly using them elsewhere when the temperatures weren't sub zero. It basically meant that if you were using the same set of gear in different locations at different times of the year, you had to get it winterized before heading into winter, then serviced and returned to normal for the non-cold use. Got pretty expensive - either that, or a set of gear dedicated only to cold weather use (also expensive).

Basically, either extra wear, or at warmer temperatures, the special lubricant doesn't actually lubricate that well, or at all etc. I remeber that Lecia, for example, would completley winterize any of their cameras, but didn't then recomend them for use above 0c or whatever. Just wondering if there were new, better lubricants they use these days.

(BTW - I've never had any of my Copals, or even my old Rapax with a 159mm Wolly freeze up - they all seems to work pretty well - and they only really get serviced when something feels like it's going wrong on them....)

Bob Salomon
24-Jan-2004, 06:19

I am not the technician. Marflex is and they are the ones to ask. My understanding is they replace the lubricats for one that can be used over a wider range of tempertures.

Tom Westbrook
24-Jan-2004, 14:01
I tested my 300M outside this morning in about 3F temps for a couple of hours and had no problems with T or B or any other speed. You might have tried this, but I find it to be good idea to exercise the shutter a few times before actually taking the exposure in cold weather.

Good luck

John Kasaian
24-Jan-2004, 19:37
The photography instructor at the local University swore by K-Y Lubricant for lubricating shutters for use in freezing conditions. Really!;-)---Cheers!