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Thread: Early Shutters for New Camera

  1. #1

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    Early Shutters for New Camera

    OK, the camera isn't really "new," it just looks like it is! I lost my mind over the weekend and bought a near mint Century Camera Model 46, a self casing "cycle" camera in 4x5. More on that when I receive it. Camera comes with a rapid rectilinear lens in CCC Automatic shutter (a double pumper.) The shutter looks kind of cool, but I'm after a sexier lens. I have a couple of questions. First, how likely is it that I can simply swap lens cells with the existing shutter? I kind of doubt there was a standard size back then (~1908.) I might end up just buying a ~6 inch lens in shutter and replacing the RR. I just love Heliars, Dagor, Protar, Tessar--any of those would be a big improvement over a RR. Now for the shutter. I think easily the best from that period (1900-1915) would be the Compound. I have several lenses in Compound and it's my favorite shutter for looks and function. What about the Volute? They look nice and should be a step up from the double pumper? Or are they really kind of crappy? Optimo? I have one with a Cooke Triplet on a 6x9 folder that seems to work OK. What else is out there that might look cool on one of these cameras AND be perfectly usuable and acceptably reliable? Lucky for me I'm looking for a ~6 in. or so lens, and those tend to be reasonably priced and there's a good selection.

  2. #2

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    Re: Early Shutters for New Camera

    Some Folding Pocket Kodaks were sold with Kodak Anastigmats (some of the f/7.7ers are dialytes) in Ilex shutters. Not quite as old or as cool as you might want, but they're around and affordable.

  3. #3

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    Re: Early Shutters for New Camera

    You might be surprised by how nice the standard RR is. I'd shoot a few sheets with it anyway, and see.

    It sounds like you want a modern, anastigmat look in an antique shutter. I've got 4x5 and 5x7 Century folders that both came with Dagors in Volutes. That was their high end model. The Volute shutter can work pretty well, but they typically don't do the slow or fast speeds correctly when you get them. Sometimes about 1/50 down to about 1/4 work pretty well. The Optimo is a better shutter in my experience, they almost always work as found. But they didn't come on the Centurys, if I recall. But it would still look right.


  4. #4

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    Re: Early Shutters for New Camera

    OK. another idea. The older folding cameras that use "postcard" sized roll film (122?) go pretty cheap and have some interesting lenses in them. I'm thinking of B&L anastigmats in Optimo, etc. here. Since lenses project a circle of light, wouldn't a lens that covers 5.5 in. on the long side work for 4x5? Wouldn't have a lot of movement, but I could get a sexy lens in a cool shutter couldn't I? I promise to put the lens back on the original camera when I'm done with it.

  5. #5

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    Re: Early Shutters for New Camera

    Most of these types of cameras sold around 1895-1910 were sold in several versions with various lenses (at very different prices!). I think you find an original Century brochure on-line (I dont't have access to reference materials at the moment) and see what was available. My guess would be a B&L protar as the top range lens. I don't think the Heliar was in the range used on cycle folders.

  6. #6

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    Re: Early Shutters for New Camera

    The 1906 catalog shows Zeiss Protars & Tessars available. I assume these were made by B&L. Catalog also shows to Goerz (Goerz American?) lenses available. The standard lenses were a RR, symmetrical, and a Centar which sounds like a symmetrical convertible. I'm really not such a purist that I have to have only lenses/shutters that were a factory option. I just like cool old stuff. I'll keep watching out for something fancy, and in the meantime I'll see what the supplied RR can do. I'll also have to clean the CCC Automatic shutter as the slow speeds stick. That might be a topic for later this week.

    Lenses are listed on p.26
    http://piercevaubel.com/cam/catalogs...nturylp694.htm

    Note that just inside the cover they do show a model with Volute shutter.

  7. #7

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    Re: Early Shutters for New Camera

    Quote Originally Posted by Brassai View Post
    OK. another idea. The older folding cameras that use "postcard" sized roll film (122?) go pretty cheap and have some interesting lenses in them. I'm thinking of B&L anastigmats in Optimo, etc. here. Since lenses project a circle of light, wouldn't a lens that covers 5.5 in. on the long side work for 4x5? Wouldn't have a lot of movement, but I could get a sexy lens in a cool shutter couldn't I? I promise to put the lens back on the original camera when I'm done with it.
    I took the lens out of an old Ansco 3A folder and put in on my 4X5. It worked fine, but only just covered with no movement. It was an Ansco branded lens, probably made by Ilex as they had a similar f7.5 lens in their catalog, and is a Cooke triplet design. The circle of illumination was a good deal bigger than 4X5, but image quality at the edges went bad if I tried to use any front rise.

  8. #8

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    Re: Early Shutters for New Camera

    I snagged a nice looking brass Volute shutter with ~6 in. Velostigmat on ebay. The lens is on a Kodak 3A, but it's clearly marked "4x5." I have a 300mm Velostigmat and just love the soft glow it gives wide open. I think of the Velostigmat as the "poor man's Heliar." Anyway, I think I've found what I was after. Hopefully it will fit the new camera just fine. The seller is a camera dealer and claims the Volute is working well.

  9. #9

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    Re: Early Shutters for New Camera

    It might be working well, the shutter, but if you measure it you are probably in for a surprise. The high speed of these shutters are imaginary.

  10. #10

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    Re: Early Shutters for New Camera

    With all old shutters I try to adjust my aperture to get a medium shutter speed. Slower than 1/8 and faster than 1/50 is too hard to be sure of.

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