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Thread: Any tips & tricks for operating lenses without own shutter (lens cap on-off)

  1. #1

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    Any tips & tricks for operating lenses without own shutter (lens cap on-off)

    Dear forum friends,

    I know a lot of you guys are using antique lenses, probably many of them have no shutters.

    I heard about the lens cap on-off technique, if you do not want to invest in a back mounted shutter.

    As I want to try this lens cap on-off first, I am wondering if there are any tips, tricks dos and don'ts when using this technique.
    Which exposure time is minimum recommended to do this technique.
    Take it off from left, put it on from right to avoid one side darker than the other?
    How to best avoid shaking the camera...

    Probably tomorrow I want to give it a first try, so maybe some of you can help me to make it right straight away?

    Thanks a lot and best regards, Miguel

  2. #2

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    Re: Any tips & tricks for operating lenses without own shutter (lens cap on-off)

    I found fumbling with a lens cap frustrating. I bought a big can of tuna at the store, and after lunch I cleaned it out and lined it with sticky-back black felt from a craft store. Much easier to pop on-and-off than a lens shade.

    Some people wear a black felt hat while they're photographing and use that as a shutter.

  3. #3
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    Re: Any tips & tricks for operating lenses without own shutter (lens cap on-off)

    I use a lens cap and I don't worry too much about vibrations. If I were concerned about sharpness, I'd not be using a brass barrel lens.

    Simple math tells us that if it takes 1/2 second to remove and replace the lens cap, a maximum 1/3 stop error could be present if the target time was 3 seconds. Any target exposure time greater than 3 sec would diminish the lenscap replacement exposure error to less than 1/3 stop.

  4. #4
    Mark Sawyer's Avatar
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    Re: Any tips & tricks for operating lenses without own shutter (lens cap on-off)

    The usual techniques involve ND filters, rotating dual linear polarizing filters, slower films, subdued light, Packard shutters, a variety of front-mounted shutters (Thornton-Pickard, Luc, etc.), and small apertures, (although especially with lenses that have a particular signature, that signature goes away as you shut down the aperture).

    Most importantly, do a search for the "Galli shutter" on this forum and YouTube.
    "I love my Verito lens, but I always have to sharpen everything in Photoshop..."

  5. #5
    Jac@stafford.net's Avatar
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    Re: Any tips & tricks for operating lenses without own shutter (lens cap on-off)

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Sawyer View Post
    [...]
    Most importantly, do a search for the "Galli shutter" on this forum and YouTube.
    I have Galli's video bookmarked. See it here.

  6. #6

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    Re: Any tips & tricks for operating lenses without own shutter (lens cap on-off)

    We have another tool these days - in combination with above mentioned methods. Slow dry plates are now available which makes cap use etc. able to deliver correct exposures even if you have fumble fingers!

  7. #7

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    Re: Any tips & tricks for operating lenses without own shutter (lens cap on-off)

    Quote Originally Posted by Jac@stafford.net View Post
    I have Galli's video bookmarked. See it here.
    Thanks Jac, but I have to say, perhaps 1/250th was a little puffery. ;~'))
    He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep..to gain that which he cannot lose. Jim Elliot, 1949

  8. #8
    bob carnie's Avatar
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    Re: Any tips & tricks for operating lenses without own shutter (lens cap on-off)

    I close down to about 22 or 32 , I am usually taking photos of small objects so the bellows is long, and I have found that with fp4 I get a good negative at about 3 steamboats and I do a second one at 6 steamboats. I take the lens cap off and I find it a bit clumsy but workable.

  9. #9
    jp's Avatar
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    Re: Any tips & tricks for operating lenses without own shutter (lens cap on-off)

    The Galli video is good.

    If it's 4x5, I use a speed graphic. 1/15 to 1/1000 (ish) speeds.
    If it's 8x10 and a 9" lensboard, I also use a speed graphic as mid-shutter.

  10. #10
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Any tips & tricks for operating lenses without own shutter (lens cap on-off)

    Get a clip-on lens cap, the kind where you can just gently squeeze the two tabs. Make sure it is light tight. Then use a relatively slow film and if necessary a deep filter. I try to get an exposure of at least ten sec. But the first time I tried this, I was shocked to see that the negative was perfectly sharp.

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