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Thread: How does shutter timing work?

  1. #1

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    How does shutter timing work?

    New here and about to purchase my first 4x5. In looking for lenses it got me wondering how the timing mechanism in shutters work? Is there some type of spring that controls the timing?

  2. #2
    Mark Sawyer's Avatar
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    Re: How does shutter timing work?

    Yes, and on most shutters it can be easily damaged by someone not knowing what they're doing abusing the shutter, or simply long-term improper storage. Used shutters are like used cars, newer is more reliable, but it depends on how it was driven.

    Like most of the world, large format photography is a nightmare...
    "I love my Verito lens, but I always have to sharpen everything in Photoshop..."

  3. #3
    8x10, 5x7, 4x5, et al Leigh's Avatar
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    Re: How does shutter timing work?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Sawyer View Post
    Like most of the world, large format photography is a nightmare...
    No. It's more of a daymare.

    It doesn't work very well at night.

    To answer the OP's question...
    Shutter timing is accomplished using springs and gears, exactly like a mechanical watch or clock.

    - Leigh
    If you believe you can, or you believe you can't... you're right.

  4. #4

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    Re: How does shutter timing work?

    In a standard leaf shutter there are 2 sections inside... The higher speeds have a spring pushing the blades open and closed... But there is something that creates a larger or smaller gap between the open/closing blades that allow faster/slower time open depending on the size of that gap... (It's a little like snapping your fingers... It happens fast, but if you had longer fingers (a bigger gap space) your thumb would travel further and you snap would last a little longer... I hope this helps explain...)

    Under a certain speed, open/closed blades need more of a delay, so there are a set of gears that spin fast but the last gear slowly moves a lever that slowly allows the shutter to close (you can hear it's gears buzzing when operating)... So a mechanical delay that kicks in...

    Then there's the iris in there, and different flat arms inside that allow the shutter to just open for time exposures, and preview (focusing)... And some electrical contacts that meet when the shutter is at a wide open point to fire your flash...

    And all in a small package under and around your lens...

    Just don't ask me how anyone figured out how to do this, it is quite amazing... ;-)

    Steve K

  5. #5
    Serious Amateur Photographer pepeguitarra's Avatar
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    Re: How does shutter timing work?

    Having bought about 10 used lenses, I had to have CLA done to eight of them, I can tell you that whenever you hear the words "speeds sound good to me", don't buy it, or buy it, but add $100 per shutter for CLA to the price. I also bought a brand new in the box Kodak Supermatic shutter, indeed, it was never used. Well, it was so hard to change speed that it had to be sent for CLA too. You need to use them, otherwise, the grease or lubricant will solidify (I guess) and get stuck. So, one weekend of the month, I sit down with all of them and shoot them "to the air".
    "I have never in my life made music for money or fame. God walks out of the room when you are thinking about money." -- Quincy Jones

  6. #6
    Jim Jones's Avatar
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    Re: How does shutter timing work?

    The slowest timing in modern shutters for large format is controlled by a spring driven series of gears that ultimately drive a rocker that acts like a pendulum on steroids. For the intermediate speeds the rocker is disengaged, and the gear train can run down faster. A booster spring speeds up the fastest shutter speed. The simple old Compound (and many other) shutters use an air piston to control the time the shutter blades are open.

  7. #7
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: How does shutter timing work?

    There are other shutters.

    Some here use a hat, not kidding!

    I like Packard Shutters which are very simple in construction and work well for decades.

    Their 120 year history is interesting. The company just changed ownership and still makes them.

    The new company. https://packardshutter.com/

    The fanclub. http://www.mikeeckman.com/2018/03/in...utter-company/

    I used one last night to shoot these pics posted here. https://www.largeformatphotography.i...=1#post1477771
    sin eater

  8. #8

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    Re: How does shutter timing work?

    Quote Originally Posted by pepeguitarra View Post
    Having bought about 10 used lenses, I had to have CLA done to eight of them, I can tell you that whenever you hear the words "speeds sound good to me", don't buy it, or buy it, but add $100 per shutter for CLA to the price. I also bought a brand new in the box Kodak Supermatic shutter, indeed, it was never used. Well, it was so hard to change speed that it had to be sent for CLA too. You need to use them, otherwise, the grease or lubricant will solidify (I guess) and get stuck. So, one weekend of the month, I sit down with all of them and shoot them "to the air".
    What is CLA and where does one have it done?

  9. #9

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    Re: How does shutter timing work?

    Quote Originally Posted by denalilap View Post
    What is CLA and where does one have it done?
    Clean, lube and adjust. I've had good luck with skgrimes.com

  10. #10
    8x10, 5x7, 4x5, et al Leigh's Avatar
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    Re: How does shutter timing work?

    Quote Originally Posted by denalilap View Post
    What is CLA and where does one have it done?
    We need to know where you are.
    You might put that in your Profile so it shows up on every post.

    There are good service shops all over the country.

    - Leigh
    If you believe you can, or you believe you can't... you're right.

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