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Thread: What is this shutter on a Vesta Portrait lens?

  1. #1

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    What is this shutter on a Vesta Portrait lens?

    Could someone please help me identify the shutter on this 7" f/5 Vesta portrait lens? The shutter is incredibly simple. It only has T, B and I and no other speed. The letter I is for Instant, I suppose. The last time I used this lens was in 2005 and, alas, I can't remember how it works! I don't see anything that resembles a cocking lever and it is driving me nuts. The aperture selector and the aperture blades move smoothly. But I can't figure out the shutter! Not sure if the shutter is frozen from not getting any exercise for over a decade. But I can't even see how to cock it! There is a plunger type thing next to the cable release receptacle (I marked it as 'What's This?), I am not sure what it does. How does this thing work? Thanks for your help.
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  2. #2

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    Re: What is this shutter on a Vesta Portrait lens?

    This is an interesting, nondescript cousin of Wollensak’s Auto/Regno/Victo/Ultro family of shutters, 1914-1919. I haven’t seen it in any catalogs, but maybe a brochure or “Lensology and Shutterisms” that mentions it will surface.

    It is an automatic type that doesn’t cock, it fires simply with the cable release or by pressing the “Push Button” (the ‘What’s This’). If yours doesn’t fire with either method, then it may need a trip to Carol at Flutot’s.

    Really neat shutter on a great lens.

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  3. #3

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    Re: What is this shutter on a Vesta Portrait lens?

    That is a shutter release button and it looks like it is stuck down. It's supposed to pop back up after you fire.

    I'd try VERY GENTLY to pull it back up (fingernail, not crowbar!), and if it doesn't immediately come up, and the shutter then work, it's due a trip to the shop.
    Thanks, but I'd rather just watch:
    Large format: http://flickr.com/michaeldarnton
    Mostly 35mm: http://flickr.com/mdarnton
    You want digital, color, etc?: http://www.flickr.com/photos/stradofear

  4. #4

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    Re: What is this shutter on a Vesta Portrait lens?

    Thank you so much for the information, Whir-Click. From the descriptions in your attached image, it does look like this could be the Ultro, the simplest of the four with just B, T and I shutters. I can't remember what shutter speed the I stands for though! Could it be 1/30th? I tried firing with a cable release, but it is stuck from lack of use. It definitely needs to see Carol to get CLA'd. The lens renders images beautifully with dreamy soft falloff on the edges, much like its kin, the Verito.

    Speaking of which, I have a 8.75" Wollensak Verito barrel lens that I would like to put into a shutter at some point. Would you know what shutters might be good for it? Would a #3 Compound shutter be the right choice? Or is there something smaller that might work? The Verito might need a trip to S. K. Grimes for a shutter. For now, I am thinking of sticking it in front of a Graflex Pacemaker with a focal plane shutter to see if it works at wide apertures.

  5. #5

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    Re: What is this shutter on a Vesta Portrait lens?

    Quote Originally Posted by mdarnton View Post
    That is a shutter release button and it looks like it is stuck down. It's supposed to pop back up after you fire.

    I'd try VERY GENTLY to pull it back up (fingernail, not crowbar!), and if it doesn't immediately come up, and the shutter then work, it's due a trip to the shop.
    It does come up with a gentle pull, but falls back down without any resistance. When it is pulled up, nothing happens to the shutter at all. It remains closed. The shutter definitely needs attention for it to be working again.

  6. #6

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    Re: What is this shutter on a Vesta Portrait lens?

    Some 8.75” Verito lenses are a factory-direct fit into Betax #4 shutters, while others appear in Betax #5 or Studio shutters. If your Verito lens barrels are 2.42” female thread, then you can probably go right into a Betax (or Alphax with flash sync) #4 shutter.

    I’m not sure what the “Instant” speed is on your TBI shutter, but 1/30th sounds quite reasonable.

  7. #7

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    Re: What is this shutter on a Vesta Portrait lens?

    Quote Originally Posted by Whir-Click View Post
    Some 8.75” Verito lenses are a factory-direct fit into Betax #4 shutters, while others appear in Betax #5 or Studio shutters. If your Verito lens barrels are 2.42” female thread, then you can probably go right into a Betax (or Alphax with flash sync) #4 shutter.

    I’m not sure what the “Instant” speed is on your TBI shutter, but 1/30th sounds quite reasonable.
    Thanks for the clarification. Yes, the female part of the barrel is approximately 62.8 or pretty close to the 2.42" that you mentioned. I had read somewhere that the Betax is a match for it, can't recall the size. I could go without the flash sync. Here is a picture of the lens.

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  8. #8

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    Re: What is this shutter on a Vesta Portrait lens?

    I apologize for mis-typing above: a 2.42” male thread will fit a Betax #4.

    Your picture and measurements clear it up, though, your Verito is mounted in a Wollensak #5 lens barrel, in-between the #3 and #4 Betax shutter sizes, and will require special adaptations to fit in a shutter.

  9. #9

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    Re: What is this shutter on a Vesta Portrait lens?

    I have been intrigued by the shutter in the post, not only because it doesn’t appear in any Wollensak catalogs, but also because the “I” in “TBI” does not appear original.

    I had the good fortune to recently pick up a similar 7” Vesta in a nondescript Wollensak shutter. Here are some observations:
    - The shutter is a simplified version of Wollensak’s Auto shutter. It’s self-cocking and has a maximum aperture of 1.375”, which rules out the similar-looking Regno, Vico, and Ultro shutters.
    - This shutter’s mounting is dimensionally identical Wollensak’s Alphax and Betax #3 shutters, meaning the Vesta’s lens cells are a direct fit into a more modern, full-speed, and (for the Alphax) flash synch shutter. A very nice option. A #3 flange fits as well.
    - If one removes the speed plate from this shutter, one sees that a small brass screw limits the travel of the speed selector lever to “T” and “B.” (See photo). However, if one simply removes that screw, the speed selector lever can move clockwise a little more (see reassembled photo) and the shutter fires at an instant speed! Hence the “I” added the OP’s shutter.
    - I measure the instant speed of the mystery shutter at about 1/30.

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  10. #10

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    Re: What is this shutter on a Vesta Portrait lens?

    Whir-Click, first off, congrats on acquiring a 7" Vesta which I am sure you're enjoying a lot. I loved using mine when it was actually working. It is interesting to see that you don't have the 'I' marking but it can still shoot at that speed by removing the speed limiter screw. I don't understand why they would do that in the first place. But at least now you have 1/30th. So, should I look into putting this on a Alphax #3 shutter to have a few more shutter speeds than just the 'I'? What would that entail? Something I can do myself easily or it needs special modification for a perfect fit? I would love to have up to 1/400 shutter speed, like other Ektars.
    Here is a photo I shot with this Vesta and why I like it so much. Shot this with an Ebony 45su, most likely stopped down a stop or two from wide open. Can't remember! It was shot on Polaroid Type55 P/N film.

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