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Thread: Are There New Shutters for Old Lenses

  1. #11
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    Re: Are There New Shutters for Old Lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by Timmyjoe View Post
    Just checked the SKGrimes web site and they no longer service shutters. Says they no longer have a shutter technician.
    They don't repair shutter mechanisms, but AFAIK they do still remount lenses in shutters. Their fundamental skill set is machining and fabrication, not mechanism repair. They can fabricate any required adapter rings and aperture scales and re-mount lens cells with proper alignment.

    But as has been mentioned, the cost will be way more than the market value of the lenses you're talking about.

  2. #12
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    Re: Are There New Shutters for Old Lenses

    You might try Charles Monday for Supermatic CLA: c9photo@gmail.com
    Keith Pitman

  3. #13

    Re: Are There New Shutters for Old Lenses

    FWIW Over the past several days, I just retested the shutters of literally 38 large format lenses, using a known-accurate shutter speed tester that matched the results that I got back from both Grimes and Flutot on shutters CLA'd by them.

    I also checked pupil size accuracy at several apertures on each lens. All pupils and apertures were accurately marked by the lens manufacturers. No problems there.

    I literally finished printing and laminating the data cards that go with each lens within the past two hours. I mention this so that you have some factual basis for evaluating my comments below. It's odd that this post came up today, as I was wondering whether it was worth posting my general observations, but the OP did ask...

    Every shutter was tested at room temperature and at least three times at every marked speed, after "exercising" the shutters a bit to limber up any lagging speeds. I considered any 1/4 stop or less difference as within standards and flagged any 1/3 stop or greater discrepancy from the marked speed, whether slow or fast.

    I tested a wide variety of shutters and lenses from every major manufacturer. Shutters included huge old Volutes on early Protar VIIs, early and late model Copals, Seikos, older Ilex, Rapax, Alphax, and Supermatic models on 1940s and 1950s US-made lenses (including 2 Kodak 203 Ektars), Compound shutters, Compur and Prontor models of various sizes, and a few rarities like a Compur #2 on a Voightlander 115mm Ultragon.

    I'm laying this out mostly for the original poster. These are likely well-known generalizations, old-hat if you will, to long-time large format users.

    I did not see any relationship between the lens maker and shutter accuracy, no surprise, and I did test shutters mounting both old and newer lenses branded by Schneider, Rodenstock, Nikon, Kodak, Fujinon, Bausch and Lomb, Kern, Voightlander, and Goerz American Optical Company.

    Test-derived generalizations and observations, in no particular order:

    1. As others have well-noted above, marked top speeds are rarely, if ever, reached. I found the top marked speed on nearly every shutter was barely faster than the next slower speed, if that. Those marked top speeds were NEVER nearly as fast as marked. I consider them essentially useless.

    2. Most shutters tend to run consistently, even if the actual speeds are not the marked speeds. Most shutters were reasonable consistent at the same marked speeds, even compared to test results made two years ago.

    So long as a shutter runs consistently and you know its actual speeds, that's good enough You can compensate by slightly altering your aperture.

    A fair number of shutters, particularly smaller Compurs and Compounds, tended to run a bit faster than marked at slower speeds like 1 second, 1/2, and 1/4.

    Seiko shutters on early Fujinon lenses tended to be surprisingly accurate relative to marked speeds. However, although the Seikos were older shutters, they were very lightly used, basically new shutters.

    Copal 0 and 1 shutters tended to run pretty close to their marked speeds within most of the normally used speed range, particularly if these Copals were recently cleaned, lubed, and adjusted (CLA).

    Copal 3 shutters tended to run about 1/3 stop slower than marked in many cases, and not only at the faster marked speeds. Ilex shutters were fairly consistent but not necessarily running at their marked speeds.

    The above are just generalizations. You need to test and calibrate every shutter to really know how a particular shutter works at a particular marked speed. If it's cold, there's a good chance that higher marked speeds will run slower than marked due to friction/ lubrication viscosity.

    3. Older shutters, including those Kodak Supermatics, that had a recent CLA by Carol Miller of Flutot's Camera Repair, tended to run very accurately afterwards, almost perfectly accurate in some cases. Most LF shutters definitely benefit from a CLA, if for no other reason than smooth adjustment.

    4. By and large, within normal LF speed ranges, most shutters ran consistently for a given speed, even when compared to the same calibrations made two years ago.

    That suggests that once you know how fast a shutter runs at a given marked speed, you can rely upon it to run at that speed under similar environmental circumstances. Even if it's off, so long as it's consistent, just carry a speed data card with the lens and you'll know how to alter your aperture somewhat to get spot-on exposure accuracy.

    That's a perhaps overly-lengthy way of saying there are very few bad shutters, most shutters - even older ones - greatly benefit from a CLA, top marked speeds are largely a marketing fiction, shutters tend to run consistently, but not necessarily at the marked speeds.

    Do your tests, carry your true shutter speed data cards, and then adjust the aperture a bit to compensate for true shutter speed.

    Oh, and by the way, you are testing and calibrating your light meter, right? When I tested my light meters as well, I've found that among four meters, there was up to a one-stop discrepancy, particular when meter batteries ran low. Low meter batteries result in the meter reading an exposure EV that's one or two stops too high, i.e., indicating more light than is really there, causing under under-exposure.

  4. #14

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    Re: Are There New Shutters for Old Lenses

    Thank you very much for posting this information which I don't think is over lengthy. A comment to follow on yours about the often maligned Ilex shutters is that in testing mine I've found the speeds, while not exactly as marked, are generally rather consistent and reasonably well spaced apart. And Ilex did after all invent the slow speed escapement mechanism that Deckel used, via licensing the patent, on their Compur shutters.

    David

  5. #15

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    Re: Are There New Shutters for Old Lenses

    Try having a CLA on them first.
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.
    I'm not OCD. I'm CDO which is alphabetically correct.

  6. #16

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    Re: Are There New Shutters for Old Lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by David Lindquist View Post
    Thank you very much for posting this information which I don't think is over lengthy. A comment to follow on yours about the often maligned Ilex shutters is that in testing mine I've found the speeds, while not exactly as marked, are generally rather consistent and reasonably well spaced apart. And Ilex did after all invent the slow speed escapement mechanism that Deckel used, via licensing the patent, on their Compur shutters.

    David
    David, I've harvested Ilex #3 Uinversals from oscilloscope cameras and tachistoscopes. Most have been gummed up and useless as purchased but one, miracle of miracles, is bang on at all speeds including 1/100. When they're good they're very good.

  7. #17

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    Re: Are There New Shutters for Old Lenses

    A thought about leaf shutters. The conventional wisdom is that they run slow at higher speeds. This is usually based on measurements taken with shutter speed testers that measure the time between just open and nearly closed. Accurate as far as they go, but they neglect shutter efficiency. Leaf shutters open and close somewhat slowly so total light they pass at higher speeds is less than measurements of time elapsed between open and shut would suggest.

  8. #18

    Re: Are There New Shutters for Old Lenses

    Dan, you make an excellent point about testing artifacts at higher speeds, particularly when using larger taking apertures.

    However, on first blush, it does seem that the typical LF use of small taking apertures, say f/22 or f/32, negates much of the artifacting because then only the central portion of the lens is used for imaging and that central portion is less affected by shutter efficiency concerns.

    In my recent re-tests and recalibations, I did use a known-accurate, very repeatable Calumet shutter speed tester that measures only the actual open interval, not the total amount of light. I did take care to center the lens axis over the timing sensor and use the same halogen light source used two years ago and at the same distance from the front lens element.

    However, data is better than surmise by me, so when I have a chance over the next few days, I'll test several lens samples wide-open and at f/22, test at a few off-axis angles, and verify that the tester is not significantly affected by aperture or light intensity, and report back.

  9. #19

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    Re: Are There New Shutters for Old Lenses

    Joe, I have a Calumet tester too. I'm not sure that it works with the aperture stopped way down. Haven't tried because I've sometimes had to put the light source close to the shutter. I recall seeing professional testers -- not Calumets -- at S. K. Grimes that placed the light source a fair distance from the shutter being tested.

  10. #20

    Re: Are There New Shutters for Old Lenses

    Thanks, Dan. I'll test under some varying conditions and see what transpires. I had several lenses mounted/remounted by Grimes and re-tested the shutter speeds after they came back with Grimes speed test numbers, and the Calumet agreed closely and repeatably. Same with shutters cleaned and calibrated by Flutot and then re-tested when I got those shutters back. So, I am fairly comfortable that the Calumet is accurate within the confines of how it's used.

    Now, I'm curious about the results of varying the testing routine. I already have the default controls from the past two years.

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