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Thread: Compur Rapid

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Nov 2010
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    1

    Compur Rapid

    I have a Kodak Bantam Special with a Kodak Compur Rapid shutter and a Kodak Anastigamatic 45mm lens. I know that durng WWII kodak used the American Supermatic.

    Was the Supermatic of equal quality to the Compur Rapid shutter? Compur had machined components.....did the Supermatic have machined or stamped metal components?

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    now in Tucson, AZ
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    2,776

    Re: Compur Rapid

    I've never looked inside either one but they're both fine shutters. I have a lens in a Supermatic shutter that was last CLA'd in 1990 and it's still running true; I use it all the time. After 60+ years, either shutter's function will be based more on maintenance history and condition than anything else. Of course the "Compur" name will give you bragging rights, just like a Leica lens that says "Wetzlar" will over one that says "Canada" on it.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Posts
    9,472

    Re: Compur Rapid

    While the Compurs probably have more finely machined parts, remember that 1940s American engineering was the best in the world and Kodak lenses outperformed Zeiss, Leica, etc. The American shutters were specifically designed to be less complex and expensive than the Compurs, and they ran longer under worse conditions.

    On the Russian front in WW2 a lot of finely made German equipment froze up and failed due to ice and mud. Think of how a relatively simple and crude AK-47 continues to work in spite of all the grit - that's better engineering to me.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Oct 2004
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    S.W. Wyoming
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    1,137

    Re: Compur Rapid

    The Compur Rapid shutters had some inherent flaws built in. Especially the ones that go to 1/800 second. Leaf shutters just don't work well at speeds that fast. The fastest speeds on even the 1/400 variety didn't work well at the fastest speeds. Not for long, anyway. There are some varieties of the Compur Rapid that service techs won't touch. The Supermatic shutter is a fine piece, but like any other, the fast speeds go south after a period of time. The worst thing about any of these old shutters is the lack of replacement parts. If someone would make just main springs for some of these, especially the big Ilex shutters, it would sure be nice.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    435

    Re: Compur Rapid

    The Supermatics always had problems. The Compurs were great until after WWII which is why most lens makers shifted to Copals. Compur bought Prontors manufacturing company to protect itself. The best leaf shutters I have ever used or tested were the Seikosha Rapid shutters but they refused to make a larger shutter. At Calumet we bought thousands of Seikoshas for two of our lenses and never had a failure. I wish I could say that about any other shutter.

    Lynn

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