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Thread: Oscilloscope cameras as a source of shutters:

  1. #1

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    Oscilloscope cameras as a source of shutters:

    ‘scope cameras were used to record oscilloscope traces on Polaroid film. Most offered in the US were made by Hewlett Packard or Tektronix. A few models contain shutters that may be worth recovering if the camera can be bought at a good price.

    Tektronix C-12, C-19, C-27, and C-58P cameras have mechanical shutters. Some have Oscillo-Paragon lenses in Ilex Universal #3 shutters. In Ilex parlance the Universal shutter is a press shutter; the Acme is the cock-and-shoot equivalent. The ‘scope camera Ilexes I’ve seen are hard to use because their rear tubes are not threaded externally to accept retaining rings.

    Other examples of these cameras have Oscillo-Raptar lenses in Alphax shutters. Some, perhaps not all, ‘scope camera Alphaxes are threaded externally at the rear.

    Hewlett Packard 196A and 196B also have mechanical shutters. I’ve seen them with Oscillo-Raptar lenses in Alphax or Pi-Alphax shutters.

    A few ‘scope cameras contain Copal Press shutters. Polaroid DS-31, -34, –39, Shackman 7000 and Tektronix C-4 for example. It isn’t clear which size shutter (#0? #1?) any of these cameras has. Copal shutters from Polaroid cameras that hold any lens but the 127/4.7 Tominon have diaphragms with limited maximum apertures.

    Most ‘scope cameras have electronically timed solenoid shutters. “Electronic” shutters can usually be recognized at sight – most are in plastic cases without visible levers for setting speed or aperture; there are also clearly marked Ilex Electronic shutters -- but sellers don’t often post images that show their ‘scope cameras’ lenses. That a ‘scope camera has a socket for a power cord, a fuse holder, or knobs for aperture and shutter speed is strong evidence that its shutter is electronic. Tek C30 and C-5x, e.g., C-5, C-51, …, cameras (except the C-58P) have electronic shutters, as do HP 122, 123, 197A and 197B. Using these shutters is difficult, not worth the effort.

    The list of ‘scope cameras above is far from exhaustive but includes the types that are often offered on eBay. Models I haven’t mentioned are potential donors but should be bought cautiously. What’s been sold once can be sold again, but because these cameras are large and heavy shipping them can be quite costly and so recovering delivery costs is hard.

    Oscillo-Paragons and Oscillo-Raptars, usually with focal lengths between 3” and 5”, are sometimes offered in shutter without a camera. Some people suggest using these lenses for closeup work on 4x5. If the price is low enough and fuzzy images of smallish objects are wanted or the shutter can be used, why not? The three inchers won’t cover 4x5 at infinity, so don’t think of them as inexpensive wide angle lenses for 4x5.

    Buying a used ‘scope camera or a lens in shutter that was extracted from one in the hope of getting an inexpensive and usable Ilex or Alphax shutter is risky. Some, perhaps all, of the shutters have diaphragms that open no wider than necessary. I’ve bought a Tek C-27 that contained a 75/1.9 Oscillo-Paragon in #3 Ilex Universal whose diaphragm opens only 28 mm; #3 Universals for normal applications open to 34.6 mm. And I’ve seen a 75/1.9 Oscillo-Raptar in Alphax with a limited diaphragm. It is probably best to avoid 75/1.9 lenses. 80/1.3 and 125 mm lenses are the best bets.

  2. #2

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    Re: Oscilloscope cameras as a source of shutters:

    Those marketed in and around Germany often had Prontor (in later years, when Prontor stopped theirs, Copal) Press shutters - I suppose the makers went with parts locally serviceable rather than establish their own service centres for an exotic shutter type from abroad.

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    Re: Oscilloscope cameras as a source of shutters:

    Sevo, I'm sure you're right. I'm more focused on what's offered in the US than in Europe, so don't think of, e.g., Oscillo-Quinons and the many 'scope camera lenses made in the UK, or of the shutters they're put in.

    There's a similar phenomenon with Folding Pocket Kodaks. US-made ones are a source of f/6.3 Tessars and small Compound shutters. Ones made in UK by EKCo's UK branch and in France their French branch used quite a different range of lenses than ones made in the US.

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    Re: Oscilloscope cameras as a source of shutters:

    A few years ago, my company dumped hundreds of their analog scopes in favor of DSO's; some had cameras with them. You should have seen all the engineers drooling and crying when the company won't give it to them. Instead, a surplus store bought them all for cheap. Now you see them all over E bay.
    "Sex is like maths, add the bed, subtract the clothes, divide the whoo hoo and hope you don't multiply." - Leather jacket guy

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    Re: Oscilloscope cameras as a source of shutters:

    A digital storage o-scope is a massive upgrade over a scope with a persistence knob that makes the glowing phosphor traces persist long enough to be recognized or photographed. And if you needed to turn up the glow for a brighter display, the whole crt got fuzzier. From a practical standpoint, I can see how these cameras got useless real quick.

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    Re: Oscilloscope cameras as a source of shutters:

    I found an old osc. camera with a Polaroid shutter and a 150mm Tominon in it. The Polaroid shutter does have an aperture, unlike some of the Tominon shutters. It's supposed to be a standard #0 shutter but when I screw the lens elements in it and measure with a digital caliper they are about 1.5mm shorter in total distance than with a known good #0 shutter. Apparently these shutters are not as standard as they appear.

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    Re: Oscilloscope cameras as a source of shutters:

    I just got a Polaroid CU-5 with a Tominon 75mm and happened to come across an old post of yours where you explain G-Clarons can be fitted to this shutter.

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    Re: Oscilloscope cameras as a source of shutters:

    Quote Originally Posted by Ramiro Elena View Post
    I just got a Polaroid CU-5 with a Tominon 75mm and happened to come across an old post of yours where you explain G-Clarons can be fitted to this shutter.
    Mr. Galli has done it more than once.

  9. #9

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    Re: Oscilloscope cameras as a source of shutters:

    Quote Originally Posted by domaz View Post
    I found an old osc. camera with a Polaroid shutter and a 150mm Tominon in it. The Polaroid shutter does have an aperture, unlike some of the Tominon shutters. It's supposed to be a standard #0 shutter but when I screw the lens elements in it and measure with a digital caliper they are about 1.5mm shorter in total distance than with a known good #0 shutter. Apparently these shutters are not as standard as they appear.
    Funny you should mention this. I've measured the tube length of the Copal Polaroid Press that 127/4.7 Tominons were sold in. It is ~ 2 mm longer than the Compur/Copal/Prontor #1 standard. I try not to use these shutters for remounting lenses bought in barrel, instead use #1 Prontor Press shutters (so badged, not the ones sold for the Polaroid MP-3 system).

    Eric Beltrando -- visit his site, www.dioptrique.info -- wrote a ray tracing program that he uses to evaluate lens designs. When I mentioned to him that I doubted the wisdom of putting a Boyer Zircon in a Copal Polaroid Press #1 he told me not to worry. He explained that the added length, which will increase the lens' focal length, is a small fraction of the lens' focal length and that any way plasmats' (that's what the Zircon is) corrections aren't very sensitive to cell spacing.

    I suspect that Polaroid and Copal were well aware of the risks that Copal Polaroid shutters posed to Copal's press shutter line.

  10. #10

    Re: Oscilloscope cameras as a source of shutters:

    I've come across this thread numerous times while working with projects I am working on- I would like to add that the Alphax shutters with the limited diaphragm opening were made to do this in an incredibly trivial way.

    If you take out the three screws on the back of the shutter, remove the cover and take a look at the immediately visible aperture mechanism, you'll see that the limitation was done via a simple tab bent up as a stop. This is easily bent back down flush with the rest of the plate. You'll see that you can now move the indicator past the scale by a good 1/4" and open the diaphragm up all the way.

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