calumet shutter tester

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Equipment' started by jnanian, Apr 9, 2013.

  1. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    years ago i got a calumet shutter tester
    i originally got it to test the speeds on my graflex slr ...
    i eventually abandoned the task
    and brought it to someone i know who has a shop
    and we figured out all the speeds using his professional set up ...

    this morning i tested some of the speeds on the slr with the calumet tester
    it seemed to work OK ...

    does anyone else have one of these gizmos ?
    are they reliable ?
     
  2. Peltigera

    Peltigera Member

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    If you are not a professional repairer why would you want a shutter tester? Running a film through the camera will tell you if the shutter is ok or not - if you can't tell by looking at the film any defects won't matter. If the film says the shutter is not working ok you need to decide if the cost of a CLA is justified (with most of my cameras a CLA is more than the cameras are worth).
     
  3. Ken Nadvornick

    Ken Nadvornick Subscriber

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    I am not a professional repairer and I have and use one. It gives me objective data, instead of subjective guesses. It can not only tell me that something is off, it can also answer the question of how far. Knowing that, I can adjust accordingly, often without the need for—or cost of—a professional repairer.

    John, I have one, and on those occassions when I've had shutters tested professionally (usually after a check-up or repair) I've retested them with my humble little Calumet instrument and it was usually pretty darned close. For my purposes I trust mine.

    Ken
     
  4. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    hi Peltigera

    i used the tester because i have and use a graflex slr ( 4x5 ) camera
    and over the years i have re-timed my shutter. i know from how slow
    the curtain falls about what speed it is ... i have shot mostly b/w film
    and some chrome and c41 film. when i was shooting chrome film it cost a fortune to
    process and purchase so i don't want to waste my time ( that is why i had my repair-friend verify my speeds with me )
    now ... i am thinking of shooting silver gelatin ambrotypes with this camera since i have a dry plate bag-mag
    that has been sleeping on my shelf for around 15 years ... and expose seems to be rather critical with this process
    so i verified my speeds again this morning ... if it was plain old dry plates or paper or film, i wouldn't worry about my speeds ..

    thanks !
    john
     
  5. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    I'm not a professional, and I have and use one of these. Running film through the camera will not tell you what a shutter tester will tell you. Since I perform my own CLAs, a shutter tester is indispensable. So too (indispensable) is the ability to test a shutter without wasting film, which in the case of 8x10 transparency gets expensive rather quickly - $27 per sheet in the case of Fuji Velvia.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 9, 2013
  6. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    I am in favor of using a shutter tester even if one can not make the adjustment him/herself. Testing with film won't tell you how well your shutter is working. It could be the processing or the lens or your exposure meter.
     
  7. Peltigera

    Peltigera Member

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    So now I know! OK, I wasn't thinking about the cost - with 35mm, that is negligible but I understand that with larger formats it will get expensive.
     
  8. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    There's more to it than cost. A tester will tell you how much in error, whether it's consistent, will allow you to test any shutter at any time without wasting film, and without waiting for processing. You can test a shutter in the field or studio too. It's the difference between working carefully and methodically, or proceeding by guess and by gosh.
    Personally, I can't afford to waste film be it color, B&W, 35mm, 8x10, etc. Goes against my grain.
     
  9. Pioneer

    Pioneer Subscriber

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    Given adequate time any photographer on any forum can provide sufficient justification to purchase and use just about any gadget currently in, or out of, production. :smile:
     
  10. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    Yes indeed. I purchased mine back around 1986 or so.:smile: Fifty bucks well spent.
     
  11. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    Not so much about the cost. When you test on film and you got good exposure are you sure that your shutter speed is correct? May be you would say you don't care as long as you get good exposure. What if you get bad exposure how do you know it's because the shutter speed?
     
  12. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

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    I'm not a professional shutter technician and I have a Calumet Shutter Tester/Checker. The bottom line here is to know or not to know.
     
  13. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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  15. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

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  16. bkarasek

    bkarasek Subscriber

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    I have one of these Calumet shutter tester. battery has to be replaced.. The instruction manual is a bit rudimentary. Anybody know of a site that gives better info regarding the use of the calumet tester? I want to use it to check the speeds of the focal plane shutters on my Speed Graphics.
     
  17. JackRosa

    JackRosa Member

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    I do have

    I do have one of these gizmos and use it to check my lenses every six months or so. So far, so good.
     
  18. silveror0

    silveror0 Member

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    Years ago I had a Hasselblad lens that needed its shutter checked by a pro. He used an oscilloscope and noticed a slight shutter "bounce" after the shutter closed (i.e., the leaf shutter opened/closed a bit). That could cause a ghost image on film if the subject was illuminated bright enough. A checker like the Calumet cannot detect such an occurrence, but it's still money well spent. Currently it's a bit difficult to find a used one, so I built my own using the one described in Way Before Monochrome, 2nd Ed., which employs a sensor that inputs a signal into my PC where it is processed by Audacity software and indicates a trace similar to an oscilloscope. Since all my lenses are mounted on lensboards for LF work, I made the additional effort to build a setup with MDB material that holds the board vertically and maintains the position of the sensor and light source relative to the lens; that way I can fire the shutter multiple times for a consistency check. All the ACTUAL speeds are then labeled and stuck on the lensboard of each lens. Frequent rechecks are easily done, so I know when performance is changing. An inconsistent shutter then gets a CLA.
     
  19. Kawaiithulhu

    Kawaiithulhu Subscriber

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    Using some kind of tester, even a creatively engineered one like silveror0 describes, is probably the only way to "calibrate" the nutcase holding the squeeze bulb to a Packard shutter :smile:
    Any other way would cost too much in film and time.
     
  20. APUGuser19

    APUGuser19 Member

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    Is this tester of any use in timing individual curtain speed? If not, can you name an affordable one that is? Thank you.
     
  21. Ken Nadvornick

    Ken Nadvornick Subscriber

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    Camera shutter tester and curtain tester up to 1/8000th with light source

    Regarding affordability, YMMV...

    :smile:

    I believe this seller once participate here on APUG. Be sure to click the See other items link, as he has a full range of these devices available at various price points. I have neither purchased nor tested any of them, so cannot personally attest to their effectiveness. I also have no connection whatsoever with the seller.

    Note also that the Calumet shutter tester has been discontinued for some time.

    Ken
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 22, 2015
  22. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    if you are talking about the calumet tester,
    it seems to work well with whatever you stick it behind.
    i have only stuck it behind large format shutters, including
    a graflex slr with a large curtain and slit. i can't really comment
    with experience about using it with small format cameras with curtains
    cause i haven't used it that way ...
    they aren't being made anymore so if you find a used one
    and need the manual ... you can find it here at ken lee's website:
    http://www.kenleegallery.com/html/shuttertester/manual.php
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 22, 2015
  23. silveror0

    silveror0 Member

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    If you're asking about the checker I built, I've not used it for a focal plane shutter, as all my lenses are leaf type. The description of this tester in WBM2 says it’s useable for FP shutters, but I suspect you’re asking if it can check the speed of each curtain, individually. If so, I believe an indication can be determined for both the leading curtain’s opening rate and the following curtain’s closing rate, independently. But that indication would not be in the usual units for velocity such as ft/sec, but rather it would be a measure of the rate of light intensity reaching the film. The software samples the changing light intensity at an extremely high rate. Since the software yields a trace similar to an oscillograph, in which one sees the slope of the lead curtain’s opening and the slope of the following curtain’s closing, you would likely have to select a shutter speed for which the two slopes do not overlap on the time scale of the trace (i.e., a flat unchanging trace). Presumably, these curtain speeds do not change with different shutter settings. Hope this makes sense.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 22, 2015
  24. Xmas

    Xmas Member

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    Some where on the web there is a circuit for a simple speed tester that you plug into the stereo jack of your PC.

    It has two photo detectors.

    Alternatively if you have a CRT TV a photo of the 'interlace' will show both curtains accelerating across the frame and the gap opening to keep the effective illumination constant.
     
  25. silveror0

    silveror0 Member

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    If you really mean that the curtains are accelerating across the frame, then determining the curtains' velocity has little meaning, as it can only occur for an instant in time. Acceleration is defined as the rate of change in velocity. I always understood, perhaps erroneously, that FP shutters used fixed curtain velocity and varied the gap to provide constant film exposure across the frame.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 22, 2015
  26. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    or0, it depends on the curtain shutter. Most curtain shutters have two curtains. The width of the gap between the curtains is set by the delay between the time the first curtain starts moving and the time the second curtain starts moving. A few curtain shutters -- most but not all Graflex shutters, for example -- have one curtain with slits of different width. With these one selects slit width and spring tension to select shutter speed.

    Curtains start out standing still, accelerate to their maximum speed and then may or may not slow down as they traverse the gate. At the far end of the gate, stop with a bang. In the case of Graflexes, stop with a big bang.