Exercising Your Shutters

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by CPorter, Mar 3, 2012.

  1. CPorter

    CPorter Member

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    I know you shouldn't store a lense with the shutter cocked. But, I'm just wandering how many excercise their shutters on their lenses that haven't been used in a while. I will occasionally pull my lenses out and cycle the shutter through all the speeds. Does this seem prudent or really not necessary?

    Chuck
     
  2. David Lyga

    David Lyga Subscriber

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    A clean, mechanical shutter does not need 'exercise'. This is said to be necessary only because of the gunk in there which needs to be 'freed'. Lighter fluid works wonders. Don't keep them cocked. - David Lyga
     
  3. Toffle

    Toffle Member

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    I am not systematic about it, but I do occasionally test my shutters. What I am very careful about, is I will test fire my shutters before making the actual exposure. A couple of test firings will often free a sluggish shutter or sticky cable release. More than once I have caught a problem that would have ruined an otherwise carefully prepared photograph.
     
  4. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    This is a fact. I'd like to add "and properly lubricated" just for clarity and completeness.
     
  5. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    Even with a clean, properly lubricated shutter it is a good idea, if it hasn't been used that day, to cycle it a few times to "settle" the lubrication and ensure that the speeds will be consistent. This is just the nature of the beasties. You can change the rate of a precision mechanical time piece, simply by letting it run down and stop. It may or may not return to it's original rate.
     
  6. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser

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    i exercised one of my shutters just this morning ... on a cyclone #5 magazine camera.
    the shutter was hanging on T ... so i switched it to I and fired it 10-20 times
    and T works fine now ... much easier than removing the 4 screws, removing the faceplate,
    taking out the lint and adding a few drops of amber oil ....
     
  7. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    In that context I totally agree, but how often does a few milliseconds ever make much of a difference in photographic exposure? :confused:
     
  8. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    I was offering an example to make a point.:smile:

    Edit: At 1/1000 sec, a few milliseconds makes a difference. :wink:
     
  9. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    Ahh.. yes, and a good point in that context!
     
  10. Steve Smith

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    We have argued this point before. Some manufacturers say leave them cocked, others say not to. The reality is that there is not much difference in the tension of a spring if the shutter is cocked or not as it does not go anywhere near completely slack when fired.

    The fact that many models of medium format camera can only mount and dismount lenses when cocked leads me to think that is the best way to leave them.


    Steve.
     
  11. dehk

    dehk Member

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    I tried to leave the shutters on B when its not going to be used for a while, I believe its a good thing for a lot of mechanical cameras.
     
  12. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    Agreed. We've argued this, and many other, points before... and likely will again in the future. It is always interesting how great are the diversity of opinion and experience. At time I feel like responding, "It also helps to twirl on your tippy-toes three times in a clock-wise direction whilst wearing a pink tu-tu." :laugh:
     
  13. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    Anti-clockwise, surely?


    Steve.
     
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  15. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    I twirl corrected!
     
  16. Grainy

    Grainy Member

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    I read the manual on my Leica and if I remember correctly it said that I should fire through all shutter speeds once every three months if I didn't use the camera.
     
  17. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    Unfortunately, experience is often misinterpreted and/or poorly observed. The facts stand on their own. Trouble is, many do not distinguish between facts and opinions.
     
  18. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    It also helps to mutter "ut tensio, sic vis" under your breath.:wink:
     
  19. BrianShaw

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    Yes, of course... we agree quite vehemently.

    With regard to shutter excercise the discussion is frequently muddled because some people (both question askers and question answerers) mistakenly believe that they have proven experience making an unreliable or inaccurate shutter both reliable and accurate by excercising it. Can't be done.

    But to re-answer the original question... I don't "excercise" my shutters on a periodic basis but know doing that surely can't hurt anything at all. In fact, it might have a beneficial side-effect: one can determine if the shutter needs servicing PRIOR to putting it into sevice where failure is undesired.
     
  20. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    Yes, that really helps me "snap back" into reality!
     
  21. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    I should get "Hooke'd" on doing that prior to using any shutter!
     
  22. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    Except for the very rare Comptoise weight-driven shutters.:wink:
     
  23. Steve Smith

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    No. It only makes it reliable up to now. It will probably become unreliable again in the near future.


    Steve.
     
  24. dpurdy

    dpurdy Subscriber

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    My experience speaks counter to the knowledgeable ones who say it is unnecessary. I have been dealing with this lately on several shutters as I own way more stuff than I currently use very often. I let my trusty Rolleiflex 2.8F sit for about six months untouched. I checked it the other day and the shutter speed was very off on the slow speeds. Not only that it was hanging up in B and not closing. And most alarming was that as I spun the arm around to cock the shutter it was opening and closing with out my firing it.
    I started thinking about all the money it was going to cost me at Harry Fleenor's but I worked it for a few minutes and everything started working better. Eventually after working it now and then over a couple of days it got back to perfect in every regard.
    I also went through my 4x5 lenses that go almost completely unused. Found that 3 of the shutters had gummed up. The lenses I use more regularly on the 8x10 are all working perfectly.
    So whatever the theory is, I don't care. I will continue to exercise my shutters on occasion so they will keep working.
    Dennis
     
  25. Steve Smith

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    I think that in this case, all you are doing is moving lubricant around to where it is not causing a problem any more... until it works its way back again.

    Whilst exercising them gets them working again, a proper clean and re-lubrication would be a better long term solution.


    Steve.
     
  26. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    ... which might be good enough for some people and some situations. I'm not criticizing that approach... its just that my definition of reliable is different and of a longer duration. What gets to me is when folks fail to understand that a makeshift approach to maintaining a reliable shutter includes a good amount of inherent risk... according to my definition of both reliable and risk. :D