Help Needed with Kodak Flash Supermatic Shutter

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Lobalobo, Mar 4, 2014.

  1. Lobalobo

    Lobalobo Member

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    Just purchased an Ektar f/7.7 203mm lens in a Kodak Flash Supermatic Shutter. Having some difficulty with one aspect of the shutter's operation and hope that someone here can help. The issue I'm having is with the red shutter-speed indication in the upper right quadrant of the lens (facing the the lens). These red markings are "10, 5, 2, 1, B, T" and they sit just above a slide marked, also in red, "M" at one end and "F" at the other. When the shutter is cocked it's possible to cock another lever, one that sits above the red "T" and cocks by bringing it down toward and to the "F" or the "M" (goes to the "F" if the slide is at the "F" and to the "M" if the slide is there). Cocking this lever seems to activate the slower shutter speeds, those marked in red, rather than the faster shutter speeds, marked in black lower and on the left of the shutter. That is, the same dial changes both the black and the red shutter settings, but either the black or the red seems to be chosen depending on whether the second lever is cocked after the shutter itself is cocked.

    So far so good, but here's my confusion. When the slide I mention is set to "F" the shutter is faster, or seems faster, than when it is set to "M" and even when the slide is set to "M" the shutter does not seem to be open as long as the red numbers seem to indicate; specifically, when the shutter is dialed to the red "1" and the second lever cocked, the shutter does not stay open for nearly a full second (more like half a second). Moreover, I'm not sure why the speed of the shutter is altered by the slide being set to "F" or "M". From the research I've done, the "F" and "M" are settings designed to delay when the shutter opens, depending on which flash bulb, if any, is used, but this shouldn't as I understand it, affect how long the shutter remains open. What am I missing? Thanks in advance. (And by the way I have looked online for an owner's manual for the shutter, but haven't found one.)
     
  2. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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  3. Lobalobo

    Lobalobo Member

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    Thanks, Sirius. As I say in my original post, I know that F and M are flash syncs, but what confuses me is why these settings change the duration of the lens opening (as opposed to its timing).
     
  4. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    I do not remember anything about the change in duration.
     
  5. Lobalobo

    Lobalobo Member

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    Well, am I correct that cocking the lever near the red numbers slows the shutter to those numbers?
     
  6. Jon Shiu

    Jon Shiu Subscriber

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    Hi, I advise not to play around with the flash sync lever, unless you are using flash. It doesn't change the shutter speed, or is not supposed to if the shutter is working properly.

    Look at the dial again. The shutter speed is just dependent on how far the outer dial is turned. It has 2 pointers, but can only to point to one range at a time, depending on how far you turn it. The shutter needs a little cleaning to be more accurate.

    Jon
     
  7. Kawaiithulhu

    Kawaiithulhu Subscriber

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    By "flash" he means "flash bulbs," the old kind filled with magic metal that goes <POOF>. Depending on the kind of bulb they start and burn faster or slower, and the shutter setting you're monkeying around with changes the onset of the shutter to match which kind of bulb you're using. Which is why the speed feels like it's changed since all the whirring takes longer, but the open duration doesn't really change.

    Unless I totally miss what you're worried about.
     
  8. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Lobalobo is partly correct about altering the setting between X & M because the shutter mechanism will sound slower on the M setting because of the introduction of the delay between tripping the shutter and it actually opening.

    Ian
    [h=1][/h]
     
  9. Lobalobo

    Lobalobo Member

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    This is very helpful, Jon. So even assuming that it's my imagination that operating the flash sync lever is affecting shutter speeds, there is the issue that the shutter speed does not become visibly slower when set to the red numbers. Am I correct that "1" should be one full second? Not getting that, or even close; can't visually see much difference between "1" and "400" in fact, and the B setting doesn't work. (Got it to work once or twice when the lens first arrived, but no longer.) Should I just return the lens/shutter do you think?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 5, 2014
  10. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    It sounds like you should either return the shutter or (more realistically if you intend to shoot film) have it overhauled by a competent repair person.
     
  11. Lobalobo

    Lobalobo Member

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    Thanks, Jon. Found someone who offers to do repairs on the Graflex site. I'll see the cost and tell the seller that I'll keep the lens and shutter if he'll rebate the cost of the repair, which I imagine he'll do given that (unless he's dishonest) he can't sell the thing in its current condition except as non-working, which will get him little.
     
  12. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    Please don't ask me to comment on that tactic because I'll end up using very harsh words. Buyers can be dishonest too.

    Remember, these old shutters are OLD... and overhaul is expected unless it was advertized in "like new, fully operating to spec" condition. Otherwise, it is OLD and overhaul is expected.

    Using old cameras is an expensive hobby!
     
  13. shutterfinger

    shutterfinger Subscriber

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    and he posts here also.:smile:

    There are 3 versions of the Kodak Supermatic shutter: Supermatic has no flash sync; Flash Supermatic has flash sync for all types of flash bulbs and electronic flash; Supermatic X has flash sync for electronic flash only. They can be labeled Kodak or Graphic Supermatic. Both will say made by Kodak.
    The control layout and operation are on page 12 of http://www.cameraeccentric.com/html/info/graflex_11.html .

    Easy, non technical method to tell if your leaf shutter is in need of servicing. Position the shutter so that you can see the shutter blades and an analog clock with a second hand at the same time.
    Set the speed dial to 1 (second), cock the shutter. When the second hand reaches a second mark trip the shutter. The shutter should open then close just as the second hand reaches the next second mark. The speed tolerance range for 1 second is .8 to 1.2. A narrow second hand width either side of the second mark is acceptable. Now move the speed dial to 2 for 1/2 second. Repeat the cock and release sequence. The shutter should open and close as the second hand reaches the mid point between the second marks. Tolerance on this speed is 1/2 the second hand width. Continue increasing the shutter speed and observe that they run faster up to 1/60-1/100 then decrease the shutter speeds noting that they get slower until you can actually time them on a clock. Many shutters just needing servicing run slow for the first 1 to 5 cock/trip cycles, operate correctly, then return to running slow when allowed to sit for a few hours to overnight. Shutters that are run until they quit working rarely return to full operation when serviced. Speeds up to 1/100-1/125 are controlled by the delay gearing which is set for accurate 1 second with some having an additional 1/15 or 1/25 second adjustment. Speeds above 1/125 is booster spring tension.
     
  14. Jon Shiu

    Jon Shiu Subscriber

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    Just send it back.

    Jon
     
  15. Lobalobo

    Lobalobo Member

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    Thanks. That would be a good suggestion except that it isn't needed. One second is roughly how long it takes to say "one thousand" and the shutter stays open no longer than it takes to say "on".
     
  16. Lobalobo

    Lobalobo Member

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    Didn't ask you to comment, but since you did, I'll comment on your response: you are out of line. "Tactic"? "Dishonest?" I accused no one of being dishonest but you level an accusation with no information. Guilty conscience? Just asking. The lens in shutter were not sold "as is" and were listed on eBay with this description: "The item may have some signs of cosmetic wear, but is fully operational and functions as intended." I'm entirely within my rights to return the item, and what's more the seller agrees, and has already apologized. Everyone here has behaved well, except you.
     
  17. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    Aren't these your words in post #11, "(unless he's dishonest)"? "He's" being the seller. I also made a generic statement and never pointed a finger at you.

    And, no, there is no guilty concience but I do live with the residual memory of a guy who bought a fully-functional camera from me, didn't know how to use it (admitted in email and forum postings), broke it, returned it for refund, and then upon inspection the camera showed signs of being improperly "adjusted".

    All I'm saying is that it goes both ways sometimes.

    As Jon suggests... just send it back. I'm happy that you and the seller see eye-to-eye.

    Good luck to you... and I mean that. :smile:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 6, 2014
  18. Lobalobo

    Lobalobo Member

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    What I said in fact is this: "I'll keep the lens and shutter if he'll rebate the cost of the repair, which I imagine he'll do given that (unless he's dishonest) he can't sell the thing in its current condition except as non-working, which will get him little." So in context, it's quite apparent that I was assuming the seller is honest, thus "which I imagine he'll do." By pulling the words you quote out of the sentence I wrote you gave the impression that I said just the opposite of what I did say. Nice work.

    As for your making a "generic statement," and pointing no fingers, please don't insult my intelligence. You said quite cleary that if you were asked to comment on my "tactic" you would use "harsh language." Perhaps you have difficulty understanding the plain meaning of the written word, but I don't.

    Maybe your experience with a returned camera convinces you that I broke the shutter and am seeking a refund nonetheless. If you look at my original post, you'll see that I knew perfectly well how to operate the shutter (confirmed by the responses I received). But I thought that perhaps I was mistaken and that my ignorance, if any, might explain the behavior I observed (or thought I observed). Turned out, I did not misunderstand, but the shutter simply did not work properly as shipped, something for which, as I said, the seller has apologized and offered a refund. He did not even suggest that it was tested and working properly when shipped, but only that he was unaware it was not working properly, a statement I have no reason to doubt.

    Again, the only one in this story who has exhibited any lack of good will is you, and if you think your last post was an apology, you are again mistaken. But, I take you at your word in wishing me luck, and I wish you the same.
     
  19. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    Look, you can either take my words at face value or you can read into them whatever you want and go on hating and arguing with me. Your choice. I have no interest in your blabbering. Return the shutter and move on. Ciao.
     
  20. Lobalobo

    Lobalobo Member

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    Look, buddy, I started neither the unpleasant accusations nor the lawyerly arguing, such as in your last post where you cited and quoted and characterized my words to suggest that I was mistaken my characterization of my own words. It never ceases to amuse me that those who attack others online take the greatest offense when anyone responds in kind. Thanks for the laugh. Best wishes to you, truly.
     
  21. Lobalobo

    Lobalobo Member

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    Thanks to all for helping me resolve this issue.
     
  22. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    Yes, best wishes to you too.