Service for LF shutters

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by colrehogan, Jul 4, 2006.

  1. colrehogan

    colrehogan Member

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    How often is service recommended on shutters used in LF lenses? I'm just wondering as it seems like once I get one CLA'd, another one starts acting up. :mad:
     
  2. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    The answer depends, of course, on how the shutter is being used. My shutters are mostly Copals from the 1980's and are lightly used and carefully stored. They have not been cleaned yet and run "perfectly". Shutters used heavily in professional environments or in the field will likely pick up more dirt, etc and need more frequent cleaning. My plan is generally to wait unitl I see signs of degraded shutter speed in the slow speeds, then send them out for service. But as a non-professional I have that liberty.

    If I were to take a guess, however... I'd guess that a modern shutter, like the Copal, should be good for 5 to 8 years of rugged service before needing cleaning. Compurs might be a little more finicky and need more frequent attention. Older shutters are too unpredictable to tell, in my experience -- some just keep running and running, while others are simply worn-out and need to be put on a shelf.
     
  3. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Really old shutters - dial-set Compurs, and early rim-set Compurs - seem to work best with just the right amount of friction between the casing and one of the long moving levers near the "top". Thy will work poorly is the friction is too high (rusty) or too low (oiled). Just about anything else though, and they're great. When one gets too much off, I give it a good cleaning which brings it back within tolerable limits.

    When Compound shutters are fine, they are very fine and very precise. I haven't done anything to mine yet, after they (all 4) were within 10% of set time.

    Later Compurs seem more finicky, and besides some of them have a nasty little spring which likes to jump out and disappear. When one of mine starts to act up, I will send it to Carol Miller.
     
  4. colrehogan

    colrehogan Member

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    The shutters that are giving me problems at the moment have been recent Copal 3's. What has happened is that when I open the shutter to focus, it won't close down again. I had this happen to the shutter on my 355 G-Claron a couple of months ago, and now the same thing is happening with the one on my 19 in. Apochromat Artar.
     
  5. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Can't help you there - I've owned one single Copal (1) shutter for a total of two weeks so far. And it still works...
     
  6. naturephoto1

    naturephoto1 Subscriber

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    I am sorry Diane, of the 10 lenses that I have in Copal shutters, only my Rodenstock f9.0 360mm Apo Ronar is in a Copal 3. I have not had the problem that you are describing with any of the 10 shutters.

    Rich
     
  7. Capocheny

    Capocheny Member

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    My philosophy has always been to send a newly purchased lens (not brand new, of course... but a used one) in for a thorough CLA. It generally doesn't cost that much to have the job done and, if it's done by a competent technician, I'll then have comfort in knowing that it'll be fine for many years to come.

    There's nothing worse than being out into the field, setting up the camera to take a beautiful shot, click the shutter and... nada! Nothing happens or the thing jams up!

    So, to me, the initial CLA is simply an investment in MY time and energy!

    In your situation... it's probably a very minor repair job. Most of my lenses are mounted in Copal 3 shutters and I've not had ANY problem with them in the last 7 years! Knock on wood! :smile:

    Cheers
     
  8. dmax

    dmax Member

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    Diane,
    I do all my own shutter CLA's and recondition any and all shutters that I happen to accumulate. Being rather familiar with how the Copals are configured, I think that the problem you are seeing with your Copal 3 has to do with how you store and/or transport the shutter.

    The preview lever of Copals actuate a pin-and-arm arrangement that forces the aperture blades open against spring pressure. As you probably already know, the normal movement is like that of a light switch: Up for light, Down for dark. If the preview lever gets bumped diagonally with sufficient force, the internal linkages may get misaligned. But the action of the return spring sometimes shifts the components back into the normal arrangement, and the problem disappears for a while. Then it comes back again - when you least expect it. If the original source of the problem is severe enough, the internal misalignment will result in the blades locking up. Just curious: How do you normally transport or store your LF lenses?
     
  9. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    Diane -- I have experienced this "problem" with Copal 3. It isn't necessarily a sign that all has gone wrong with the shutter. But it might be an indication.

    If you feel you have the skills to open the syhutter up, you'll see very clearly the lever that controls the preview function. There is a bit of friction on it and that's why it isn't closing down again. The tiniest smear of a good shutter/watch grease on the sliding surface will fix it right up.

    If you don't feel you have the skills, don't open it up! I haven't sent a shutter to Carol at Flutot's, but her price is certainly more than reasonable(around $50, if I recall correctly) and others have said she is quick, friendly and does a great job.
     
  10. bob01721

    bob01721 Member

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    Right... on all counts.
     
  11. roteague

    roteague Member

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    I've sent work to Carol. She does great work, is fast, and she is just a great lady to do business with.
     
  12. colrehogan

    colrehogan Member

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    I normally transport my lenses on their boards inside a Gnass lens bag. I am planning to take the lens and shutter to the local camera repair shop tomorrow on my way home from work.

    I suppose I shouldn't complain. At least I caught this problem at home, not in the field like with my 355 G-Claron.