Zorki/MIR shutter misuse?

Discussion in 'Rangefinder Forum' started by keyofnight, Feb 9, 2013.

  1. keyofnight

    keyofnight Member

    Messages:
    85
    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2012
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Yesterday I received a MIR, the Zorki 4 with fewer shutter speeds, from Fedka.com. It seems pretty awesome.

    Today, I decided to take it to local camera shop to get its shutter speeds checked out. I made it very clear to them that they shouldn't change shutter speeds without cocking the shutter first. One guy ran it through their machine and turned up with "Eh... these are so-so speed timings, but they're usable." He was very careful to follow my instructions. He, however, wanted a second opinion…so he brought in another guy.

    The second guy ran it through the machine himself and turned up with a different attitude, "So this shutter is 3/4ths of a stop off and erratic!" He showed me the back and continued to explain, "See how the shutter slides back... one of the times I cocked the shutter, the two curtains were 1/8th of an inch apart!" I hadn't noticed any of that the 100 times I cocked the shutter the night before. As he continued to show me problem, I noticed: he changed the shutter speed before he cocked the shutter. I said, "But you just changed the shutter before you cocked the shutter!"

    He told me to send it back, save some money, and buy a Leica III. What the hell? Of course, he had a Leica III he was willing to sell me…engraved with someone's else's name in it. I took my camera back, checked the shutter 20 times to check if he broke it (didn't see any shutter separation), said good day, and screamed outside. I was mad enough to fight so I jut picked the path of least resistance and got out of there. :/ I like the owner of that shop and I like the first guy, but this second guy was not careful at all.

    Here are my questions:

    • Is my camera borked—and how can I tell?
    • Are erratic shutter speeds typical of shutter misuse? (That's what I've read, and I've also read they can go back to normal after 2-3 shots, but you guys would know better.)
    • Also: I'd love to hear your similar experiences. How many of you have had people nearly screw up your FSU Rangefinder or Barnack Leica?
     
  2. brucemuir

    brucemuir Member

    Messages:
    2,265
    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2007
    Location:
    Metro DC are
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I NEVER have had my Barnack "borked" becuase I would never hand it to anyone that I dont trust to be a manual camera freak like most of us here are. (hows that for grammar :smile: )
    It's just inviting trouble, even from a so called repair guy at a shop THESE days which probably means dslr training at most.

    Luckily for you, if you feel the camera speeds were out when you received it from Yuri, he will take care of you.
    You just need to be honest and talk to him about it.

    I dont have a fsu screwmount but I do have a Kiev/Contax and I learned the hard way.
    I will continue to gamble with the lenses but the bodies are too much of a crap shoot for my tastes and I LIKE buying old camera stuff. It just needs to have been built right originally. An iffy proposition with FSU. I eventually went with a IIIf R/D.

    Now I think the shutter speed dial sequence has the potential of borking you if done incorrectly, but... I think I've read conflicting reports if it means automatic borking or it can accumulate to an ultimate bork eventually.

    I would shoot a roll at least and see how it exposes and make a decision from there.
     
  3. ntenny

    ntenny Member

    Messages:
    2,282
    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2008
    Location:
    San Diego, C
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I've been inside a Mir shutter, and as far as I was able to tell, it seemed like any borking from setting the shutter speeds in the wrong order could be deborked by realigning the shutter speeds so they read correctly. I wouldn't bet the life of your camera on that or anything, but if the speeds are now reading correctly and the shutter isn't showing any obvious misbehavior, I think you can consider it borkless unless proven otherwise.

    Based on your description, I'm having trouble finding appropriately strong language to use about that second guy. Seriously, he had a customer's equipment in hand and was ignoring that customer's "do it this way or it will break" instructions? That's just mind-bogglingly unprofessional, and plain stupid as well---what if it had been some high-ticket rarity and he broke it for you? Ugh.

    -NT
     
  4. keyofnight

    keyofnight Member

    Messages:
    85
    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2012
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I wouldn't dismiss these guys so quickly, they mostly do work on older cameras: old SLRs, TLRs, etc. I bought a Pentax MX on consignment with them; it looked like crap before they overhauled it, and now it's pretty reliable.

    If worse comes to worse, I'll talk to Yuri. He said if it isn't right, he'd send me a Zorki 4 (as he's out of Mirs).

    Ultimate bork! :laugh:
    Maybe someone else can give us some more info on this?

    Cool. :smile:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 10, 2013
  5. keyofnight

    keyofnight Member

    Messages:
    85
    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2012
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Whew. That's good to hear. :whistling:
    I bought the MIR because I heard the models with slow shutter speeds aren't as reliable as the others. I guess my decision was a good one, I got lucky, or both. Whew.

    Seriously! What the hell was he thinking? :confused: I'm still pissed. What sucks is I still don't know how accurate the shutter is. Ug.

    What's worse: I like the other guys at the shop, and I (still) want to get my GF's OM-1n fixed there. I've seen them polish some turds, man.

    I'm probably going to send an email, call them, go visit and explain my problem to the owner. There's no other place to get things CLAed in this town.
     
  6. BMbikerider

    BMbikerider Member

    Messages:
    869
    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2012
    Location:
    County Durha, UK
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Was it when he changed the shutter speeds before cocking the shutter, he actually put it on the wrong speed? If I recall correctly the shutter speed dial rotates when the shutter is fired and finishes up at a different place on the dial, so when you wind on the film it brings the dial into the correct position to change the shutter speed against the engraved marks?

    It is unlikely that any damage has been caused but this would give the incorrect reading he (the 'repairer') found when he tested the shutter. I have had a number of cameras made in Russia or the Ukraine and couple of early Leica's where I have forgetfully changed the shutter speed before winding on. There has never been a problem afterwards so I think you may have been worrying unnecessarily.
     
  7. BMbikerider

    BMbikerider Member

    Messages:
    869
    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2012
    Location:
    County Durha, UK
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Was it when he changed the shutter speeds before cocking the shutter, he actually put it on the wrong speed? If I recall correctly the shutter speed dial rotates when the shutter is fired and finishes up at a different place on the dial, so when you wind on the film it brings the dial into the correct position to change the shutter speed against the engraved marks?

    It is unlikely that any damage has been caused but this would give the incorrect reading he (the 'repairer') found when he tested the shutter. I have had a number of cameras made in Russia or the Ukraine and couple of early Leica's where I have forgetfully changed the shutter speed before winding on. There has never been a problem afterwards so I think you may have been worrying unnecessarily.

    It may be possible that the actual dial is out of sync too. On the ones I had there is or was a tiny screw that held the shutter speed dial in the right place and this had slackened off and slipped. It was just a matter of unscrewing it a little more and re-positioning the dial to the right place and firmly tightening the screw
     
  8. Kiev88user

    Kiev88user Member

    Messages:
    17
    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2013
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Hi there.
    Firstly it is unlikely that any damage has been done unless the guy forced the knob past the stop - the reason KMZ state not to change the speeds with the shutter unwound is most critical to the Zorki 4K, which has the additional slow speeds escapement, and damage almost certainly will be done if speeds are changed before winding the Zorki 4/4K shutter.

    Best way to check the shutter initially is:
    1) WIND THE SHUTTER - then set to 'B' with the back removed. Fire the shutter, hold down the release button. The opening curtain should snap smartly open. Now release the button and the closing curtain should close quickly but not quite so snappily as the opening one. The secret of the Barnack shutter is that the closing curtain moves slightly more slowly so as to avoid it catching up with the opening one and causing fade. If the shutter is snappy at the 'B' setting then other speeds should be reasonable. If sluggish then a lube/adjust is needed.
    2) Now set to the 1/500 speed, back off and lens off, and look through the lens throat. Aim the camera at a grey sky or well lit light coloured wall and fire a few times. You should see an evenly lit oblong. If you do then things are looking good.
    3) For an approximate way of testing shutter speed accuracy, check Rick Oleson's page http://rick_oleson.tripod.com/index-135.html +/- 20% of the set speed is allowable, that is only 1/5th stop.

    Hope this helps,

    Steve
     
  9. Aristotle80

    Aristotle80 Subscriber

    Messages:
    58
    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2011
    Location:
    Baton Rouge
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I just got a LTM Fed Industar lens from Fedka. It fits well and looks great on my Voightlander Bessa-L, which I got for $110 on the bay like new. I salute your choice to use the Russian body, but if you ever consider an inexpensive backup body with modern meter, it's pretty slick. (I already had an accessory viewfinder with multiple focal lengths, but these are all over the place used.) The Voightlander is so much cheaper than a Leica original in similarly minty condition.
     
  10. keyofnight

    keyofnight Member

    Messages:
    85
    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2012
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Right. That's what happens—if you cock it, set it to 1/60, fire it... it spins and ends up misaligned until you cock it again. The guy at the camera shop sometimes changed the speeds before cocking the shutter again.

    Right, that would explain why he thinks the shutter speeds are off by almost a whole stop. He changed the shutter, and the mechanical shutter timings are at least ±15%, right? I mean…I don't know if it's just an explanation at this point I watched him do this.

    I'm glad I chose the Mir, then. Yuri offered me a Zorki 4 in the case this Mir wasn't any good, but I refused it—mostly because I read the Mir is somehow more reliable than it's bigger sibling. I guess now I know why. (;

    Okay I tried (1)… and I see exactly what you're saying. On bulb, the first curtain snaps open, and when I release the shutter, the second curtain snaps shut a little slower than the first. Cool!

    I'll check (2) in the morning, and I'll maybe run Rick Oleson's tests (3) tomorrow too. (;

    I also just ran a roll of film through the thing, and there were no appreciable problems beside setting my meter wrong, forgetting to change exposure settings, bumping the aperture ring, etc. Everything looks well-exposed. (;

    [​IMG]

    Thanks guys. :smile:
     
  11. Xmas

    Xmas Member

    Messages:
    6,455
    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2006
    Location:
    UK
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    Hi

    Shoot some film before worrying about shutter speed, the shutter speed of the Leica three post shutter is much less critical than uneven exposure across the frame which can be intermittent..., e.g. dependent on temperature.

    Taking any camera back to a shop staffed by 'cowboys' is untoward.

    Noel
     
  12. keyofnight

    keyofnight Member

    Messages:
    85
    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2012
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I sent an e-mail to the camera shop after fielding comments from here, Rangefinder Forum, and the Zorki Flickr group. They sent back an email explaining that there wasn't any risk in changing the shutter speeds—which is correct for this camera. I responded by explaining if it were the model with the slow speeds, they might have busted it (and the underlings didn't know there was a difference in the first place). Best case scenario, they didn't know what speeds they were testing, so I didn't even know what they were testing.


    The shop owner responded: "I'll make sure they test by changing the shutter speeds first from now on—there's no extra effort in doing it, so we might as well." He asked me to bring the camera in so he could test it himself. When he did, he got stable enough shutter speeds for his taste (he thought the 1/500 was going too fast until I told him there was a mystery 1/1000 right next to it).


    He did tell me, however, that the shutter curtains are timed so that there is uneven exposure across the frame by ±1/3rd of a stop. He said it's probably something that cannot be adjusted out (changing it at one speed would make the problem worse on other speeds), and it shouldn't show up too much in pictures.


    I emailed Yuri at Fedka.com, and he said he agrees: that's about as good as it gets. I'm inclined to agree, but I don't know squat about cameras.


    What do you guys think? (;
     
  13. Pierre Luzière

    Pierre Luzière Member

    Messages:
    6
    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2013
    Location:
    Infierno
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Had a Zorki 4 several years back. I only used the wrong sequence once, and it jammed the camera. Rendering it unusable. It took several good minutes of playing with the settings to fix. But, you live & you learn.
     
  14. Kiev88user

    Kiev88user Member

    Messages:
    17
    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2013
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Hi, the way the Lieca shutter is designed takes care of the 'uneven' exposure. Basically the gap of the shutter increases slightly as it runs off, thereby increasing exposure - this is because the shutter blinds accelerate from a standing start so are travelling faster when the reach the other side of the frame, and if the gap remained the same, under exposure of the last part of the negative would occur.. If you take the back off the camera and slowly wind the shutter, you will see the opening curtain capping increases as the shutter is wound.
    The Contax, on the other hand, does not need this feature as the blinds run vertically and the difference in exposure is comparatively much less and can be tolerated.

    Hope this helps,

    Steve
     
  15. keyofnight

    keyofnight Member

    Messages:
    85
    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2012
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    Shooter:
    35mm
    That's the way the Zorki 4 curtains work also, right? I can see the capping increase as I wind it. Why is it more of a problem for Leica III-inspired Russian RFs than actual Leica IIIs? Just better workmanship?
     
  16. Kiev88user

    Kiev88user Member

    Messages:
    17
    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2013
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Yes, it is down to quality. Leica used ball bearings and well machined bushings whereas the Russian copies do not. These copies also used poor quality lubricants which separate into grease and oil. All this causes wear and increases friction, making shutter fade more likely. Often people try to compensate by over tensioning the opening curtain, or both curtains to overcome the friction. This just increases the wear. I'm just trying to fit new curtains to a Zorki 3M (wish I'd never started:sad:) - the wear on the bearing surfaces is clear to see. The problem with the 'new old stock' curtains is that they have stiffened and do not want to wind around the drums, making this a nightmare job. Think I'll stick with my Contax II !!

    Cheers,

    Steve
     
  17. AgX

    AgX Member

    Messages:
    12,369
    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2007
    Location:
    Germany
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Could you explain what lies behind that warning technically?
     
  18. ntenny

    ntenny Member

    Messages:
    2,282
    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2008
    Location:
    San Diego, C
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    (in response to my experience of working on a Mir shutter)

    Not really, because the Mir doesn't have the slow speeds, and it seems the slow-speed escapement is what can really be damaged.

    The shutter-speed dial is on a shaft that rotates with the movement of the shutter curtains, so it spins when you cock the shutter and then spins back in the other direction at release (you can see this from the outside). In the cocked state, the shaft is aligned so that the speed dial will point to the right value on the surrounding ring (which doesn't move with the shaft). So if you set the speed to read to, say, 1/50 in the *uncocked* state, the actual orientation is basically some random position.

    It's been years since I was doing this, but as far as I remember, the only thing that the speed setting changes is the angle of a little cam on the shaft. The release is a two-step process: when you press the button it fires the first curtain, and when that little cam comes around to a certain point in the rotation of the speed shaft, it trips a release for the second curtain. The shorter the rotation to bring the cam into contact with the release, the faster the shutter speed. There's an explanation at http://rick_oleson.tripod.com/index-131.html, which indicates that the Leica II used the same basic mechanism.

    As far as I could tell, you couldn't actually damage anything by misaligning the speeds this way on a Mir (or a FED-2, which also doesn't have any slow speeds); you'll just get the dial in the wrong position and shutter speeds that have nothing obvious to do with the reading on the dial, and setting the speed while the shutter is cocked should fix that misalignment. I didn't understand every bit of the workings, though, and I certainly didn't make any exhaustive search for ways to break the mechanism---but I *think* actual mechanical damage is not readily available.

    By all accounts the models with the slow-speed escapement are another kettle of fish and you *can* break them by setting the shutter at the wrong time, but I don't know what the failure mode is.

    -NT
     
  19. AgX

    AgX Member

    Messages:
    12,369
    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2007
    Location:
    Germany
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Many thanks for that explanation!