Hi Early Riser,
Originally Posted by Early Riser
thanks for the info. Our shutter is a very early model, where Sinar did not yet include the f-stop matched feature, so I think we're safe on that. You do make me shake and shudder about the shutter shakes - is it really that bad? In the manual for this shutter on the cameraeccentric website I read that you need to press the shutter release slowly and carefully for all shutter speeds. I thought it would be a little strange if Sinar designed a shutter of which half the indicated exposure times cannot be used seriously - that's so not like the Swiss mentality. Is there anyone here who has witnessed this as a real and serious problem, even to the extent of abandoning the shutter?
I own 2 auto aperture shutters, an expolux shutter system and at the time about 12 lenses on DB boards. After testing the middle to long lenses on the auto Aperture shutter at the 1 sec to 1/15th second speeds, I went out and bought copal shutters for my lenses.
Yes the shutter shake is that bad. It's a huge shutter. With short lenses the problem may not be noticeable, but with longish lenses it's a real problem.
In the studio environment, using strobes, the speed of operation and conveniences of this shutter are huge, in the field it's a problem. Also it's a pretty delicate device and most people do not carry a spare auto aperture shutter in the field, so if the shutter decides to jam or break, your shoot is over. You also need to carry spares for the connecting cable and the special cable release (not similar to the standard type release) last time I bought a set of these cables it cost me $300. In my opinion this shutter is designed for the studio only.
I am not trying to be argumentative, but my experience has been different from earlyriser's. My most-used lenses are 18" and 240 mm process lenses in barrel, which I shoot in the field: mostly hiking around my local town, or the mountains and bogs of northwest Scotland. In the evenings I use a lenscap shutter, but in daylight I use an older green Sinar copal shutter. I haven't had any shake from the use of the shutter (wind and midges are another matter). I use a Gitzo 13xx tripod with no centre column and an old battered Sinar pan-tilt head.
I would prefer to have modern multicoated lenses in their own shutters, but the Sinar is a great way for me to use quality barrel lenses and save money for film and travel. I have also recently developed the first stages of Galli syndrome (sometimes known as Tjugenitis in Europe) and the Sinar Copal shutter is a godsend for mucking about with oddball brassies.
It is also perhaps worth pointing out that even with the more modern shutters, you don't have to use the full aperture coupling. Provided your lens mounting doesn't foul any of the shutter's mechanisms, it won't care what you put in front of it. The only real problem is with buying DB-mounted lenses with no manual aperture over-ride: these must be used with the shutter. The older Norma-era mountings and modern DBM boards with the white aperture ring both allow you to use their lenses either with or without the shutter.
The shutters are surprisingly robust. A 1 kg lens probably won't damage it unless it has a very long tube, and if you extend the rail you can always prop up the front of the lens with a bit of stiff foam. Here's a picture of a truly giant lens mounted in front of a reversed Sinar Copal:
One further technique: you can mount the shutter on an intermediate standard and thus use it behind lenses even when they are not in suitable lensboards. This can be useful if you have large lenses that would be badly out of balance when cantilevered out in front of the standard, or if you want to test a lens in a dud shutter without re-mounting it. You will need a second bellows to seal the space between the lens and the shutter: I just use my bag bellows.
I think earlyriser's caution is warranted, but with the older Norma shutters now going for so little, they are worth thinking about for non-traditional purposes.
Trent: in normal use the Sinar Copal shutters attach to the back of the front standard. On the front face is a plastic or resin flange that is the same shape as a bellows frame: this clips into the back side of the front standard after you have detached the bellows. On the back of the shutter are two clips exactly like the ones on a standard, and you re-attach the bellows to them. For me, in the field, putting the shutter on the camera takes less time than getting it out of the protective wrapping in my rucksack.
In principle, the shutters are compatible with any camera that has a Sinar-style lensboard attachment. This includes the Horseman cameras. In practice there can be problems. The shutter is larger than a lensboard, so depending on the design of your camera's standards it may not fit, or it may restrict some movements. Also, not all cameras with Sinar-compatible lensboards have Sinar-compatiable bellows frames, in which case you would have to use the shutter reversed. I don't think this second point is an issue with Horseman monorails, but I would check before spending money.
To use the shutter, just fix it open for focussing and composing, shut it before pulling the darkslide, and push slowly and firmly on the custom cabel release. On Sinar cameras you can add a cable from the camera back so that the shutter automatically closes when you insert a darkslide, but I never bother with this. You do need the Sinar custom cable release, but they are not as expensive as they once were, and they are hefty over-engineered things so I don't carry a spare.
Finally, it is worth mentioning that if something does go wrong with the shutter, or you lose the cable release, it is very easy to just remove it from the camera and take pictures with small apertures, a lenscap and counting elephants. You are not quite so far up the creek without a paddle as you would be with, say, a bunch of lenses front-mounted onto a large conventional shutter.
I am going to get my Sinar Copal autoshutter. I never used it, but I just asked it back. I will try it on a Horseman LE and drop some lines after my tests...
Sponsored Ad. (Subscribers to APUG have the option to remove this ad.)
Struan, you have an interesting camera set up. I don't want to seem negative about the use of the Auto Ap shutter but after extensive testing of my Auto Ap shutters, a shutter system I have used daily for more than a decade,and as compared to using a standard Copal shutter I found the Sinar Auto Aperture unacceptable for slow shutter speeds with long lenses.
I mounted the SAA ( the f4 model, I also own the f 5.6 model) to a Sinar P2 4x5 and shot film using the 300mm APO Ronar, 360mm Sironar-S and 480mm APO Ronar. The tests included mounting the camera to a Gitzo 509 tripod, center column removed and base plate used, and a 9' tall 300 pound Foba Astia camera stand, Sinar pan tilit head on both.
With a 8x loupe there was a noticeable difference in sharpness at slower shutter speeds. Now maybe the greater mass of your rig, 8x10 size( which will require less magnification and therefore shake becomes less visible) and with a very large and heavy lens such as the one that you use, it may have a dampening effect on the shutter's vibration, but on my rig, with no customizing done, that is stock Sinar components assembled in the exact format required by sinar, on a Sinar camera, I had shutter shake. Then again what I consider unacceptable may be acceptable to others.
The shutter is designed to automatically close the aperture, open and close the shutter when you add or remove the film holder, and cock itself. If you do not use a camera that is compatible with Sinar lensboards,GG backs and bellows, you lose these functions.
As for the need to carry spare Sinar cable releases it's true that they are hefty, but i've seen many of them break in studio conditions. Counting Elephants will work fine if you tend to do long exposures, as in a few seconds or longer, however it doesn't work so well when you need a 1/8th or 1/30 sec shutter speed. For these reasons and others I decided to go to the added expense of buying copal shutters for my lenses and only use the SAA shutter in the studio.
All this fancy talk reminds me of why I use a packard shutter on my Deardorff.
Or a lens cap.
"One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid,
and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision"
I appreciate the extensive testing you have done and the point of view you have, having seen the outcome with your own eyes. I too would be expecting to see sharp negs with 15x loupe.
My question is why would Sinar with the reputation they have sell a shutter system that can't use all the shutter speeds?
Doesn't make sense to me.
Early Riser: I think you probably have higher standards than I do. You are using modern glass in a controlled environment, I am mucking about in the field with old, very old and ancient lenses.
I have a 360 mm convertible Symmar in a Compound 5 shutter that is in a coned lensboard so that it can also be used in front of the Sinar Copal shutter. My 'test' was to see if I could see any difference between shots taken with the two shutters. Louping Provia, I couldn't.
I would like to switch my barrel lenses to modern lightweight in-shutter equivalents, so I by no means regard lugging a Sinar shutter as optimal, but with current prices and my current budget, it is locally optimal in the sense that it allows me to take photographs here and now. As someone who likes to play with old or oddball lenses it is also a lot more convenient than paying to have them put in shutters, or trying to front mount ahead of something like an Alphax 5.
PS: To be clear, that APO-Nikkor/Deardorff setup isn't mine. I use a 4x5 Norma.
Just a thought to add what I said above.
Can you imagine Ford or GM producing a car with 5 gears and saying you can only use the slow speeds?
Did Sinar ever say not to use the slow speeds?