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  1. #1

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    Easy test for determining the shutter speed of an older camera

    Hello All,

    I have recently been given old Ernemann Film K camera.
    I googled the camera and found some data.
    The lens is probably a fixed f12,5 lens.
    Production data probably 1920's

    I would like to use this camera and am trying to find out the shutterspeed.
    Fot shutter speed there are three settings on front of the camera:
    A fixed shutterspeed of unknown length and two time settings.

    First, is there anybody around here who knows the originally designed speed?
    Or who can make an educated guess?
    Two, is there an easy way to test the shutter speed without losing a whole
    or several rolls. Given that there is only one f size and one shutterspeed
    the only variable in the equation is the filmspeed and the light conditions.

    I suppose there are probably devices available for testing shutterspeeds
    however i have no access to them.


    Kind regards Jaap Dijks

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by jaapdijks View Post
    Two, is there an easy way to test the shutter speed without losing a whole or several rolls.
    What I've done in the past, with some success, is to record the sound of the shutter firing on a computer, then look at the waveform. There should be distinct peaks for the sound of the release and the sound of the close; the time between them is (close to) the shutter speed.

    It's not a real precision technique---I don't think I'd trust it to distinguish between 1/400 and 1/500 or anything like that---but it'll give you an approximate answer.

    -NT

  3. #3
    sun of sand's Avatar
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    I've never done it really but you could shoot a television show.

    shoot all speeds the camera has then rewind the film
    put into camera with known speeds
    and fire the rest of the roll

    1/25 should show a full screen
    1/100 will show like 70%
    1/250 will show 35%
    1/500 18% ?


    It does use film


    Maybe hold a digi behind the camera with back open on BULB or TIME and fire the shutter (while pointing at TV) so the digi records it
    Might work for free that way

  4. #4

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    If you can buy slide [transparency] film for your camera, you may be able, by making test exposures at various apertures, determine the effective shutter speed[s]. Slide film is quite sensitive to proper exposure. I suggest photographing the same scene, side-by-side with a camera with known shutter speeds as a control device. I leave the experimental design details to you.

  5. #5

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    Shooting one roll on a sunny day would be the simplest solution. You could get a close starting point if you have (or can borrow) another camera and compare the sounds.
    "There are two ways to avoid most trouble in life: live below your means... and within your seams."

  6. #6
    raucousimages's Avatar
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    I bought a shutter tester to test speeds for about $60.00 I was suprised to find how far off some lenses were. It paid for it's self by reducing bad exposured after I knew how to compensate for each lens.

    This is the same tester a lot of repair shops and camera stores have, see if someone can test it and give you the times.
    DIGITAL IS FOR THOSE AFRAID OF THE DARK.

  7. #7
    Anscojohn's Avatar
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    Place a reference mark of some sort on the edge of a turn table of record player---if you can find one; from directly above, photograph this moving mark at 33 rpm. The amount of distance of the blurred mark can be extrapolated into a time the shutter was open.
    John, Mount Vernon, Virginia USA

  8. #8

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    The TV test that sun of sand mentions can be done without film; just open the back and look through the film gate as you shoot a TV. This Web page describes the process in more detail. Note that this technique works only with older raster-scan TVs and computer monitors, and you must be aware of the TV/monitor's refresh rate. (This can be just about anything for a computer monitor.) If you've got a new high-def LCD, plasma, etc. TV or computer monitor, this technique won't work. It's a bit of a seat-of-your-pants approach, since you can't get an exact number from it, just a guesstimate of "oh, that looks about right for 1/125s" (or whatever). FWIW, I used this technique to adjust the shutter speed on my Kiev 6C, which arrived with shutter speeds that were very badly off. I'm sure my Kiev's shutter speeds are still off, but not badly enough to cause me serious problems.

    I've seen plans on the Internet for an elaboration of the sound card technique described by ntenny: [url=http://www.davidrichert.com/sound_card_shutter_tester.htm]one,[url] two, three. The idea is to hook up a phototransistor to a computer's sound card, position that phototransistor behind the film gate, shine a light through the lens or lens mount, use an audio recording program to record the output from the phototransistor as you fire the shutter, and measure the time the shutter was open using the audio program. Parts are supposed to cost about $5. There's a guy who sells these on eBay for $51 (shipped) if you're completely hopeless with electronics. I'm planning to put one of these together myself soon (maybe this weekend, in fact), but I've not gotten around to it yet.

  9. #9
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by raucousimages View Post
    I bought a shutter tester to test speeds for about $60.00 I was suprised to find how far off some lenses were. It paid for it's self by reducing bad exposured after I knew how to compensate for each lens.

    This is the same tester a lot of repair shops and camera stores have, see if someone can test it and give you the times.
    I agree, the easiest way would be to use a shutter speed tester. All the other ways are much more difficult.

  10. #10

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    i would guess the typically the "I" setting
    on a fixed shutter speed camera
    from that period was around 1/100S
    a roll of film is cheep, you could alway shoot 2 rolls
    - one with that camera, and one with another, process them at the same time
    and compare the negative density to determine the shutter speed.
    i have a few cameras that say "I" and i rate the shutter at about 1/100...
    even if it is off a little bit, it doesn't really matter too much

    nice camera!
    have fun

    john


    with
    Quote Originally Posted by jaapdijks View Post
    Hello All,

    I have recently been given old Ernemann Film K camera.
    I googled the camera and found some data.
    The lens is probably a fixed f12,5 lens.
    Production data probably 1920's

    I would like to use this camera and am trying to find out the shutterspeed.
    Fot shutter speed there are three settings on front of the camera:
    A fixed shutterspeed of unknown length and two time settings.

    First, is there anybody around here who knows the originally designed speed?
    Or who can make an educated guess?
    Two, is there an easy way to test the shutter speed without losing a whole
    or several rolls. Given that there is only one f size and one shutterspeed
    the only variable in the equation is the filmspeed and the light conditions.

    I suppose there are probably devices available for testing shutterspeeds
    however i have no access to them.


    Kind regards Jaap Dijks
    im empty, good luck

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