Proper film advance and shutter tensioning protocol for Rolleiflex
I Have a Rolleiflex 3.5B (MX-EVS) that i use a few times a month. Often a roll of fil will sit in the camera mid-roll for 2-3 weeks before it's finished.
To avoid potential damage to the shutter tensioning spring, after each shot I advance the film (forward turn of the crank) but I do not cock it until I'm ready for the next shot. Unfortunately, that leaves the crank sicking out, catching in my camera bag etc.
Are my worries about the shutter baseless? Should I just shoot, advance, cock and leave it cocked until the next shot is taken, even if that is not for weeks?
Or maybe I should neither advance nor cock the shutter after a shot is taken. Is there any concerns with not advancing the exposed frame for a long time?
If I recall correctly, Rollei officially stated that either wound and cocked or not makes no difference. Common sense would suggest that the tension must make some difference, though. I think your best bet is to finish the roll each time you shoot. That's what I do. Potential advantages include fresher film, greater opportunity that the whole roll will benefit from the same tailored development approach, less chance of bend memory in the roll on the next advanced shot, and elimination of your shutter cock concerns. Disadvantage is only loss of a few frames, which is not very expensive at 12 shots a roll. If that doesn't work for you, then just don't advance the last shot. You risk double-exposure, but if you're careful it shouldn't occur. Of course, Rollei did say that wound and cocked or not doesn't make a difference, so if you believe that then do whatever you like. Enjoy your rolleiflex. They're beautiful.
"There is a time and place for all things, the difficulty is to use them only in their proper time and places." -- Robert Henri
As a former camera tecnician I would agree - cocked or uncocked makes no difference..
Think Hasselblad (or RB, Kowa etc) - you always leave the shutter cocked if you want to see through the lens after taking a photo....
My experience is that a shutter spring will break when it wants to - there isn't much you can do to prevent it. A shutter spring - even when uncocked, is still under tension. When you fit a shutter spring into a leaf shutter you have to wind the spring anything from 90-180 degrees from it's "natural" (not installed) position to install it on the hammer (thats what the part of the shutter is called that actually opens/closes the shutter blades).
I always wind on after taking a photo - no matter what camera I use. The reason is simple - so I'm ready to take a photo when something happens....
Thanks for the advice. The Hasselblad analogy was very helpful!
I usually don't wind until just before I take a shot.
The exception is when the camera lacks double-exposure prevention.
I have a couple of old cameras that don't have counters - they have windows and one has to rely on the numbers on the backing paper for frame spacing and keeping track. For those cameras, I always wind immediately after shooting. If they require a separate action to cock the shutter, I wait until just before my shot before I do so.
I guess I'm more concerned with double exposures or inadvertent photos than I am with shutter tensioning.
“Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”
Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2
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To my opinion, shutter tensionning will have no long time effect because, their springs are designed to work within their "elastic" tension range (where the deformations are totally reversible, independant of the duration of their tensionning).
However, winding/cocking just after a shot or just before (the next) depends on the camera, and on other issues than shutter spring tensionning.
For instance, with folders, you should just before shooting, and in this order :
1/ open the folder
2/ wind to next view
3/ preset exposure and cock
Especially, you should not wind to the next view before opening the folder, because :
the "wind" blowing inside it could :
a/ suck on the film (thus no longer plane) and
b/ have some dirt fly and land on the film surface
When you open the folder first, this happens with the view you have already taken, not the one you are just ready to shoot.
I have used Rolleis for twenty years, and after the last shot on a roll I wind the film up and remove it from the camera. The shutter then stays cocked until I use the camera again, months or years later (Automat models only, not the models where you cock the shutters manually, like the Rolleiflex Standard and Rolleicords. They stay uncocked. I have many Rolleis). Sometimes I exercise the shutters, and then they stay uncocked after that. Never had any problems whatsoever.
I don't like to leave exposed film sitting there waiting to be spoiled so I always wind the film right after a shot. I also generally cock the shutter as my camera, the RB67, doesn't let you see through the viewfinder otherwise and won't let you change lenses unless the shutter is cocked as this also drops the mirror and film baffle, otherwise you would fog the film. Even the darkslide interlock doesn't let you take a lens off without the shutter cocked. This means that the shutter is ALWAYS cocked when you remove the lens from the camera unless you go to the trouble of firing the shutter on the lens itself, in which case you need to hand cock the lens shutter before mounting the lens as the body expects it to be cocked when you change the lens. I suppose the tension must add up to something but it seems the Seiko shutters were designed to be cocked all the time.
I just picked up a new-to-me rolleiflex automat mx and had read that it is cocked whenever the film is advanced.
I come from a background where you advance the film after taking a photo. (35mm and Yashica-C, so that you have no chance of duplicate exposure and for readiness), and you don't adjust the shutter speed while it's cocked (LF and Yashica-C).
Now it appears the automat allows adjusting the shutter while it's cocked except at 1/500 according to the manual, and it's always cocked if you are in the habit of advancing the film after each exposure. So either now I have to remember to waste a shot before using the rarely needed 1/500 speed, or have two different film advancing habits for different MF cameras. Is this dilema right?
I'm going to keep the yashica-C as I like it, but it's features are different than the rolleiflex. Right off the bat, the rolleiflex has a tessar and the yashica has some sort of 3 element lens that can do swirlies for me wide open. The rolleiflex can also use a cable release, and can work as a prism style finder in addition to the normal waist level, magnified waist level and sport finder options common to both cameras. They both use the exact same bayonet filters. The rolleiflex can focus about a foot closer than the yashica which should be good for portrait options.
Last edited by jp498; 01-11-2011 at 10:12 PM. Click to view previous post history.