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  1. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by PentaxBronica View Post
    The main things I check:

    Set the camera to the fastest shutter speed, remove the lens, open the back, place your eye close to the shutter and press the button. You will get the very briefest glimpse of daylight, but with practice this can be enough to spot shutter capping.

    Shutter capping happens when the second curtain catches up with the first, giving you either an unexposed portion of the frame or no exposure at all. It tends to happen at the faster speeds. If you can see light both sides (or the top and bottom) of the film window when the shutter fires then you're ok - I go by whether I can see the corners of the mirror box while looking closely at the left hand side, then the right. This is less common with electronically controlled shutters than it is with older models relying on spring tension. If the shutter is capping then it needs a CLA to sort that out.

    If it passes that test then I set it to the slowest speed and fire it again. Usually this is a second, doing it a few times and comparing it to my watch's second hand will show how accurate it is. Again, more commonly a problem with the old clockwork shutters. One of my MXs had a very interesting idea of how long a second was but woke up after I wound and fired a few times. I already had an accurate MX so sat the two side by side on the table and compared the shutter sound at various speeds - the second body sounded identical so was obviously fine.
    This is a good way to check for problems with capping or dragging shutter curtains: http://rick_oleson.tripod.com/index-135.html

  2. #12

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    I would always replace light seals/mirror bumper foam however. Even if they don't leak, the sticky goo they normally decompose into after a few decades is a complete pain. It ruins focusing screens and won't do film any good if it manages to get onto there.
    Matt

  3. #13
    MattKing's Avatar
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    The "A" in CLA is quite important.

    It is very useful to know whether or not your camera's shutter is reasonably accurate, and the aperture is performing correctly.
    Matt

    “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

  4. #14
    winger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattKing View Post
    The "A" in CLA is quite important.

    It is very useful to know whether or not your camera's shutter is reasonably accurate, and the aperture is performing correctly.
    My old Pentax H1a really needs a CLA, but I don't want the shutter speeds adjusted. I'm sure I should 'cause they're likely to only get slower, but they're just at the point where I can meter for the box speed and the shutter's actual speed ends up perfect.

    I haven't looked on here, but is there a good listing by continent and brand of shops that can do CLAs very well? It would seem that great service techs would be disappearing as fewer of the cameras get used regularly.

  5. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Burk View Post
    I couldn't resist... The old Shen Kuo cameras never need work...
    thanks bill,

    but i have a magyar and its a little slow, maybe louis got ahold of it

  6. #16

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    TBH the aperture is very easy to check.

    With bayonet fitting lenses I just set it to the smallest aperture and flick the lever with a finger. If it moves snappily and forms a reasonably even shape then all is well. With M42 mount I do the same but prod the trip pin.
    Matt

  7. #17

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    Don't try this at home is my suggestion.

    Peters: I went to National Camera Repair School in Denver after I got out of the Navy. I had to do several CLA's of cameras and had the equipment to check the shutter speeds and curtain travel times and everything else that was needed. I remember taking a Nikon F all the way down once and when I put it back together the shutter was off. I took it all down again and when I put it back, the same thing happened. I asked my teacher and he said to take it all down again and clean it like crazy. I did and it worked perfectly. All it takes is a little piece of crud and you are out of luck. We had shutter testers which were really ocilliscopes made for that. A focal plane shutter can be a puzzle to get the curtains balanced without a tester. Taking down a camera also sometimes can mean a spring that flys off to the Twilight Zone, and a ball bearing that disappears into the unknown. If you do want to try it though, you can test a shutter with a phonograph record player with a marker to determine how far the marker traveled as it was photographed. You will have to do the math. Ofcourse if your record player is off, so will be your camera. NatCam went out of business years ago, and most of the teachers are now gone. Phil Zimmerman was with C&C training which you can find on the net. A professional tester costs about $2-3000, but you can get the shutter checkers that only check to see if your speed is correct for $100-$200 and they are handheld. (If they are still made.) For the old leaf shutters, I didn't tell you this but you can sometimes dump the whole thing into a cleaning solution and blow dry it out and it will work. (Remember I didn't tell you that.) If you just want to see if you can get an old camera to work, go for it, but I would not do it on any camera that I wanted to use to shoot a wedding. Ric.

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