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Old Speed Graphic focal plane shutter acting up...

 
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vic valis



Joined: 21 Nov 2001
Posts: 247
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2001 7:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

...or maybe not, here's where the expertise of others would help. Purchased a very old pre-anniversary 4x5 speed graphic. In winding the focal plane shutter, I observe that there appears to be only three slits: the full frame one and the next two smaller ones. I cannot see if there are others because when I wind it it will only wind as far as the "3/4" position (thye others ar "0, T," and "1 1/2"). Perhaps it will go further if I force it, but I don't want to force it yet. Looking into the camera as I wind, I see it looks almost as if there are other slits that have been closed. So my questions are: 1) does this sound like a common modification? It has seen a lot of abuse, been painted over before, has had attachements added and moved and removed. 2)If not some sort of modification, does this sound like a common problem? Originally, it wouldn't advance as far as the "3/4," but with repeated winding and re-winding it finally loosened up. And finally; 3) How easy/difficult/impossible would it be to replace the original curtain with a new one, should the present curtain has been snippped at some point in the past. Any opinions would be appreciated. I will eventually be having it worked on, but anything I may be able to do myself will help the old pocketbook. Thanks.


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vic valis



Joined: 21 Nov 2001
Posts: 247
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2001 5:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Followup to my own post: got around to taking off the back of the camera and got into the shutter curtain. Possibly it was stored with the shutter half wound, because over time the coated side of the shutter curtain had adhered to the layer it was rolled over. With some patience and encouraging, I managed to force it to wind all the way. The tension gets tight by the final slit, but it does work. Any further advice anyone wishes to give will be, as always, appreciated. Thanks.

vic

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Les



Joined: 09 May 2001
Posts: 2682
Location: Detroit, MI

PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2001 2:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The rubberized coating on pre-anniversary speeds is starting to break down and become more like anthricite coal that rubber, if the camera wasn't stored in optimal conditions.

The common problems are that the shutter was stored half wound at some point and the rubber 'froze' in this wound position. When you try to fire the shutter the stiff section, still wanted to say "half round" is forced through the flat guide rails infront of the film/ground glass.

A couple of things can happen. The half round part can break up and cause wrinkles in the shutter. At these mini creases the rubber will turn to dust and fall into the camera (and onto at least my film) but more importantly this will rise to pinholes in the shutter as the old tired fabric is forces to hinge at these places. This will cause dark spots on or streaks on the neg depending on where the pinhole is.

If the set is very bad, it just won't go through the guide rails and forcing it will tear the the fabric tape edge.

The other problem common with this situation is that the camera was left with the tension knob quite high and like the fabric, the spring has found a memory and just won't fire the shutter anymore.

Bert has done many new shutters. The other guy that may have a new spring would be Fred Lustig.
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daleraby



Joined: 24 Nov 2001
Posts: 60
Location: Green Bay, Wisconsin

PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2001 2:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I recently picked up an old Speed Graphic. The price was $29.76. As might be imagined, the focal plane shutter was slow, acting very "tired". Being new to Speed Graphics, I was unsure of how to proceed. I reasoned that probably it had frozen from lack of use just like some of the leaf shutters in the old Kodak Vest Pocket cameras in my antique collection.

I applied some Break Free, a Teflon lubricant available in gun shops, to the winder window and the tensioner window, also to the winder and tensioner shaft. I then began winding the shutter, first at the highest tension level and gradually working my way down. The shutter eventually began working as it should, though I don't know how accurate it is.

Many cameras have shutters that have frozen in place from lack of use. Most often, they can be made to work simply by using them again. Be careful with lubricants, though. Often they can cause more problems than they correct. I am told that molybdenum disulfide works well on leaf shutters. Liquid lubricants do not work well at all for this kind of shutter in my experience.

Speed Graphic focal plane shutters seem fairly robust. I wouldn't be surprised to find mine exactly on the money.

Dale A. Raby
Editor/Publisher
The Green Bay Web
http://www.thegreenbayweb.com

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vic valis



Joined: 21 Nov 2001
Posts: 247
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2001 11:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks to all for the advice on my above question... I have gotten the shutter working. Now two follow up questions: 1) any recommendations on who to go to if I decide to have the shutter calibrated? I have read that there are all sorts of people out there who can do this, but have yet to find anyone. In this case, the camera (a pre-Anniversary Speed Graphic)was in bad cosmetic condition so I made the decision to pull off the leather and refinnish the mahoganny underneath. I left all the internal parts in place, and in spite of careful masking I fear clogging of parts by sawdust (the shutter feels more sluggish now). This leads to the next question... 2) any suggestions on where to lubricate and/or zap it with compressed air (if I should attempt to at all) if I'm too chicken to take the workings apart? Thanks.

vic

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45PSS



Joined: 28 Sep 2001
Posts: 3159
Location: Mid Peninsula, Ca.

PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2001 3:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just finished checking http://www.craigcamera.com; photographic literature;
graflex repair. I did not find a listing for a pre but did find for an anniversary repair manual and parts list. I purchased one of the pacemaker manuals for my pacemaker and it has instructions on how to replace and adjust the shutter. In liew of an electronic shutter timer careful comparisom to another shutter at the slowest speed until duration appears the same then test with exposures with a known good camera shutter and the one you are adjusting. I time leaf shutters at 1 second using the second hand on my seiko then check the exposures with my nikon f4. The leafs are usually within 1/3 stop. Hope this helps.


[ This Message was edited by: 45PSS on 2001-11-26 19:51 ]
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vic valis



Joined: 21 Nov 2001
Posts: 247
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2001 4:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

An update: Well at this point I have the focal plane shutter (have yet to test the accuracy), and think I've got most of the pinholes in the bellows covered. Have found a few small holes in the cutain itsef that are fortunately well away from the center of the image, and being as I'm going to be using the camera with a Verito portrait lens I can probably live with them... what's one more imperfection in an image you do not want perfectly sharp? Now another question: any suggestions on covering the holes on the curtain itself, anything that will not eventually increase the flaking? Thanks for all the suggestions to date, they've all been very helpful.

vic

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jdman



Joined: 13 May 2001
Posts: 302
Location: Midwest

PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2001 5:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a 2x3 speed, with pin holes , that I feel is expendable, and am going to paint it with spray paint, it is very thin and I don't think it will flake. I will post if it works. Russ
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vic valis



Joined: 21 Nov 2001
Posts: 247
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2001 6:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Do let me know your results. Paint was one avenue I was thinking of. I suspect it might even be possible to dab a bit of something on the offending spot, sot hat if it des eventually flake, the damage is to a small part.

vic

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Les



Joined: 09 May 2001
Posts: 2682
Location: Detroit, MI

PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2001 2:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I"ve painted enough canvas backdrops to know that paint will stiffen the curtain.

I suspect, but haven't tried it, that the liquid rubber sold in home centers for making rubber handles on tools might work.

I've used it on tool and know that a fresh can is relatively thin and in order to build up any kind of film on my tool handles required multiple dips.

Perhaps this would be better. Just make sure you get the black and not the yellow
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45PSS



Joined: 28 Sep 2001
Posts: 3159
Location: Mid Peninsula, Ca.

PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2001 1:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I repaired multiple pin holes in the bellows of my sinar f1 with black cloth paint that I picked up at a local hobby shop. I think it would work on a shutter curtain also. Poly coat is available in clear as well as red, yellow, and black, dip can or spray where I work.
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vic valis



Joined: 21 Nov 2001
Posts: 247
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2001 5:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well the good news is that I've shot a polaroid (last in the box) through the camera that is the original subject of this thread, and so far as i can tell, at least with the shutter set to 1 1/2 and shooting at a speed of 1/10th of a second, there appear to be no light leaks of consequence and thespeed seems accurate... Huzzah! Thanks for the help, and keep it comig. I'm still not done.

vic
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alecj



Joined: 09 May 2001
Posts: 853
Location: Alabama

PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2001 2:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vic, with respect to your inquiry about calibration, the guru of these shutters is Fred Lustig, 4790 Caughlin Pkwy #433, Reno NV 89509 755/746-0111. [no email]

Not only does he have the most parts for these cameras [he bought the WD Services stock from MidWest Photo], but he also makes new parts for focal plane shutters, and has the equipment to calibrate them. That's who I would use.
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