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Century Lens Repair(?)

 
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Axon



Joined: 20 Feb 2011
Posts: 8

PostPosted: Sun Feb 20, 2011 9:46 pm    Post subject: Century Lens Repair(?) Reply with quote

I was shooting in a hailstorm (don't ask) with my trusty Century, and the next day I found that many of the shutter speeds are sticky. When fired, the blades open like normal, but then close in what can only be described as slow motion.

Prolonged application of a hairdryer seems to fix it, but then when left for a while it goes beck to its sticky state.

Will this problem eventually resolve itself, or do I need to send off the lens to be CLA'd?
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45PSS



Joined: 28 Sep 2001
Posts: 3219
Location: Mid Peninsula, Ca.

PostPosted: Sun Feb 20, 2011 10:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I was shooting in a hailstorm

The last hailstorm I was in was 1977. 30 minutes of golf ball to softball size hail so intense that visibility was about 3 feet. Average damage to buildings was $7000 for a 14 square mile area, $2000 to $3000 to autos.
Luckily I was indoors and my cars were protected by trees. When it stooped hailstones were 6 to 8 inches deep.

The Century name was used on Field cameras, Large Studio cameras, Press cameras, and 35mm cameras.

Yes your lens shutter needs a CLA. The shutter blades spring open upon the shutter being tripped and the delay or retard gear train that controls the closing is not running properly due to the lubricant being dried out and restricting the gear movement. Heat softens the lubricant allowing the gears to turn more freely. It will eventually lock up if it is not serviced.
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Axon



Joined: 20 Feb 2011
Posts: 8

PostPosted: Mon Feb 21, 2011 12:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm sorry, I should have been more specific. The camera is a Century Graphic, and the lens is an Ektar 101mm f/4.5.

Can I do this repair myself, or is the damage severe enough that only a professional should be trusted?

Was the damage caused directly by rain and hail inside the lens?
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45PSS



Joined: 28 Sep 2001
Posts: 3219
Location: Mid Peninsula, Ca.

PostPosted: Mon Feb 21, 2011 2:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Was the damage caused directly by rain and hail inside the lens?

Only if the rain got inside and caused the parts to rust, doubtful; only if the hail dented the shutter housing. Lubrication drying out is common.

The shutter has possibly been slowing down for a while but was not noticeable. Exposure errors of less than 1/3 stop are not noticeable unless you check densities regularly with a densitometer.

Quote:
Can I do this repair myself, or is the damage severe enough that only a professional should be trusted?

Depends on your mechanical abilities. If you have never serviced a shutter before then the degree of difficulty will depend on the shutter.

If it is a Graphex Shutter then
http://www.southbristolviews.com/pics/Graphic/manual-pdf/GraphexShutterService.pdf
will be your guide, if in a Supermatic shutter (Kodak or Graphic) then you will need a service manual for the version of Supermatic shutter you have,
if you have a Compur or Synchro-Compur take/send it to a shutter repair shop.

Kodak or Graphic Supermatic- no flash sync; Flash Supermatic- sync for type M, F, and X sync in various combinations; Supermatic X- X flash sync only. Manual for Flash Supermatic can be used for all versions; supermatic will have no flash mechanics so those steps can be skipped, Supermatic X flash mechanics will be different but simpler; exact match best for first time servicing. You will also need a good degreaser, I use electronic contact cleaner, a good light weight machine oil such as TriFlo not 3in1 or WD40, and some light to medium weight grease such as white lithium. When lubing a shutter less is more as a drop of oil can act like glue and prevent a gear from turning. Apply the drop of oil then wipe off the excess leaving a just detectable sheen. A small dab of grease on the movement area is all that is needed. It helps to take pictures with a digital camera in macro mode of each stage of disassembly for reassembly reference.
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Henry



Joined: 09 May 2001
Posts: 1442
Location: Allentown, Pennsylvania

PostPosted: Tue Feb 22, 2011 1:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Time to revive the Ronsonol soak?! Remove front and rear lens elements, and squirt Ronsonol (or similar) lighter fluid a/k/a naphtha into the works, especially at the front end of the shutter where the lens resided before you removed it. Work the shutter through all f/stops and speeds, check for effectiveness, squirt and work it some more. With luck this should loosen up the gearing and de-gunk the original lubricant. Often this was all that was needed to get my Graphex shutters back to work. If necessary, relubricate (what 45PSS said). If you've never disassembled a shutter, this may not be the time to start, and certainly not if you haven't a factory service manual (available in reprint from several sources). Hopefully you won't have to tear down the shutter!

All of the above assumes that there is no actual physical damage to the shutter.
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45PSS



Joined: 28 Sep 2001
Posts: 3219
Location: Mid Peninsula, Ca.

PostPosted: Tue Feb 22, 2011 1:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In a pm about the service manual Axon discovered water on the shutter blades. After thorough drying it was back to working fine.

Henry,
How far from the pipeline explosion were you? The San Bruno one was 5 miles away from me.
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Henry



Joined: 09 May 2001
Posts: 1442
Location: Allentown, Pennsylvania

PostPosted: Tue Feb 22, 2011 6:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It was about 3 miles east of me. Never heard/felt a thing, sound asleep at that hour (c. 10:30 pm). Ruptured (cracked) 12" cast iron pipe, installed 1928; pipe removed for lab tests. Natural gas is not nice! Entire block of eight row homes destroyed, 5 deaths.
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