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Q What's your opinion on changing shutter speeds? I've heard it both ways:

1. Don't change the speed when the shutter is cocked.
2. Only change the speed after the shutter is cocked.

Which way is correct and why?

A It's safe to move the speed dial first before cocking the shutter on any shutter. At least on all the ones I have seen.

When you cock the shutter, it engages the slow gear train so that a lever is against the speed dial. On some shutters (e.g., Ilex, Betax, Alphax, and Compounds) the dial is just a smooth sloping dial—unless someone has adjusted the dial and made bumps or indents to correct the speeds. With these shutters, it's possible to get additional speeds in between the marked speeds. For example, if you set it between 1/5 and 1/10 your speed would be 1/8 in most cases, depending on the slop or if it's been adjusted etc.

Some might say to cock the shutter first so the gear train is already engaged and the speed is set, but this doesn't always work. So it's always
best to set the shutter on the speed you want (it can be cocked or not), then trip the shutter, then re-cock it, and then take your pictures. This
way you have a truer speed.

With other shutters (e.g., Compur, Rapax, Prontor, Copal, and Seiko) the dial has steps cut into it and if you try to move the dial while cocked you could break the little pin that rides against the speed dial. These type shutters don't allow for much correction if the speeds are off. Since there are only steps, the step you are on is the speed you get.

There are at least two levers that control the speed in these shutters—the main one that rides the steps and a second that has its own track—so the steps go up from speeds 1 second to 1/10 or 1/15 than down again at 1/25 or 1/30 and than back up.

One other thing I should mention is with some Compur and Rapax shutters, at the highest speed (1/400 or 1/500), the lever rides up and pushes against a heavy spring and you can feel the tension as you turn it to that speed.

To summarize—and to be really safe—just set the correct shutter speed before cocking. If you set the wrong speed and the shutter is cocked, just fire it off then reset. Better safe than sorry!



Q What's the difference between a dial set and a rim set shutter?

A A dial-set shutter has a small speed index dial on top of the shutter which turns in one direction. There are markings on the dial for the speeds it will set the shutter to.

A rim-set shutter is one where you grasp the speed indexing dial at the edges (rim) and turn the whole dial which is located underneath the front
plate. There is a little dot or line that you will line up to the printed speed that is either on the top plate or is printed on the side of the shutter



Q Are there any common problems with Compound shutters?

A When you cock the shutter there is a little piston at the top of the shutter—it governs the speed. If you trip the shutter right away, the little
piston doesn't have time to move. When you wait, it moves over and sets its little pin up against the speed wheel so it knows what speed you are after. Usually it's to a count of 10 or 15.

A common problem that occurs with these shutter is that corrosion can build up inside, where the piston is, preventing it from sliding back and forth. Or the seals inside the piston may get bad and you end up with only one speed. Other problems are... springs can break and/or the lube can become sticky or stiff. Also, if the shutter was over-lubed, the lubricant can migrate and get on the shutter or diaphragm blades, where it doesn't belong.

Finally, the cable release socket can fall-off on some models, because they're just riveted on. When that happens most people just thread the hole.



Q How about Ilex rim set shutters?

A With these shutters, it's best to trip the shutter once—at the speed you desire—then your shutter will be ready to go at that speed. This is especially true at speeds 1/5, 1/10 and 1/25.

Common problems: the speed dial gets hard to turn from old lubrication that turns gummy.  Also, sometimes the cable release won't work—these shutters need a cable release with a long plunger. If it still doesn't work, then the pin in the cable release socket needs to be changed. In addition, when old lubrication gets gummy, shutter speeds can become unreliable and "T" & "B" settings may fail to work.


Q What can you tell us about Copals?

A I have found very few of these shutters—even when new—where the speeds are true. At the higher speeds they always test slow.

Common Problems: like the Ilexes, a speed dial that's hard to turn is the main complaint. For some reason they like to over-lube these shutters and the lube migrates into the mechanism, causing the shutter to slow down or malfunction. Sometimes it can gets into the aperture and the blades stick together.

Another problem with the #1 and #0 is the aperture gets out of whack when the control lever gets out of place. Only two little pins on ether side
hold it in place, so if the shutter gets jarred (or if it gets gunky from lube under that lever), they can slip out of place.



Q  What's the best way to store a shutter?

A Keep it in a dry area (off the floor if it's cement, like in a garage). Best to set the speed dial on "T" or "B" and uncocked so there is no
tension on the springs.

To keep the shutter in shape, you should take it out and exercise it at least once a month, running through once at each speed, and at least 10
times at the lower speeds, to get that slow gear governor moving. Even if you're too busy or have too many shutters... get them out once in
a while throughout the year and exercise them or they'll become sluggish over time.



Q PaceMaker Graphic camera 101—My camera won't release the shutter when I press the release  OR I can't get the get the shutter plan shutter to release OR the shutter plan shutter is in the way. How do I get it to move?

A Facing the camera towards you and looking on the left side of the camera, you'll see a lever that reads TRIP BACK FRONT. This lever is for: tripping the front lens shutter or the back focal plan shutter.

To trip the front lens shutter you set it on FRONT. To trip the back shutter you set on BACK. TRIP is to release the curtain.

To use the button, press in on the lower part of the lever and push it up to TRIP.  In the window, you want it to read O for the curtain to be in
the open position. Or, set in on BACK and use the main trip lever also located on that side of the camera.

Now look at the bottom of the camera (on this side) and you will see a lever. When this lever is facing the front of the camera, when you wind the curtain you will have "T," 1/30, 1/125, 1/500. If you move that lever to face to the back of the camera than you have "T," 1/50,1/250,1/1000.

You can move that lever at any time and it will switch between the two sets of speeds.



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