Everything to Know About Packard Shutters

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I'm searching for vigorous discussion from anybody who has experience or knowledge about Packard shutters. How to mount them, where to find them, how they operate, the functions they provide.

-- Bruce Gavin (doc@compudox.com), June 26, 2000



-- sheldon hambrick (sheldon_hambrick@htomail.com), June 26, 2000.


If you search the archives, you can learn quite a bit about these wonders.

I don't have the URL handy, but Hub photo sells them new. The large ones are 80 bucks or so, the smaller ones quite a bit less. I think.

You typically mount them behind the lens. Get the bulb from Hub photo; regular cheapo air releases will work but not very well and you will screw up exposures.

You can get them with flash sync and also with an "instantaneous" setting which some people claim they can adjust by how hard they squeeze the bulb. I've been able to get this to work in theory (meaning when I'm not actually making an exposure) but in practice I always screw up an exposure I try it on. If you just give the thing the whole blast though it is fairly consistent, about a 1/50th or so depending on the size of the shutter.

Remember that the size of the shutter is significantly larger than the size of the hole. Also remember you may have to mount the shutter well behind the lens board to get it to clear the lens.

I am mounting one on the front of a lensboard now because it is so large I can't get the hose out the camera. It is a very wide angle protar and so I am recessing the lens almost an inch, so the shutter clears the front of the lens and does not vignette. Typically you run the house out the lensboard; you can also drill a hole in your front standard or run it through the bellows. This is why packards work so well on 8x10 cameras (big lens boards) and so poorly on 4x5 cameras.

They are really best used with long exposures that you time with a watch. I don't trust myself with anything shorter than 1/5 second and even that is tricky. You really do need the bulb that Hub Photo sells to use these things properly.

I mounted one permanently in my old camera, an Eastman 8x10. That was very nice because because it was an enormous shutter that just barely fit in the back of the standard. Hose went out the bellows. But now I have a deardorff and there isn't so much room on the front standard.

I can't think of much else to add. They come with the mounting hardware and if you make long exposures with cheap barrel lenses, they are an excellent deal. But let me tell you: when you eventually get a lens with a real shutter on it, you can't believe how much easier it is.

-- Erik Ryberg (ryberg@seanet.com), June 26, 2000.

I see Mr. Hambric got the URL in there while I was busy composing.

-- Erik Ryberg (ryberg@seanet.com), June 26, 2000.

It will take a lot to answer all your questions in detail but here's some starters. (I've used them for 30 years.) www.hubphoto.com is the present manufacturer providing shutters and accessories which have been improved from the originals of the 1890's. Used ones are still widely available, some on ebay right now. They come in various sizes, both outer dimensions and shutter opening. They operate simply by air bursts through tubing from a rubber squeeze bulb. Some are synchronized for strobe. Mounting is not hard but requires some thought and care--it's possible to over tighten the casing onto the mounting surface and warp the whole assembly. Think of the Packard shutter as the focal plane shutter in a 35mm camera, it stays with the camera and various barrel lenses can be mounted in front of it. With ingenuity they can also be mounted in front of the lens and camera. It's big benefit is a cheap way to use a lot of barrel lenses with a view camera and have some predictability and strobe sync. Having said that, many find that the single instantaneous speed (around 1/30th of a second) to be impractical. Many new users are frustrated with the Packard because they don't know some of it's idiosyncrasies. Their original and most widespread application was for portrait photographers who used big studio cameras and lenses that were too big for individual shutters. I use them daily, professionally, and am a big fan of the Packard. I'll be happy to answer specifics either here or off board....C. W. Dean

-- C. W. Dean (cwdean@erols.com), June 26, 2000.

The Packard looks like an ideal experimenter's shutter. I have an idea about using a Pentax 6x7 45mm ultra-wide on the 4x5 format. The lens mount can be fabricated from a Pentax rear lens cap with a hole bored in it large enough for the rear element. I can seen this contraption mounted to a Packard shutter fitted to a Sinar lens board.

The whole kludge will still be short enough in depth to allow focusing this lens using the Sinar bag bellows. The Packard shutter will bypass the problems posed by the thickness of a conventional #3 or larger shutter.

I checked out Hub Photo and found the Packard is made in both Bulb and Instantaneous/Bulb models. Prices get right up there in a hurry for the larger shutters. Evidently they use precision parts, bushings, etc, and have achieved a consistent single-speed exposure.

-- Bruce Gavin (doc@compudox.com), June 27, 2000.

Yes but since you aren't going to get any movements out of that thing and are only going to cover 6x7, wouldn't it be an awful lot easier to use the Pentax lens with the Pentax 6x7 camera? Or do you have a spare 800$ P67 45mm lens lying around?

It is an intriguing idea though.

-- Erik Ryberg (ryberg@seanet.com), June 28, 2000.

My previous message was to use the P67 45mm lens on the 4x5 format. The image circle provided by this lens appears to be at least 110mm, as it nearly covers the entire width of the Sinar ground glass. The angle of view as seen on the 4x5 groundglass is significantly wider than what one gets from the 6x7 body. I use the 45mm on my 6x7 body regularly, but was thinking about an occasional use on 4x5 as a low- cost alternative to a 47XL Schneider.

-- Bruce Gavin (doc@compudox.com), June 28, 2000.

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