Exercising Lenses

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I have Linhoff 4 x5 view camera and a number of lenses that have not been used for five years. Is it true that the shutter speeds may be way off because of failing to regularly "exercise" the lenses? What is the easiest and/or most accurate way to check this? Thank you.

-- Martin Feldman (cerett@cox.net), May 15, 2002


Shoot a few Polaroids or use a shutter speed tester.

Anytime you are shooting any shot anywhere it is a good idea to trip the shutter a few times to get the lubricant "flowing"...before taking the actual shot...

-- Per Volquartz (volquartz@volquartz.com), May 15, 2002.

Agreeing with Per, "stretch" your shutter speeds by tripping the shutter starting out with 1 second to see if they are smooth and consistent. Do this multiple times.

-- Scott Walton (walton@ll.mit.edu), May 15, 2002.

Just as shutters need exercise, so do our visual perceptual and camera handling abilities. This thread should be a reminder to exercise all of them regularly, for optimal results.

-- Henry Friedman (friedlew@worldnet.att.net), May 15, 2002.

If it's been a very long time, it may make sense to have them maintenanced. I can see where the lubrication may need to be refresshed, they can check the accuracy, cleaned, etc.

It seems like shutter speeds on LF lenses are always off. I would never trust a shutter speed marking. So, I have a shutter tester that I purchased from Calumet so that I can determine the actual shutter speeds myself.

You can always adjust the f-stop a bit for inaccuracy, but the important question is whether or not they are consistent from use to use. For this reason, I think tripping a shutter before use is a good idea, even in the field.

-- neil poulsen (neil.fg@att.net), May 15, 2002.


The above answers are all correct. A CLA by Steve Grimes will get your shutters in perfect shape.

Are we related? Two Feldmans in LF. Is the world ready for us!



-- Steve Feldman (steve@toprinting.com), May 15, 2002.

This in response to Per's comment.

I've found, after years and years of tripping the shutter first to make sure it is working properly before making the exposure, that the first trip of the shutter is the most accurate. After that they are all off a bit. I was very surprised, but I tested all my shutters (old ones to be sure) and this finding was universal.

-- Michael A. Smith (michaelandpaula@michaelandpaula.com), May 15, 2002.

Wow Michael...guess one should never take anything for granted...

Will have to check that out...

-- Per Volquartz (volquartz@volquartz.com), May 15, 2002.

Good points. I saw an auction on e-bay for some Graflex equipment that never saw the light of day. The seller cleaned out an old store in Ohio, and for some reason this particular inventory never sold since the late sixties. I guess the owner collected or lost track of stuff before he passed away. The body, 3 lenses, and flash went for close to 1800.00. Too much for me, but I bet the lube in the shutters would've been all dried up by now. Wonder how accurate they'd be after cleaning ?

-- Greg Riutzel (greg.riutzel@orst.edu), May 20, 2002.

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