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Thread: Copal shutter - end of production. What's next?

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    Copal shutter - end of production. What's next?

    I've heard that Copal is going to stop making their popular mechanical shutters (not profitable enough I suppose, their core business is in other areas these days), the last production run towards the end of the year with stock probably lasting for a year or so, so there's no immediate shortage. Haven't been able to get an official announcement of it yet though. If someone has a link please provide.

    If nothing is made to replace them I guess we will have to live with the slow, expensive and bulky electronic shutters designed for studio use. Does not feel that good for me using the camera in the field. I prefer a mechanical shutter, and I think it is considerably more popular in the sales figures too but I'm not sure.

    While a good electronic shutter alternative can be made I suppose, I think some of the charm of the tech camera is lost when it's no longer all-mechanical, and you (probably) need a shutter control box on the side.

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    Re: Copal shutter - end of production. What's next?

    There is no reason why you cannot come up with a compact electronic shutter for field work. If Rodenstock and Schneider does not go out of the lens business, and they might decide it is not profitable, then they will find a solution. Perhaps Copal has sold the shutter business. The studio solutions did not have to be small and the control box had some benefits in the studio.

    Popular does not mean profitable. Popular can also mean cheap. An electronic shutter may have simply added too much onto the cost. Still, Copal has built so many of these shutters, you will always be able to find them. Personally, I would prefer to see a well-designed electronic shutter just for accuracy and the ability to go over one second. You might even be able for it to communicate with the back so we can get rid of that wakeup cable.

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    Re: Copal shutter - end of production. What's next?

    I've looked around a bit and the coming DHW shutter seems to be the coolest thing so far:
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/5vjo1pjn57...HW_HS_1000.pdf
    New electronic shutter size 0, coming Q2 2013, price about €1300. Controlled/powered through USB. Controller is a computer, possibly a phone if it can provide enough power.

    (Yes I've indeed thought about the risk that Schneider and/or Rodenstock decides to stop making "large format digital" lenses because it's not a big enough business. Companies that has lots of other business (like Copal, Schneider, Rodenstock...) can at management level decide to drop a product line even if it's profitable just because it's not seen as a business with enough growth potential. Currently I think that risk is low though, we've seen recent product launches in both Rodenstock's and Schneider's lens lineups)

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    Re: Copal shutter - end of production. What's next?

    So, a company like Rodenstock and Scheider may keep the photographic lens business because it keeps them in view. However, recent releases are not an indication of commitment to the products. The division will keep ticking at its usual pace until someone decides to pull the plug. Konica Minolta did not slow down the production schedule when it decided to get rid of the business.

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    Re: Copal shutter - end of production. What's next?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shashin View Post
    You might even be able for it to communicate with the back so we can get rid of that wakeup cable.
    I'm not sure if I really trust the tech camera makers to do electronics. The solutions *always* end up big bulky ugly with cables hanging all over (a Sinar shutter system shown in the attached picture, and yes you cannot use it with recessed boards due to the shutter size and cabling). With the current makers (Cambo, Arca-Swiss, Alpa, Linhof, Sinar) I still prefer an all-mechanical piece of art which you instead of a rollfilm back happen to be able to attach a digital back. They do that well.

    If an electronic shutter will be the only option in the future for new systems, I'd prefer to have a weather-proof small tight shutter box attached to the camera, rather than some "iPhone cold shoe mount" or similar for controlling the camera with the phone.

    In the really long term when we have CMOS backs we could have a tablet computer with both live view and shutter control, that would feel quite okay I think, but that are a few years from now I would guess.

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    Re: Copal shutter - end of production. What's next?

    A back with a global shutter CMOS sensor & proper live view would feel quite ok too, I could live without another "stuff" in the way.

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    Re: Copal shutter - end of production. What's next?

    Quote Originally Posted by torger View Post
    I'm not sure if I really trust the tech camera makers to do electronics. The solutions *always* end up big bulky ugly with cables hanging all over (a Sinar shutter system shown in the attached picture, and yes you cannot use it with recessed boards due to the shutter size and cabling). With the current makers (Cambo, Arca-Swiss, Alpa, Linhof, Sinar) I still prefer an all-mechanical piece of art which you instead of a rollfilm back happen to be able to attach a digital back. They do that well.

    If an electronic shutter will be the only option in the future for new systems, I'd prefer to have a weather-proof small tight shutter box attached to the camera, rather than some "iPhone cold shoe mount" or similar for controlling the camera with the phone.

    In the really long term when we have CMOS backs we could have a tablet computer with both live view and shutter control, that would feel quite okay I think, but that are a few years from now I would guess.
    I think ALPA/Seitz at least have proved that they can do electronics with the FPS, which will be able to control electronic shutters in the future - the 14 pin LEMO connector on the FPS is highlighted as being there in order to control future electronic leaf shutters.

    ALPA have also I believe hinted that the focal plane shutter unit used in the FPS may end up being used in other form-factors in the future.

    Regards,

    Gerald.
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    Re: Copal shutter - end of production. What's next?

    Quote Originally Posted by torger View Post
    I'm not sure if I really trust the tech camera makers to do electronics. The solutions *always* end up big bulky ugly with cables hanging all over (a Sinar shutter system shown in the attached picture, and yes you cannot use it with recessed boards due to the shutter size and cabling). With the current makers (Cambo, Arca-Swiss, Alpa, Linhof, Sinar) I still prefer an all-mechanical piece of art which you instead of a rollfilm back happen to be able to attach a digital back. They do that well.

    If an electronic shutter will be the only option in the future for new systems, I'd prefer to have a weather-proof small tight shutter box attached to the camera, rather than some "iPhone cold shoe mount" or similar for controlling the camera with the phone.

    In the really long term when we have CMOS backs we could have a tablet computer with both live view and shutter control, that would feel quite okay I think, but that are a few years from now I would guess.
    I simple radio or WiFi trigger in the shutter could wakeup the back.

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    Re: Copal shutter - end of production. What's next?

    Quote Originally Posted by gerald.d View Post
    I think ALPA/Seitz at least have proved that they can do electronics with the FPS, which will be able to control electronic shutters in the future - the 14 pin LEMO connector on the FPS is highlighted as being there in order to control future electronic leaf shutters.

    ALPA have also I believe hinted that the focal plane shutter unit used in the FPS may end up being used in other form-factors in the future.

    Regards,

    Gerald.
    I know that I'm biased but Alpa just simply 'get it' - the FPS doesn't help with the super wides today but the universal shutter interface definitely promises a future for the platform regardless of what Copal do.
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

    As Oscar Wilde said, "my tastes are simple, I only like the best"

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    Re: Copal shutter - end of production. What's next?

    Quote Originally Posted by GrahamWelland View Post
    I know that I'm biased but Alpa just simply 'get it' - the FPS doesn't help with the super wides today but the universal shutter interface definitely promises a future for the platform regardless of what Copal do.
    Yup. The 23HR will never work on an FPS, but at least the 32HR is coming soon

    And if you do want something wider, then at least you have the Canon 24 and 17 TSE options.

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    Re: Copal shutter - end of production. What's next?

    I don't want the ultra-short flange distance designs to die just yet (as they would if focal plane shutter becomes the standard option), having those designs is unique for tech cams and make up some of their unique properties. So I hope that we do get a nice leaf shutter standard too, but if we don't many of us will be able to survive on the remaining stock and all the Copals out on the second hand market.

    I also like the way it is now when there are many diverse types of tech cameras and there are actually "cheap" systems too. A new Schneider Digitar 90mm lens with a copal on a lens board costs about $1300. The exact same lens on a high precision helicon mount with an electronic leaf shutter would be ~$5000.

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    Re: Copal shutter - end of production. What's next?

    I don't think there's a reason to panic quite yet. If you're really concerned about this, buy a spare shutter or two.

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    Re: Copal shutter - end of production. What's next?

    Newest info (directly from Schneider Kreuznach) to the Copal status:

    They did not only stop making the shutters in Thailand (where they cam from until recently) they also stopped making spare parts at the same time. Some springs are already running out of supply, repairs are now going to be dependent from used parts, that will make the lifetime of the running shutters significantly shorter.

    Regards
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    Re: Copal shutter - end of production. What's next?

    So now we panic?

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    Re: Copal shutter - end of production. What's next?

    Unnecessary Torger......

    I used some of my Copals mainly the larger #3 and #1 for up to 20 years and thousands and thousands of images without a single repair. The Horseman ISS (which is based on Copals) ran for several hundred thousand exposures (Leaf threeshot and catalogue work). I know of colleagues who use this ISS for 3D digitalization with phase backs and have reached millions of exposures.

    But this is in the studio at stable conditions and no moisture. The faster #0 mostly used for "digital lenses" are another story. They are taken out for Landscape and architecture and will wear faster as their parts are smaller also.

    Regards
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    Re: Copal shutter - end of production. What's next?

    Mhm, the only disadvantage for electronic shutters is we will have to take AGAIN more batteries with us , and the price ..
    Does any one have images of the " complete" Rollei shutter setup ? Just to know ..

    thanks
    ju

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    Re: Copal shutter - end of production. What's next?

    The current line up of Electronic shutters I have looked at from Schneider are very limited. Fastest shutter speed is 1/60th on most of these and they all require a 1K control box plus the cost of the shutter another 1K. They are large and bulky and really don't seem to work in a non tethered workflow. I have not looked at the Rodenstock solution but from what I have heard it's not any better and.

    What is needed is a electronic shutter solution that offers a wider range of speeds and can be controlled from a usb type connection with a small controller card, one like the remote commander setup for Nikon.

    It would be nice to be able to get shutter speeds in-between the fixed settings on the Copals, like how it can be done on a DSLR's electronic shutter.

    Paul Caldwell

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    Re: Copal shutter - end of production. What's next?

    Hopefully and perhaps likely the Copal shutters will stay around in as many years it will take for manufacturers to produce a decent outdoor-friendly electronic shutter.

    A tech camera with CMOS-quality live view and electronic leaf shutters, having a electronic interface to the back feeding lens and tilt/shift information into the EXIF data (allowing for LCC autopick). I will not be against. Hopefully no loose cables hanging around. If it's going to cost >$1500 per lens though the focal plane shutter option seems rather attractive...

    I think it will be more about lens, tech camera and digital back manufacturers ability to cooperate than about technology to make this kind of thing happen.

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