… every act has a closing curtain.

Shutter curtains … hmm. I like leaf shutters cause they are easy to restore. Focal plane shutters, well that is a different story.

Leaf shutter

Leaf shutters have blades (though sometimes there is only one) that opens and then closes to expose the film.

Easy peasy. Kinda like taking off the lens cap and then putting it back on.

When you encounter these that don’t work, it usually just takes a cleaning of the blades to get them back in working condition.

Sometime in 1883, a guy named Ottomar Anschütz invented the rouleau shutter in order to take high speed images, as the leaf shutter was not fast enough. This roller shutter became the focal plane shutter that we know today.

Horizontal focal plane shutter

One shutter opens and the other follows it … this is like have two lens caps, one you take off the lens with one hand and then with the other hand you put the other cap on.

The timing of the two creates a slit that passes in front of the film to expose it for x number of seconds. The early focal plane shutters were horizontally traveling … and eventually became vertical using metal blades that could move faster.

Each curtain is connected to two rollers, one to set the shutter and the other attached by ribbons that are pulled by a spring loaded roller when the shutter mechanism is released.

Leica started using rubberized cloth focal plane shutters to achieve higher speeds in their infamous Barnack cameras, this was very helpful for an interchangeable lens systems as it didn’t require every lens to have a shutter built into it. Now of course everybody else had to copy this.

Over time, problems appeared with cloth shutters on old Barnack type cameras … or in many old cameras that used rubberized cloth … the type of problem that I have encountered most commonly is a deteriorated rubber on the shutter curtain(s). The Minolta-35 is famous for it. Another is the glue holding the ribbons has let go of the cloth or from the rollers … then there is the issue of degraded rubber causing light to leak through …

In the image below,  it is one of the ribbon tapes (top left) that pull the second shutter curtain that has come off of the spring loaded roller.

s-l1600_1Here is the crooked shutter … telltale angled wrinkles. The top is leaning because the curtain ribbon tape is no longer pulling the curtain.

In my case the ribbon was torn just after the point where it was glued to the roller, so it needed to be replaced. So I would need to get inside this thing to replace it.

You might want to read over Rick Oleson’s doc on a Leica shutter repair first … just to give you an idea. You can even watch Nobbysparrow do a replacement.

DSC00680Now wait till you get a hold of a multi-bladed vertical focal plane shutter !!

That’s another story to tell …


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