Packard shutters

Discussion in 'Large Format' started by joe_freeman, Dec 12, 2002.

  1. Anyone using packard shutters? If so what are your thoughts on them,
    pro, con, things to look out for, things to look for?
  2. I have a large packard which I use. It works fine in "B" or "T" mode, and is quite reliable. I have been unable to obtain constant and reliable speeds using the 'timed' exposure. When I measure it, it seems to vary between 1/8 and 1/15. I tend to go for very long exposures when using the packard, that way I can be more sure of correct times.

    I used epoxy and glued step up rings onto the packard, so it screws into the front of my barrel mounted lenses. I purchased a 72-82mm step up ring, and glued the 82mm side to the packard. Using other step-up rings the packard screws into all of the barrel lenses I own. On the other side of the packard, I glued a 77 to 82mm step-up ring and can now attach my lens hood.

    I also considered buying a cheapo polarizing filter and removing the glass, so I could rotate the packard. However this may be mostly cosmetic.
  3. Packard shutters go back a LONG way, and still have their devotees. They are usually needed and used behind lenses with no built-in shutters on view cameras with no focalplane shutters. They are rather simple, slow, and not too well calibrated. In fact, on an early shot by Ansel Adams, he comments that this a "fortunate exposure," in that the accuracy of speed was uncertain. Still, they work, and there are some around and in use today. I have no idea of what you'll be up against in terms of service or repairs, but I'm sure someone more knowledgeable will jump in.
  4. It is worth noting that packards are still being made new. Midwest Camera Exchange and Stephen Shuart carry them new, although you can also purchase them from (who I assume to be) the manufacturer:
  5. You're right Jason. But the advantage of dealing with Midwest Photo is that they are actually cheaper than buying factory direct! I just bought a new Packard Ideal from Tom at Midwest. It cost me $96.00. At the factory it would have cost me $115.00!

    Thank you Tom and the Midwest Team for passing on some of the savings on to the customers! And as usual, the service was excellent. Ordered it on Monday, had the baby in my hot little hands on GERMANY!
  6. On the used ones, look out for flash sync that no longer works. Sometimes this can be repaired by the user but future reliability may be uncertain. Also, many are offered "new in box" when actually they are "new old stock". Before the present manufacturer, Hub Photo in New Jersey, acquired the company, the quality control was weak as were many of the shutters. I have no connection with the company but I always recommend purchasing a new shutter made by Hub Photo to insure reliability. When you spread the cost over the dozens of years that you will use the unit, they are very economical. Ask the seller if it's made by Hub Photo, avoid Michigan Shutter Co. The Hub Photo versions have a microswitch in the flash sync circuit which is much better than the earlier engineering.

    An earlier poster mentioned something about rotating the Packard. Since gravity plays a part in the shutter working correctly, it should always be mounted with the piston(s) perpendicular to the ground.

    A clean and dry Packard works best so avoid impulses to lubricate one with anything other than a very light dose of powdered graphite.
  7. joe, I'm in the process of fitting a No.6 to an ersatz 'dorff board. From what I hear, accuracy is pretty much a matter of technique(which I don't have!) Actually, I'm still trying to figure out how to adjust that little brass pin that goes in and out of the lensboard. FWIW, the price is right on these things, especially if you like to mess with old barrel lenses. Cheers!
  8. Does anyone know how what diffraction rules the Packard shutters follow? I assume they must be different than a standard lens shutter?
  9. John,

    you're right about one thing, the documentation for the Packard shutters, even when bought new, leave alot to be desired. You would think that they could include a small installation instruction sheet with a diagram or two.

    About the pin, I too am somewhat confused by it, but before I go and start drilling extra holes, I found that the pin works fine when insterted from inside the camera. I just removed the GG and stuck the pin in, without any measurement and it worked fine. If I were to install the pin from the outside, the way it was intended, it would be necessary to cut the length of the pin to fit the particular lensboard. If you were to cut it too short, you'd be out of luck.
  10. The pin can be installed in a simple, practical way but the explanation is a little lengthy. Anyone interested may email me offline and I'll try to help.

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