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Author Topic: Copal is Going Out of Business  (Read 6590 times)
JoeKitchen
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« on: March 22, 2013, 03:24:03 PM »
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Thought this was interesting when I just heard it.  Their last production run is in a couple of months and then that is it.  (I heard this from a very reliable source.)  Just wondering what is going to replace them?  Will we have leaf shutters in the future?  Could the DHW electronic shutters be the next thing, if it is ever released?

But most importantly, would it be wise to buy a spare shutter just to have one?  (They go for around $450)
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Joe Kitchen
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JoeKitchen
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« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2013, 03:26:56 PM »
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BTW, I also heard from the same person that there is no difference between a Copal shutter and a Nikon shutter other than cosmetic things.  Copal made Nikon's shutters.
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Joe Kitchen
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Stefan.Steib
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« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2013, 04:39:29 PM »
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Copal will not go out of business. They will just stop doing leaf shutters.
This is already an old story. They raised their prices nearly double as they wanted to do this some time ago,
but people bought it anyway. But I believe it is simply one of the "old" technology mechanics that they simply do not want to do any longer.
Take a look at their portfolio, it is nearly 100 % highend electronics now.

http://www.nidec-copal.com/

Copal is a thriving, healthy and very prosperous company. They really earn money. The leaf shutters don´t.
That simple.

Greetings from Germany
Stefan
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HarperPhotos
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« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2013, 05:13:41 PM »
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Hello,

Just out of curiosity who supplies Hasselblad/Fuji and Mamiya/Schneider with leaf shutter?

Cheers

Simon
« Last Edit: March 22, 2013, 05:18:56 PM by HarperPhotos » Logged

Simon Harper
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FredBGG
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« Reply #4 on: March 22, 2013, 07:36:13 PM »
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Hello,

Just out of curiosity who supplies Hasselblad/Fuji and Mamiya/Schneider with leaf shutter?

Cheers

Simon

They both make their own. Fuji also makes leaf shutter for other models it makes.
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torger
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« Reply #5 on: March 23, 2013, 07:18:33 AM »
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Ok, someone that can clarify exactly how bad news this is? Does this mean that there will only be those slow €1200 electronic shutters with bulky remotes, designed for studio use? That would be bad news indeed for me that hike with my system and like economical solutions. I also think it is quite charming with a 100% mechanical camera. Is there an other mechanical alternative?
« Last Edit: March 23, 2013, 07:25:45 AM by torger » Logged
JoeKitchen
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« Reply #6 on: March 23, 2013, 07:59:07 AM »
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Ok, so maybe I misheard who I talked about what actually is happening to the company.  But that still means that no more manual shutters, at least at sometime in the future. 

Maybe someone will buy the production rights, but not likely they will be made at the same quality. 

Has anyone heard from DHW about were they are with their new electronic shutter?
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Joe Kitchen
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Paul2660
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« Reply #7 on: March 23, 2013, 09:00:05 AM »
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For Tech camera users, I would think this is a pretty big issue.  I can't think of any other shutter used, on the Rodenstock or Schneider lenses out there.  The electronic versions are much more cumbersome and I don't think that they will work in the field. 

Has anyone spoken to Schneider or Rodenstock?  I am going to call Schneider in NY on Monday and see what their feedback is.

Paul Caldwell
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BJL
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« Reply #8 on: March 23, 2013, 09:14:57 AM »
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there are other makers of shutters, though I admit that Compur is the only one that I have heard of. Here is a list, for example:  http://lensn2shutter.com/shutters.html
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gerald.d
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« Reply #9 on: March 23, 2013, 02:17:47 PM »
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Pretty sure there's a new Rodenstock electronic shutter due this year?
(no PC required - just a handheld unit, or, presumably, an ALPA FPS Smiley)
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Stefan.Steib
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« Reply #10 on: March 23, 2013, 02:26:45 PM »
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Compur´s leaf shutters were history long ago. Prontor has also stopped the leaf shutter business.
Sinar is now doing the electronic shutter for Rodenstock, Schneider has it´s own (also pretty slow) and Rollei/DHW still sells the electronic shutter.
If Copal stops making the mech. shutters this will be it. The only source will be from used ones then.
This does not mean there are no more shutters made, there are , but most are either Blade shutters or what will happen next:
The newest generation of CMOS Chips will not need a shutter anymore as they can use Global shutters .
So keeping your film cameras going will need spare parts and  used parts repair.
I don´t think this is a problem there are so many of these out there and the market for film is shrinking so fast that those who want to use these in the future will have
enough resources.

regards
Stefan
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BJL
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« Reply #11 on: March 23, 2013, 06:00:49 PM »
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Stefan,
    thanks for the details (and thinks in general for your solidly fact-based discussions of the status of the MF and tech. camera sector. But about this:
The newest generation of CMOS Chips will not need a shutter anymore as they can use Global shutters .
what news do you have about CMOS sensors with global shutters? Formats 36x24mm and smaller have gone through multiple generations of CMOS sensors with no announcement of one with a global shutter yet. Meaning for still photography, not progressive scan video technology.
« Last Edit: March 24, 2013, 12:11:37 AM by BJL » Logged
Stefan.Steib
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« Reply #12 on: March 23, 2013, 06:12:06 PM »
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BJL - It´s all in the internet and you can read it like a puzzle

http://www.sonyalpharumors.com/sony-patent-discloses-global-shutter-technology-and-foveon-like-sensor/

there are already scientific cameras with lower res using it.

http://www.andor.com/scientific-cameras/neo-and-zyla-scmos-cameras

it´s only a matter of time when this will become mainstream. The advantages are so superior (much less moving parts, making a camera a lot cheaper to build)
that it is a matter of economy and earnings, probably the best argument for mass production.

Regards
Stefan
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BJL
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« Reply #13 on: March 24, 2013, 12:11:08 AM »
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Stefan,
    Thanks for the links, but I think we are a bit at cross-purposes. Since this thread is about the larger format (larger than 36x24mm) cameras that use Copal leaf shutters, I was asking about evidence of coming global shutter CMOS sensors for such cameras. Sony having a patent is not very relevant, given the lack of any reason to expect Sony to start making sensors for formats larger than 36x24mm.

But the Sony patent gives at least some hope that the "mirrorless" systems might soon become "shutterless", and become the vibration-free "no moving parts" cameras that many are hoping for.
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torger
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« Reply #14 on: March 24, 2013, 04:38:14 AM »
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Many of the tech cameras will lose some of their sexiness if copal shutters disappear. How cool will an Alpa TC be with a electronic shutter with a remote big as an iphone? Not so cool.

If we start get electronic shutters as standard I'd like to see electronic registration of tilt and shift from tech cameras too and get all info into the EXIF data, then we could have auto LCC for those that want. An all mechanical camera like we have now feels nice, but if we're dropping mechanical shutters we could just make the rest electronic too.

Hopefully some of the lens makers and or tech camera makers will take responsibility and make sure mechanical shutters exists for yet some time. I've got the impression that mechanical shutters are indeed much more popular than the electronic ones. But as MF manufacturer representatives often say here -- these forums are not a good representation of how the market looks (= too much users of old stuff here), so perhaps electronic shutters are more popular in the larger market?
« Last Edit: March 24, 2013, 04:57:32 AM by torger » Logged
hjulenissen
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« Reply #15 on: March 25, 2013, 06:20:46 AM »
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Is a leaf shutter the most desirable shutter function (given some hypothetical freedom) or is it only the product of the possibilities one had with mechanical tech?

What about a kind of lcd-display in front of the sensor where you could design the spatial and temporal response with some freedom?

-h
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torger
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« Reply #16 on: March 25, 2013, 06:59:21 AM »
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Is a leaf shutter the most desirable shutter function (given some hypothetical freedom) or is it only the product of the possibilities one had with mechanical tech?

What about a kind of lcd-display in front of the sensor where you could design the spatial and temporal response with some freedom?

Copal shutters are in actuality not that good compared to other shutters/aperture systems. The aperture is far from being circular (unless wide open of course), and the max speed is "only" 1/500, the precision in timing is something like 1/6 stop off (if you shoot several shots in a row with same shutter speed you see slight varying exposure, which you don't do on a electronic shutter), the longest exposure before bulb is only 1 second. It does not take that many shutter cycles before service is required compared to many other systems. You need to control lens open/close stopping down before exposure manually.

So in terms of features it's not that cool. However, it works for the way it's used and fits well into the tech camera genre. Tech cameras are fully mechanical (or was until cameras like HCam and Alpa FPS came along) and a mechanical shutter is logical and charming. The current electronic shutters that are made as drop in replacement for copal shutters are not impressive at all, very expensive, slow (1/125 max speed often), and ugly bulky remote controls, and probably not field tested in tough weather conditions (i e made for studio only).

An electronic shutter needs power and control from somewhere, and due to the multi-brand modular ways of tech cameras there's no standardized nice integration. Extra cables and a control box. Not nice.

The electronic leaf shutters in MF SLRs have more impressive performance, very high flash sync speeds etc. High flash sync speed and low vibration issues (focal plane shutters for large sensors can be an issue concerning vibration) is the primary features of leaf shutters.

A light tight LCD plane would be cool if it was possible but has the issues that it will require new lens designs (extra glass to pass which will cause chromatic aberrations on wides), unless you could integrate it with the IR-filter on the digital back. Not sure that there is such a thing as a "LCD" that can go from 100% clear to 100% light tight in a millisecond though, so it's theoretical.

What I hope will happen is that we'll see a new mechanical alternative which becomes the new default. I just don't see it likely that we can get a nice integrated electronic shutter, the tech cam makers are too fragmented for that. Preferably with a much rounder aperture but otherwise I'm satisfied with the Copal functionality. Unfortunately I think whatever solution there will be it is unlikely that the cost will be kept as low as it was for Copal shutters.

Worst case is that none of the manufacturers take responsibility and instead thinks that the current electronic shutter is what everyone wants and needs. I guess that would boost the popularity of HCam and Alpa FPS :-).

External shutters has been in used earlier though, Sinar has its automatic aperture shutter for example. Sharing shutter instead of having a separate one for each lens is of course smarter in a way, I just don't really see that many of the current tech cameras is ready for such a change right now.

If I've understood things correctly the production won't end until the end of the year and there will be some stock, so it will be possible to buy new Copal shutters well into 2014 or even longer. So there's still some time, it would be interesting to know how the industry plans to solve this though.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2013, 07:16:18 AM by torger » Logged
JoeKitchen
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« Reply #17 on: March 25, 2013, 07:25:43 AM »
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Actually not all electronic shutters for replacing Copal are that bad.  Sinar's look fairly good, but still there is this thick cable.  The nicest option I see now is the DHW new electronic shutter which is suppose to be released this year.  It uses a mini USB port for control and power.  Also, DHW is rumored to be creating a software for both computer and smartphone to control the shutter.  This will drain the battery of a smart phone of course, but with things like the Mophie case, it should not be a great issue.  

Also, the shutters will likely move in 1/3 stops, or even smaller increments, and the fastest speed will be 1/1000. Aperture moves in 1/10 stops.  From the limited amount of information on the device, it appears you will also be able to due multiple exposures without needed any other kind of device.  

However, what troubles me is that Leaf is being forced to work with Mamiya by Phase, its parent, and no longer wants to support the Hy6.  This makes me question the long term viability of DHW.  

Even if the shutter is released this year and it is amazing, I do plan on buying one or two spare Copal shutters to keep at hand. 
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Joe Kitchen
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"Photography is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent moving furniture."  Arnold Newman
“Don't bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.”  William Faulkner
torger
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« Reply #18 on: March 25, 2013, 07:51:40 AM »
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Actually not all electronic shutters for replacing Copal are that bad.  Sinar's look fairly good, but still there is this thick cable.  The nicest option I see now is the DHW new electronic shutter which is suppose to be released this year.

That DHW shutter sounds promising! I wonder what the cost will be (edit: just found out: €1400... ouch!). Rather than a phone interface I'd prefer to have a dedicated weather-proof *small* shutter box that I could permanently attach to the camera body so it sits there.

What I do not want it to become is like the attached image (Sinar product photo stolen off the 'net): big bulky, cables and boxes, impossible to mount the shutter to recessed boards etc. The flash sync cable is ugly enough, I don't want more of them. I guess ALPA TC users would not too happy about these kind of eshutter systems either Smiley, they're not exactly designed for hand-held.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2013, 08:25:44 AM by torger » Logged
Fritzer
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« Reply #19 on: March 25, 2013, 09:03:31 AM »
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So in terms of features it's not that cool. However, it works for the way it's used and fits well into the tech camera genre. Tech cameras are fully mechanical (or was until cameras like HCam and Alpa FPS came along) and a mechanical shutter is logical and charming.

......

If I've understood things correctly the production won't end until the end of the year and there will be some stock, so it will be possible to buy new Copal shutters well into 2014 or even longer. So there's still some time, it would be interesting to know how the industry plans to solve this though.

Thanks for the infos, torger, and a good description of the leaf shutter's strengths and weaknesses .
I'm mainly shooting a Sinar in the studio, so of course Copal shutters in my lenses are an obvious choice .

It's a real bummer they go out of production, but I guess it was just a matter of time, considering the small market for tech cameras and lenses ...
I don't see a viable replacement around yet, considering the cost and clumsiness of electronic alternatives .
A sensor integrated solution seems to be on the horizon, as you said, though it might take a while .
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