Sometimes I’ll buy something with little to no expectation and end up not only getting something great out of it, but learning a lot and finding new resources. Getting my Polaroid SLR 680 was that way. Buying this Deckel Compur shutter with a Zeiss Jena 135mm f4.5 was another.
I came across this shutter and lens combination on the first leg of buying parts for my large format camera. I’m taking the Johnny Cash “One Piece at a Time” approach, only with a bit less theft involved than the song. This lens and shutter was for sale in a bit of a junk clearance online. It was advertised as not known if it was working, mounted in a home-made lens board, and cheap. I bought it thinking that if it didn’t work I was only out $50, so not bad, and I could take the lens out and put it in another shutter. It showed up a bit tatty, and a pipe flange fitting was used to mount it to the lens board. The hole had apparently been hand cut with a keyhole saw. But the shutter worked, and I took a test shot or two before it stuck a little and I started looking for a repair shop.
Perusing the internet led me to find the limited choices and start whittling them down. Among the most highly recommended on the forums I found was Carol at Flutot’s Repair. She was also the cheapest by a pretty wide margin. Nothing ventured, I thought, and I fired off an email. Her business is so good, you have to wait to get the ok to send her gear to repair. After a few weeks, I followed her instructions, disassembled the lens, packed the shutter as well as I could, and sent it off.
In a shorter time than I expected (she advertised up to a 6 week turn around, mine was closer to three) I paid and she shipped it back. I was amazed. The shutter was clean, and the rim set was smooth as butter. It went in to the highest speed without effort, and the blades were spotless. Carol had tested the shutter speeds and written down the true speed at each indication. They were all spot on except the highest one- 1/200th is actually 1/150th. Given the age of this shutter, that’s as close to perfect as it’s ever going to be. Carol was delightful to deal with, a treat in an industry that seems to have its share of curmudgeons these days.
I’ve not shot that much with it so far, still learning how to large format and all. But the results I’ve gotten make me love this lens and realize how much of a steal I got. I find myself using this uncoated almost 80-year-old Tessar more than the other lens I have.
Teaching myself large format has been hit and miss, with more miss than I expected. I hope all the parts to come are as easy and perfect as dealing with Carol at Flutot’s.