A question on shutter death

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Ok something has been niggling at me for a while now and its time - how come older film SLRs don't appear to suffer from shutter curtain problem in the same way that Digital SLRs do? It seems odd that a great many older film camera just keep on working year after year whilst digital ones have a limited expected lifespan of the shutter before they die and need repairs.
 
Ok something has been niggling at me for a while now and its time - how come older film SLRs don't appear to suffer from shutter curtain problem in the same way that Digital SLRs do? It seems odd that a great many older film camera just keep on working year after year whilst digital ones have a limited expected lifespan of the shutter before they die and need repairs.
I'm not sure that's the case. I don't think people burned through film as much as they shoot digitally. It would cost too much, even back when film and processing was cheaper.
 
Yeah, it's easy to shoot 1,500 shots in a few hours at the right event when you're digital. If you were shooting 12 to 36 shots at a time, then changing film, then developing, you'd shoot much, much less.


Is that a word? :lmao:
 
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In addition to what has been posted, I have read that the electronics of the digital cameras has something to do with it as well.
 
Ok something has been niggling at me for a while now and its time - how come older film SLRs don't appear to suffer from shutter curtain problem in the same way that Digital SLRs do? It seems odd that a great many older film camera just keep on working year after year whilst digital ones have a limited expected lifespan of the shutter before they die and need repairs.
I'm not sure that's the case. I don't think people burned through film as much as they shoot digitally. It would cost too much, even back when film and processing was cheaper.

Have you ever heard of Garry Winnogrand ? if you did you would know that they did
http://www.cameraquest.com/LeicaM4G.htm

Winogrand died of gall bladder cancer, in 1984 at age 56. As evidence of his prolific nature, Winogrand left behind nearly 300,000 unedited images, and more than 2,500 undeveloped rolls of film. Some of these images have been exhibited posthumously and published in an exhibit catalog entitled Winogrand, Figments from the Real World, published by MoMA.
 
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Hmmm..

Are the electronic shutters of film cameras essentially the same as with digital cameras? or were have they been improved since?


As for the Leica M4, it uses as cloth shutter. Their top shutter speed is limited but I do believe they are more reliable. Leica film cameras (famed for mechanicals) up to the latest still use rubberized cloth shutters; M7 even the MP.

on another note...

The Leica M8 had a huge number of shutter failures due to electronic's snafu. <knock on wood> Leica's not an electronics company..
 
Depends on the camera....as usayit mentioned, Leicas used the rubberized cloth horizontal travel focal plane shutter designs of the early- to mid-20th century....very slow-traveling, with abysmally pathetic flash sync speed of what is it? 1/50 second?? But, reliable and long-lasting!!!

Some of the 'newer' shutter designs like those developed by Copal for the 35mm SLR trade in the 1970's featured exceptionally high-speed flash synch for their era; the Nikon FM-2's revolutionary shutter started with 1/200, then later 1/250 second synch speed, plus the then world's fastest 1/4000 second top shutter speed...these speeds were made possible because the shutter was traveling vertically,across the shorter dimension of the film, and that same type of ultra-fast start up and stopping and overall travel speed meant these shutters did not last anywhere nearly as long as the simpler, horizontally traveling shutters Leicas and the old Nikon F series used. Leica has always been designed for lifetime duty cycle length, with periodic maintaining required. Today, stuff is built to less-demanding standards in most,but not all,cases. Cameras today are more "disposable",let's say.

One also has to remember...older cameras were often shot nowhere near as much as today's d-slrs are shot. Today, wedding photogs routinely shoot 1,000 to 1,400 images per wedding! In the MF days, that would more likely be 300 or fewer frames. I was watching a MMA retrospective last month of Versus channel, and the Japan-based ringside guys were shooting Nikon F5's...and they were NOT shooting substantial portions of the action, but were conserving frames...and then when they changed rolls, they were also NOT shooting, but were rewinding and reloading as fast as possible; a modern D3s shooter could have easily fired off 40-60 frames during the lulls when those guys were actually not shooting anything...

If you ever worked in a camera store in the 1980's or 1990;'s you'd realize that to the average person 36 shot was considered "a lot". Today, people will shoot 200 or 300 frames per night! or many,many more.
 
I just checked.... 1/50th is the sync speed. :lol: Totally forgot how slow it was until you reminded me.


Yeah...it's pretty slow on sync speed..but then again...we've become spoiled by these 1/200 and 1/250 speeds for over 20 years now. Leica was making cameras before flashbulbs were even invented (roughly 1929 for flashbulbs),so hey...they get a lifetime pass. The Nikon F3's sync speed was 1/80, while the FE-2 and FM-2 were at 1/250 second, which always made the "consumer" or "hobbyist" FE-2 a much better tool for daylight syncro-sunlight flash work than the "pro" body...

I think people need to take the published shutter life figures with a grain of salt: a portrait/commercial/event shooter named John Fulton has some cheap Fuji S2 Pro cameras that he says he and his stable of shooters have run into 300,000 and 400,000 frames territory over multiple years' worth of shooting, and those were built upon "cheap-o" Nikon F80 film bodies, so there is some anecdotal evidence that the actual shutter life of some modern d-slr bodies can greatly exceed the "expected" life of 50,000 to 100,00 actuations by quite a margin.
 
I doubt the shutters lasted any longer, it's just the support lasted longer because the projected product lifespan was 10+ years, not 2-3 as it is now.

It's easy for a company to maintain a product under warranty when they are still manufacturing the item.
 
Let's not forget that the shutter, in most or all cameras, is a serviceable part (AFAIK). If you have it inspected lubricated regularity, it should last longer than if you don't (and I'm guessing that most don't). Of course, I'm sure that environment makes a big difference. If your camera is subject to dirty conditions, hard use, freezing & thawing etc...then I'd guess that the lifespan of the mechanical parts will be compromised.

Also, people are always going on about the shutter life rating of their camera, or this camera vs that camera etc. I read somewhere that those numbers are not really the 'rated lifespan' but just the average rate of failure. So just because your camera specs say 100,000 actuation, doesn't meat that the shutter will blow up when it hits that number. It might last a lot longer (or it might fail well before that).
 
Worse still to this theory is that shutters have actually improved and these days last longer than they did in the past. My old Nikon FE went through one shutter repair so far in it's life. It hasn't done anywhere near as many photos in the last 30 years as my D200 has in the last 4.

Shutters used to break quite a lot if you were a reporter and had high speed film auto advancers. But that doesn't compare to the 11fps of modern DSLRs. Let's see at 150000 frame rating on your average prosumer DSLR that shutter would last under 4 hours of continuous shooting.
 
Let's not forget that the shutter, in most or all cameras, is a serviceable part (AFAIK). If you have it inspected lubricated regularity, it should last longer than if you don't (and I'm guessing that most don't). Of course, I'm sure that environment makes a big difference. If your camera is subject to dirty conditions, hard use, freezing & thawing etc...then I'd guess that the lifespan of the mechanical parts will be compromised.

Also, people are always going on about the shutter life rating of their camera, or this camera vs that camera etc. I read somewhere that those numbers are not really the 'rated lifespan' but just the average rate of failure. So just because your camera specs say 100,000 actuation, doesn't meat that the shutter will blow up when it hits that number. It might last a lot longer (or it might fail well before that).

SImilar to flash cards having a 1 million write lifespan, when recently a simple machine wrote to a flash card over 6-million times.

The numbers companies put out are mostly so they can say 'hey, it's over that number, not our problem any more'
 

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