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Can a rolleiflex tlr work without a self timer?
Old 12-01-2016   #1
Ejg206
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Can a rolleiflex tlr work without a self timer?

Hi all

I bought a rolleiflex on ebay for my partner for Christmas and have been getting some advice from this forum.

The repair company have just contacted me to say they have done all they can but when they took it apart it had no self timer, like someone had messed about and removed it, maybe trying to put a flash in?

Anyway, all I would like to know is whether it really can take photos without a self timer?

Please advise! Thanks, E.
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Old 12-01-2016   #2
sebastel
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yes.
the self timer is only required if you need a picture taken without the photographer actually actuating the release button. (like, if the photographer wants to be in the picture himself)

it is possible to use an external self timer. (additional thingie)
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Old 12-01-2016   #3
Ejg206
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Amazing.

Thank you!
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Old 12-01-2016   #4
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The question isn't really whether a TLR can work without a self-timer, the question is whether a particular shutter can work without the self-timer gear train.

Some shutters depend upon the same gear train to operate the exposure time regulation for shutter speeds for 1/30 second and longer exposure times. If the self timer gear train is removed, those shutters can no longer time anything longer than a 1/30 second exposure.

That's the question to put to whomever is servicing the camera: "Will the shutter operate through the full range of marked shutter times without the self timer?"

G
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Old 12-01-2016   #5
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Very useful info Godfrey - thank you.
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Old 12-01-2016   #6
Chromacomaphoto
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Will be okay for many of them, I can't say for certain that your exact one will be okay but I suspect it should be alright. I have had one (actually two) without any timer mech connected to anything that worked fine. I can't recall but think one was a 'c' and the other an 'f' maybe. I think Godfrey has it right though, might be worth asking them that specific question. Some people are scared to use them (the self timers on Rolleiflexes) and/or they are rarely used by previous owners for so many years that people can be worried about things jamming up if they start pulling the timer lever out.
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Old 12-01-2016   #7
Steve M.
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You're better off w/o it. I have seen self timers completely jam shutters when they don't work correctly. I accidentally tripped one on a Super Ikonta V folder and it ended up costing me $250 for a shutter overhaul and CLA. After that I wired the lever down so I couldn't accidentally engage it again. My philosophy ever since is that old cameras do not have self timers. Even if they have one, they don't have one :]
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Old 12-01-2016   #8
Sarcophilus Harrisii
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The problem with the whole timer sticking issue is that people don't use them because they don't use them. As far as the Compur shutters go they are just another retard escapement, actually a less complicated one than the speed escapement as they only run at one setting. If you're of a mind never to use the timer because it might stick, then you may as well avoid ever setting speeds under 1/30 too for precisely the same reason.

Actually, the best way to keep a shutter running well is to use all its functions regularly. If you don't want your self timer to make your shutter jam (I use the term "jam" lightly in the context of most Compurs, they can be freed with patience and a little know-how, at least, I've never had one I couldn't run down fully, and I've played with more than a few), then, the best way to avoid this is to have the shutter serviced and use it often, including the timer. They're not inherently unreliable devices. But if they have not been fired for years or even decades, then, seriously, what do you really think is likely to happen, if they're set?

In the interests of helping people avoid any difficulties I will stress that unlike the later Synchro Compur shutters, earlier models such as the Compur Rapid with a booster spring do have a couple of important caveats to be aware of when setting certain combinations. For instance the Rollei instruction manuals point these out: a good argument for reading the book. You shouldn't ever set the self timer with the shutter on the B or maximum speed (eg 1/400; 1/500). If you do it will lock up the shutter and it will have nothing to do with the reliability or condition of the timer in your particular shutter. The mechanism simply won't accomodate these particular combinations of settings and if you use one, it's important to be aware of this.

Hopefully most people are also aware of the importance, with these older shutters, of only selecting or de-selecting the maximum shutter speed with the mechanism uncocked. The additional tension of the booster spring they use for the top speed creates a lot of additional stress on the parts if you do cock the shutter, and then try to force the speed selector off of Eg 1/500.

Just to throw a spanner in the works, there are certain models of Rolleiflex that may mislead you as far as the type of shutter that is fitted to it. My own 2.8C is a good example. Below the taking lens on the front cover it proudly states that it has a "Synchro-Compur" shutter. In actual fact the shutter is the final derivative of the Compur Rapid design, complete with booster spring and a timer design that will jam up if you set it with the 1/500. Don't ask me why this is. It just is.

The easy way to work out which shutter you have in some of these early to mid 1950s models is to check the speed scale. If it is old scale (1/25; 1/50; 1/100 etc) it should, (I think) also always have ten aperture blades instead of the later S-C five and will be a Compur Rapid type. If the speed scale is 1/15; 1/30; 1/60; 1/125 and so on (as is the case with my 2.8D, the following Rollei 2.8 model) then, it actually has a S-C shutter fitted to it as stated on the exterior (and five aperture blades). In which case you can use the timer on 1/500 if you desire, and select 1/500 regardless of whether the shutter is cocked or uncocked.
Cheers,
Brett
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Old 12-01-2016   #9
Dante_Stella
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When self-timers malfunction, they often do so in mid-cycle, which means a perfectly good shutter is going nowhere. That happens with mechanical SLRs, too. The mechanism that never gets exercise gums up and fails. On the Rollei, it's really easy to bump the timer off its little resting nub and partially wind the self-timer. So if it's not working, it can cause issues.

They removed the timer completely from the GX and FX. Nothing lost there.

You do need the self-timer for M flash on an M-X-V model Rolleiflex like a 2.8F, but no one uses bulbs anymore.

Dante
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Old 12-01-2016   #10
hanskerensky
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And when you really want to use one you can always resort to an external selftimer on a cable release.


Photoclip Recta Selftimer (01) by Hans Kerensky, on Flickr
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Old 12-01-2016   #11
Ejg206
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All very interesting stuff, thank you!
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Old 12-02-2016   #12
Sarcophilus Harrisii
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dante_Stella View Post
When self-timers malfunction, they often do so in mid-cycle, which means a perfectly good shutter is going nowhere. That happens with mechanical SLRs, too. The mechanism that never gets exercise gums up and fails. On the Rollei, it's really easy to bump the timer off its little resting nub and partially wind the self-timer. So if it's not working, it can cause issues.

They removed the timer completely from the GX and FX. Nothing lost there.

You do need the self-timer for M flash on an M-X-V model Rolleiflex like a 2.8F, but no one uses bulbs anymore.

Dante
Dante, if you set the timer on a Synchro Compur shutter, you'll get X synchronisation by default, not M. Some models use the same lever to select between M and X sync, but when using the timer, M is not available, only X.
Cheers,
Brett
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Old 12-03-2016   #13
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As I remember the last time I was inside the type of Rolleiflex the OP bought (post-war K4A), the self-timer mechanism is externally mounted. This is common on many Rolleiflex models. There is a release and cocking mechanism for the self-timer specifically built around the viewing lens. I think it is the self-timer mechanism for a #0 or #1 shutter- probably a reliability issue, as the #00 shutter body has limited room for a mechanism as I'll show.

K4B MX model shown, but basic idea the same-



The upper small tab will be pushed against the lower tab by the large spring in around the top of the viewing lens when the self-timer mechanism releases it (release tab hidden in these photos)-



This lower lever is part of the main ring that strikes the shutter release. On a Rolleiflex like this, the shutter is released by a ring around the taking lens that pushes the proper lever on the shutter block itself; when you push the 'shutter release' button on the outside of the camera, you move a lever that moves a lever that moves a lever that rotates this main ring. Locate another lever on this ring and you can activate the shutter from a different location, like a self-timer up top or a cable release in the position of the flash sync socket on earlier models).

The shutter release button pushes at the left arrow. Rotates at lower arrow, which pushes the left piece of metal at center arrow through a tab. The right piece of metal is part of the same ring which has a tab at the upper side for the self-timer mechanism to strike. The second photo gives a clearer view of the shutter release itself, and even gives an idea of how you can bend that tab back and forth to fine-tune the shutter action.





Compur-Rapid and Sycnhro-Compur shutter models with external self-timers have no self-timer mechanism inside the shutter block.



Anyway, the shutter does not need an internal self-timer for proper operation in any form, including slow speeds. It is the same basic concept at work as I describe above, only in an internal self-timer there is a small lever that jams the shutter before it is able to open. When the self-timer escapement moves enough, this lever moves out of the way allowing the shutter to continue its operation, opening and closing under the control of its own escapement. The self-timer is not needed for any speeds on the shutter itself (there are other shutters models where what Godfrey says is true, but these aren't them).

Short answer for OP- your friend will need a cable release for selfies (which are what used to be called self-portraits, yes??), that's all.
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Old 12-03-2016   #14
besk
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I wish I had one of those!

Quote:
Originally Posted by hanskerensky View Post
And when you really want to use one you can always resort to an external selftimer on a cable release.


Photoclip Recta Selftimer (01) by Hans Kerensky, on Flickr
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Old 12-03-2016   #15
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Gotta love the sheer knowledge and helpful people on this forum. Talk about "Ask us the time and we''ll tell you how to make a watch!"
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Old 12-04-2016   #16
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You want to build a watch, you say? First here's a web page on designing gears, the mathematics and geometry. Then a few pages that discuss actual machining of gears.....
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