Have you ever purchased a used film camera and asked yourself, “I wonder if the shutter speeds are accurate?” Or simply thought, “Sounds good enough.” There are inexpensive methods to test mechanical shutter speeds like mobile apps and do-it-yourself projects found online. When I was doing some research to test my own cameras, I came across Vasile Florin, a Romanian seller on eBay that sells premade shutter testing units. He has several combinations of equipment. For example, some units are made to test shutter speeds beyond 1/1000th, and others are simply a sensor that plug into the mic jack on your computer.
The tester I’m using is Vasile Florin’s version 10. It includes a main unit that has a 6 row, 14 column LCD display. On the main unit are jacks for an LED light source, a curtain sensor, and a DC input for power. The unit can also be powered by a 9-volt battery. When powering on the main unit, you use the black button below the curtain sensor input jack to make your selections in the testing menus.
This unit can perform both a shutter test, or curtain and shutter test. The last menu prompt before testing begins is: focal plane, leaf, diaphragm, or other. This is a nice feature that separates this unit from cheaper ones. The curtain sensor on this model has 5 light sensing photo cells. The middle photo cell can be turned on by itself if you are using the sensor plugged into the mic jack on a computer.
Next week, I’ll continue with part 2 of this post and share some of my own testing results along with some pros and cons of this unit.
Make sure to come back for part 2, because I’ll be giving away a shutter tester that you can use with a smartphone, tablet, or computer.