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Large format question... Copal?
Old 09-03-2006, 11:01 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Hey y'all,

I just won a bid on a 4x5 camera with a 150mm copal #0 shutter lens included. I've seen the word "copal" thrown around in regards to large format before, but I really have no idea what that is. Just curious, but what does "copal" refer to?
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Re: Large format question... Copal?
Old 09-03-2006, 11:09 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Hey Sam, with a little research done on your question, I believe that copal is a brand name of lense. Here's a link that might help. http://www.copal-usa.com/corporate-history.html

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Re: Large format question... Copal?
Old 09-03-2006, 11:23 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Hmm, looks like it, but I thought it had something to do with size too. I've seen copal #0 all the way to copal #3 or 4, I think. I just won a bid for a 4x5 camera, lens, and film holders, and the lens (and lens board) is copal #0. I'm guessing you can't use a copal #0 lens with a copal #1 lens board, for example. Hmm, always something new to learn...
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Re: Large format question... Copal?
Old 09-03-2006, 11:47 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Copal #0 vs #1 etc refers to the size whole the lens fits through on the lens board. Not all lenses have the same dimensions based on design and optics so different size holes are required to keep light tight.
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Its been a while. . .
Old 09-03-2006, 11:48 AM   #5 (permalink)
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and I never used any of the larger formats but I think the Copal was a behind the lens shutter and the #0 refers to the size. Also I think the size would limit the size of the lens that could be used on the camera. Also I'd have to look it up but I think the 150 mm lens on a 4x5 is about equal to a 50mm lens on a 35mm camera.
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Re: Large format question... Copal?
Old 09-03-2006, 12:07 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Thanks guys, you've pretty much confirmed what I was thinking, and cohibaron, thanks for explaining why there's a need for different hole sizes in the first place (now I get to look forward to buying different lens boards, hehe). And cclesue, I checked it out, and a 150mm lens is indeed a "normal" focal length for 4x5. I can get different sized lens boards for this camera, so I shouldn't be limited in the selection of lenses.
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Re: Large format question... Copal?
Old 09-03-2006, 01:13 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Copal is the name of the company that makes large format shutters. Copal shutters differ not only by the size of the hole, but also by the maximum shutter speed. A Copal #0 has a top shutter speed of 1/500th. of a second. A Copal #1 has a top shutter speed of 1/400th. And a Copal #3/3S has a top shutter speed of 1/125th. But you match the shutter to the lens and lens board opening and take whatever you get with the shutter speed. One particular 210mm lens might fit in a #1 shutter while another 210mm lens will fit in a #0 shutter.

Double check your statement "I can get different sized lens boards for this camera." If you simply mean the size of the hole in the middle, then you can and they're relatively inexpensive. But if you mean the actual dimensions of the lens board, you can but you often need to replace the front standard and that isn't cheap.

What camera did you end up with, BTW?

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Re: Large format question... Copal?
Old 09-03-2006, 01:47 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Hey Chip,

Cool, thanks for that info, I didn't know any of that. The camera I got isn't anything super amazing, but the price was right, especially with the extras I got with it, and should be fine for starting out -- a Calumet Cadet.

Oh and yep, when I said I can get different sized lensboards, I meant just the hole in the middle, as Calumet still sells lensboards for the Cadet.

I don't know this for sure, but I'm just guessing you have a large format camera. If so, do you still use it from time to time?

Sam
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Re: Large format question... Copal?
Old 09-03-2006, 02:16 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SamBeasley
Hey Chip,
I don't know this for sure, but I'm just guessing you have a large format camera. If so, do you still use it from time to time?
Sam
The majority of my professional work is done with a large format camera, so yes I use it quite a bit.The Cadet should get you through school no problem. If you received a Rodenstock Caltar lens with it (a typical combo from Calumet) try to keep it stopped down to f/16 or f/22, as that's where it's sharpest. Diffraction takes a bite out of the lens beyond f/22, and the lens is soft at f/8 and above (relatively speaking). f/11 is decent.

One purchase well worth the investment for that camera is a Beattie Interscreen. It's a fresnel lens that you attach to the ground glass. It will make seeing what's in the corners MUCH easier. A focusing lupe is also extremely handy. Other than that you don't need much until you find out whether or not you like working with large format.

-Chip
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Re: Large format question... Copal?
Old 09-03-2006, 04:52 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Large format is, imho, the great overlooked photography medium of today. I picked up a Bender photo 4x5 kit camera in 2000 and mated it to a Schneider-Kreutznach 200mm lens with a Copal shutter. A family friend actually built the camera for me. It has simple controls and is always challenging AND rewarding.

Some of my all time favorite images that I have taken are with this format. It forces you to slow down, really concentrate on your composition and preparation for before shooting. In fact I was playing with my 4x5 just the other day. I am going to buy a processing kit so I can start shooting more. It is also the reason behind my choice of scanner that I am going to purchase soon.

If you don't already have one, I would advise picking up a Polaroid back for the camera. These backs can be had used fairly reasonably, and they last forever with very little maintenance.

Good luck with your large format camera and I hope that you get as much satisfaction from yours as I have gotten from mine.
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