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'Ten-Dollar Shutter' (Pic: Oleg Khalyavin)
The new shutter has speeds from 1/25 up to 1/1000 (Pic: Oleg Khalyavin)

By Oleg Khalyavin

In the beginning was film, and the film was with photography, and the film was photography.

This was before the coming of digital photography. Digital pictures appeared and film died, or so they said.

Fortunately, the film has been resurrected. Of course, in the meantime digital photography has taken the place of utilitarian photography: reportage, technical, family photography.

But the film was reborn in the realm of artistic photography. And it will never disappear, just as the artist’s brush has not disappeared despite photography.

But film is not the only thing we need for taking pictures. We also need a camera. Does anyone know how many cameras have been produced in the world in almost a hundred years of film photography? I did not count, but I think we are talking about tens of millions. And it seems today it’s not a problem to find a good camera for photography.

For now.

Most film photographers want a camera for using with many interchangeable lenses made by different manufacturers over the years. And at the same time, the camera must be good quality and reliability.

But many cameras were made in the past? Oh sure. They are still there. But they are very old. And before buying an old camera, you must read articles like this. Time may not have been kind to the cameras lying forgotten in wardrobes and attics.

How nice it would be to shoot film using a new, reliable camera with using lenses from various manufacturers with different types of mount.

Is someone see such modern camera at the camera market?

As far as I know, there have been several attempts to build such a camera, but none have been successful so far.

I believe the reason for this is the complexity of the camera shutter. High-tech shutters were sophisticated and reasonably priced because they were produced in huge quantities. If someone try to repeat the design of a high-tech shutter now, the price of the shutter will very high at non mass-market. But very high price will limit demand.

I had a question: is it possible for now to create a shutter design that is simple, reliable and will give even exposition over the film frame?

I analysed the construction of various shutters produced over the past hundred years. I studied the features and disadvantages of various shutters.

And finally I decided that it is possible to create a simple and cheap shutter that would give good results.

This is how the concept of TDS (Ten-Dollar Shutter) appeared.

As part of this concept, I was trying to create a focal plane shutter that would have dependent curtain movement (to ensure uniform exposure, prevent capping), extend the curtain movement path so that starts and stops outside the frame, and at the same time use the minimum amount of detail in the shutter, with the ability to the use of gears with a large tooth module (for the possibility of using plastic for producing gears).

As part of this concept, I made a working prototype of the ‘Cat’s Eye’ shutter. The name is derived from two important principles of the shutter.

The prototype was created from existing brass gears as well as parts printed on a 3D printer.

The prototype turned out to be fully functional, with the ability to demonstrate the principle of the shutter. You can see this in the accompanying videos.

The fully mechanical shutter is simple in design, very easy to assemble and adjust, and will provide a shutter speed range of 1/25-1/1000 with stepless speed setting.

I believe that I have a good start to create a new camera that can beat cameras from the past.

What do you think?

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Peter Barker
2 months ago

Nice idea, Oleg. Where is this going??

Peter