Modern Classic SLRs Series :
Nikkormat EL2 - Its Copal Square Shutter and functions


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Shutter Functions

The Nikon EL2 is fitted with a Copal Square ES electronic shutter. Copal, of course, is well-known for its reliability and durability of its all-metal, focal plane shutters.

Copal Shutter.jpg (10K)
The ES shutter operates over a speed range from 8 full seconds (the original EL only provides 4 seconds on the lower scale) down to 1/1000 of a second; all speeds are electronically timed for outstanding exposure accuracy (Meaning it is also stepless e.g. 1/248 sec or 1/750 sec etc.), with the 'B' setting provided for longer exposures.

The shutter curtains are each constructed with three blades and travel vertically down across the film gate in approximately 7 milliseconds.

More interestingly (As with all Nikkormats, regardless mechanical or electronic versions, you can see why is it so special by clicking here), with this configuration the shutter blades only have to travel 24mm instead of 36mm as with the conventional, horizontally traveling focal-plane shutter. Thus, flash synchronization is considerably improved, permitting the EL2 to be used with electronic flash units at shutter speeds up to 1/125 sec., which is better than the horizontal travel shutter models for improved synchro-sunlight shooting with lesser risk of ghost images caused by high ambient lighting. When the battery is exhausted, the shutter automatically sets itself to 1/90 sec. regardless of the setting of the shutter speed dial.

Automatic Mode
. On automatic ('A' setting), the EL2's metering system measures the intensity of the light coming through the lens, and converts this data into shutter speed settings.

EL2 shutter chart.gif F2 shutter chart.gif
If the lighting conditions call for an exposure of 1/386 sec., for example, the shutter will deliver that exposure precisely and automatically.

The stepless action of the EL2's shutter, when set on automatic, not only provides more precise exposure, but is also very useful when working with lenses like Reflex-Nikkor lenses. As these lenses have no aperture diaphragm, the stepless shutter speed selection helps the photographer to obtain the correct exposure by setting exactly the shutter speed required.

Manual Mode

On manual, the photographer has a choice of any of the 14 shutter speeds from 8 seconds through to 1/1000th of a second, engraved on the shutter-speed dial. The speeds marked are: 8, 4, 2 and 1 second in
orange and 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/15, 1/30, 1/60, 1/125, 1/250, 1/500 and 1/1000 for fractional values of a second; the 'B' setting is for longer, manually timed exposures. The shutter speed markings are color-coded to eliminate any possibility of confusion, the 8 to 1 full second range being colored orange, and fractions of a second from 1/2 to 1/1000 white. The maximum speed for electronic flash synchronization, 1/125 second, is specially coded in red.

Shutter Release. The shutter is triggered by the release button mounted on the camera top plate positioned just forward of the film-advance lever, where the index finger of the right hand rests naturally. The action of the button is smooth and precise, giving the photographer full control of the exact moment of exposure. The shutter can also be triggered by cable release, with the possibility of using two kinds. The button is threaded to accept the ISO standard screw-in cable release (Nikon AR-3, for example) and the collar around the release button is threaded to accept the Nikon standard screw-over cable release (AR-1 or AR-2, for example).

Shutter release.jpg (8k)
At shutter speeds from 8 seconds through to 1/1000 second, the release button acts to trigger the shutter for the time interval set on the shutter speed dial. When the dial is set to 'B,' however, the release button operation determines the duration of the exposure - up to a maximum of approximately 8 minutes, more than enough for virtually any application.

Self-timer. Operated by the lever on the front of the camera body, the self-timer serves to delay the instant of shutter release for up to approximately 10 seconds. The white stripe on the self-timer lever visually aids the photographer in determining the remaining duration of the delay. When pushed inwards (towards the lens), the self timer becomes a exposure lock (AE Lock).

In addition to its usual role of enabling the photographer to take self-portraits and join in groups, the self-timer also has applications in advanced photography. When it is triggered, the mirror lifts immediately, thus ensuring that any possible camera vibration will have died out before the shutter fires 10 seconds later.

When I think why Nikon didn't provide the mirror lock up lever in the later FM & FE models, I am of the opinion that vibration issue was tackled in this way, although at the expense of using certain older lenses which need to mirror to be lock upwards, to make both cameras more compact in size.

Basic Operation | Shutter Mechanism | Lens Mount | Exposure Control | Viewfinder info | Metering | Flash | Film Advance (Auto) / Transport

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Recommended links to understand more technical details related to the Nikkor F-mount and production Serial Number: by: my friend, Rick Oleson by: Hansen, Lars Holst

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* Credit: A Great thanks to Mr Denis Pleic for his volunteering effort to reedit content and and patching some grammatical mistakes found in this section of the PIM site. Miss Rissa (Marketing) & Edward (Techical) of Shriro Malaysia, distributor of Nikon cameras in Malaysia, in providing so many useful inputs to make this site possible. Mr Hong, Ipoh for lending me his FT2 to take some of the images used in this site. This site is created for his eldest son, Yuen who has picked up his father's hobby and the FT-2. My friend, John Walls from Florida, US for his images of the FTn body and the Zoom Nikkor 43-86mm.

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