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12-06-2014, 04:27 PM   #31
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QuoteOriginally posted by zany225 Quote
Thanks guys!! Much more understand!

I think I will consider MX or KX (probably MX because of its size) to be my next film camera.
Why not both? I own the MX and KX. I prefer the MX for several reasons, especially the meter (I learned with a K1000 so never really cared for the match needle metering in the KX). However on the MX, it can be difficult to adjust shutter speed if you have larger fingers because the camera is so small.

The K2 DMD has been suggested. I'd echo this. I have two and love them. The K2 DMD is my second-favorite Pentax SLR, just behind the MX.

12-06-2014, 04:43 PM - 1 Like   #32
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QuoteOriginally posted by builttospill Quote

The K2 DMD has been suggested. I'd echo this. I have two and love them. The K2 DMD is my second-favorite Pentax SLR, just behind the MX.
I never could feel the love for the MX, despite owning a few over the years. In the end I settled on a black K2DMD - which I like even better than the LX. In my opinion it's the best manual focus Pentax body. A mass of brass with class.
12-06-2014, 05:27 PM   #33
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QuoteOriginally posted by gabriel_bc Quote
I never could feel the love for the MX, despite owning a few over the years. In the end I settled on a black K2DMD - which I like even better than the LX. In my opinion it's the best manual focus Pentax body. A mass of brass with class.
And hard to find! I love my LX, but never touched this one.
12-07-2014, 03:48 PM   #34
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QuoteOriginally posted by Jacquot Quote
And hard to find! I love my LX, but never touched this one.
Yep - had a chrome K2 for several years, and when a black K2DMD that had been CLA'd by Eric came up in the marketplace, I didn't hesitate.

12-07-2014, 04:09 PM - 1 Like   #35
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The K2DMD has always been an uncommon, if not obscure, camera. Back in a previous life as a camera dealer -- which I did for almost a decade -- I've seen only one. And the dealer was asking a hefty premium for it because it was a DMD.

The Nikon Fm2n -- especially the "n" model -- is a remarkable camera because of its feature set, particularly its 1/4000 sec top shutter speed and 1/250 flash sync. That combination, along with being a mechanical camera, is unique in the 35mm world. I cannot recall any other 35mm camera that has this same set of features. If battery powered cameras are acceptable to be included, then the Canon T90 comes to mind. It also has 1/4000 sec top speed and 1/250 flash sync -- plus a host of other features as well. But even when you include battery-dependent cameras, the only other one I can think of is the Nikon FE2, the sister camera to the FM2n.

As for Pentax, though, as has been discussed, even the LX doesn't match the FM2n with regard to these two features. Even with battery dependent Pentaxes, there are none that I can think of that have these two features. So the FM2n stands alone when one considers these two features and a non-battery dependent camera, It's as simple as that, really.

In the real world, though, I've not come across many situations that my KX won't handle. Sure it has a slower top shutter speed and flash sync, but I've never come across situations where I've needed more than this. My KX has handled everything I've thrown at it and that's why I'm so fond of it. And like the FM2n, the only thing the battery powers is the meter. Of course, the MX is the same, just in a smaller, less robust package. But the MX doesn't have the KX's mirror lock up, although the mirror can be raised by a light flick of the shutter button, which is a common trick with some Pentaxes (including my KX). The Nikon FM2n has the vertically traveling Copal shutter, most of which raise the mirror when the self timer is used.

Honestly, these days, because film gear has become so cheap, I have multiple systems that I use on a regular basis, so if I want to use a camera that has features unique to it, rather than trying to find one with close to the same features in another make of cameras, I just use it instead. I've accumulated sizable collections of Canon FD and Nikon F gear and I have a growing selection of Pentax K and M42 gear as well. And this is just 35mm. I've also got medium format collections. Just haven't been able to resist some of the prices on quality MF gear since digital has replaced it as the pro's choice. So long as decent quality film is still available, I'm happy.

As a dealer, I've owned FMs and FM2s, but as a user, currently I own neither. I don't really have the need for them because I own F2s, which to me are plenty good enough. If I need the high flash sync, I'll use my Bronica ETRSi. Instead of the FM, I own an FE -- not an FE2, either. The reason is that an FE's metering tab can be pushed up so pre-AI lenses can be mounted, whereas with the FE2 (and FM2), the tab is plastic and can't be pushed out of the way. One risks damage or breakage to the metering tab on an FE2 or FM2 if a pre-AI lens is mounted. Yep, I own a few pre-AI lenses, so that capability matters more to me than the high flash sync or shutter speed.
12-07-2014, 04:13 PM   #36
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QuoteOriginally posted by Jacquot Quote
And hard to find! I love my LX, but never touched this one.
You lose something...the LX is of course a more modern camera, the K2DMD is its predecessor in many sense, bigger, chunkier but quite similar, you can see the LX is its evolution. Sort of Nikon F2 vs F3.

QuoteOriginally posted by cooltouch Quote
The K2DMD has always been an uncommon, if not obscure, camera. Back in a previous life as a camera dealer -- which I did for almost a decade -- I've seen only one. And the dealer was asking a hefty premium for it because it was a DMD.

The Nikon Fm2n -- especially the "n" model -- is a remarkable camera because of its feature set, particularly its 1/4000 sec top shutter speed and 1/250 flash sync. That combination, along with being a mechanical camera, is unique in the 35mm world. I cannot recall any other 35mm camera that has this same set of features. If battery powered cameras are acceptable to be included, then the Canon T90 comes to mind. It also has 1/4000 sec top speed and 1/250 flash sync -- plus a host of other features as well. But even when you include battery-dependent cameras, the only other one I can think of is the Nikon FE2, the sister camera to the FM2n.

As for Pentax, though, as has been discussed, even the LX doesn't match the FM2n with regard to these two features. Even with battery dependent Pentaxes, there are none that I can think of that have these two features. So the FM2n stands alone when one considers these two features and a non-battery dependent camera, It's as simple as that, really.

In the real world, though, I've not come across many situations that my KX won't handle. Sure it has a slower top shutter speed and flash sync, but I've never come across situations where I've needed more than this. My KX has handled everything I've thrown at it and that's why I'm so fond of it. And like the FM2n, the only thing the battery powers is the meter. Of course, the MX is the same, just in a smaller, less robust package. But the MX doesn't have the KX's mirror lock up, although the mirror can be raised by a light flick of the shutter button, which is a common trick with some Pentaxes (including my KX). The Nikon FM2n has the vertically traveling Copal shutter, most of which raise the mirror when the self timer is used.

Honestly, these days, because film gear has become so cheap, I have multiple systems that I use on a regular basis, so if I want to use a camera that has features unique to it, rather than trying to find one with close to the same features in another make of cameras, I just use it instead. I've accumulated sizable collections of Canon FD and Nikon F gear and I have a growing selection of Pentax K and M42 gear as well. And this is just 35mm. I've also got medium format collections. Just haven't been able to resist some of the prices on quality MF gear since digital has replaced it as the pro's choice. So long as decent quality film is still available, I'm happy.

As a dealer, I've owned FMs and FM2s, but as a user, currently I own neither. I don't really have the need for them because I own F2s, which to me are plenty good enough. If I need the high flash sync, I'll use my Bronica ETRSi. Instead of the FM, I own an FE -- not an FE2, either. The reason is that an FE's metering tab can be pushed up so pre-AI lenses can be mounted, whereas with the FE2 (and FM2), the tab is plastic and can't be pushed out of the way. One risks damage or breakage to the metering tab on an FE2 or FM2 if a pre-AI lens is mounted. Yep, I own a few pre-AI lenses, so that capability matters more to me than the high flash sync or shutter speed.

Good post Cooltouch, it's clear that you're an experienced dealer. For me the FM2n is an interesting case because its wonderful shutter was an attempt to get something completely mechanical with a flash synch of 1/250s...the 1/4000 top speed as far as I understand it's a byproduct of this attempt, and of course it has been remarkable from Nikon.

I wonder if they tried to push it because in 1980 when they introduced the F3 the old Nikonisti disliked at first the electronic camera and preferred the old F2AS even used, so they promoted the humble FM to a sort of "top of the line mechanical body", however in real life I see little improvement between the 1/125s flash synch of a K2/K2DMD and the 1/250s of the FM2n, and for the top speed even less, so I would say that the LX is offering more (interchangeble finders, better metering, TTL flash, aperture priority etc...) in a similar package. The K2DMD besides the fact it's a bigger camera offer little less and something more so they are good matches.

And as owner of a F2AS, I recognise it's a more complete camera than the FM but I like the little bulldog, especially if I have to walk for long times (hours) with a camera about my neck.

Last edited by Cuthbert; 12-07-2014 at 04:23 PM.
12-07-2014, 10:50 PM   #37
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Cuthbert, I can't argue with your reasoning. All I would add is that let us not forget that the first version of the FM2 had the 1/200 flash sync, which Nikon apparently thought was sufficient -- at first. Then obviously Nikon felt the heat or the pressure to boost it slightly such that 1/250th became the flash sync, which was liked much better, not just for the higher sync, but also because the user didn't have to futz with the extra spot on the dial for x-sync.

Whew! Just rereading this post, and I see I have blathered on for a bit. Sorry for that, but this is something I do tend toward, so read on or skip over it, as you will.

When was the FE2 released? I'm guessing that the FM2n was introduced around the same time as the release of the FE2, so that they would both have the same x-sync, keeping everything neat and tidy. It would have been kinda messy if they would have left the FM2 alone when the FE2 had a higher sync, I'm thinking.

I recall back in the early days of the F3 the pros had taken a rather dim view to a battery dependent SLR with *gasp* Aperture-priority auto exposure in addition to manual. Yeah, the pros were hoarding their F2s for a while, well into the 80s, as I recall. But there were those few willing to risk the new tech and the others saw that they were doing well with it, such that they slowly began to come around. But I think this was more a credit to the simple elegance of the F3's design than anything else. One very smart move Nikon made was to increase the weighting of the meter from Nikon's tried and true 60/40 pattern to 80/20. This higher concentration toward the center of the screen helped greatly in one respect -- the aperture-priority auto-exposure was more likely to render correct exposures with this weighting. I found this out for myself, after deciding one time, shooting slide film no less, to risk shooting a couple rolls with the camera set to aperture priority, and all of my shots came out well exposed. I was impressed. And I used it quite a bit from then on -- as I'll wager a lot of pros did too.

But I've never really seen the FM2 as a way to ease the pros into switching to the F3. The FM was already a very popular camera among students and hard-core amateurs and I've always felt that was the camera's market niche, if you will. Same with the FE, which has an excellent manual mode in addition to aperture-priority auto. So when the FM2 was released, the same groups would have most likely eagerly upgraded their FMs to FM2s not unlike the way iPhone users feel this compulsion to upgrade their phones with each subsequent release. And the FE2 was right there with it, giving the students and hard-core amateurs a decent set of choices. Sure, pros would have bought them as backup cameras, but Nikon probably just regarded those sorts of purchases as gravy. Prior to the FM and FE, students and advanced amateurs who weren't willing to buy the pro gear were buying the Nikkormats, whether the mechanical FTs or the electronic ELs. Nikon was going through the same evolutionary/revolutionary shift that all the other manufacturers were going through by the late 1970s and probably found that they could produce the smaller FMs and FEs for less than the Nikkormat FTs and ELs, so the Nikkormats got retired. Then, it was just a matter of continuing to improve the breed, and as shutters improved, so did the cameras.

Bringing things back around to Pentax, I don't think anybody will disagree that the MX was the dead-level equivalent to Nikon's FM. But for one big reason, when Nikon released the FM2, Pentax didn't -- or rather, couldn't -- follow suit. And that one big reason is the MX's shutter, which is a horizontally traveling shutter -- whereas the FM uses the Copal vertical shutter. As is pretty well known now, a vertical shutter has advantages over a horizontal one in terms of top speed and flash sync, but back then, it was cutting edge stuff. So when the FM2 and FE2 were announced, with their amazing top shutter speeds and x-sync approaching that of leaf-shutter lenses -- people sat up and took notice. Pentax would have had to totally redesign the MX to come out with an MX2 that would have kept pace with the Nikon FM2n, and I guess Pentax felt that concentration on the LX as being the flagship was more important, and depended somewhat on the loyalty of its user base when the MX was concerned. But I can also recall back then that Pentax was coming out with one advanced programmed camera right after another, it seemed. The ME Super and the Super Program and Program Plus -- and were there others? -- they all sounded quite exciting and capable of all sorts of wondrous feats. I was a stalwart Canon user back then, plodding along with my FTb and F-1, having eschewed the automation of the AE-1 and A-1 some years before. But I can recall the new Pentaxes made for some entertaining reading, and they did seem to be quite popular at the time. I certainly saw a lot of them being used. One thing that the Pentax installed base has had going for it that I think no other camera company has is the ridiculous longevity of the K1000, which means that a tremendous number of folks got their start with a Pentax, and would naturally turn to Pentax when it came time for a more full-featured upgrade. So this is why, I think, Pentax was able to weather the capability gap that occurred with the announcement of the Nikon FM2. Pentax had this huge K1000 installed base to draw from and lured them toward automation, and away from the simplicity of the K1000. And I think it worked well for Pentax until that fateful day in 1986 when Minolta turned the 35mm world on its head with the announcement of the Maxxum 7000.
12-08-2014, 04:38 AM   #38
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I think the KX and MX metering displays simply have different strengths.

In good light I prefer the KX as it shows you the desired shutter speed straight away. If you're a long way adrift then the MX's LEDs just tell you which way to turn the dial. However, the match needle display is a pain if the light isn't good, the LEDs are much better there.

These days prices are low enough that you can have both, and use them for things which play to their strengths!

12-08-2014, 10:20 PM   #39
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QuoteOriginally posted by gabriel_bc Quote
I never could feel the love for the MX, despite owning a few over the years. In the end I settled on a black K2DMD - which I like even better than the LX. In my opinion it's the best manual focus Pentax body. A mass of brass with class.
Not everyone loves the MX. We are lucky to have so many choices. I love "a mass of brass with class," especially because the K2 DMD is a fairly heavy camera. I also like the MX and DMD more than the LX, however I sure loved the FB-1 and FC-1 combo viewfinder I had on my LX.
QuoteOriginally posted by gabriel_bc Quote
Yep - had a chrome K2 for several years, and when a black K2DMD that had been CLA'd by Eric came up in the marketplace, I didn't hesitate.
I know I'm not alone here but I actually disliked the K2. Funny that my K2 DMD is so loveable. The K2 is the only K-series body I didn't get along with and that I got rid of.
QuoteOriginally posted by cooltouch Quote
If battery powered cameras are acceptable to be included, then the Canon T90 comes to mind. It also has 1/4000 sec top speed and 1/250 flash sync -- plus a host of other features as well. But even when you include battery-dependent cameras, the only other one I can think of is the Nikon FE2, the sister camera to the FM2n.

As for Pentax, though, as has been discussed, even the LX doesn't match the FM2n with regard to these two features. Even with battery dependent Pentaxes, there are none that I can think of that have these two features. So the FM2n stands alone when one considers these two features and a non-battery dependent camera, It's as simple as that, really.
Although a little newer, the PZ-1p is battery dependent, and the only Pentax having a 1/250 flash sync speed and the only film camera to have a 1/8000 shutter speed. My K10D only has a max 1/4000! I never cared for how the PZ-1p fit in my hands, so sold this one also.

The LX has some incredible features too, such as weather resistance and the unbeatable meter. When choosing a film camera, the flash sync speed is not nearly as important to me as something like the LX's meter. It really depends on your personal preferences and what you want in a camera.
12-09-2014, 12:22 AM   #40
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QuoteOriginally posted by zany225 Quote
Thanks guys!! Much more understand!

I think I will consider MX or KX (probably MX because of its size) to be my next film camera.
I have both the Nikon F2 and Pentax MX. I love them both. The F2 is beautifully made and very solid; I doubt a better quality camera exists. However, it is more "clunky" to use than the MX (or KX) due to it's heft and large viewfinder/meter. The flash hot-shoe can be awkward. For everyday use, I find the MX is nimble. If you don't use high speed film in bright sunlight, shutter speed is not a concern. If you prefer a bigger camera, the KX is excellent also. In the end, the lenses are what count, and Pentax holds it's own with the best of them.

Edit: Sorry, I misread the model you had was the FM2, not F2.
12-16-2014, 12:17 PM   #41
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QuoteOriginally posted by cooltouch Quote
As for Pentax, though, as has been discussed, even the LX doesn't match the FM2n with regard to these two features. Even with battery dependent Pentaxes, there are none that I can think of that have these two features. So the FM2n stands alone when one considers these two features and a non-battery dependent camera, It's as simple as that, really.

As a dealer, I've owned FMs and FM2s, but as a user, currently I own neither. I don't really have the need for them because I own F2s, which to me are plenty good enough. If I need the high flash sync, I'll use my Bronica ETRSi. Instead of the FM, I own an FE -- not an FE2, either. The reason is that an FE's metering tab can be pushed up so pre-AI lenses can be mounted, whereas with the FE2 (and FM2), the tab is plastic and can't be pushed out of the way. One risks damage or breakage to the metering tab on an FE2 or FM2 if a pre-AI lens is mounted. Yep, I own a few pre-AI lenses, so that capability matters more to me than the high flash sync or shutter speed.
Pentax achieved 1/4000 with the SFXN/SF1N -> Pentax SFXn/SF1n - Pentax Autofocus Film SLRs - Pentax Camera Reviews and Specifications. The Pentax Z-1p/PZ-1pachieved 1/250 sync and 1/8000 shutter speed -> Pentax Z-1p/PZ-1p - Pentax Autofocus Film SLRs - Pentax Camera Reviews and Specifications

BTW, the Olympus OM4T+F280 flash can sync at all speeds up to 1/2000.

QuoteOriginally posted by cooltouch Quote
When was the FE2 released? I'm guessing that the FM2n was introduced around the same time as the release of the FE2, so that they would both have the same x-sync, keeping everything neat and tidy. It would have been kinda messy if they would have left the FM2 alone when the FE2 had a higher sync, I'm thinking.

Bringing things back around to Pentax, I don't think anybody will disagree that the MX was the dead-level equivalent to Nikon's FM. But for one big reason, when Nikon released the FM2, Pentax didn't -- or rather, couldn't -- follow suit. And that one big reason is the MX's shutter, which is a horizontally traveling shutter -- whereas the FM uses the Copal vertical shutter. As is pretty well known now, a vertical shutter has advantages over a horizontal one in terms of top speed and flash sync, but back then, it was cutting edge stuff. So when the FM2 and FE2 were announced, with their amazing top shutter speeds and x-sync approaching that of leaf-shutter lenses -- people sat up and took notice. Pentax would have had to totally redesign the MX to come out with an MX2 that would have kept pace with the Nikon FM2n, and I guess Pentax felt that concentration on the LX as being the flagship was more important, and depended somewhat on the loyalty of its user base when the MX was concerned.
The FM2 was released in 1982 and the FM2N & FE2 were released in 1983. The FM2 shutter had stability issues and was changed from titanium to aluminum.

The release of the Olympus OM1 & 2 prompted the quick revision and retirement of the larger bodies from practically all manufacturers hence the short production run of the Nikkormat FT3 and EL2 as well as the initial Pentax K releases.

The Pentax MX was a full system camera with accompanying motor drives and backs not available to the FM. The MX was not only smaller than the FM - and any other manual SLR, but it also has the largest viewfinder ever.

The FM2 was release in 1982 - six years after the 1976 release of the MX. Nikon even followed it up with the 2001 release of its successor - the FM3A.

We do know now the merits of the vertical shutter however even as late as 1980, all the pro cameras were horizontal for the purposes of reliability. And of course we know even more now that the curtains are serviceable if they fail while the vertical blades are not.

I believe it unfortunate that Pentax did not further pursue fully mechanical cameras but they were full into autofocus develpment with the release of the first AF camera - the MEF in 1981, which of course makes it completely battery dependent. With the success of the Canon's microprocessor based cameras, full automation was the dominant selling camera and pretty much everyone went that route.

I was just reading a Herb Keppler editorial and he said he handed his wife a Nikon FM and the film advance lever poked her in the eye! The FM, FM2 and FM3 all require the lever to be out in order to fire the shutter.
12-16-2014, 12:32 PM   #42
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QuoteOriginally posted by LesDMess Quote

I was just reading a Herb Keppler editorial and he said he handed his wife a Nikon FM and the film advance lever poked her in the eye! The FM, FM2 and FM3 all require the lever to be out in order to fire the shutter.
Les forgive me the correction but my FM shoots with the lever in without problems, of course the lightmeter is off in that istance.

For the metal vertical travelling shutters, Zeiss Ikon understood the advantages back in the 30s when they introduced the Contax II, my tech repairs them without any problems and personally as engineer I much prefer this technical solution.
12-16-2014, 01:23 PM   #43
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I no longer have my FM but have the FM2n & FM3A and both require the advance lever to be out in order to trip the shutter. The FM manual states that the advance lever has to be out in order to trip the shutter too?
I will have to find the Herb article but if I am not mistaken it had to be the FM.

Your 1930s vertical travelling shutter is probably not subjected to the same forces as the 1/4000 shutter speeds discussed . . .
How is it repaired - parts replacement of remanufacture? Eric remanufactures curtains for my original Asahi Pentax.

BTW, all the pro interchangeable viewfinder SLRs from Canon, Minolta, Nikon and Pentax up to the 1980's release all used titanium horizontal shutters. They were designed conservatively for the purposes of reliability up to then.
Interesting that in the EOS1&3 manuals there is a caveat about using mirror lockup and not to point it to the sun as they may get scorched. I suppose the ultra light materials used is susceptible unlike the titanium material.
12-16-2014, 01:49 PM   #44
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QuoteOriginally posted by LesDMess Quote
I no longer have my FM but have the FM2n & FM3A and both require the advance lever to be out in order to trip the shutter. The FM manual states that the advance lever has to be out in order to trip the shutter too?
I will have to find the Herb article but if I am not mistaken it had to be the FM.

Your 1930s vertical travelling shutter is probably not subjected to the same forces as the 1/4000 shutter speeds discussed . . .
How is it repaired - parts replacement of remanufacture? Eric remanufactures curtains for my original Asahi Pentax.

BTW, all the pro interchangeable viewfinder SLRs from Canon, Minolta, Nikon and Pentax up to the 1980's release all used titanium horizontal shutters. They were designed conservatively for the purposes of reliability up to then.
Interesting that in the EOS1&3 manuals there is a caveat about using mirror lockup and not to point it to the sun as they may get scorched. I suppose the ultra light materials used is susceptible unlike the titanium material.
Well, back in the 30s Zeiss introduced the metal vertically travelling shutter to compete against the cloth curtains of the Leicas, of course it's different from the metal blades of the Pentax/Seiko shutter for instance but if you see how it works you'll realise that they are not that different:



They advertised this solution pointing out the same advantages Nikon and Pentax used in their adverts many years later: higher speed due to shorter travelling distance, and metal blades more resistent to sunlight than cloth (it's important for a rangefinder!). As you can see the "blades" are basically eternal but the ribbons worn out so that's what you have to do if your Contax doesn't work.

For the FM shutter, I should ask Mr. Castelli how he does it but he repairs everything, and ironically for the only attempt to make a pro camera the Soviets opted for a titanium vertical shutter in the ill fated Almaz 101/102/103...it appears that the shutter is the only thing bullet proof in that SLR!

For my FM, I turn the lever to advance the film then I retract it and it fires, I don't know if this answers your question.
12-16-2014, 01:59 PM   #45
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I have not disassembled any yet but that 30s Zeiss metal vertically travelling shutter looks like the same arrangement as the horizontal except vertically laid out?

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