Copal

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Copal is a Japanese company making camera shutters and based in Tokyo.

The activity began in 1946 as a private business, designing a leaf shutter in #0 size for a TLR camera project developed by Nippon Kōgaku. This TLR camera was never sold but the Copal shutter went ahead and was first mounted on the Olympus Six.[1]

In 1949 the company was established as K.K. Copal Kōki Seisakusho (株式会社コパル光機製作所, meaning Copal Optical Works Co Ltd). It changed its name in 1962 for the simpler K.K. Copal (株式会社コパル, meaning Copal Co Ltd). It came under control of the company Nihon Denshi in 1998 and became Nihon Denshi Copal K.K. (日本電産コパル株式会社), or Nidec-Copal in 1999.[2]

The Copal leaf shutters are used on many rangefinder, TLR and view cameras. They are high quality shutters which tend to cost less than Compur shutters.

There are several variations of the shutter. Some use a simple inertia gear set to regulate speed. Other Copal shutters, such as the widely used MX, obtain a wider range of speeds by using a typical escapement, but have the same basic design.

Copal also made focal plane shutter units, mainly for Japanese SLR cameras. The best known model was the Copal Square vertical travel shutter with metal curtains. The Minolta XE and the similar Leica R3 were equipped with the Copal Leitz CLS electronic focal plane shutter.

Leaf shutters

  • Copal #0
  • Copal #00 (3 leaves)

Notes

  1. Shunkan o torae-tsuzukeru shattā-ten, p.13.
  2. Company history in Copal's official website. Shunkan o torae-tsuzukeru shattā-ten, p.16, says 1959 instead of 1949 for the constitution of K.K. Copal Kōki Seisakusho, it is surely a typo.

Bibliography

  • Kamera no mekanizumu sono I: "Hai! Chīzu" Shunkan o torae-tsuzukeru shattā-ten (カメラのメカニズム・そのⅠ・「ハイ!チーズ」瞬間をとらえ続けるシャッター展, Camera mechanism, part 1 "Cheese!" Exhibition of instant taking shutters). Tokyo: JCII Camera Museum, 2002. (Exhibition catalogue, no ISBN number)

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