Camera shutter speed is an essential adjustment in photography – along with the aperture, the shutter moderates the amount of light entering the camera. Older cameras (and some newer ones) use mechanical shutters that creep out-of-spec over the years, so [Dean Segovis] built a handy shutter speed tester.
With just a handful of basic components, this project is a great one for beginners to sink their teeth into. The tester is based around a photoresistor that measures light from another source (a flashlight) that travels through the camera body. When the shutter on the camera is released, the shutter speed can be measured and displayed on the OLED screen. An Arduino naturally handles all the computational duties. The whole thing can be easily assembled on a breadboard in just a couple of minutes.
The original project by [hiroshootsfilm] is over on Project Hub, however [Dean] takes a deeper dive with some code troubleshooting, as well as trying out a variety of old film cameras with the breadboard tester. His testing revealed that the photoresistor was better able to detect shutter speed when the camera lens was removed, which is a hot tip for anyone else that wants to try this.
While it’s not surprising that these older cameras are having trouble with their mechanical shutters, this little tester would be an invaluable tool when it comes time to start tweaking shutter mechanisms. If this project has brought out the shutterbug in you, make sure to check out this brain transplant for a Polaroid 100-series Packfilm camera that we covered way back in 2011.