Well made, but does not actually have long throw
Rated 3 out of 5
The short version of my review is that despite what the description says, this only gives you about 12.5 mm effective throw and my Copal press shutter needs about 13-13.5 mm to fire.
I decided to buy this when I bought a used 4x5 outfit. The outfit didn't come with a cable release, and I have a few old ones passed down to me from the 70s/80s (originally used on SLRs etc.) that are a little longer but poor quality.
What appealed to me was the idea of buying something like this once and having it for life. The difference in price is really not *that* much compared to a Gepe et al., so may as well have the best.
To that end, I will say that it is certainly well made. The all-metal control/grip area is a pleasure to handle and use, though I think it could be a little bit bigger for easier handling without sacrificing its elegance. The screw lock feels confident. The cable itself is thick and feels very durable.
The real key is that the action is super smooth and decisive-feeling even when the cable is coiled, which is what you don't get from the cheap cables.
However, there are some issues.
First, the length sounds long but is actually a little awkward. It's too long to just leave hanging, but at least with a 4x5 or larger camera it's not actually long enough to wrap around any part of the tripod. I stick it through the leather handle that my camera has (a Wista SP 4x5 field camera), but if your camera doesn't have something like that, it's awkward. 40 would probably be enough to wrap around part of the tripod, but this is the longest one Linhof makes.
Second, as others have pointed out, the tip that screws in is very small and can be tricky to attach in some cases. You do gain some slight extra flexibility in exchange, but not as much as you might think and it's not enough that you could attach it inside a recessed lens board or anything like that. The flexibility may be useful in some circumstances, but a bigger grip for attachment would be better in almost all circumstances. It is not really a show-stopping issue, but it's the kind of thing that bugs you more and more over time, which is the opposite of what you want in a buy-it-for-life expensive item like this.
Finally, the description for the Linhof cable releases all take pains to note that these are some of the very few cable releases available that have a long enough throw to fire Copal press shutters. The Wista SP 4x5 outfit I bought came with a lens with such a shutter. Specifically, because YMMV, it's labeled for Wista - S - No. 1 - you can actually still buy this same shutter new right here on B&H, listed as Wista #1 Press Shutter - Self-Cocking.
The Linhof cable release does, in fact, fire this shutter, but - and this is a key but - only if the cable is held so that it is more or less straight for its whole length. I didn't realize this at first - because of its awkward length, that just happened to be how I was always holding it.
But then I had the camera positioned for a unique shot for which I coiled the cable release slightly in a way I normally wouldn't... and the shutter didn't fire properly. I realized with a few seconds of testing that it just wasn't pushing in far enough. I straightened out the cable in the process of testing and it worked.
I brought the lens and the cable release in to my repair person (lens needed a CLA anyway) and they couldn't find anything wrong with it, but they pointed out that the throw on the cable release seemed unusually short to them. All the cable releases they had around in the shop measured around 15-16mm.
I can't guarantee that my particular press shutter doesn't need more throw than others. But I do think it's very strange that a shutter release cable advertised as having particularly long throw actually has shorter throw than average. It has about the same throw as the shorter cables I have that are meant for small cameras.
Measured with calipers, I get about 14mm throw when it's perfectly straight, and more like 13.5mm if it's bent slightly as would be typical - still enough to fire the shutter, but any further bending shortens it beyond being able to fire. You only really get 12.5mm of guaranteed throw at any angle or amount of coiling of the cable.
(To be fair, that is more than enough for the other two lenses I have which have standard Copal shutters.)
I don't think my particular cable is a dud, either, because it looks identical in length in the product photos here.
I bought one of the Gepe Pro models which have 21mm+ of throw (and the throw is adjustable). For less than half the price, though it's not as elegant, quality seems excellent and, importantly, it works flawlessly every time. FYI my understanding is that the Pro models from Gepe are the only ones guaranteed to have such a long throw (and seems that there are quality control issues with their cheaper line).
One final thing that shouldn't matter but kinda does... if you're factoring in resale value into the high price of the Linhof cable, it does say Germany on it, but it doesn't say Linhof anywhere.
Excellent quality but major design flaw
Rated 2 out of 5
As you can see in the images, the metal post with the knurled grip for screwing into the shutter is TOO SHORT. I can't get a grip with my fingers to tighten it sufficiently. Seems like a MAJOR oversight for such an otherwise well made (and expensive) item. The one I'm showing for comparison is about 9 long with no manufacturer's markings. Had it forever. Easy to screw on. Too bad, I waited for a few months before this was back in stock. I suppose it could work with an attachment but for the price it should be designed without needing one.
Rated 5 out of 5
The reviews are true. This cable is the gold standard. Had been using a cheap cable fir my hassie 500 until it broke, about a month after purchase. Replaced it with the linhof and what a difference. Quality to the core; you can tell with the first press of the lever. Worth every penny. What’s the saying? Buy once and...
Excellent German craftsmanship
Rated 5 out of 5
I would expect nothing less from a company whose name is synonymous with quality and expert manufacturing. Not one iota of thoughtfulness was spared in the conceiving and execution of this little
wonder. I will certainly get many years of perfect function from this beautifully crafted German cable release.