View Full Version : Restoring Speed Graphic 25060

5-Apr-2016, 20:15
Looking to restore this little guy. Super new to 4x5 I didn't want to speed tons of money yet. I want to test drive this type of format. I won this for 102$. It came with tons of 4x5 film and some 120 film. Tips for cleaning the leatherette such as replacing and refitting, cleaning tips, do's and donts. I can send more pictures. Need advice please. Don't say throw it away. I don't need that type of negativity. http://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20160406/abef2f4214ac37fee5f13eccb7b9eaa5.jpghttp://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20160406/219667c1cbb0fba3b7fc030c1776e052.jpghttp://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20160406/934921d8843a09ce01005bc7560f38ce.jpg

5-Apr-2016, 20:18

5-Apr-2016, 21:12
Your best online resource is probably graflex.org. The book "Graphic Graflex Photography" by Morgan and Lester can usually be found at a reasonable price. Be sure you get the 8th or later edition.
Regards, Bob

5-Apr-2016, 21:14
Your best online resource is probably graflex.org. The book "Graphic Graflex Photography" by Morgan and Lester can usually be found at a reasonable price. Be sure you get the 8th or later edition.
Regards, Bob
Any tips on cleaning it up?

5-Apr-2016, 21:22
Find out what is working and what isn't first. If the shutters are good then check the bellows for light leaks. If that's good then start thinking about clean-up. I would use something like mink oil on the leather. Clean out any accumulated dust and gunk inside the box. Wipe down the rails and metal parts and go from there. If it works, it's worth the elbow grease. The top viewfinder can be easily disassembled and cleaned and reassembled. Graflex.org is a bonanza for you.

Tim Meisburger
5-Apr-2016, 21:22
I wouldn't throw it away. If its functional as is, I would use it as is. As for restoring, you have several options. You can restore it to a complete original condition, do a quick and dirty restoration, or strip it.

Complete restoration is possible, as replacements parts and new leatherette is available, but there are so many good versions of this camera available for relatively little money that it probably wouldn't be economical unless it was a labor of love, or the particular camera had some sentimental value.

Option two would be clean it up good, glue down the loose leatherette, sand or steel wool corroded surfaces, and spray paint those surfaces that previously had paint. A few hours work would make it look better.

Option three is to strip it. Take off all the leatherette and extraneous parts (those parts needed fro a press camera but not a simple view camera), then polish the aluminium and stain and/or varnish the wood. There are examples of this on line (I think for Crowns, but would be the same for Speed).

The most important is not appearance, but function. That means a bellows without holes, lens with working shutter and know speeds, functional focusing and back. If these are there, then you can shoot. If the focal plane shutter works, that is an added bonus, as it allows the easy use of any shutterless lens with a focal lenght less than the bellows extension (in this case I think it is about 12' or 300mm.

Good luck, and let us know what you decide to do. I'm sure people will have specific advice for specific questions.

Lachlan 717
6-Apr-2016, 04:45
Strip it back and turn it in to a Woodie.

6-Apr-2016, 06:11
You can probably improve the function of the focal plane shutter with some exercise, gradually increasing tensions and shutter speeds. the plate with the winder can come off if you need to clean dried lubricants under there, but don't do it if you're not mechanically inclined. I'd check and see that the bellows are light tight and preferably the focal plane shutter is light tight, and use it for a while as is if it checks out OK.

Jim Jones
6-Apr-2016, 06:16
Your best online resource is probably graflex.org. The book "Graphic Graflex Photography" by Morgan and Lester can usually be found at a reasonable price. Be sure you get the 8th or later edition.
Regards, Bob

Any edition of Graphic Graflex Photography will be useful. They all cover your Anniversary model. The photographs do not show the presence of the spring back and focusing panel. If these are missing, restoration may be impractical. Finding these parts online might be difficult. They are sometimes removed from cameras like yours for improvised 4x5 backs on other types of cameras. Missing wood pieces also complicate a complete restoration. Tim is right: Much better Speed Graphic cameras are available, often at moderate costs. You did get a later lens than the original one on this camera. Also, the focusing bed appears to be from a later model, and has an extra set of infinity stops. If the film is still good, you got a bargain. Even film that is no longer good for fine photographs is useful for testing and experimenting.

6-Apr-2016, 06:37
Perhaps I'm missing something in the pictures, but it looks as if the back is missing. If that is the case, you have more issues to address than just improving the appearance.

6-Apr-2016, 08:45

It came with this box and I have a back with a glass plate. I took it off to clean. It has a 4x5 plate back. 120 film backing. Packs of 4x5 film. And all in the box.

6-Apr-2016, 08:55
Am I better off selling it as parts to get a better camera?

6-Apr-2016, 09:11
Am I better off selling it as parts to get a better camera?

Not yet! Can you post a picture of the back opened up? We are looking for a functional, film holding back with ground glass.

Perfectly good pictures have been made with cameras that are downright ugly.

Michael Cienfuegos
6-Apr-2016, 09:56
One really good resource would be "shutterfinger" on APUG. He is also known as PSS45 on graflex.org. He is a wealth of information on all things graflex.

It looks as if your camera doesn't have a back. Not good, but there are those of us who have parts aplenty floating in our "junk boxes". Good luck with your camera.


6-Apr-2016, 11:06
What I'm seeing there is a roll film back that I don't believe is 4x5 and a pack film back that would be able to use those film packs if the film is still any good. Either of those will mount to the Graflok, if present... but that is not present in the pics. They weren't invented at the time of the Anniversary Graphic (which this is) and would have had to be retrofit at a later date. But I don't see a film back that will allow you to use regular film holders. What do you have that has ground glass in it? A pic of htat and a better pic of the back of the camera would go a long way in helping us help you.

6-Apr-2016, 12:30
Strip it back and turn it in to a Woodie.

This - - and it looks cool too

6-Apr-2016, 13:48

6-Apr-2016, 13:51

6-Apr-2016, 14:28
that's a graflex/spring back, not graflok. Unless you really want a basketcase project, I'd unload it and start with something better/newer. The film is probably hopelessly fogged too. A good pacemaker speed, fully functioning and in nice shape should be $400-ish +/-

6-Apr-2016, 14:31
So sell it all.

Tim Meisburger
6-Apr-2016, 14:32
That is the spring back. Unfortunately, the roll film holder will not fit this camera, so unless you have something else it might fit, you can probably sell that.

With the back off and bellows extended take the camera in a dark room or closet and shine a flashlight around inside the bellows, looking for any holes or pinholes in the bellow. If they are light tight you are set to go.

I looks like you have pack film and sheet film. The pack film fits in the thick holder and the sheet film in the thinner holder. Not sure if any of the film will still be any good, but you might as well shoot some and check. I would start with the sheet film, as you can develop one sheet at a time to see what you get.

Tim Meisburger
6-Apr-2016, 14:38
I disagree. You have no real need for a graflok back to use the camera. I would use what you have. If you love it, then great, and you should then think about getting a regular field camera at some point, rather than another Speed (unless your love is 4x5 rangefinders in particular). I would not sell the Speed if the focal plane shutter works, as it will always be good for shutterless lenses.

My advice is to get this working and see if you like the process before you move on.

Tim Meisburger
6-Apr-2016, 14:51
Also, I would pull back the darkslide on one of those holders a bit to see if they are already loaded with film. They often are when you find a kit like this. I think the film will be fogged, but I see people on this board shooting some pretty old stuff on occasion.

6-Apr-2016, 15:17
Well unfortunately the bellows have pinholes. A complete dud of a buy.

6-Apr-2016, 15:27
Pinholes can be fixed. Gaping rips in the bellows ruin the value.

6-Apr-2016, 15:30
Keep everything and just look for a camera in better condition. In the meantime, just cover the bellows with a black cloth when you take pictures, and have some fun.

6-Apr-2016, 15:33
Pinholes in the corners.

6-Apr-2016, 15:34
My anniversary graphic was retrofit with a Graflok. It is only useful when one wants to use a Graflex roll film back. I'd clean up the camera, reinstall the spring back,
Patch the pinholes, check that the shutters are working and get shooting. I wouldn't work too hard on restoration to factory appearance, but would strive for full functionality.

Tim Meisburger
6-Apr-2016, 15:35
I don't think its a dud if the focal plane shutter works. Not for 100 bucks. Pinholes can be fixed. Shoot some film, or even paper if you don't have film. Don't get depressed. You can make it work.

6-Apr-2016, 15:40
The shutter works beautifully.

6-Apr-2016, 15:41
Even if the focal plane shutter does not work...

Most importantly is that the lens and its shutter is in good shape. There's no reason why that camera can't be brought back into service.

6-Apr-2016, 15:42
Oh what I'm mixing that up with the lens
It does not have a focal plane shutter. Or that I saw

6-Apr-2016, 15:50
The two gizmos on the right side of the body control the focal plane shutter. It is probably in the "O", or open, position. But unless the shutter was removed your camera has one. Get a copy of the book mentioned earlier. No more than $10 or so if you shop around. That has good description of all the features and how to operate.

Tim Meisburger
6-Apr-2016, 15:51
Correct. But if you don't want to wait, I'm sure there are instruction on Graflex.org

Sean Mac
6-Apr-2016, 16:03
Is that a flash unit in your picture of the box? If it is, you can sell it and you have a free Speed Graphic.:)

Cool camera for $100. They look beautiful stripped and polished.

Jim Jones
6-Apr-2016, 20:58
One way to fix pinholes in a Graphic bellows is to extend the bellows and thoroughly scrub artist's black liquid acrylic paint into any corners or crevices that have pinholes with an old soft toothbrush. Wait a few hours before compressing the bellows. I suspect you have a camera that can be brought back to good working condition, but not pristine appearance.

That Singer RH10 is a late model roll film for the Graflok back on a smaller Graphic camera, not the 4x5 Graphic back that you have. Unless you anticipate a future need for a small Graphic camera or any other roll film camera that may accept the same holder, sell it and recoup a nice chunk of your investment.

6-Apr-2016, 22:03
Keep it, clean it, glue down the leatherette, read the manual, and use it!

It's in better shape than some I've restored. And please do not strip it down. Kills the historic value...

Oh, and the "read the manual" part? look here:

The Anny manuals are about a third of the way down...

And what everyone else has said about using it! ;-)

Jim Jones
7-Apr-2016, 05:40
Kayla -- Both the operating and the repair manuals Rich links to in the above site are valuable. There is still much more information in Graphic Graflex Photography that these manuals don't cover.

7-Apr-2016, 21:50
There is usually some beautiful wood hidden under the leather. Many folks have stripped off the dried leather to reveal the wood then worked with it to make the beauty come through.

John Minnicks restores Graflex cameras. He is on Facebook. See if he has any information on the subject.