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View Full Version : Help with Grafmatic film holder - All shots out of focus



Lee Christopher
20-Oct-2009, 15:34
I was wondering if anyone has encountered the same problem as I did.

First time using the Grafmatic "45" GRAPHIC holder and did all the research and practiced a lot with it before use. Did several 'dry' runs with throw-away sheets of film and was all good to go.

After I developed my film, I found all my shots out of focus!

The holder and septums are in great shape, and I loaded the film emulsion side up.

During shooting, I made sure to keep one finger on the back and I cycled the carriage and worked the darkslide to ensure that the back did not move or slide out. The whole Grafmatic is capable of sliding out (during cariage or darkslide cycling) if I don't use a finger to hold it in place, but once in, it seems fairly secure in that it doesn't rattle or anything like that.

Yes, after pulling the darkslide, I pushed it back in before taking the shot and also made sure that it did not slide slightly out of place by pushing against it. It was all the way into the spring back as far as it would go without excessive force.

I was using a 4x5 Horseman LX with a spring back in excellent condition and an ultra wide angle 65mm lens shooting between f5.6 to f16. Sunny day out so focusing was not a problem.

Does anyone have any idea what could have gone wrong? Shots on Lisco holders pose no problems, so I ruled out the spring back, springs, gg and fresnel plane.

Thanks in advance

Bosaiya
20-Oct-2009, 15:51
Sounds like it's sitting at the wrong distance and moving your film plane accordingly. You might try setting up a test with a ruler or something measurable in the shot and focusing on a known point (like a mark on the ruler). If all the shots are consistently off you can probably either shim or shave, depending.

I've used Grafmatics without such difficulty, and I would think they're all more or less the same. Could be someone modified yours to suit a particular need.

Lee Christopher
20-Oct-2009, 17:28
I don't think mine's modified. It looks to be in great condition and not shaved, sanded or anything. i got it from a respected member here. :)

What you mentioned gave me an idea (thank you Bosaiya), which I am not sure would or would not clue me in; I could load a normal Lisco on the rear standard and measure the inner side of the frame furthest away from the film holder, to the inside of the Lisco, and then do the same for the Graf.

Bosaiya
20-Oct-2009, 18:14
I don't think mine's modified. It looks to be in great condition and not shaved, sanded or anything.

There are only so many variables. Sounds like a perfect opportunity for deductive reasoning. I'm going to ask the dreaded camera-version of "Did you try rebooting?"

Here goes: Did you try it in another camera?


i got it from a respected member here. :)

I'm pretty sure that the clergy was a respected profession once, you can never be too sure these days.


What you mentioned gave me an idea (thank you Bosaiya),

Remember me when you make it big!


which I am not sure would or would not clue me in; I could load a normal Lisco on the rear standard and measure the inner side of the frame furthest away from the film holder, to the inside of the Lisco, and then do the same for the Graf.

I've already started drinking so I'm not really able to follow along with what you've written, but it sounds like you have a plan and that's generally a good place to start. Now if you'll excuse me I have a date with some power tools.

Bill_1856
20-Oct-2009, 18:55
Just look at the front sptum with the Grafmatic out of the camera to see if it's spring-loaded into the correct position.

jnanian
20-Oct-2009, 19:10
Just look at the front sptum with the Grafmatic out of the camera to see if it's spring-loaded into the correct position.

i was going to say the same thing myself!

salihonba
20-Oct-2009, 19:18
Way Beyond Monochrome, Page 109, critical focus, provides an easy way to check your film holders.

brian d
20-Oct-2009, 19:56
A lot of good info here.
http://members.optusnet.com.au/~paulewins/resources/grafmatic.htm

Glenn Thoreson
20-Oct-2009, 20:12
I'll stick my neck out on this one. Look at the butt end of the Grafmatic, on the side that faces the camera. You will see that part of the end is tapered. Check to see if, when you insert the Grafmatic, the taper sits right when the thing is pushed all the way in. I'm betting it raises off the back a little. I have had several cameras that I've had to do some machine work to in order to use the Grafmatic. The seat at the end of the holder slot is probably too high and is not compatible with the tapered end. If so, it can also prevent full insertion, leaving the light trap ridge atop the back and not in it's slot.
A very hard thing to explain without visual aid. I hope it makes sense.

douglas antonio
21-Oct-2009, 00:46
i don't know whether this point messes up everything:

i myself use the grafmatics with great results, perfect focus etc.
i think the issue glenn is pointing out could be one of the problems involved.

and another one: i have heard that there were two differently designed grafmatics.
one for the graflexes and one for international backs. i have seen pictures of the graflex version and it looked as if the (i don't know the correct term) lead that should keep the holder in the back once it is slid in is different so that it does not sit properly and causes the shots to be out of fokus.
so perhaps this is the case with your holder?

see this thread: http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?t=32745

Sevo
21-Oct-2009, 02:06
A Graflex Grafmatic will not even slide into a international/spring back - it is about four millimetres wider. If you jam such a thing into a international back, it will end up askew on the outer rails - more than a centimetre out of focus, but far more importantly with finger-wide leaks, so that you'll end up with completely blackened film.

bbjorkum
21-Oct-2009, 07:26
You are certain this is model 1268? Not 1168?

Lee Christopher
21-Oct-2009, 08:39
Just a quick confirmation guys - it's a 1268 model, Grafmatic "45" GRAPHIC, the slimmer version, and NOT the 1168 Grafmatic "45" GRAFLEX. Ref:http://members.optusnet.com.au/~paulewins/resources/grafmatic.htm

http://clprodn.smugmug.com/photos/688057514_dCcYf-M.jpg
http://clprodn.smugmug.com/photos/688059001_ngnQb-M.jpg
http://clprodn.smugmug.com/photos/688055962_GujbQ-M.jpg

Lee Christopher
21-Oct-2009, 09:12
I'll stick my neck out on this one. Look at the butt end of the Grafmatic, on the side that faces the camera. You will see that part of the end is tapered. Check to see if, when you insert the Grafmatic, the taper sits right when the thing is pushed all the way in. I'm betting it raises off the back a little. I have had several cameras that I've had to do some machine work to in order to use the Grafmatic. The seat at the end of the holder slot is probably too high and is not compatible with the tapered end. If so, it can also prevent full insertion, leaving the light trap ridge atop the back and not in it's slot.
A very hard thing to explain without visual aid. I hope it makes sense.

Glenn, thanks for sharing.

What you said was not the problem per se, but it lead me to find out what was. It was the end of the Graf getting blocked by part of my standard and not the beveled edge.

With my rear standard in it's factory orientation, the overall length of the Graf does not allow full seating with the Graf in landscape orientation. When I flip the rear to portrait orientation, with nothing above or below the rear of the standard to block the end of the Graf, it seats all the way AND locks in place!

Soooo, I was there sitting in my kitchen chair thinking there Noooooo way I'm going to machine any part of my camera just yet, and it struck me that if I flipped the entire standard around (upside down with the bubble on the underside), there might be complete clearance due to the design of my standard.

VOILA!

FULL seating and locking of the Graf in the back in both landscape and portrait orientation!

I measured the film plane of a sheet of film in a loaded septum and it appears to be about the same as the measurement I took earlier of a Lisco. When the Graf was not seated in all the way, you're absolutely correct; there was more space than the Lisco explaining all the OOF shots.

Now I just hope that I still have infinity focus with my 65mm with the standard this way round as this arrangement results in more space between the film plane and lensboard, but that's another problem, if it is one.

Thanks everyone for sharing and yes, septum was sprung into place properly, and no, I don't have another lf camera.

At least I found out how to seat the Graf fully in the back.

CHEERS!

Bosaiya
21-Oct-2009, 09:20
...and no, I don't have another lf camera.

I think it's pretty obvious that you need to rectify this situation as quickly as possible. You know, for testing purposes.

Lee Christopher
21-Oct-2009, 10:28
I think it's pretty obvious that you need to rectify this situation as quickly as possible. You know, for testing purposes.

Words of wisdom well said ...

I've taken bits of my camera and put them in a spare pot. Should be able to see something sprouting in a week or two. :D

Glenn Thoreson
21-Oct-2009, 11:20
Ah! Good! I seem to remember something about having to reverse the standard on some cameras but I never ran into that situation. My stuff is all too old. I'm glad you got it fixed. You're going to love it. :D

al olson
21-Oct-2009, 16:57
Not dealing with your original question, but ...



...
During shooting, I made sure to keep one finger on the back and I cycled the carriage and worked the darkslide to ensure that the back did not move or slide out. The whole Grafmatic is capable of sliding out (during cariage or darkslide cycling) if I don't use a finger to hold it in place, but once in, it seems fairly secure in that it doesn't rattle or anything like that.
...


If you have a Graflok back, you may not need to use your finger to hold the Grafmatic in place while cycling the septums. There is a groove in the side of the Grafmatic. The Grafloks on all of my 4x5s slide into this groove to fasten the Grafmatic down.

When I am using my Grafmatics I make this part of my procedure because I have been a little too vigorous in cycling the septums.

Turner Reich
22-Oct-2009, 01:21
Does anyone have a Grafmatic, 45, that fits in the back and locks down with the international slides of a Shen Hao 4x5?