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southy
19-Feb-2010, 17:35
Hi all!
This is my introduction to the LF forums. I registered a while ago after making a purchase off of craigslist with the intention of getting into LF. Unfortunately, I went on a buying spree of 6x6 cameras along with my collection of 35mm cameras and I let these sit on the shelf. I was considering just selling them because I wasn't using them, but think I will jump in and try to get started in LF.

I have two cameras I purchased from the same person, they were left in a basement and the landlord sold them to me as abandoned property to me, and both of us had no idea what they were or how much they were worth. Well, I have read all the information on this site on the articles section, and have read through graphex.org and I now I need some advice.

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2677/4371822018_d1bfbcd595.jpg
http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4049/4371822198_2cc05bf46f_b.jpg
http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4027/4371073311_26a04e59c2.jpg


One is a Speed (not crown) Graphic, looks like pre-anniversary (graphex.org). It currently has a CZJ 135mm 4.5 lens in a Compur shutter. The other is the a Calumet rail camera, with a Ektar 135mm 4.7.

1- There is a lot of tape on the calumet lens board. I'm guessing the owner swapped the shutter and lenses into the monorail camera and it didnt fit. I'm afraid to remove the tape, as it is very old. Are compur and graphex shutters the same size?

2- It seems like the shutter speeds for the slower speeds don't work at all on the Compur. Is this something worth trying to get fixed? Can I put the CZJ on the Graphex and the Optar on the Compur? I guess I mostly prefer night shots on film, so I think I will use bulb mode the most and it might be moot. Are the lenses going to be similar enough in quality that it doesn't matter?

3-Which camera would be easier for a beginner to start with? Should I just leave the rail at home and use the speed graphic outdoors to start?

4- What is the best way to store the cameras? The city is pretty darn dusty, and the bellows on the rail are already getting a coating of dust. Should I store with the bellows collapsed? or the bellows extended?

Thanks for the advice! And I apologize, I'm going to be posting questions all over the different sub forums. :D
-Southy

ki6mf
19-Feb-2010, 17:54
First test for light leaks on both! Take a flash light in a dark room and shine through the camera body with the lens removed. If there is a light leak you can get gaffers tape as a temporary fix. You may want to have the shutters cleaned and checked if one is working better, more accurate, than the other. Finally is there any mold damage inside the lenses. all of these could affect which to start with. I personally use a tripod on by press and view cameras. The view camera offers more movements which allow for perspective control and you do need to learn how to adjust, this is not hard go to the library and check out Using the View Camera by Steve Simmons

southy
19-Feb-2010, 18:12
Good point,
I did test both bellows for light leaks and both look good. I am hunting on google for ways to test my film holders. As far as lens quality goes, the CZJ is in better condition; the optar has some minor scratches on the front element. Both don't have any fungus that I can see. I have been messing with the movements indoors with the rail camera, but I think I will go with the press camera for now, in bulb mode. I'm still trying to figure out how to use the pack film adapter.

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4032/4371824728_21a3c52513.jpg
http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4070/4371824520_1988b33743.jpg
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2715/4371824074_f20c7e732f.jpg

-Southy

jp
19-Feb-2010, 18:19
The lens shutter issue you describe sound likes it needs to be sent away for a CLA if you want to use the slower speeds.

I'd start with the press camera. There are youtube videos showing the how to use the graphic press cameras as well as good instruction here and at graflex.org.

The Graphex optar lens pictured is good too. That's what's on my speed graphic.

Keep the cameras folded up and out of the dust, not so much for the camera, but for your film. You don't want dust on your negatives as you make your images. Figure out how to make images with the cameras before worrying about your film holders. They'll probably be fine. If not, you'll see it in the corners of your photos.

Glenn Thoreson
19-Feb-2010, 18:35
Your Graflex camera is not a Crown Graphic. It's a pre-anniversary Speed Graphic, circa 1939 or earlier. Always store your cameras with the bellows retracted and the shutters uncocked and closed. If you don't have a case to store them in, store them in cloth, such as a pillow case, etc. Never store them in an air tight wrap which can't breath, such as plastic bags. I would not recommend swapping lenses between shutters. If the lens glass is clear and unmarked with no sign of fungus, I would recommend sending the shutters to Flutot's Camera Repair for service. Excellent and very reaonable. Check their website for instructions on sending shutters for repair.
www.flutotscamerarepair.com.
There are others that do this work, also.
To check film holders for light leaks, put a sheet of film, or cheaper - enlarging paper, in them and let them sit in the sun for a while. If there are leaks, they'll show up when you develop the film/paper. Be sure to test both sides. The pack film adapter is useless. No one has made film packs in decades. Good luck and have fun. :D

southy
19-Feb-2010, 18:55
Your Graflex camera is not a Crown Graphic. Good catch, I have it titled correctly in my flickr, just got all the naming mixed up in all that typing!

. I would recommend sending the shutters to Flutot's Camera Repair for service. Excellent and very reaonable. Check their website for instructions on sending shutters for repair.
www.flutotscamerarepair.com.
There are others that do this work, also.
To check film holders for light leaks, put a sheet of film, or cheaper - enlarging paper, in them and let them sit in the sun for a while. If there are leaks, they'll show up when you develop the film/paper. Be sure to test both sides. The pack film adapter is useless. No one has made film packs in decades. Good luck and have fun. :D

Thanks for the advice! I think I will use some enlarging paper, I have a ton of 8x10s around, and I am more confident developing that than film at this point.

Dr Bellows
25-Feb-2010, 19:29
Initially, you called the lens on the rail camera an Ektar, then later an Optar. I'm sure you realize it is an Optar. I have the same lens, a 135mm Optar. Never shoot this wide open. To do so will give very soft corners. I took a few photos from atop St. Paul's Cathedral in London, where there was no room for a tripod. I have a few great 6x9 photos within mediocre 4x5 negatives.

lenser
25-Feb-2010, 20:28
Southy,

I second on the recommendation for Flutot's. Carol is currently working on three of my old shutters and I wouldn't think of sending them anywhere else.

Also, it is obvious that your Calumet needs some parts, at least a screw for the lens board guard and possibly others. calumet still carries at least some parts for this camera. Call 1-800-calumet and ask for Jose in repairs.

Robert Hughes
25-Feb-2010, 20:34
Never shoot this wide open. To do so will give very soft corners.
Or - shoot wide open, you'll get these beautiful soft corners.

(A satisfied Optar 135 user) ;)