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Hollis
22-Mar-2012, 20:30
So, I am thinking that I want to shoot with a super D but most of them I am seeing are the smaller 3.25x4.25 format. What I want to know is how hard is it to convert these to shooting 4x5 with a graflok back? I pretty much shoot only verticals but a revolving back would be nice. If anyone knows of someone who does these conversions, please, let me know.

Thanks.

Bill_1856
22-Mar-2012, 20:47
There is a huge difference in the size between my 3x4 and 4x5. I don't think it would be possible to covert. The 3x4 is fun to use, the 4x5 is (IMO) too big and heavy to enjoy using. I note that when Edward Weston "upgraded," the quality of his portrait work went seriously down, as he was no longer shooting hand-held, but mostly on a tripod. I don't know how the hell Dorothea Lange managed to shoot with her 4x5.

RawheaD
22-Mar-2012, 22:41
Why convert, when you can find the 4x5 version if you're persistent enough? Regarding a revolving back, there's a fellow in Cali that will send you a very simple adapter that will convert the back to Graflok (you just need to supply your own Graflok back) for pretty cheap. Shoot him an Email.

Bert Sanders: <bsaunders1@bak.rr.com>

Frank Petronio
23-Mar-2012, 04:51
You're a big enough guy to handle a 4x5. I have never used a 3x4 but once you go down in size then you might as well switch to medium format (in fact, if we weren't large format bigots then medium format makes so much more sense -- what do you think the early Hasselblad was based on? Or Mamiya 6x7s....)

The Graflock modified Super Ds show up if you're patient. Heck Graflex even made a stock item with a Graflock back. If you're willing to pay Lens and Repro prices (double eBay) they probably have them in stock and you could also ask Stephen Gleb or that landscape-commercial guy in SLC, Matthew Turley?

That said, if someone offered me an older Graflex with a bunch of slotted holders that was clean and well maintained -- I'd snag that. The Super D is popular because the lens will automagically stop down but who is using it stopped down? So it's pointless. Buy on condition and get a camera from someone who had it cleaned and checked out. Do not bother with one that has been sitting around for 50 years unless you love camera repair pain (and want to send it off to some ancient guy who might keep it for years until his estate is settled, to be blunt about it.)

The ultimate are these conversions like Mark Tucker and David Burnett have from whats-his-name where he puts exotic glass into them and cleans them up quite a bit. But the stock lens is probably better IMHO there is nothing bad about the 190mm Ektar whatsofingever, it's just vanity and bragging rights. I'd stick with the stock item and get a pair of reading glasses for focusing.

I use Grafmatics but it is easy to over-shoot. Regular film holders slow you down enough that you don't blow your film budget.

Another place to look for a good user might be the Graflex.org forum.

I'd have sold you one of the ones I've had over the years but they are already long gone. They are great cameras if you have good near vision and can see the ground glass unaided. With middle-aged nearsightedness I am less sure of my focus accuracy and since we tend to want to use them wide-open, you're screwed once your eyes turn. I think a lot of the old guys bracket their focus, or they are simply superior human beings to me because I can't focus the damn things accurately in a rush.

Hollis
23-Mar-2012, 08:39
Thanks for the info guys, just kind of testing the waters here. You're right about being a LF bigot, MF makes sooo much more sense. Hell, the best set up would be a mamiya 7 and an RZ67, Im halfway there. Ive never shot handheld and would love to give it a try one of these days (4x5 that is). Alright, Ill see what happens.

Anyone want to buy some fuji rangefinders?

jnanian
24-Mar-2012, 06:36
hi hollis

i know someone who years ago paid to have his 3x4 converted to 4x5 with a graflok back ... he was big into polaroid #55 film and wanted
to have all his 4x5 negatives with a 3x4 edged image in the middle. unfortunately the guy who was supposed to do the work for him
had a massive stroke while working on the camera so it never got done. fun idea though if you like all that wasted landscape ...
and there are people who will do it for you ( maybe adam at sk grimes or mike at zack's camera repair, they both can machine thing in house if needed ) ...

i use a series d 4x5 and use it with the stock 21cm tessar a lot of the time, and sometimes stick on a brass lens ...
they look like they are big and clunky cameras but they are pretty well balanced + weighted to make easy to use.
the shutter, as long as the cloth isn't torn or the spring wrecked or the brake gone ) are a piece of cake to re-time.
as long as you don't have the jitters, you can easily hold the camera still at around 1/15thS. i mine is timed so that is the only speed
i use, and i do pretty much everything hand held. ( i don't have the jitters, but i do drink a fair amount of espresso ).
as frank said keep it stock and simple ... slotted film holders are not hard to find, neither are working bag magazines ( like grafmatics ) ...

the series d and rb are usually the ones with a large front standard and longer bellows, they might be more useful than a b ...
all that said about the 4x5 ... if you plan on scanning and doing your work that way, and contact prints have nothing to do
with your final results, you might consider a smaller camera, like a 3x4 even though they are medium format
in the end it is just film you are scanning, and the smaller cameras allow for the same "look" as the big ones, they are just .. smaller.

good luck !
john

Lightbender
18-Apr-2012, 14:47
I have seen a 3x4 graflex converted to shoot 4x4 images on 4x5 holders. I suppose it would be possible to convert it to 4x5 by moving the film plane back a bit.
But in any case, if you are more interested in medium format, the Mamiya RB67 is a much better medium format camera than the graflex, and dirt cheap to boot.
If you are more interested in 4x5, wait for a 4x5 RB. You can get the correct slotted film hoders or use grafmatics (make sure to get the ones designed for the camera).

Drew Bedo
19-Apr-2012, 15:15
There was a 5x7 on e-bay not too long ago, so the bigger reflex cameras are out there. Every once-in-awhile e-bay has a Gowland TLR in 4x5 or 8x10.

Wasen't the RB 67 inspired by, developed from or otherwise influenced by the Graflex 21/4 x 31/4?

CuylerB
9-May-2012, 19:05
I converted my 3-1/4 x 4-1/4 to take 4x5 film holders. I still get a 3-1/4 x 4-1/4 image, but film choice was the reason I did it. ...and it still rotates and has a ground glass back!

I was much easier than I thought it would be. I thought about putting a 4x5 graflok, on but I wanted it to be as compact as possible.


http://www.flickr.com/photos/bbcuyler/6923525384/in/photostream

jp
9-May-2012, 19:40
Beautiful work CuylerB!

Jason Greenberg Motamedi
9-May-2012, 20:41
It is possible to convert a 3x4 Graflex to a 4x4 image on a 4x5 sheet of film.

EdSawyer
27-Sep-2012, 07:51
Resurrecting this thread... (I too am interested in the options). Clearly it's possible to do something like this (Nearly full sized image on 4x5 using a 3x4 Graflex), as Mr. Minnicks is doing exactly that with his Aero Liberator conversions. I'd like to know more about that, to see if it's DIY-able. His work looks great but I would rather do it myself (to save money and enjoy the experience).

Roger Hesketh
10-Feb-2013, 09:50
I converted my 3-1/4 x 4-1/4 to take 4x5 film holders. I still get a 3-1/4 x 4-1/4 image, but film choice was the reason I did it. ...and it still rotates and has a ground glass back!

I was much easier than I thought it would be. I thought about putting a 4x5 graflok, on but I wanted it to be as compact as possible.


http://www.flickr.com/photos/bbcuyler/6923525384/in/photostream

This is a brilliant idea. Thank you. A 4x5 Graflex back only overhangs the back of the camera body by less than 1/2 an inch each side It is very much smaller than a 4x5 Graflok. The wooden 4x5 Graflex back I have been using for the conversion is 3mm thicker than the 3x4 back but with these cameras it is easy to shim the reflex ground glass.

As has been mentioned the greater bulk of the 4x5 reflex camera encourages a different way of working I have both and feel that each has it's place. Very excited about this. Is that sad? I never really liked using the camera with roll film with very occasional 3x4 use. Also we are now down to having available only one quarter plate B&W film. Doing this future proofs the camera and opens up whole new possibilities. I prefer handling 4x5 film too.

It is really easy to do too, this conversion. It took less than 3 hours . I had been experimenting with 3x4 Graflok's and metal single sided 9x12 holders as a way of future proofing. The holders are the same width 100mm but I was struggling with finding a way to lightproof the locating groove for the graphic holders in the Graflok. Another option was to convert somehow to a 9x12 back.

This option is so much better. Thank you CuylerB.

Roger

Michael Cienfuegos
10-Feb-2013, 10:37
I have a Series D 3x4 and 4x5. I really prefer the 3x4 because of the bulk, though I do use the 4x5 at times. I have an Aero-Ektar on my 4x5 Pacemaker, I see no reason to put it on the SLR, I would still have to use a tripod, since I can't handhold the camera with that big glass. As for quarter plate film, I like the quality of Ilford, even if it is pricey and available only once a year. I still have three boxes of Efke in the freezer and I'll cut down x-ray if I have to.

Roger Hesketh
10-Feb-2013, 10:59
Hi Michael. I had forgotten about Ilford for quarter plate still being available on the special run. Perhaps I should have said only one quarter plate film available to me. Wephoto. Their is no way I could afford to shoot Ilford in quarter plate . Quarter plate FP4 plus is actually just a smidge over twice the price of FP4 plus in 4x5 size. I am a very happy chappy today as I already have lots of 4x5 FP4+. albeit expired but frozen and can now use it with my 3x4 camera. Yippee!!

Michael Cienfuegos
10-Feb-2013, 21:42
Hi Michael. I had forgotten about Ilford for quarter plate still being available on the special run. Perhaps I should have said only one quarter plate film available to me. Wephoto. Their is no way I could afford to shoot Ilford in quarter plate . Quarter plate FP4 plus is actually just a smidge over twice the price of FP4 plus in 4x5 size. I am a very happy chappy today as I already have lots of 4x5 FP4+. albeit expired but frozen and can now use it with my 3x4 camera. Yippee!!

Wephoto is also an option for me. I really like the 3x4 because I can handle it easily. I have a Series B 2x3, the Series D 3x4 and Series D 4x5, also a monster 4x5 Auto Graflex. I use a Grafmatic changer on my 2x3, it also fits the Baby Speed, so I kill two birds with one stone. I only have three 3x4 holders, so I tend to use the Bag-Mag. It's great. Don't ask me why, but I would love to get a 5x7 Graflex SLR, money is the only reason I haven't bought one. That plus the fact that I'm running out of room in my house for these goodies.

EdSawyer
11-Feb-2013, 19:50
I am in the middle of a 3x4 super d to 4x5 graflok conversion. The graflok back is aluminum or magnesium, and it's easy to trim down to almost the same size as the 3x4 body. Will post more pics and info when done, I am adding a prism finder to mine too.

Ed

EdSawyer
20-Aug-2013, 10:46
I mostly finished my conversion, and did some shooting with it. It's great, lots of fun. I still need to finish covering the prism area with some black leather, and also come up with some sort of strap or handle possibly. But otherwise, works great. It covers basically the full 4x5 image - only less than 1/2" or so is missing from the long dimension. (4x4.5" approx.)

100570100571100572

Drew Bedo
22-Aug-2013, 06:08
Has anyone ever made a eye-level reflex finder for one of these LF reflex bodies? a solid prism would weigh more than the rest of the camera . . .so a mirror based ("poro-prism?) rig would have to be made.


Even a "stovepipe" magnifier type viewer would be great too.

Anybody know of anything like this?

cgrab
23-Aug-2013, 08:59
Has anyone ever made a eye-level reflex finder for one of these LF reflex bodies? a solid prism would weigh more than the rest of the camera . . .so a mirror based ("poro-prism?) rig would have to be made.


Even a "stovepipe" magnifier type viewer would be great too.

Anybody know of anything like this?

I have thought about a porro-prism, but the maths seem beyond me. So I would be very interested to learn where the variables for size would go and what the mathematical formula would look like. I have switched out the proprietary back on a Mentor 9x12 for a cut-down Sinar Norma international back to use Fuji FP100, but this is the extent of my dexterity.

winterclock
27-Aug-2013, 02:07
Drew, the early Auto-Graflexes had a mirror in the front of the chimney with a hole in the back and could be used eye level, though the image is upside down. (like a real camera!)

EdSawyer
29-Aug-2013, 06:28
Some more info on my camera I posted a couple pages ago. I did the conversion on my camera, I was inspired by John Minnicks' Aero Ektar conversions onto RB SuperD 3x4 cameras. I have a spare 7" f/2.5 Aero Ektar, along with a 6" f/2.5 Bell and Howell Aero-ektar type lens. I had considered using either of those too, before I settled on the Pentac. The 7" aero ektar would require a little modification to the inside of the camera to get it to focus to infinity, I think. The pentac doesn't require any modification to the camera, to get to infinity, which is a nice plus of this conversion.

The prism I used was from an RZ67, and shows about 60% of the covered area. If I was doing it again I'd probably use the prism from a Fuji GX680 as it's a little larger coverage.

For the back, I removed the rotating part of the SuperD back (the 3x4 part), but kept the brass baseplate that it mounts to. I redrilled holes to match where that mounts into a 4x5 Graflok back, so I could mount the graflok using the same holes as the original brass plate, using slightly longer screws. The Graflok doesn't rotate, I set mine up in vertical format, as it netted the most film coverage that way. I cut down the sides of the graflok with a dremel, to reduce the overall size of the back.

I had to use a little black silicone sealant to seal a few minor gaps where the graflok back met the brass baseplate, where the gaps that would have leaked light.

I built a new front standard from mahogany, and mounted the original bellows to that. In the front standard I inserted 4 1/4x20 threaded inserts. These are used with some allen-head bolts to hold on the new lensboard, which I made from 1/4" hardboard (HDF). I lined the back of the new front standard and the lensboard with some black adhesive flocking from a telescope supply place, to cut down any stray light bouncing around inside the camera.

With the exception of a minor (cosmetic-only) cut I had to make on the brass baseplate, everything is reversible to original configuration if desired, so it could be put back to stock. Not that I ever will do so in this case, but it seemed like the right way to do it, if possible.


-Ed

Misko
2-Dec-2013, 08:11
Great work on the camera Ed!
I just wonder why did you decide to put so small finder on the top that doesn't cover whole image area? Can't you find or make some that covers more? There are few more options for that… as discussed in the Braca's topic hear dealing with Polaroid MP-4's finder on Pacemaker.
And I am glad that we both decided to go for vertical frame :) Most of the people go for horizontal one!
When I get back to my project of adjusting camera for my Xenotar 150 - I think I will also have to build custom new Front standard. I might try to do it out of Aluminum… we will see. Wood is for sure looking more pleasant.

EdSawyer
2-Dec-2013, 12:00
hi Misko -

Thanks for the note. I used the RZ67 prism because I had it lying around. If I was to do it again, I'd probably get a prism from a Fuji GX680 - it should be a little bigger. I could have used any number of other viewfinders but I wanted an upright correct-reading image and a prism is the only way to get that that I know of. If you know of a prism that covers 4x5 it would be ideal, though probably overly heavy... Besides, this is really a handheld portrait camera for me, and I can imagine what the rest of the frame looks like well enough. Most portraits will have the focus/framing with the subject relatively centered, so the smaller prism coverage doesn't bother me too much.

Vertical made the most sense to me for coverage, too. the back fit better that way, and gets the most use out of the film gate area I think. (about 4 x 4.5" or so).

I have 1/4" aluminum plate I was going to use for the front standard, but was too lazy/impatient to deal with making it that way. Wood is more forgiving. ;-) And I had this nice piece of mahogany around, so I used that (shame to paint it black though...). I think a new front standard is a must on a camera like this, if using something other than the stock lens. It's pretty easy to do, fortunately.

As you know, Xenotar won't get to infinity without massive changes to the mirror, etc. For me, I'd live with that if I had to (it should get out to about 20ft distance in stock form) - these cameras are best for up-close portrait type stuff, I have plenty of other cameras and lenses for landscape/infinity shots.

keep us posted on your project,
-Ed

Misko
2-Dec-2013, 19:56
Hello Ed,

Just 2 posts below this one in this same part of Forum (DIY) there is discussion about the finders (Prism / mirror ones…) There are options that would cover 4x5 for sure. I think Chinese companies are making now lots of them. Just search "Reflex 4x5" on evilBay. And they are even foldable :)

And yes - I think on infinity we will be getting even 1-2mm more than 4.5" in vertical format (with slightly blurred edges). on portrait distances I suspect it is gonna get touch smaller because of the bellows extension & light projection obscured by internal structure - but still good :)

I was even thinking to create some kind of John M. style front standard which would have movements. We will see… Problem is that I have moved far away from home on the other end of the world & my 3x4 camera remained back home in Serbia. I only took Pacemaker & Series D 4x5 with me (with two different front standards).

And true. These cameras are great for portraits, but somehow for me 3x4 size SLR could be great for a street photography camera - wouldn't it? And like such - it would be awesome to have possibility to focus to infinity. On the other hand I still believe that even stock lens would come handy for that or any other cool slower lens than Xenotar which doesn't protrude so much behind the front standard with it's rear elements… but we are damned - we always want what we cannot have, don't we? :)

EdSawyer
3-Dec-2013, 06:39
hi Misko -

I saw the post I think you are referring to. I actually have one of those straight Cambo viewers, it works pretty well for ground glass viewing, though I rarely use it these days. All the folding and reflex viewers like Mp4 are still reversed left-right, correct ? The Prism from the RZ67 corrects both vertical and left-right viewing, so it's really the ultimate accessory for handheld 4x5 SLR, I think. I wish it covered the whole frame, but ah well... ;-)

I consider the 3x4 SuperD with 4x5 back more like a 4x4 SLR, - composing in a square is a actually a fun challenge.

I saw your cameras on Flickr links from yesterday - nice work! Some really creative efforts there on your behalf and that of your friend. (fitting Xenotar and AE to the 3x4 superD)

front standard with movements: I considered that too, but it was more effort than I wanted to deal with at the time. Maybe in the future I will retrofit something like that.

I use my 3x4 SLR for handheld stuff, sports, portraits, etc. I haven't used it for street much mostly since I don't shoot that all that often. But it would be great for that, no doubt. Combined with a Grafmatic it is fast and quick to compose, shoot, and cycle film.

For me, the 2 lenses I use most on the 3x4 SLR are an 8" f/2.9 Pentac, which focuses to infinity fine, and a Nikkor-T 270mm f/6.3, which also focuses to infinity just fine. I'll post some pics sometime soon. Neither interferes with the mirror in stock form. I think the 270 T is about as long a lens as can be fitted without a lot of hassle and still get infinity along with reasonable closeup. (maybe a 300 tele might work too). Ironically even though the 270 is longer focal length, the pentac is better for closeups/portraits as it will focus closer. The bellows draw is the limiting factor in that case.

-Ed

Misko
3-Dec-2013, 10:31
I wish I had one of those straight Cambo viewers :) I have one that is angled & it doesn't help me much when shooting with Pacemaker.

And yes MP4 viewer is reversed on the horizontal axis. True. I didn't know that Mamiya one is corrected on both axes. How they did that?

I still didn't try shooting my 3x4 Super D so I am not sure if I will consider it square or not, though I think you are right on that. It is pity it's not full format.

Regarding my cameras - I was working with what I had. In Serbia it's not easy (and not cheap) to lay hands on LF equipment so one has to find ways to do things on his own… I combined my and skills of my friends and did what I could. I have now 3 SLRs that use International 4x5 backs :) and I think I will have to play with Graflex Super D 3x4 & Mentor 9x12 a bit more & check which one will be better for AE178 & Xenotar.

I live in China now so street portraits are something I would like to do if possible… and I've did it so far with Series D 4x5 and it was fun when people around moved away & allowed me to look into my finder :)) I just recently bought two Grafmatics and i am waiting for them to arrive from Serbia to Shanghai with first person visiting :)

As for the lenses - I have few of them for my 4x5 camera but I am still testing most of them to see which ones I like the best. Thing is that I have 2 front standards for my 4x5 camera: one with universal iris & other normal, original one. Iris extends the length of the camera and demands longer lenses for infinity focus (around 9") but I have with it extension on the bellows when it comes to longer lenses usage.

Still I can quite fast change the standards & get the normal one there which can work with other lenses well… and I plan to make one which will accept a bit wider barrels further in and then drop the universal mount from the camera as an option. but this is more work and I am kinda lazy nowadays.

Cheers
Misko

Dan Fromm
3-Dec-2013, 12:03
I wish I had one of those straight Cambo viewers :) I have one that is angled & it doesn't help me much when shooting with Pacemaker.

I have one of each -- in-line and reflex -- and find the reflex viewer very useful when the camera is on a tripod with the legs not extended. I agree, the view through the in-line is better.

Misko
4-Dec-2013, 00:33
Problem is that those "inline" ones are a bit expensive :( I might sit down & make one from Graphic Film Pack Adapter, Polaroid MiniPortrait camera body and some magnifying glass & some plastic too… :) I just need to settle down here in China to be able to use my tools & things...

AtlantaTerry
4-Dec-2013, 03:24
And yes MP4 viewer is reversed on the horizontal axis. True. I didn't know that Mamiya one is corrected on both axes. How they did that?

Cheers
Misko

It is a prism, not a simple first surface mirror. Just like the prism in a 35mm SLR corrects for left/right and vertical.

Misko
4-Dec-2013, 11:02
I see. That explains it. Thanks.

EdSawyer
4-Dec-2013, 11:50
Misko if I ever decide to part with my Cambo straight viewer I will give you first chance at it. ;-) They made them pretty inexpensively I think, I am surprised there is not a modern equivalent being made out of china. It wouldn't be hard to tool up this sort of thing for mass production at reasonable cost. I forget if Calumet/Cambo still sells them or not.

Keep us posted on your progress.

Misko
4-Dec-2013, 19:16
Great. Thanks :)

IanG
24-Oct-2014, 00:37
I mostly finished my conversion, and did some shooting with it. It's great, lots of fun. I still need to finish covering the prism area with some black leather, and also come up with some sort of strap or handle possibly. But otherwise, works great. It covers basically the full 4x5 image - only less than 1/2" or so is missing from the long dimension. (4x4.5" approx.)

100570100571100572

Interesting, I have a postcard sized Graflex awaiting restoration, I'm not sure the model number off hand but I'm hoping I can just get away with shooting 5x4 once I convert the back. If not I'll get some modern 9x12 holders (same outside dimensions as 5x4) and use 9x12 film instead. I have a few 9x12 cameras and films is easy to get in Europe.

Ian

EdSawyer
25-Oct-2014, 20:17
Keep us posted!

jbenedict
25-Oct-2014, 21:19
Hmmmm....

I was given a 3.25x4.25 Speed Graphic which was kinda famous in the Seattle area from the 40s because of the previous owner who was a well known amateur photographer and physician, Dr. Melvin LaViolette. I have four of Dr. Melvin's original holders which are kind of worn but was able to find some modern plastic holders on DaBay...

Cutting film is really not much of a problem or even that much bother. First, you need a RotoTrimmer. Second, tape a piece of mounting board for a 4.25" cut. Third, cut the long way first and make sure you don't cut the notches off. You can cut the whole box (25) at this time and put them all back in the film box. Turn the lights back on and reset the mounting board for a 3.25 cut and make the other cut. Remember to cut the bottom of the film and don't cut the notches off. Return all of them to the film box, turn on the light and away you go.

If you are worried that you cut the film correctly, use a note card as a test and cut the 4.25 side and see if it fits the holder. Adjust if necessary. Cut all of the 4.25 cuts and then reset the cutting guide for 3.25" and cut your note card to that size. Adjust if necessary and then cut the other side of your film.

It's a learned procedure and so much cheaper than going with the custom cut Ilford film. It keeps your Graflex "standard' and unmolested.

You can process the film in trays, an HP CombiPlan daylight tank or make a tube equivalent of BZTS tubes but using hardware store PVC plumbing parts. If you watch on DaBay, you might find some hangers for 3.25x4.25. I found a 3.25x4.25 negative carrier for the Beseler 45 enlarger so I'm good to go that way. I'm going to be doing most of my "printing" with an Epson V750 and sending out the scans to be printed but it is nice to know that I can make 'real' prints if I want.

I haven't tried this with cutting 8x10 into 5x7 but I don't know why it wouldn't work. When there is a "Canham Buy" for Portra or Ektar, it is in 50 sheet boxes and is fairly priced but still expensive. A 10 sheet box of Portra or Ektar in 8x10 becomes a 20 sheet box of 5x7 and the total price is not as shocking to me.