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Thread: "did i make a mistake...."?

  1. #1
    Medium format evolving 2 Large pudentaineLf's Avatar
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    "did i make a mistake...."?

    Hi Guys,
    Did I make a mistake buying a Navy surplus Speed Graphic 4 x 5 for $52. It comes with original case, a score of film holders and a flash!! But no lens, lens boards or shutter. I like projects and I've been wanting a 4 x 5 but couldn't afford it but I started looking at prices for lenses and shutter & I began to get discouraged and think I've made a mistake. I'm sure prices would be lower at a photography swap meet than on Ebay but I don't even know how to begin. Well that's not really true, I'm here and I'm told there are lots of DYI tutorials here. I guess I'm just looking to talk to some of you people that have actually done a project like this. I'm open to any kind of direction, advice, opinions or anything else that is informative or encouraging. I'd like to know what you think.
    -Thanks, Thomas
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails $T2eC16JHJHEE9ny2p6DoBRN-5UlVpQ~~60_57.jpg   $T2eC16NHJHQE9nzE)j50BRN-3OFjmQ~~60_57.jpg  

  2. #2

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    Re: "did i make a mistake...."?

    $50 for that can never be a mistake

  3. #3
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Re: "did i make a mistake...."?

    No shutter? Is the curtain missing?

    In any case, as is, it makes for a great pinhole camera!

  4. #4
    (Shrek)
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    Re: "did i make a mistake...."?

    Sweet camera, I use one very similar. You can replace the original lens & board for under $100 off fleabay, if you're patient. One 127mm Ektar w/board went for $40.50 on Feb 3rd.

    Does the focal plane shutter work?

  5. #5
    Jim Jones's Avatar
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    Re: "did i make a mistake...."?

    You got a bargain. I'd like to make a few mistakes like that! Lens boards for your Anniversary model can be sawn and milled with basic woodworking tools from 1/4" plywood or MDF, or built up from two pieces of 1/8" plywood or MDF. While the original lens may have been a 127mm Kodak Ektar or similar lens, photographers often substituted something else. With the focal plane shutter, even enlarging lenses can be used. These Graphics are also convenient for pinhole photography, and Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day www.wppd.org/ is next month. Some people like the effect of magnifying lenses. Lenses from the largest of old folding cameras cover 4x5 film, but may be more valuable gathering dust on a shelf than harvesting photons on film. Much information on these cameras is available on www.graflex.org and in Graphic Graflex Photography by Morgan & Lester. The 8th edition covers the latest variations of the Anniversary model, although earlier editions should suffice.

  6. #6

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    Re: "did i make a mistake...."?

    Quote Originally Posted by pudentaineLf View Post
    Hi Guys,
    Did I make a mistake buying a Navy surplus Speed Graphic 4 x 5 for $52. It comes with original case, a score of film holders and a flash!! But no lens, lens boards or shutter. I like projects and I've been wanting a 4 x 5 but couldn't afford it but I started looking at prices for lenses and shutter & I began to get discouraged and think I've made a mistake. I'm sure prices would be lower at a photography swap meet than on Ebay but I don't even know how to begin. Well that's not really true, I'm here and I'm told there are lots of DYI tutorials here. I guess I'm just looking to talk to some of you people that have actually done a project like this. I'm open to any kind of direction, advice, opinions or anything else that is informative or encouraging. I'd like to know what you think.
    -Thanks, Thomas
    You did very well. You could pick up a lens such as a convertible Symmar for under $150 with moderate luck, the question is which lens?

    This may help - http://www.largeformatphotography.info/
    One man's Mede is another man's Persian.

  7. #7
    Guilherme Maranhão coisasdavida's Avatar
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    Re: "did i make a mistake...."?

    I see a Grafmatic in the case. I've seen them sell here for anything between $75 to $120 depending on the looks of it.
    You could probably place a WTT and get the lens you need.

  8. #8

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    Re: "did i make a mistake...."?

    $52 ? I'd say that's a steal for what you have in that case.
    As coisasdavida said the grafmatic holder ( 6 shots ) is a bonus if the septums are all there.
    Check to see if the focal plane shutter is intact ( not dry and krinkly ) I think what you have is a
    Anniversary Graphic and it may have a graflock back, press the 2 silver arms and slide the back off to check
    the focal plane shutter. Just don't do what I did and test fire the focal plane shutter without checking it's condition

    Besides, your flash is the coveted graflex flash handle used by ILM for Obi-wan's light saber, if you decide not
    to do flash bulb photography toss it up on the 'bay and the fans will be all over it like white on rice !
    You might even get back the price you paid for the whole lot.

  9. #9

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    Re: "did i make a mistake...."?

    That Grafmatic is worth holding on to. Takes up a lot less space than holders, and if it's in good shape provides excellent film flatness.
    One man's Mede is another man's Persian.

  10. #10

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    Re: "did i make a mistake...."?

    Graflex.org is the place to go.

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