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Thread: Opinions on grafmatic

  1. #1
    jesse1996's Avatar
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    Opinions on grafmatic

    does anyone here have any experience with the 6 sheet Grafmatic film holders? It seems like a pretty awesome way to store more in less space with less weight than the equivalent. And do they make it in 8x10, if yes then id say that would justify making the leap to that and staying up in that format for a while. I'm getting my purchasing list together and i found the aforementioned product. Lastly, Those who use them, how do they perform in terms of film flatness? If poor, what holders or tricks would you suggest of flat film? I hear 8x10 can have some sagging issues and popping when the temperature changes.

  2. #2

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    Re: Opinions on grafmatic

    No 8x10, just 2x3 and 4x5. The only test I have seen showed them to be more reliable in terms of film flatness because of the way the septum are held against the frame by the springs. This removes the variation that you would get in a typical bunch of double sided film holders. So while they probably won't be better than your best holder they'll certainly be better than your worst.

  3. #3

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    Re: Opinions on grafmatic

    I have five Graphmatics which I have used with varying levels of success. When they behave they are great holders. However, in my experience, unless the septa are straight (they do bend easily), they can jam. Light leaks are also another issue to be aware of. If they fail you stand might ruin six sheets of film as opposed to one side of a double darkslide.

    On a more positive note, Peter Dombrovkis, arguably one of the world's greatest wilderness photographers, carried his film in two Graphmatic holders.

  4. #4
    multi format
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    Re: Opinions on grafmatic

    hi jesse1996
    i have one ( 4x5 ) and haven't used it in years.
    i read something a month ago on another photography forum
    that while grafmatics might be a time and weight saver,
    there is "focus slop" and there might be a difference
    between an actual film holder's "t distance"
    and what is present in a grafmatic. while i have never experienced
    "focus slop" and when i used my grafmatc, i shoot wide open 90% of the time
    the same goes for the bag-mags .. never had the troubles
    still there are some folks who report it is real and might cause trouble.

    so, ... YMMV

  5. #5

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    Re: Opinions on grafmatic

    I use them all the time. Most of the time the work fine. Sometimes they jam. So I take a very small changing bag on trips just in case. I've never had a film place issue with one and last time I read somebody testing them against regular film holders they did quite well. I never use them with anything other than my Crown graphic.

  6. #6
    Tim Sandstrom
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    Re: Opinions on grafmatic

    Used them a lot at first, hard to find good ones, always some light leak issues. Buy the best holders you can afford...

  7. #7

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    Re: Opinions on grafmatic

    There is no weight saving -- a Grafmatic weighs the same or more than 6 modern Riteway holders, but they ARE handier.
    I carry 2 or 3 of them, but actually would prefer the old BagMags (unfortunately mine are 3x4).
    Wilhelm (Sarasota)

  8. #8

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    Re: Opinions on grafmatic

    I've used Grafmatics for several years and never had an issue with jams, light leaks, etc. But, you need to be careful when buying; look for straight, not bent septums and, if possible, work the holder a few times to make sure it works smoothly. The weight savings, IMO, is a myth. One Grafmatic is about the same size as two regular holders and, maybe, slightly heavier. Therefore, you only get 2 additional sheets of film when comparing to regular holders. One thing I don't care for is that the counter wheel intrudes into the negative area--sometimes only very slightly and other times quite a bit, depending on the exact position of the film in the septum. I like to compose very tight to the edges of my image area and I've found that, on occasion, the intrusion of the counter wheel ruined the negative for me. But, you learn to work around these things. Nowadays, I just compose a little looser on the side where the wheel is located. Sure, I loose a few millimeters of negative area, but we're talking 4x5 here so no big deal!

    Anyway, even with the few idiosyncrasies of these holders I still carry and use them; I have about 6. Oh, and I never noticed any sharpness issues.

  9. #9

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    Re: Opinions on grafmatic

    Tests have shown them to hold the film flatter and at the proper "T" distance better than any 2-sided holder. I check my inserts for flatness, particularly at the corners, after each use. Never a jam because of this careful approach.

  10. #10

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    Re: Opinions on grafmatic

    I use them all the time in both 2 x 3 and 4 x 5. As was said above, there is no weight saving, but there is a space saving. I think I get a little less than 2x as much film in about the same space as with regular holders, but they're heavy!

    It's also easy to screw up - you have to really remember to cycle the load mechanism after returning the dark slide to its home position. One more thing - the smallest changing bags won't have enough space inside to accommodate the fully open holder. I took a really small Kalt with me to Japan and it wasn't big enough. Fortunately(???) it rained a lot and I had a bad cold and an ear infection so the three grafmatics I took with me were enough. Just in case, I was planning to reload in a hotel bathroom at night, but didn't need to.

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