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Thread: Opinions on grafmatic

  1. #21
    Andrej Gregov
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    72

    Re: Opinions on grafmatic

    While I agree that the weight savings are negligible, I regularly carry three Grafmatics when doing serious shooting and find it far easier to carry three magazines versus nine standard film holders. I have not had light leak issues but I have had a few holders stuck open in the field--really a drag. They are mechanical devices so it should be expected that some CLA will needed from time to time. If that's that not an interest, then I'd avoid using them. One issue I find slightly annoying, related to the counter encroaching your image, are the boarders of the negative are not clean like with regular film holders. I started using Grafmatics when I picked up a Chamonix Saber. They are brilliant for that camera. I enjoyed them enough to use them with my standard field kit. I would suggest picking one up and use it together with regular film holders and then make a call. On a side note, I know Bruce Barnbaum uses them reliously. On a visit to his studio he mentioned to a number of us he tries to pick up used models any chance he gets.

  2. #22

    Join Date
    Feb 2010
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    870

    Re: Opinions on grafmatic

    Andrej, I use grafmatics with my Saber also. (a brilliant combo, as mentioned!) But, the Saber itself imposes it's own edge treatment on the negative (due to the way the bellows frame restricts coverage a tiny bit). Are you sure the border edge issues you are seeing on grafmatics are not from the Saber itself?

  3. #23

    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    SooooCal/LA USA
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    1,001

    Re: Opinions on grafmatic

    An important to check (if you are handy) is the condition of the light traps... This involves taking it apart by removing the 2 or 3 screws on the inside slide on the pull handle end and the two screws on the plastic stop on the other end of the outer shell, then the inner body will pull out (don't lose the inner bar strips that the screws went into)... Then to remove the darkslide from the inner chamber, insert a feeler gauge where the stop that prevents the slide from coming out to disengage it...

    Look carefully at the felt strips to see if there is and bare/wear spots in especially the ends or old tape residue that might gap the light trap... If good, vac the felt, and clean everything in there, and put it back together... Shine a bright flashlight through the traps to check for light leaks during assembly...

    The hairy felt on the other side (insertion end of holder) MUST be replaced because it's shedding and will end up leaving it's shadow on your film... The good news is that the closed rubber 3/16" thick X 1/4" weatherstriping tape from you home store is a good replacement...

    Remember to always check that the red dot indicator slide is always to be pushed in from the inside chamber or it will dent the sheaths while loading, and insert the sheaths into the holder with the film notch end first in, or it can bend the tips of the sheaths if inserted backwards (on the darkslide side)...

    And check flatness of the sheaths on a piece of glass, and test how a piece of old film slides into them without binding first... And check the outside flatness of the camera mating surface with a straightedge...

    Steve K

  4. #24

    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Posts
    2,205

    Re: Opinions on grafmatic

    Something I have found helpful is to put a pencil check mark on the white tab on the back whenever one delivers a flawless performance. An X when there was an issue. I can easily sort out which ones I know have been most reliable. And on trips carry a small changing bag so you can sort things out without removing the holder from the back of the camera in the light.

  5. #25
    Andrej Gregov
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Seattle, WA
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    72

    Re: Opinions on grafmatic

    Quote Originally Posted by EdSawyer View Post
    Andrej, I use grafmatics with my Saber also. (a brilliant combo, as mentioned!) But, the Saber itself imposes it's own edge treatment on the negative (due to the way the bellows frame restricts coverage a tiny bit). Are you sure the border edge issues you are seeing on grafmatics are not from the Saber itself?
    Ed, you're completely right! I just checked some Grafmatic made negs that I know were shot with my Arca Swiss and the edges are clean. I missed this as a good chunk of my last project was shot with the Saber (my first time using it) and just assumed that the dirty boarders came from the Grafmatic. Thanks for pointing that out!

    So, let me re-state myself, using the Grafmatics with standard 4x5 kits will give you the same boarders as using standard two sheet film holders. Apologies for adding confusion to the thread.

  6. #26

    Join Date
    Feb 2010
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    870

    Re: Opinions on grafmatic

    Andrej, glad to help clarify that. Indeed, the Saber imparts those edges. It's not ideal but given the huge advantages it has as a camera in general, I can put up with the non-standard edge treatment. ;-)

  7. #27

    Join Date
    Sep 2009
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    487

    Re: Opinions on grafmatic

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Darragh View Post
    Light leaks are also another issue to be aware of.
    Quote Originally Posted by dasBlute View Post
    ...always some light leak issues.
    Quote Originally Posted by Greg View Post
    From the first batch of film, discovered that both leaked light.
    Well, in a way, I'm glad to hear it wasn't me who was screwing up my exposures. I thought the light leaks occurred because my technique (when "forwarding" the film) wasn't good. Can these light leaks be fixed? If so, how?

    Thanks.
    --Mario

  8. #28

    Join Date
    Sep 1998
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    10,336

    Re: Opinions on grafmatic

    As most of you probably know, Graflex, in their later years, had financial problems and went through various owners before they disappeared from the market.
    In the early 80s the Grafmatics were manufactured and sold through a company in Florida.
    Linhof had been selling the Grafmatic, as well as other Graphic holders for many years. However, in the early 80s Linhof was having tremendous difficulty with the Grafmatic holders from FL and were finding that up to 70% of each delivery of the holders to them were defective. Light leaks and scratches were the most common problems.
    For a period of time Linhof would get parts of replacements directly from the people in FL and then QC and repair as many as they could at the factory in Munich. But they would charge back to the company in FL for the repairs.
    Eventually the two factories became rather adversarial. So Linhof asked us, as their USA distributor, to act as the intermediary for them with the factory in FL. I got the job of dealing with them, under the theory that since my first language is English and the factory principals also spoke English as their first language. Thus eliminating any translation problems that might have been interfering between the Germans and the Floridians.
    That also meant that we would order for the factory, FL would ship the holders to us and we would ship them on to a Linhof. It also meant that when Linhof inspected the holders and found defects they would no longer repair them but instead would ship the bad ones back to us and we would ship them back to FL for credit.
    While we did not any charges for doing this to Linhof, other then the shipping charges, we did spend a fair amount of time on the phone over the problems with the people in FL and over receiving refunds for the returned goods that were defective. Unfortunately the percentage of defects kept going up and the credits became more difficult to receive and then, around 83, impossible to get. So that was the end of Grafmatics and Linhof.
    So beware, if you get ones made in FL there is a pretty good possibility that they were defective when they were originally shipped from the factory.

  9. #29

    Join Date
    Sep 2009
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    487

    Re: Opinions on grafmatic

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Salomon View Post
    So beware, if you get ones made in FL there is a pretty good possibility that they were defective when they were originally shipped from the factory.
    How can one tell? I'm beginning to think that most of mine were made in FL!!

    How can one fix the light leaks?

    Thanks for sharing Bob.
    --Mario

  10. #30

    Join Date
    Sep 1998
    Posts
    10,336

    Re: Opinions on grafmatic

    Quote Originally Posted by macandal View Post
    How can one tell? I'm beginning to think that most of mine were made in FL!!

    How can one fix the light leaks?

    Thanks for sharing Bob.
    I don't know. We just ordered them and shipped them to Linhof and to the factory. We were never involved in any other way with them and since 1980 we never recommended them.

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