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Thread: Need help IDing this Graflex SLR

  1. #1

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    Need help IDing this Graflex SLR

    Hello - I could use a little help in identifying the Graflex in this photo. My dad's brother gave him the camera at the end of WW 2, as a "welcome home" gift. Based on the lens/lens cover configuration, I think it's a Series B 4x5, but the vertical plate under my dad's hand differs from the horizontal shutter setting (?) plate I've seen on other Series B cameras. Any thoughts or comments are greatly appreciated.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  2. #2

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    Re: Need help IDing this Graflex SLR

    It looks like a Series B to me. I have noticed some inconsistency in the placement of the shutter speed plate on Graflexes.
    Thanks, but I'd rather just watch:
    Large format: http://flickr.com/michaeldarnton
    Mostly 35mm: http://flickr.com/mdarnton
    You want digital, color, etc?: http://www.flickr.com/photos/stradofear

  3. #3

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    Re: Need help IDing this Graflex SLR

    Quote Originally Posted by mdarnton View Post
    It looks like a Series B to me. I have noticed some inconsistency in the placement of the shutter speed plate on Graflexes.
    Thanks! Appreciate the confirmation. What threw me is that I inherited my dad's 4x5 Super D and always thought that was "the one". I had the D out of its case recently and (finally) noticed that it's not the camera in the 1945-ish photo.

  4. #4

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    Re: Need help IDing this Graflex SLR

    Agreed that looks like a 4x5 B with a bagmag. You are better off with the Super-D anyway, really - it's definitely a better camera than the Bs I think.

  5. #5

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    Re: Need help IDing this Graflex SLR

    As another Super D owner, I almost said that, too. :-)
    Thanks, but I'd rather just watch:
    Large format: http://flickr.com/michaeldarnton
    Mostly 35mm: http://flickr.com/mdarnton
    You want digital, color, etc?: http://www.flickr.com/photos/stradofear

  6. #6

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    Re: Need help IDing this Graflex SLR

    Thanks, again. I erred in my earlier description. I took a closer look at the camera and it's a straight Series D, with 21cm Tessar and film pack adapter. My dad was good about saving receipts - $99.50 for camera and lens, in July 1953.

    He appears to have used the camera through my early childhood, up to 1957, then put the Graflex in the closet and used Kodak Brownies (127 and 620) well into the early 80s. My mom generally spoke ill of the Graflex "dance" - tension shutter, set slit, focus, compose, set aperture, and then try to make the picture before the lighting changed - and he may have decided the battle wasn't worth the effort.

    Growing up, I asked him repeatedly to teach me how to use it, to no avail. I have the time now and will make the effort to find a standard back (which I may have somewhere in storage, learn to use the camera, and pass it along to my grandchildren.

    One question - since the camera's been sitting unused for 60 years, it likely needs service. Any recommendations on who still deals with Graflex focal plane shutters?

    Click image for larger version. 

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  7. #7

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    Re: Need help IDing this Graflex SLR

    Series D is good, too. Let the shutter all the way down, then wind up a couple of turns while watching the curtain. If the first foot or so of shutter isn't a rippled mess, then you're good. If it's so rippled that the shutter won't complete a cycle at the lowest tension, you may be out of luck. If you're clever, you can find a couple of places that make sense to put just a small drop of oil. If everything's not right, you may have trouble finding someone to fix it--someone here may come up with a name or two.
    Thanks, but I'd rather just watch:
    Large format: http://flickr.com/michaeldarnton
    Mostly 35mm: http://flickr.com/mdarnton
    You want digital, color, etc?: http://www.flickr.com/photos/stradofear

  8. #8

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    Re: Need help IDing this Graflex SLR

    Go to http://graflex.org and look around their forum. There are people there with service knowledge.

  9. #9

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    Re: Need help IDing this Graflex SLR

    yeah, the shutters are not too hard to work on. I have overhauled 3 Super-Ds, one down to bare wood box and rebuilt from there. If the curtain is intact, the coating can be stripped and re-applied (thinned latex paint works, there are other methods also) to make it light-tight. Pinholes can be done with automotive touch-up paint (black). There is curtain material around (ask-asahi) but you would need to cut to size/shape, and re-use the stays from the original.

    They are great cameras, probably the best 4x5 SLR, all things considered. Super reliable if everything is tuned up. Series D is still better than B, I think. And yours looks in nice shape overall. Super-D reigns supreme over all the others, though. ;-) I'd convert to a Graflok back while you are at it, it is much easier to use than the original graflex backs, as far as compatibility.

    Graflex.org is a good resource, agreed. Enjoy!

    -Ed

  10. #10

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    Re: Need help IDing this Graflex SLR

    Thanks, all, for your advise and assistance with the Graflex. I rummaged around through our storage area and found a box with a half dozen slotted film holders, and a mint cut film/plate film magazine. If a Graflok back crosses my path, I'll add that to the set but for now I think I'm probably set for a run at learning the camera.

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