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Thread: Mysterious back on Speed Graphic

  1. #1

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    Mysterious back on Speed Graphic

    My new Speed Graphic came with a strange back - please see the photo. There are no springs of any kind, you can not move or open anything (except for removing the back from the body). There is a thin slot on the right side, which can accommodate quickload perhaps, but I don't have any experience with quickloads, so I may be wrong about that.
    It looks, like I will be able to replace the back with a one from my old and well beaten Speed Graphic (that's why I decided to buy it).
    I am just curious, what is the application of existing back and if it may be useful in some way. Graflex.org site does not mention about anything like that.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails sp_gr_bk.jpg  

  2. #2

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    Re: Mysterious back on Speed Graphic

    The only purpose for this back would be to use as a focusing screen, which you would then remove and replace with a roll-film back, or a film-pack back. You cannot insert any type of film product (current or discontinued) with this back in place.

  3. #3

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    Re: Mysterious back on Speed Graphic

    Your camera has a Graflex back. Most popular is the Graflok back, earlier models had a Graphic back (spring back). Try http://www.graflex.org/speed-graphic...ml#GraflokBack

    Good luck, Dave

  4. #4

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    Re: Mysterious back on Speed Graphic

    That Graflex back used slotted film holders, which are held onto the camera with the sliding bar. Quite hard to come by, these days. Modern holders will not fit. You can, however, use a 12 shot magazine popularly called a "bag mag". I have several, and though somewhat fiddly to use, they can gve a day of shooting in one holder. Hard to find with a good usable changing bag, though.
    See graflex.org for info on these as well.

  5. #5

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    Re: Mysterious back on Speed Graphic

    The focusing hood that is on that camera is for focus. Then slide the graflok locks open and replace the hood with either a slotted film holder, like the new Koday Readyloads (I have one) or the Fuji Quickloads, and also the Polaroid 545i Pro. Or you can slip in a roll film holder like the Graflex holders with the 4X5 back. This is a tripod function only. Focus, remove the focus hood/ground glass. Insert the type of film holder you want to use once the body and lens are focused. The roll film backs and slotted film holders
    have the film at the same plane as the ground glass.

    In the event you want to use slide in film holders, like Grafmatic, or dual film holders like fidelity, etc there is a ground glass holder that hooks into the back you see there, which has a hook on each side, and is pring loaded to allow it to move away from the camera body to slide the film holders in.

    That back is the most versatile back in the Graflex line and the latest rendition. When you find them on eBay, with the other ground glass I mentioned, they often sell for $100 to $150. If you want to use dual film holders the ground glass spring loaded backs when found by themselves on eBay sell for $50 to 75.

    If you unlock the grafloks on each side of that hood and pull it away, you will see a little hook on each side near the middle of the Graflock slide that is the hook for the springloaded ground glass focus screen.

  6. #6

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    I forgot to mention...

    that back may have the long straight graflok locks. You can switch to the locks that have the two tabs that stick further into the path of the newer backs that have the double slots on each side... ie the Readyload, Quickload and Polaroid 545i.

  7. #7

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    Re: Mysterious back on Speed Graphic

    Definitely looks like a Graflex back. Unfortunately this mean that you will need to find matching Graflex film holders, bag mags or grafmatics to be able to use it. The Graflex back is slightly wider which isn't a big deal, but has a different registration distance and a different light trap, so you can't just sit a modern film holder in there.

    See my page: http://members.optusnet.com.au/~paul.../grafmatic.htm for tips on how to find the correct type of grafmatic for a Graflex back.

    If you don't mind modifying things it should be entirely possible to make an accessory intended for a Graflok back fit a Graflex back by attaching a sheet of metal or plastic to it to make it the correct width and thickness. You would need to grind off the old light traps and then cut a slot for the new ones but it should all be relatively simple. It would be a one way conversion though.

  8. #8

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    Re: Mysterious back on Speed Graphic

    The information that quick loads or any other modern holders will fit that back s incorrect. Go to www.graflex.org for the straight scoop on these things. I specialize in Speed Graphic and I'd like to think I know what I'm talking about. You can easily change the entire back for something more modern. It's a simple swap, with no mods necessary.
    Edit: I just re-read your post, and yes, the back off your old Speed Graphic, if it's the same format (ie 4X5) will exchange. Just remove the screws that hold it to the camera and exchange. Should be two little screws at the very top and two or three at the very bottom. Some later ones have a screw under the focus panel, at the light trap groove. A ten minute conversion.

  9. #9

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    Re: Mysterious back on Speed Graphic

    Thanks to all for your replies.
    If I find a free 10 minutes, I will just replace the backs.
    I don't want to experiment with bag mags or any other new stuff.
    If a soldier changes his weapon for a different one, his combat performance may be worse.
    Too many potentially excellent pictures have been lost because of a small mistake in equipment operation, especially when shooting parties when the ability to concentrate is not the same as when shooting a landscape. And I would not blame some moderate consumption of drinks for that.

  10. #10

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    Re: Mysterious back on Speed Graphic

    I have an old Anny that I bought last year. The prior owner swapped out the original Graflex back with a Graflock back - it looks like it was a six-screw effort. If he didn't do it, I would have. I bet you'll thank yourself a thousand times for doing the same!

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