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Thread: GRAFLEX super D conversion to 4x5

  1. #1
    Hopelessly Lost
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    GRAFLEX super D conversion to 4x5

    So, I am thinking that I want to shoot with a super D but most of them I am seeing are the smaller 3.25x4.25 format. What I want to know is how hard is it to convert these to shooting 4x5 with a graflok back? I pretty much shoot only verticals but a revolving back would be nice. If anyone knows of someone who does these conversions, please, let me know.

    Thanks.
    www.hollisbennett.com

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  2. #2

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    Re: GRAFLEX super D conversion to 4x5

    There is a huge difference in the size between my 3x4 and 4x5. I don't think it would be possible to covert. The 3x4 is fun to use, the 4x5 is (IMO) too big and heavy to enjoy using. I note that when Edward Weston "upgraded," the quality of his portrait work went seriously down, as he was no longer shooting hand-held, but mostly on a tripod. I don't know how the hell Dorothea Lange managed to shoot with her 4x5.
    Wilhelm (Sarasota)

  3. #3

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    Re: GRAFLEX super D conversion to 4x5

    Why convert, when you can find the 4x5 version if you're persistent enough? Regarding a revolving back, there's a fellow in Cali that will send you a very simple adapter that will convert the back to Graflok (you just need to supply your own Graflok back) for pretty cheap. Shoot him an Email.

    Bert Sanders: <bsaunders1@bak.rr.com>

  4. #4

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    Re: GRAFLEX super D conversion to 4x5

    You're a big enough guy to handle a 4x5. I have never used a 3x4 but once you go down in size then you might as well switch to medium format (in fact, if we weren't large format bigots then medium format makes so much more sense -- what do you think the early Hasselblad was based on? Or Mamiya 6x7s....)

    The Graflock modified Super Ds show up if you're patient. Heck Graflex even made a stock item with a Graflock back. If you're willing to pay Lens and Repro prices (double eBay) they probably have them in stock and you could also ask Stephen Gleb or that landscape-commercial guy in SLC, Matthew Turley?

    That said, if someone offered me an older Graflex with a bunch of slotted holders that was clean and well maintained -- I'd snag that. The Super D is popular because the lens will automagically stop down but who is using it stopped down? So it's pointless. Buy on condition and get a camera from someone who had it cleaned and checked out. Do not bother with one that has been sitting around for 50 years unless you love camera repair pain (and want to send it off to some ancient guy who might keep it for years until his estate is settled, to be blunt about it.)

    The ultimate are these conversions like Mark Tucker and David Burnett have from whats-his-name where he puts exotic glass into them and cleans them up quite a bit. But the stock lens is probably better IMHO there is nothing bad about the 190mm Ektar whatsofingever, it's just vanity and bragging rights. I'd stick with the stock item and get a pair of reading glasses for focusing.

    I use Grafmatics but it is easy to over-shoot. Regular film holders slow you down enough that you don't blow your film budget.

    Another place to look for a good user might be the Graflex.org forum.

    I'd have sold you one of the ones I've had over the years but they are already long gone. They are great cameras if you have good near vision and can see the ground glass unaided. With middle-aged nearsightedness I am less sure of my focus accuracy and since we tend to want to use them wide-open, you're screwed once your eyes turn. I think a lot of the old guys bracket their focus, or they are simply superior human beings to me because I can't focus the damn things accurately in a rush.

  5. #5
    Hopelessly Lost
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    Re: GRAFLEX super D conversion to 4x5

    Thanks for the info guys, just kind of testing the waters here. You're right about being a LF bigot, MF makes sooo much more sense. Hell, the best set up would be a mamiya 7 and an RZ67, Im halfway there. Ive never shot handheld and would love to give it a try one of these days (4x5 that is). Alright, Ill see what happens.

    Anyone want to buy some fuji rangefinders?
    www.hollisbennett.com

    Huh? Oh, right, keep moving.

  6. #6
    multi format
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    Re: GRAFLEX super D conversion to 4x5

    hi hollis

    i know someone who years ago paid to have his 3x4 converted to 4x5 with a graflok back ... he was big into polaroid #55 film and wanted
    to have all his 4x5 negatives with a 3x4 edged image in the middle. unfortunately the guy who was supposed to do the work for him
    had a massive stroke while working on the camera so it never got done. fun idea though if you like all that wasted landscape ...
    and there are people who will do it for you ( maybe adam at sk grimes or mike at zack's camera repair, they both can machine thing in house if needed ) ...

    i use a series d 4x5 and use it with the stock 21cm tessar a lot of the time, and sometimes stick on a brass lens ...
    they look like they are big and clunky cameras but they are pretty well balanced + weighted to make easy to use.
    the shutter, as long as the cloth isn't torn or the spring wrecked or the brake gone ) are a piece of cake to re-time.
    as long as you don't have the jitters, you can easily hold the camera still at around 1/15thS. i mine is timed so that is the only speed
    i use, and i do pretty much everything hand held. ( i don't have the jitters, but i do drink a fair amount of espresso ).
    as frank said keep it stock and simple ... slotted film holders are not hard to find, neither are working bag magazines ( like grafmatics ) ...

    the series d and rb are usually the ones with a large front standard and longer bellows, they might be more useful than a b ...
    all that said about the 4x5 ... if you plan on scanning and doing your work that way, and contact prints have nothing to do
    with your final results, you might consider a smaller camera, like a 3x4 even though they are medium format
    in the end it is just film you are scanning, and the smaller cameras allow for the same "look" as the big ones, they are just .. smaller.

    good luck !
    john

  7. #7

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    Re: GRAFLEX super D conversion to 4x5

    I have seen a 3x4 graflex converted to shoot 4x4 images on 4x5 holders. I suppose it would be possible to convert it to 4x5 by moving the film plane back a bit.
    But in any case, if you are more interested in medium format, the Mamiya RB67 is a much better medium format camera than the graflex, and dirt cheap to boot.
    If you are more interested in 4x5, wait for a 4x5 RB. You can get the correct slotted film hoders or use grafmatics (make sure to get the ones designed for the camera).

  8. #8
    Drew Bedo's Avatar
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    Re: GRAFLEX super D conversion to 4x5

    There was a 5x7 on e-bay not too long ago, so the bigger reflex cameras are out there. Every once-in-awhile e-bay has a Gowland TLR in 4x5 or 8x10.

    Wasen't the RB 67 inspired by, developed from or otherwise influenced by the Graflex 21/4 x 31/4?
    Drew Bedo
    www.quietlightphoto.com


    There are only three types of mounting flanges; too big, too small and wrong thread!

  9. #9

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    Re: GRAFLEX super D conversion to 4x5

    I converted my 3-1/4 x 4-1/4 to take 4x5 film holders. I still get a 3-1/4 x 4-1/4 image, but film choice was the reason I did it. ...and it still rotates and has a ground glass back!

    I was much easier than I thought it would be. I thought about putting a 4x5 graflok, on but I wanted it to be as compact as possible.


    http://www.flickr.com/photos/bbcuyle...in/photostream

  10. #10
    jp's Avatar
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    Re: GRAFLEX super D conversion to 4x5

    Beautiful work CuylerB!

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