View Full Version : Need help with operation of Graphex shutter

Peter Collins
24-Nov-2004, 13:34
I have just purchased a Kodak Ektar 127mm f4.7 lens in a Graphex shutter. Speeds T, B, 1, 2, ... 50 are etched in red on the shutter ring; speeds 100, 200 and 400 in black. On the other side of the shutter ring is a separate panel about 1" wide with a lever which stops at (and selects) the following detents, from right to left: "Off" etched in black, "F-X" etched in red-black respectively, "M" in red, and "M" in black. The red and black lettering is obviously related, but:
1. What do "M," "F-X" and "Off" mean, and
2. How do I set shutter speeds?

Merci mille fois!

Kevin Crisp
24-Nov-2004, 14:53
Peter: Sounds to me like a Kodak Supermatic shutter with a Graphlex badge on it. Going from memory, there are index marks on one side and the other, one black, one red, and those are the pointers for the shutter speed. In other words, there are two different pointer marks for the shutter speeds, depending on where you are in the range. On the one side you take the red speeds and line them up with the red index mark, when you run out of those you go to the black shutter speeds and use the black mark. The other letters you mention pertain to the shutter flash synch, "M" is for medium peak flash bulbs, I assume "X" will work with strobes and "off" is off. I know these are rather strange looking shutters, but I have found them very solid performers after a CLA. Good luck with it.

24-Nov-2004, 15:23
1) set the flash synchro to "off", 2) set the shutter speed by turning the outside ring of the shutter until the speed you desire is opposite the little mark (don't worry, it won't turn so far that more than one mark is possible). Do you know about the "press focus" button? After cocking the shutter, if you press the little button on top of the shutter and hold it down while releasing the shutter, it will hold the shutter blades open so you can focus and set the sperture without having to set the shutter on "T". When you are ready, just recock the shutter and you're ready to go.

Paul Fitzgerald
24-Nov-2004, 19:58
Hi there,

What you described is a Wollensak "Rapax" shutter, not the Kodak "Supermatic". The difference is simple : Rapax has the numbers on the ring and 10 iris blades, Supermatic has two pointers on the ring and 5 iris blades.

The Rapax has a press-preview lever below the cocking arm, just cock the shutter and press it down & in to open and lift up to close. DO NOT repeat DO NOT trip the shutter with the press preview open.

The Rapax was the prefered shutter way back when they were new and should run suprisingly accurate with a professional CLA. The 127/4.7 is the best Ektar and just covers 4X5, nice combination. Good luck with it.

25-Nov-2004, 07:10
You're probably right, Paul. It just never occured to me that the Ektar lenses were ever furnished in anything but Supermatic shutters. Ignore what I wrote, Peter. Hope I didn't instigate any damage.

Alec Jones
25-Nov-2004, 09:28
Kevin: First, there's no such thing as a "Kodak Supermatic shutter with a Graphlex badge on it." Wollensak was a fine company and was the chief provider of lens/shutter assemblies to Graflex for a long time. You must be too young to remember such things.

Second, re: "I know these are rather strange looking shutters", see #1 above. Nothing "strange" here but your reaction.

Third, the terms are "Graflex" and "Graphex". There is NO SUCH TERM AS GRAPHLEX! Please try and get your facts straight before making such outlandish statements.

Kevin Crisp
25-Nov-2004, 11:15
Oh thank you, Alec, for your comments; it does appear I was in error. At least in my mind, however, there is a difference between being simply wrong and being "outlandish," or, as you would say: OUTLANDISH! The red and black number part threw me, as it it so typical of the supermatics where you have one scale on one side and one on the other. So did the uncertainty about where to set the shutter speeds, which was consistent with the two pointer marks. Those two clues led me to the apparently erroneous conclusion that it was a supermatic. Add in the Ektar lens and I thought I was correct. I was trying to help from the office, with no access to my lenses and tried to answer the question since it was sitting there with no responses. I do think that the supermatics (what I was talking about) do appear to the novice to be a somewhat crude and peculiar shutter (is that more descriptive than "strange looking"? I hope you are not offended, again) especially so in comparison to modern offerings. They certainly do not look elegant as some old shutters do, they just work well, which is what matters. I have known people who write them off as too old to rely on when they actually have worked very well for me. And, also, thank you for being my spell checker. I do not how to spell Graflex, and in a pinch can even spell Grafmatic and Graflok and Graflex and General Precision and Singer. But sometimes I do err, and I appreciate your bringing it to the world's attention. And, finally, thank you so much for considering me likely too young to know much of anything. Being a few months away from turning 50, and having been well into my third decade by the time Wollensak folded its tent, I do appreciate that very much. Please relax and have a great Thanksgiving. And, Peter, if I set back your efforts to use that thing, I certainly apologize to you as well. I did get the "M" and "off" part right, I assume, since I didn't get flamed for that.

25-Nov-2004, 11:51
It's Thanksgiving, Alec. Have some nice, mellowing turkey, and try to be more civil in the future.

Alec Jones
25-Nov-2004, 19:40
Facts are facts, Bill, and I make no apology for pointing out the errors made by Kevin. The fact that he publishes flippant answers to serious questions gives due cause for critique, though it appears he certainly resents it. Furthermore, I see no appoint for you as a "civil" arbitrator. Finally, since we're on the subject of errors, I'll also point out [for Peter's information] that your description of the use of the press focus function was wrong.

You don't "press the little button on top of the shutter and hold it down while releasing the shutter" with a Graphex shutter. Instead, you cock the shutter, then push the press focus lever down, which opens the shutter for viewing and focus. Next, you close the lens by pushing the lever back up, so you can pull the dark slide. Only then do you trip the shutter.

Peter, all this is covered in various articles on the Graflex.org website. Also check out the Helpboard on that site and post your questions there. You can do a lot of research there by using the Search function of the board which works quite well. Good luck with using your lens.