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View Full Version : Reflex large format cameras....this weeks obsession!!



arca andy
19-Oct-2014, 09:33
Having used monorails and field cameras for all my large format work over the years, I have recently been intrigued by cameras such as The Graflex RB Super series, the Arca Swiss Reflex and other makes. I would love to own one of these fascinating cameras one day, the idea of focusing and immediately shooting, particularly for portraits, really does appeal.
Some of you will already own one of these beasts so tell me your experiences, post your links and show me your photos you have taken with them.....Thanks Andy

IanG
19-Oct-2014, 10:47
I have a 5x4 Kershaw Soho Reflex, I've not got around to restoring the shutter yet or photograph it but it's a nice camera front movements as well, quite ingenious front swing.

British focal plane shutters are far more sophisticated compared to the much simpler Graflex shutters, they sue two curtains and the speed dial alters the slit width between then as in cloth shuttered 35mm & 120 cameras.

I have 3 Thornton Pickard Ruby reflex 1/4 plate and 6x9 as well as a quarter plate Press Dallmeyer (a rebadged Houghton Ensign Reflex) with a 6" f3.5 lens.

There's also a Postcard size Graflex waiting restoration as well.

Ian

Mark Sawyer
19-Oct-2014, 11:51
Large format SLR's a definitely unique beasts, but having used a Super D many years ago, I'll throw out some negatives about them to calm your weekly obsession a little bit... :rolleyes:

The swinging of the big mirror coupled with the huge focal plane shutter stirs up a bit of dust, no matter how much you try to keep the camera clean. Expect dust spots on your negatives.

The clunk of the mirror is sizeable, and the cameras are heavy, so many of the famous users employed a tripod or monopod, which impinges a bit on the hand-held point-and-shoot style of working. Working with a LF SLR is as deliberate as working with a view camera.

The focal plane shutters don't sync with electronic flash, so you need to use flash-bulbs or subdued back-ground light and a manual closure after the exposure. The dimmer lights will make focusing harder.

Except with the 190mm Ektar on the Super-D, you need to compose and focus at the taking aperture. Unless you're working with bright lenses or lights and close to wide open, expect some focusing difficulties.

You don't get to use a loupe for critical focusing. And the viewing hood is specially designed to be a pain in the arse for anyone wearing glasses...

Most LF SLR's (including most Super D's) take the old Graflex slotted holders, so unless you convert it to a Graflok back, or find one that's been converted, you're stuck with finding and using old holders that usually sell at premium prices.

Jim C.
19-Oct-2014, 12:33
Most LF SLR's (including most Super D's) take the old Graflex slotted holders, so unless you convert it to a Graflok back, or find one that's been converted, you're stuck with finding and using old holders that usually sell at premium prices.

They also take the heavy 12 shot bag mags.

jcoldslabs
19-Oct-2014, 12:45
Large format SLR's a definitely unique beasts, but having used a Super D many years ago, I'll throw out some negatives about them to calm your weekly obsession a little bit... :rolleyes:

The swinging of the big mirror coupled with the huge focal plane shutter stirs up a bit of dust, no matter how much you try to keep the camera clean. Expect dust spots on your negatives.

The clunk of the mirror is sizeable, and the cameras are heavy, so many of the famous users employed a tripod or monopod, which impinges a bit on the hand-held point-and-shoot style of working. Working with a LF SLR is as deliberate as working with a view camera.

The focal plane shutters don't sync with electronic flash, so you need to use flash-bulbs or subdued back-ground light and a manual closure after the exposure. The dimmer lights will make focusing harder.

Except with the 190mm Ektar on the Super-D, you need to compose and focus at the taking aperture. Unless you're working with bright lenses or lights and close to wide open, expect some focusing difficulties.

You don't get to use a loupe for critical focusing. And the viewing hood is specially designed to be a pain in the arse for anyone wearing glasses...

Most LF SLR's (including most Super D's) take the old Graflex slotted holders, so unless you convert it to a Graflok back, or find one that's been converted, you're stuck with finding and using old holders that usually sell at premium prices.

Brrrr. It's chilly under your wet blanket, Mark!

Actually, that's good to know. I've coveted the Graflex SLRs (in theory) for years, but you've now allowed me to reallocate those unspent fantasy dollars for other theoretical purchases.

Jonathan

mdarnton
19-Oct-2014, 12:56
A Graflex was my earliest fantasy camera, from looking through Modern Photography magazine's camera buying guides in the 50s and 60s. I had my heart set on a RB Auto, until someone gave me a 4x5 Super D, which I still have.

It's lots of fun. I had the best time with it when I had a 300mm Heliar on the front, and Polaroid 3000 on the back, which made available light portraiture a possibility. I always hand held it, but Hugo Zhang's Tibetian pictures made me try it with a monopod, which works well.

I will try to dig up some old photos, from the Polaroid era. Here's one recent one, with the correct 15" Wollensak tele and x-ray film. It's nothing special, but all I have at this moment:

https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3888/14970308529_ed9c1aa8ab_c.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/oNSKaK)

Train (https://flic.kr/p/oNSKaK) by michael.darnton (https://www.flickr.com/people/118045067@N03/), on Flickr

arca andy
19-Oct-2014, 12:58
So I've got to get one with the slotted film holders and the aperture/focusing sounds a touch frustrating....but not put off yet!

mdarnton
19-Oct-2014, 13:13
Another, with Polaroid 51 (high contrast), c 1974 or so.....
flash in an umbrella, probably.

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/J0yq1uLgHAQpEKeuUTzsN0sfyF9moJJgcKKhbL0R3vY=w408-h556-no

Mark Sawyer
19-Oct-2014, 13:13
They're great cameras, and some wonderful work has been done with them. I still fantasize about getting another Super D myself... :)

But, like most things, they're far from perfect...

Oren Grad
19-Oct-2014, 13:30
And the viewing hood is specially designed to be a pain in the arse for anyone wearing glasses...

+1. This is my biggest problem so far in my occasional tinkering with Graflexes.

To the OP: don't overlook the Gowlandflex TLRs. A lot bulkier, but no moving mirror and hence no mirror noise and shock, no dust blowing around, no shutter lag, full modern flash sync, and you get to see the subject at the moment of exposure.

mdarnton
19-Oct-2014, 13:38
Mine has a Graflok back--many Super Ds do--and I bought a pair of reading glasses for the appropriate distance and that is working well.

Every time Graflexes come up, a sector wants to paint them as a p.i.t.a. and I don't know why. They're just not that hard to use. Certainly a LOT friendlier than my 8x10 is!

arca andy
19-Oct-2014, 13:47
By heck I have just found John Minnicks Aero Liberator site http://johnminnicks.com fantastic!

richardman
19-Oct-2014, 14:15
Thank you for thee wet blanket! :-)

mdarnton
19-Oct-2014, 14:26
Neck strap! Great idea.

djdister
19-Oct-2014, 15:11
I have a Graflex Series B 5x7 reflex camera, with a graflex slotted holder and a 5x7 bag mag. I did some handheld shots wth it a number of years ago and they turned out fine. The sound it makes when shooting is like a whoosh-thunk! Although if tripod mounted, you can flip the mirror up before tripping the focal plane shutter. I'll post a shot from the camera later.

jp
19-Oct-2014, 15:29
I've got an rb super d 4x5 and it does not get dust on the negatives. The 190mm is an awesome lens. It's old enough I don't dare lug it by the strap on top though. I'm not using at the moment as the focal plane shutter needs a little TLC. https://www.flickr.com/search/?w=13759696@N02&q=rb are my photos of it/ from it.

Some downsides; it is more expensive and heavier than other graflex options like speed graphics. It has limited lens options as well.

Other upsides is that the chimney hood works great in daylight; nice and dark compared to a flip up hood or modest darkcloth.

Bill_1856
19-Oct-2014, 15:55
I love my Super D Graflexs -- the 3.25x4.25 even more than the 4x5. I particularly love the old leather Bag-Mags with 12 sheets of film. 3x4 sheet film is very difficult to come by (I'm down to my last 1/2 box), and the loss of 4x5 Polaroid has all but killed my Large Format work.

arca andy
19-Oct-2014, 16:03
So a a Mag-bag holds 12 sheets of film?

Bill_1856
19-Oct-2014, 16:09
So a a Mag-bag holds 12 sheets of film?

Yes. A few of the very late ones held even more (16? 18?) but I've never seen one of them.

Daniel Unkefer
19-Oct-2014, 17:09
I have three Plaubel Makiflexes that I have been with me for close to twenty-five years.
Similar in operation to a Mamiya RB-67, or a European version of the Auto Graflex.
I have succeeded in obtaining the majority of items that were in the system.
Schneider Xenar and Symmar lenses, as well as Tele-Arton and Tele-Xenar lenses
were available in automatic-iris and manual versions. I also have a complete set
of Rodenstock Imagons and a number of barrel lenses I have adapted to these bodies.
The bellows will work with lenses from 120mm to 360mm. The 150mm F4.5 Apo Lanthar
was also in the Plaubel lineup (also with automatic iris), as well.

6x6cm and 6x9cm Makina backs, 9x12 film plates, and 4x5/Instant film Graphic holders work in this camera.

In the photo, an Automatic-iris Makiflex with 180mm Schneider Xenar, another Makiflex with the Auto-iris Schneider 210mm Xenar, and finally, the "Makiflex Standard", a basic model (no auto-iris and less features) with the 150mm F2.8 Schneider Xenotar.

Check my flikr site for more on these. Need to post more photos taken with the cameras. Working on it! https://www.flickr.com/photos/18134483@N04/

Drew Bedo
19-Oct-2014, 18:02
I have always wondered about convwering a vier camera reflex viewer to sit on top of a LF SLR.

A few years ago I got a reflex viewer from a Polaroid MP-4 and adapted it to my Speed Graphic. It clipped on replacing the viewing hoodd.

Anybody ever done something like that with a SLR?

djdister
19-Oct-2014, 19:10
Photos taken with my Graflex Series B 5x7, circa 1985. The lens on the Graflex is a Kodak No. 34 8.5 inch Anastigmat, and the film for all shots was Ektapan. Shots either handheld, braced on my lap or sitting on the table top - the last one was a handheld panning shot.

123592 123593 123594 123595

HtheD
19-Oct-2014, 19:26
Yes, some of my favorite portraits were done with an RB Super D 4x5 with the 190 Ektar in ambient light. The previous owner did a fantastic series of street work with it--printed in platinum.
---Harry.

mdarnton
19-Oct-2014, 19:55
I like watching old newsreels, seeing the news guys on the sidelines of events, bouncing around with their huge Graflexes. Obviously they were OK with it as a hand camera.

I'm still thinking about that neck strap. My Super D is just about mint--it spent its life on a tripod in a portrait studio in Detroit--and I'd hate to punch a couple of holes in it, but still. . . .

Jason Greenberg Motamedi
19-Oct-2014, 20:47
I have been using a 4x5 Super D for 10 years, and really love it. I recently switched to Graflex 5x7 Home Portrait. All the things mentioned above--the good and the bad--are certainly true, but for me the worst is that these are orphans, and there are few people out there who can repair them, and even fewer parts.

I almost bought an Arca reflex a few years back. It has a higher sync speed than the super D (1/50 versus 1/5, IIRC) but was dissuaded by an Arca repairman, who told me it was a nightmare to fix.

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-TdOm0bArSiU/VESGnFO0aII/AAAAAAAACW8/tN1T5anARsc/s800/MinaHat.jpg

Richard Johnson
19-Oct-2014, 22:55
I also have used them on and off over the years. A monopod gives you most of the mobility you want but also helps fix your position momentarily so you can focus. Reading glasses help with focus, as does really pressing into the hood with your face. The 190 Ektar on the SuperD with the auto-aperture is a very fine lens that people would be hunting down to modify if it wasn't the stock lens ;-p In any event the auto aperture is worth using and not complicated after a few minutes of familiarization. Finding a Super D that is clean and properly converted to Graflock is certainly the best way to go if you shoot a lot but even a much older version with the normal aperture and slot back will likely be usable.

Arthur Elgort and many fashion photographers have used these. Especially with Polaroid and portraiture sometimes the slight misfocusing can look OK, at least if you hit their nose and not their ears. I actually used a Grafmatic so I could shoot (waste film) quicker, 0.33 fps.

Hugo Zhang
19-Oct-2014, 22:59
I have lots of fun with my Graflex super D 45 in Tibet. I like to use it for portraits.

David A. Goldfarb
20-Oct-2014, 00:02
I love my 5x7" Press Graflex. I found the quick rack-and-pinion focusing and reflex viewer ideal when our son was a toddler (really!), and it's a well-balanced camera, despite appearances. I usually use it with a bag mag that holds 12 shots, and it's a great size for contact printing.

The mirror slap isn't so big an issue--it lands on what seem like velvet pads, but the shutter vibration can be, especially if you try to shoot a vertical. To start with, the finder is totally impractical for vertical shots, and then there's no real way to stabilize the camera. Even on my biggest tripod with my strongest head, you've got that big mirror and big shutter both pushing sideways with not much supporting it, so there's often some camera movement. Maybe sandbags would help.

Lately, though, as my eyesight changes, I'm thinking I'm going to need different glasses for it, because the viewing distance isn't quite right with or without my glasses, and if I push my glasses down on my nose, like I normally do for reading, it doesn't quite work mechanically with the viewer. Unfortunately, normal positive reading glasses from the drug store don't do it.

123607 123608

arca andy
20-Oct-2014, 00:58
I have lots of fun with my Graflex super D 45 in Tibet. I like to use it for portraits.

Your Tibet thread was one of the first things that started this slight obession....must have been a hell of a trip! Got anymore Super D adventures planned??

Oren Grad
20-Oct-2014, 05:22
...I'm thinking I'm going to need different glasses for it, because the viewing distance isn't quite right with or without my glasses, and if I push my glasses down on my nose, like I normally do for reading, it doesn't quite work mechanically with the viewer. Unfortunately, normal positive reading glasses from the drug store don't do it.

That's where I am too, alas. Without glasses is impossible because I need way too strong a correction, but all the reading glasses and supplemental lenses I've tried so far are either optically not quite right, mechanically far too fussy with the viewing hood in the way, or both. A very long-barrelled loupe might be good for certain subjects, but so far I've struck out on that idea as well.

Bill_1856
20-Oct-2014, 07:22
That's where I am too, alas. Without glasses is impossible because I need way too strong a correction, but all the reading glasses and supplemental lenses I've tried so far are either optically not quite right, mechanically far too fussy with the viewing hood in the way, or both. A very long-barrelled loupe might be good for certain subjects, but so far I've struck out on that idea as well.

Some pictures of Edward Weston show him wearing rather prissy-looking Pince-Nez glasses, which is the only thing he found worked with the Graflex chimney.

Randy
20-Oct-2014, 07:40
I got mine a year or so ago. I enjoy shooting with it. Did some modifications - take a look - http://www.pbase.com/rsweatt/rb_mods

DrTang
20-Oct-2014, 07:49
or

one of these:


123612


4x5 twin lens reflex - with parallax correction

EdSawyer
20-Oct-2014, 08:48
TWR would be sweet! Pretty damn rare though.

I built a camera like the Minnicks Aero Liberator (since I like DIY and figured I could do it as well, plus didn't want to spend the $2k he wants for his work). I started with a 3x4 RB Super D and added a 4x5 Graflok back. I didn't keep the rotating feature. I have pics posted here, somewhere in the DIY camera thread, I will find it if need be. I used a 4x5 Graflok back from a speed graphic, and cut it down to minimum possible size. I mounted it vertically, with the "opening" end of the graflok pointing downward. this was so I could mount an RZ67 prism above it and not have it interfere with the back. The max size you get is about 4" wide x 4.5" high with this arrangement. The focus plane is in the same place, basically, so no real need to shim the ground glass.

With the execption of 2 small corner cuts on the rear brass plate that holds the rotating back, everything was reversible should I choose to do so. I used the mounting holes for the rear brass plate to mount the 4x5 magnesium graflok back, which worked out fine. I did have to use black silicone to fill a few small gaps around the edge, but it worked out fine and removes pretty cleanly if need be.

All in all it's a great hand-held portrait rig. I use mine with an RZ67 prism on top which gives right-side-up viewing, and covers about 70% of the frame or so. I built a new front standard to take various larger-sized custom lensboard choices. My main lens is an 8" Pentac f/2.9 which reaches infinity perfectly yet also close-focuses to 1-2feet or so. It also takes a Nikkor 270-T just perfectly, and also reaches infinity where it should. Close-focus is a bit more limited but can still do a pretty tight head-shot. I also use it some with a 360 Tele Arton, which needs some extra extension, but can go from infinity to about 5' close-focus distance.

the RZ67 prism makes for a bit heavy but still doable for hand-holding, esp. with the Pentac (relatively light for it's speed). If I was to do it again, I'd probably seek out a Fuji GX680 prism, as it should cover more of the frame, and they are cheap enough. I used the RZ prism since i had it on hand.

Here's pics:

http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?88781-GRAFLEX-super-D-conversion-to-4x5&p=1058026&viewfull=1#post1058026

-Ed

DrTang
23-Oct-2014, 17:21
TWR would be sweet! Pretty damn rare though.

I built a camera like the Minnicks Aero Liberator (since I like DIY and figured I could do it as well, plus didn't want to spend the $2k he wants for his work). I started with a 3x4 RB Super D and added a 4x5 Graflok back. I didn't keep the rotating feature. I have pics posted here, somewhere in the DIY camera thread, I will find it if need be. I used a 4x5 Graflok back from a speed graphic, and cut it down to minimum possible size. I mounted it vertically, with the "opening" end of the graflok pointing downward. this was so I could mount an RZ67 prism above it and not have it interfere with the back. The max size you get is about 4" wide x 4.5" high with this arrangement. The focus plane is in the same place, basically, so no real need to shim the ground glass.

With the execption of 2 small corner cuts on the rear brass plate that holds the rotating back, everything was reversible should I choose to do so. I used the mounting holes for the rear brass plate to mount the 4x5 magnesium graflok back, which worked out fine. I did have to use black silicone to fill a few small gaps around the edge, but it worked out fine and removes pretty cleanly if need be.

All in all it's a great hand-held portrait rig. I use mine with an RZ67 prism on top which gives right-side-up viewing, and covers about 70% of the frame or so. I built a new front standard to take various larger-sized custom lensboard choices. My main lens is an 8" Pentac f/2.9 which reaches infinity perfectly yet also close-focuses to 1-2feet or so. It also takes a Nikkor 270-T just perfectly, and also reaches infinity where it should. Close-focus is a bit more limited but can still do a pretty tight head-shot. I also use it some with a 360 Tele Arton, which needs some extra extension, but can go from infinity to about 5' close-focus distance.

the RZ67 prism makes for a bit heavy but still doable for hand-holding, esp. with the Pentac (relatively light for it's speed). If I was to do it again, I'd probably seek out a Fuji GX680 prism, as it should cover more of the frame, and they are cheap enough. I used the RZ prism since i had it on hand.

Here's pics:

http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?88781-GRAFLEX-super-D-conversion-to-4x5&p=1058026&viewfull=1#post1058026

-Ed

you might have been able to use the cambo reflex finder as well

thing about your rig.. which is the thing about RB Graphics and super d's..is flash sync

there basically is none

with my cambo tlr.... flash sync is not a problem..it's not a single lens reflex...but it does have parallax correction

richardman
23-Oct-2014, 17:58
Yes, no flash sync is a killer for me...

Bill_1856
23-Oct-2014, 18:10
I got mine a year or so ago. I enjoy shooting with it. Did some modifications - take a look - http://www.pbase.com/rsweatt/rb_mods

How did you put the dowels into/onto the camera sides to hold the guitar strap?

Tin Can
23-Oct-2014, 19:20
I got mine a year or so ago. I enjoy shooting with it. Did some modifications - take a look - http://www.pbase.com/rsweatt/rb_mods

Nice mods and images!

Tin Can
23-Oct-2014, 19:22
or

one of these:


123612


4x5 twin lens reflex - with parallax correction

How is parallax correction done?

With careful preset aiming of both lenses on a certain point?

AuditorOne
23-Oct-2014, 20:23
I love working with my Graflex RB 4x5. I have had mine modified to take the newer holders, Graflex I believe? I use Grafmatics with no trouble.

The rotating back means horizontal and vertical shots can easily be accommodated just by pulling a small pin and rotating the back.

I carry mine around by hand but I have also shot it from a tripod. I have an old metal beastie with a Majestic geared head that I don't think even feels the weight.

Using bifocals can be done but it is a lot easier to use reading glasses to focus.

I have no real trouble with focus. I focus wide open and then set my aperture and shutter when I'm ready to take the photograph.

I did have mine professionally serviced and cleaned a few years back but I have never had any trouble with dust on my negatives, at least no more than normal for any of my LF cameras.

It is really like buying and using anything else this old. Condition is important. Either buy from someone who you trust or be prepared to spend the money to clean it up and overhaul it.

There are lots easier ways to shoot large format. The Crown or Speed Graphic are excellent cameras to get started. It takes dedication to work with a Graflex LF SLR, but I love using them.

(That neckstrap sure does look nice though! :))

Lightbender
23-Oct-2014, 21:38
A couple of notes about the RB.. First, the 178mm f2.5 Aero Ektar will NOT fit the 4x5. The rear of the lens intrudes and hits the mirror.
I bought a Super D planning to use an Aero Ektar (back when you could get one for $50). However, it will fit on a 3x4 RB. I dont know what other mods are required.

2nd, there is an issue of longer lenses, where the mirror bumper on the bottom of the box will cause a vingiette ( on the top of the image). This is more pronounced in portrait format.

3rd, the Super D actually has fairly small lens boards. A large lens like the Aero Ektar may not fit at all without a modification. The older RB i think takes more standard 4x4 lensboards, but you should ask before buying.

All that said, the RB in any form is a lot of fun. It is bulky, but not really heavy. I had a heavy duty monopod (center column from a Tiltall) that really made it nice to use.

There are some roll backs made for the graflex cameras in their various sizes. Many fast lenses will fit as well, and petzval style fast glass makes a good home.

The slotted holders are expensive since people know they are hard to find.

blueribbontea
23-Oct-2014, 21:49
I got mine a year or so ago. I enjoy shooting with it. Did some modifications - take a look - http://www.pbase.com/rsweatt/rb_mods


I especially love that eyepiece. I've been thinking how to make something like that but I was thinking binocs. That's the most frustrating part of using my RB model D, focusing with my glasses. Thanks for the great idea and the pics.

Sevo
24-Oct-2014, 01:37
How is parallax correction done?

With careful preset aiming of both lenses on a certain point?
IIRC a sliding mask coupled to the focus rack, so that is restricted to the standard focal length. The Cambo was marketed as a mug shot camera (used ones generally are from Dutch, German or French police surplus auctions).

DrTang
24-Oct-2014, 07:41
How is parallax correction done?

With careful preset aiming of both lenses on a certain point?


there is a cam that moves both lensboards closer or farther apart... I have the 150's on mine..but they also made cams/lens sets in 240 and 270

I replaced the 150 xenar it came with ..with a 150 heliar I had.. I need to test it out to make sure the focus still good

I am scouring the globe looking for a set of 240mm lenses with cam right now

I did find my camera in Denmark, btw


also..one can mount the unit on it's side for verticals - it's a bit awkward..but it'll work

only downside is that my polaroid/fuji 405 pack film holder will not work with it.. I could use the polaroid 545 holder..were I to have any film though

Randy
24-Oct-2014, 07:48
How did you put the dowels into/onto the camera sides to hold the guitar strap?

They are strap lugs that I got at the music store, designed for the guitar strap - I drilled through the body and bolted them on.

alan-salsman
24-Oct-2014, 09:52
I have 2 late model super d-s . One 3x4 and one 4x5 .They both have two prong flash sync off the shutter curtain. I do not know the speed of the sync as I have never used it, easy to find out on line. The 4x5 has nice large strap luges and a standard film back. I think the back was a option at the time. These cameras had a long production run the latest having the better options. Both cameras have the small lens boards that are interchangeable between the two but will not fit the pacemaker or the crown.

Tin Can
24-Oct-2014, 10:54
there is a cam that moves both lensboards closer or farther apart... I have the 150's on mine..but they also made cams/lens sets in 240 and 270

I replaced the 150 xenar it came with ..with a 150 heliar I had.. I need to test it out to make sure the focus still good

I am scouring the globe looking for a set of 240mm lenses with cam right now

I did find my camera in Denmark, btw


also..one can mount the unit on it's side for verticals - it's a bit awkward..but it'll work

only downside is that my polaroid/fuji 405 pack film holder will not work with it.. I could use the polaroid 545 holder..were I to have any film though

Thank you. I imagine a GowlandFlex is different?

EdSawyer
25-Oct-2014, 20:17
Gowland tlr also uses a cam for parallax.

DrTang, if you or anyone ever wants to sell a Cambo TWR, I would be interested!

Oren Grad
25-Oct-2014, 21:51
Gowland tlr also uses a cam for parallax.

Later ones only.

Sevo
26-Oct-2014, 05:43
Cambo TLRs occasionally show up on eBay Germany and other continental auction sites, often missing the lenses and very affordable. Finding a accurately matched lens pair may be difficult, though. I sold off mine after I discovered that there was around 3mm between the focal lengths of the two 150mm Symmars I had at hand, and a third one I bought because of that was off in yet another direction.

jnantz
26-Oct-2014, 13:26
if you get one make sure you get a junker as a parts camera.
i've had a series d ( 4x5 ) for almost 20 years and have harvested parts off
of a junker i purchased a few months later. they aren't hard to take apart, fix
and put back together tweak the timing &c if you are careful ... and if you are lucky you can
get a bag mag that takes plates .. heavy as heck though ...
i've always wanted a home portrait 5x7 but somehow i opted to hold back ...
( and still sort of want one ... )

skuuterboy
31-Oct-2014, 07:44
I shoot 4x5 and 5x7 with Graflex SLR cameras and for portraiture they are great. I've acquired old beater cameras and have restored the shutters and modified the viewfinders by removing the hoods. the cameras no longer resemble black boxes, but they are a joy to use in the studio with either available light or flash. I am constantly amazed at how simple and functional the design of the Graflex SLRs are. And they are not so difficult to repair as long as the springs are intact. I use the old Graflex style backs on my cameras and mainly use 18 sheet cut film magazines. I've never had any issues at all with dust in either the cameras or the magazines. These cameras are marvelous for anyone interested in customization.

Jason Greenberg Motamedi
31-Oct-2014, 08:17
...These cameras are marvelous for anyone interested in customization.

Could you attached some images of your cameras? I would love to see what you did.

EdSawyer
31-Oct-2014, 10:22
agreed, they are great, and very versatile. a good platform for mods, and common enough to not feel bad about modifying one.

djdister
31-Oct-2014, 11:41
I have the 5x7 Graflex Series B and the focal plane shutter still works fine. Need to adapt the back to take modern 5x7 or 4x5 film holders - has anyone done that?

Jason Greenberg Motamedi
31-Oct-2014, 11:54
I have the 5x7 Graflex Series B and the focal plane shutter still works fine. Need to adapt the back to take modern 5x7 or 4x5 film holders - has anyone done that?

I have done it, or rather I asked the Grimes boys to do it for me. Description is here (http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?114733-5x7-Graflex&p=1150268&viewfull=1#post1150268).

skuuterboy
1-Nov-2014, 06:22
124377
Here is a shot of my primary 4x5 studio camera which has in the rear a modified Graflex RB Series B camera and a modified Toyo G front standard. I put this camera together to accommodate a 2.5/306mm Aero Ektar lens which I use for portraits with both daylight and strobe. I use mainly 12 sheet or 18 sheet cut film magazines and don't have any trouble with dust or scratches.

skuuterboy
1-Nov-2014, 06:30
124378
This is a modified early Auto Graflex non-rb 4x5 which has a 7" Aero Ektar lens and is my primary travel 4x5. I stripped the cracked and dried rubber coating off the original curtain and recoated it with black acrylic ink and it works just fine now. I get shutter speeds ranging from about 1/4 secand to about 1/300.

Tim Deming
1-Nov-2014, 07:29
Great looking mods skuuterboy!

skuuterboy
1-Nov-2014, 08:13
124384
Thanks Tim. This is a non-RB Series B 5x7 with a 12 sheet cut film magazine onto which I have mounted a Buhl 2.5/240mm projection triplet lens. I made a shorter custom hood for this camera and have a magnifying eyepiece which sits atop the hood for precision focusing. This camera was made in 1924.

pierre506
1-Nov-2014, 18:36
I have done it, or rather I asked the Grimes boys to do it for me. Description is here (http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?114733-5x7-Graflex&p=1150268&viewfull=1#post1150268).
Stunning!
I knew Kodak aero 305 lens size.
Could you show show few results?

124377
Here is a shot of my primary 4x5 studio camera which has in the rear a modified Graflex RB Series B camera and a modified Toyo G front standard. I put this camera together to accommodate a 2.5/306mm Aero Ektar lens which I use for portraits with both daylight and strobe. I use mainly 12 sheet or 18 sheet cut film magazines and don't have any trouble with dust or scratches.

mdarnton
1-Nov-2014, 18:39
Well, this is discouraging. I have been lurking on Ebay looking for another Graflex. I guess things will be getting picked off fast for a few weeks now, with this inspiring thread running!

djdister
1-Nov-2014, 18:53
124378

Your Graflex hacks/mods are truly beautiful and amazing, excellent work!

skuuterboy
1-Nov-2014, 19:20
Thanks Dan. I've generally ended up with Graflex cameras in really bad shape so I've not felt bad about working on them to make them more useful.

EdSawyer
1-Nov-2014, 20:53
Agreed, brilliantly crafted stuff there. Frst person I have heard of that is using the 305/2.5 AE also!

Peter De Smidt
1-Nov-2014, 21:53
I've got one in a closet somewhere....I'll have to dig it out and take a look.

It's an RB Series D Graflex with a Graflex cut film magazine.

skuuterboy
3-Nov-2014, 04:47
Here is a sample shot with the 2.5/305 Aero Ektar on my modified Graflex/monorail camera.
124479

Peter De Smidt
3-Nov-2014, 08:09
Here is a sample shot with the 2.5/305 Aero Ektar on my modified Graflex/monorail camera.


Nicely done!

Tin Can
3-Nov-2014, 08:33
Here is a sample shot with the 2.5/305 Aero Ektar on my modified Graflex/monorail camera.
124479

That shot and lens may bring me back to 4x5.

Great work.

DrTang
3-Nov-2014, 08:56
Thanks Dan. I've generally ended up with Graflex cameras in really bad shape so I've not felt bad about working on them to make them more useful.



how did you get it to sync with strobe?

skuuterboy
3-Nov-2014, 09:19
Thanks for the compliments on this portrait I posted. It was shot using window light in my studio at about 1/30" which is my standard exposure in the studio.
The shutter winding escutcheon on my studio graflex has an aftermarket flash sync bi-post socket and so I simply attach a sync cord and shoot with the tension at 6 and the shutter in the "O" (open) setting.

DrTang
3-Nov-2014, 10:20
The shutter winding escutcheon on my studio graflex has an aftermarket flash sync bi-post socket and so I simply attach a sync cord and shoot with the tension at 6 and the shutter in the "O" (open) setting.

so..the shutter is open when the mirror flips up and the flash goes off before the curtain starts down ?

interesting

does the mirror block out light to the film effectively? would this work outside (in sunlight)?

questions, questions

skuuterboy
3-Nov-2014, 10:38
The mirror functions very effectively as a light trap in a Graflex SLR so it would work outside. The flash is triggered by the mirror reaching the top of its swing and simultaneously the curtain falls down to end the exposure. the time is about 1/5" and I use this setting for non-flash images in low available light with the camera on a tripod, of course.

DrTang
3-Nov-2014, 10:51
The mirror functions very effectively as a light trap in a Graflex SLR so it would work outside. The flash is triggered by the mirror reaching the top of its swing and simultaneously the curtain falls down to end the exposure. the time is about 1/5" and I use this setting for non-flash images in low available light with the camera on a tripod, of course.

thanks..good to know

Tin Can
3-Nov-2014, 15:09
Finally got a grip on how these work, next I need a hand le on one .

Michael Cienfuegos
3-Nov-2014, 15:58
That shot and lens may bring me back to 4x5.

Great work.

Randy, do you have an AE lens?

m

cgrab
25-Nov-2014, 05:31
This is my Mentor 9x12, which I have very crudely adapted to shoot instant film with. Hard cardboard and a filed down Norma back, attached with double-sided tape. The modification is reversible. It is fun to use, but I do not feel comfortable with hand-holding it.

Christoph

125516125515

EdSawyer
25-Nov-2014, 15:26
Wow, that's big. I can see why that could be a handful, hand-held. Is that Norma back 4x5? Looks to be...

rjmeyer314
27-Nov-2014, 07:23
So I've got to get one with the slotted film holders and the aperture/focusing sounds a touch frustrating....but not put off yet!

Don't let Mark Sawyer put you off. There's nothing more fun to use than a Graflex slr. I have several, in sizes from 2 1/4 x 3 1/4 up to 5x7. There was a period of about 3-4 years when the only camera I used was a 5x7 Auto Graflex. It's true that you will, in general, have to buy some slotted film holders in the right size. However, that isn't that difficult to do on ebay. I've picked up 20-30 in each of the sizes I use. I also have a Series D that has been converted so I can use normal 4x5 film holders. I prefer the cameras that use the slotted film holders because they're easier to change with one hand than the regular film holders. As for problems focusing without a loupe, it's simple. I carry a lens of the right focal length (depends on the height of your camera's hood) mounted on a small chessboard. I just let it set on the top of the hood and adjust the focus to razor sharpness. When you have a 5x7 ground glass to focus on,plus a magnifier you'd be surprised how sharp a negative you can get. My favorite Graflex slr's are the 4x5 and 3 1/4 x 4 1/4 Super-D's (with auto diaphragm), the RB Auto Graflexes in the same sizes (these have longer bellows for close-up), the afore-mentioned 5x7 Auto Graflex. If you get a 3 1/4 x4 1/4 you won't have a lot of film choices, unless you cut film down from 4x5. I use Kodak Electron Image Film in 3 1/4 x 4 (not 4 1/4). I expose it at AS A 6 and develop it in Diafine. It's extremely low grain (a poor man's Tech Pan). ( Note that this was about the normal film speed back around 1910. The cameras were generally used with the diaphragm wide open. That lead to the characteristic Graflex photo look of a sharp subject and shallow death of field. ) I've picked up a few thousand sheets on ebay and I'm set for life. If there are any other complaints about Graflex slr's, I haven't found them objectionable enough to keep me from enjoying mine.

Daniel Unkefer
2-Dec-2014, 14:55
Here's my Plaubel Makiflex, just found the original Eyelevel Viewfinder Hood for it.
Shown with the 250mm Rodenstock Imagon (in barrel mount) and "tube system"
from China, and the Plaubel 9x12cm Plate Film Back.

Dan Fromm
12-Dec-2014, 11:33
Practically unheard-of monster on ebay.fr. Most of the Studs that turn up there are 4x5 TLRs. Not mine and AFAIK I'm not acquainted with the seller.

http://www.ebay.fr/itm/Chambre-camera-reflex-de-studio-STUD-pas-studioflex-SOM-BERTHIOT-STELLOR-300mm-/371212201445

Tin Can
12-Dec-2014, 12:05
Practically unheard-of monster on ebay.fr. Most of the Studs that turn up there are 4x5 TLRs. Not mine and AFAIK I'm not acquainted with the seller.

http://www.ebay.fr/itm/Chambre-camera-reflex-de-studio-STUD-pas-studioflex-SOM-BERTHIOT-STELLOR-300mm-/371212201445

The 'STUD'. That thing is awesome. How much is that in real money?

It makes a Gowlandflex look like a toy.

I feel so so....

Mark Sawyer
12-Dec-2014, 12:24
That Stud is 9x12 cm, not 9x12 inches. A bit smaller than 4x5. :(

Tin Can
12-Dec-2014, 12:31
OK, I forgot a comma is actually the decimal point in EU nomenclature.

1500 EU is not insane, not free, but a very cool camera.

IanG
12-Dec-2014, 12:37
I seem to have acquired quite a few LF Reflex cameras in the past year or so, most are borderline LF as they are Quarter plate, the latest is a Butcher Pressman which the seller let me have cheap for the lens a TTH Cooke Lustar (the famous Cooke triplet) in excellent condition. Surprisingly the Pressman shutter is like the Graflex with a choice of 3 slit widths and different tensions, Most UK SLR's have two separate shutter curtains a constant tension and the slit width between the two curtains is latered like modern cloth shuttered MF & 35mm cameras.

Earlier in the thread I mentioned I have a postcard sized reflex Graflex, I've realised that modern 4x5 DDS (film holders) will fit with very minor adaptation but the gate will crop the images, however I should be able to use 9x12 DDS with no cropping at the film gate, the two holders are the same outside dimensions. Graflex cameras are easy tom work on, the mechanism is quite simple.

Just need to get my new workshop up and running . . . . . . .

Ian

djdister
12-Dec-2014, 12:49
I have a Graflex Series B 5x7 (non-rotating back) camera in good working condition, and a Graflex RB Jr. 2 1/4 x 3 1/4 with a Cooke lens. The lens is a bit long for the camera - maybe a 6 inch, and can barely focus on infinity, and the back seems to have a bad light leak when used with a rollfilm back, but I'm not getting rid of it anytime soon. Assuming I can figure out the light leak problem, I really need the "normal" lens for the RB Jr, if someone knows what the standard issue lens was. The Cooke lens is really pretty though...

The 5x7 works just fine, just have to do something about those slotted film holders.

Tin Can
12-Dec-2014, 12:59
I am going to count myself lucky to have 3 Speed Graphics with well working FP shutters. 2x3, 3x4 and 4x5. I don't want to fiddle with any others, but I do know some here repair them. I cringe every time I fire one. The double reverse shutters could be double the pleasure. :)

Oren Grad
12-Dec-2014, 13:11
The 'STUD'. That thing is awesome. How much is that in real money?

It makes a Gowlandflex look like a toy.

Heh... but did you see the two 8x10 Gowlandflexes that were on eBay recently?

Tin Can
12-Dec-2014, 13:16
Heh... but did you see the two 8x10 Gowlandflexes that were on eBay recently?

I saw one, but not 2. I am working on 4x5 Gowlandflex today.The new lens boards were completed yesterday by Zimba of Chicago.

Oren Grad
12-Dec-2014, 13:58
I am working on 4x5 Gowlandflex today.The new lens boards were completed yesterday by Zimba of Chicago.

Most excellent!

Leonard Robertson
12-Dec-2014, 18:32
I really need the "normal" lens for the RB Jr, if someone knows what the standard issue lens was. The Cooke lens is really pretty though...


According to Richard Paine in his book "Review of Graflex", the Revolving Back Graflex Junior had three choices of lens (in 1915):

B&L Kodak Anastigmat f6.3, #3
B&L Tessar Series Ic f4.5, #15
Cooke Series II f4.5, #2

In the text on the RB Junior, Paine says "Though normally equipped with very long lenses in relation to its film size, samples have been found fitted with the B&L Tessar Ic #14, which provided a greater focusing range." Looking at the 1920 B&L catalog on Camera Eccentric http://www.cameraeccentric.com/html/info/bauschlomb_3.html page 57, the Tessar Ic #15 is a 6 1/2" focal length and the #14 is a 5 1/2" focal length.

Len

Leonard Robertson
12-Dec-2014, 18:44
After my previous post I found the 1916 Graflex catalog on Camera Eccentric http://www.cameraeccentric.com/html/info/graflex_20.html which on page 21 shows the RB Junior.

Len

IanG
13-Dec-2014, 02:20
Thanks for that link, my Graflex is the 3"x5" Compact Graflex which is stated to need a minimum focal length of 6". That means my TT&H 5" Cooke Luxor may not be long enough (I mistakenly called it a Lustar in pst #85 here). I have 3 of these Series II 5" Cooke Triplets, one is marked as a TT&H 5" T-P Cooke Anastigmat - it's fitted to a Thornton Pickard Ruby Reflex. I just checked and these lenses will cover 5"x4"

Ian