View Full Version : New Member - Speed Graphic Graphex lens help please

26-Aug-2018, 08:37
Hi Folks -I've been shooting 4x5 for a while. (Chamonix 45N-2 and Toyo View 45Gii). I just acquired a lovely 1950 Speed Graphic (Pacemaker, I believe) from KEH to try something a little different.

Body appears to be in great shape, but I have a question about the lens.

It came with the Graphex 135 f/4.7 Optar, and the leaf shutter will cock, but I cannot get it to trigger. It will not trigger manually by pressing the lens shutter release lever (#1) with my finger. Nor does it trigger by pressing the body shutter release button. With the shutter selector switch set to "front", I can see the cable move, but there does not appear to be any connection to the lens shutter release lever (#2). It appears that I'm missing a portion of the lens shutter cable release assembly (#2) (see also screen shot from Craig Sheaks awesome how-to video for reference). But I don't understand why I can't trigger the shutter just by manually pressing button #1 with my fingertip.

Also - the lens shutter release lever (#1) appears to be bent backwards. I have nothing to compare it to, but it looks weird compared to other 4x5 lenses that I have used.

I plan to call KEH on Monday, but I want to be sure I'm asking them about the right thing. I'm wondering if I got a wonky lens...

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!



26-Aug-2018, 09:00
Try it with a cable release (#3). If that works, you are all set.

26-Aug-2018, 09:44
To my eye, it looks like the shutter release (1) is bent toward the lens-board. I wonder if gently straightening it toward center might cure the problem? And yes, your camera is missing that necessary bracket / linkage for making contact from the camera release and the shutter release lever. If you don't get any satisfaction from KEH I am sure you could find one on ebay (https://www.ebay.com/itm/Graflex-Crown-Speed-Century-Graphic-Shutter-Release-Paddle-Part-4x5-Camera/153140962700?hash=item23a7e9a58c:g:OBUAAOSwvApaHb3h).

Dan Fromm
26-Aug-2018, 10:18
It looks like the shutter is open. If so, push the press focus lever (it is right next to the bipost type flash terminal) up to close the shutter. It should then function normally.

The front release actuating rod in y'r picture #3 doesn't have the little paddle that should push the shutter release down when the thingy on the body is pressed. FWIW, I regard Pacemaker Graphics' body release for the front shutter as inventions of the devil -- the cable can get tangled in the bed rails when the camera is prepared for closing -- and have removed the cables. The paddles are shutter-specific and hard to find. Also, since you have a Speed Graphic the body release shutter selector lever has to be set to "front shutter."

"The list" (link in the first post in http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?138978-Where-to-look-for-information-on-LF-(mainly)-lenses) has links to manuals for Graphics.

26-Aug-2018, 14:54
Thank you all! I took the lens off the board and straightened both the shutter release lever and the Press Focus Lever - don't know why either of them were bent the way they were-- and it seems to work fine now. Perhaps the bent shutter release lever was preventing the full range of motion of the release.

Gonna call KEH tomorrow to see about the missing "flapper" shutter connector, but someone gave me a lead on that if they don't have one.

Thanks again!

Paul Kinzer
26-Aug-2018, 15:19
I repair and refurbish these old workhorses. I'm glad to see you were able to bend the lever back; you are right that it was causing the loss of the full range of movement.

While I can see Dan's point about the issues with the Speed Graphic's body release, I also think they are ergonomically useful, at least to my hands. I have lots of these paddles in my parts box, and would be happy to send you one; no charge. The paddles do come in different lengths, and I'm not sure if I have a shutter of that size on hand right now. If you do PM me, please include a measure of the distance from the lever to the tripping release rod.

I like the idea that any of these cameras are actually getting used.

26-Aug-2018, 17:30
Welcome, jhaverstick!

26-Aug-2018, 18:32
Thanks so much, Paul, for your kind offer! I'll give KEH a call Monday morning and see what they say. How critical is the measurement from the release rod to the shutter tripping lever? Is there any wiggle-room?

26-Aug-2018, 18:52
Though it may seem great that it's got hand holding & shooting stuff in it, you will find yourself using on a tripod like a proper LF camera, and will enjoy the compact folding design... So don't go nuts trying to get rid of the tripod and stuff... Try not to worry so much about the RF, VF, body release, etc...

You already have other cameras to hold, so learn to make every shot count like a proper LF camera...

Good luck!!!

Steve K

27-Aug-2018, 07:48
Hi Paul - I'm going to call KEH this morning.

I've attached a photo of the measurement. Looks like 15mm from the center of the rod to the center of the shutter release lever... Is that the measurement I should be looking for?


27-Aug-2018, 11:14
Welcome, John!

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

27-Aug-2018, 11:19
Thanks, Jay!

Paul Kinzer
27-Aug-2018, 17:41
Hi Paul - I'm going to call KEH this morning.

I've attached a photo of the measurement. Looks like 15mm from the center of the rod to the center of the shutter release lever... Is that the measurement I should be looking for?


Sorry it's taken me a while to respond: I just sent you a PM, and have a paddle ready to send you.