View Full Version : When holders beat Readyload

Ed Richards
23-Oct-2005, 14:30
Been down in NO shooting some handheld 4x5 of the damage in the flooded areas. Tripods can be a problem with the traffic in some areas, so I was using my old Technika handheld. Holders are pretty fast, but I shot through the ones I had with me and turned to my backup Readyloads. Every try to use them with one hand, while holding the camera in your other hand? Just trying to bend your hand around to clear the pulled out film envelope while holding the grip is a pain.

I will not know what turns out until I finish processing - I found another way to screw up for the list: If you have a convertible lens, use the converted F stop scale by mistake. I think it is time for a little gaffer tape to cover the second set of F stops.

RJ Hicks
23-Oct-2005, 15:09
When I bought my first large format camera, a crown graphic, I also bought 6 graphmatics all from ebay. 4 of them were in great condition one is pretty hard to use because of bent septums and one is missing a few septums, but they work great. I have used them ever since and don't ever plan to get rid of them. Makes handholding 4x5 much easier and quicker. I also sometimes employ a monopod for handholding large format and that seems to make the tricky situations with slower speeds much better, lighter than a tripod too.

Robert Peterson
23-Oct-2005, 15:10
Bet everyone trying to work appreciates your photographing the area.

RJ Hicks
23-Oct-2005, 15:26
Well thats pretty darn negative. I tend to think photographing areas and people hit with disaster is important for numerous different reasons, kind of like combat photography or any other documentary photography.

Dan Jolicoeur
23-Oct-2005, 16:17
RJ have you ever had a problem with your grafmatics rubbing metal to metal on the inside when cycling? The 1st and only one I have ever bought was like this causing little metal dust specs to get all over the film.

After taking it apart and trying to place a little epoxy where it was rubbing, which didn't work. I have always been gun shy to buy another and went to readyloads.

I would certainly like to get another one but, not from an auction.

Paul Ewins
23-Oct-2005, 17:02

The metal-to-metal rubbing could be the little blocks attached to the housing that slide along the slots in the tray. The blocks are screwed in places so there is a little scope for adjustment.

Having said that, I've got fifteen or so grafmatics of which five are "tight" and prone to jamming or otherwise misbehaving. I was lucky in that the first four that I bought were in really good condition so I know what to expect from a good one. The others were bought in two big batches (very cheaply) allowing me to replace the faulty ones with good ones. Most of them have a lot of external wear so it is hard to tell from a photo whether they are "good" or not. Try looking in older camera stores (if there are any near you still in business) or at swap meets where you will have a chance to test them first.

Before I load a grafmatic I always check every septum and carefully straighten any bent corners. I've graduated from the older style JOBO drum (six sheets) to a 3010 expert drum (10 Sheets) so now I only load five sheets of film. However the grafmatic needs all six septums to work properly so the last septum is left empty. I find them easier to load than a DD too. You do need to be methodical when using them to avoid unexposed sheets or double exposed sheets. I try to always have a fresh sheet waiting, so shuffle the exposed septum straight after shooting.

The only down side is that they won't fit under the spring back of my old calumet monorail. I keep meaning to find a way of replacing the springs with longer ones, but there's always another project...

Ed Richards
23-Oct-2005, 17:28
> Bet everyone trying to work appreciates your photographing the area.

That is why I waited 6 weeks. While there is a LOT to do, the city is stablized and many of the businesses are open and trying to get customers so they can survive. The area that was flooded by the lake is abandoned and just waiting to be dozed. It is beyond cleaning up so there is no almost no one working there. The French Quarter is fine and many places are back in business. It is surprising how little wind damage there was, considerting the storm. The flooding was another story. In many places, the old NO style houses which have a ground floor that is just for storage, did very well. The folks who built there before the levees knew what they needed to do to survive storms.

RJ Hicks
23-Oct-2005, 17:33
'The one I have that is really rough seems to rub on the darkslide and on the slide of the tray. I haven't used this holder for shooting because it is pretty rough, but I can see small flakes of metal on it. The other ones I have don't seem to get any excessive dust all over the film. I do take care to vacuum out the holders and septums and check them out before loading and get minimal dust particles. Great holders when handholding a large camera.

Brian Sims
23-Oct-2005, 19:38
> Bet everyone trying to work appreciates your photographing the area.

Yeah. Photographers have been getting in the way of historical events ever since Mathew Brady's crew.

23-Oct-2005, 19:54
4x5 Grafmatic holders weigh almost exactly 16 oz (loaded) and hold 6 sheets. I carry three of them, and have never (30 years) had any problems. They are als0 easier to work with inside a changing bag than individual cut film holders.

Paul Butzi
24-Oct-2005, 07:49
I certainly agree that grafmatics might be the ansewr to Ed's readyload issues working more or less handheld.

As for tight grafmatics, I've had good success disassembling them, giving them a really thorough cleaning, and then lubing them by wiping the surfaces that rub (and slot for the darkslide) with a q-tip with a squirt of dry silicone lubricant squirted on it. To borrow a phrase, just a dab will do ya.

You don't need to get the lube everywhere, just get enough on each surface so that it gets spread when you cycle the mechanism.

Anyway, it worked for me, and I've had no ill effects on film/negs.

David A. Goldfarb
24-Oct-2005, 09:47
Also a fan of Grafmatics, and Kinematics (a little fiddlier but they hold 10 sheets) if you can find them in good condition. They are perfect for handheld 4x5" shooting, and handy also for portraits, where you might want to take a few shots in rapid succession, particularly with a camera like a Technika that lets you check focus with the rangefinder between shots.