View Full Version : "Speed Lens" for RB Graflex Super D

Frank Petronio
23-Mar-2006, 19:15
Now that I'm a Graflex convert, I'm wondering what is out there as a "do-able" fast lens alternative to the standard 190mm/5.6 Ektar? Not that the Ektar is a bad lens but I sure would love an extra stop or more for indoor available light photos. I have the auto diaphragm model with 12-inches of bellows. How hard is it to find a diaphragm hardware and lensboards? I never see them on eBay...

Somehow I don't think that an Aero-Ektar is going to squeeze in there, as awesome as it would be!

BTW, I am getting calluses from all those darn knobs to twist!

Peter C. McDonough
23-Mar-2006, 19:27
Try Lens&Repro

domenico Foschi
23-Mar-2006, 19:36
Dallmeyer pentac, Tessar 210 3.5, or a petval, 3.5.

Ed Richards
23-Mar-2006, 19:51
Or use push the film - if you are hand holding, your basic limit of sharpness is not that good, so the grain will not hurt.

Jerry Fusselman
23-Mar-2006, 20:05
Xenotar 150mm or 210mm f/2.8?

Frank Petronio
23-Mar-2006, 20:19
I suspect that deviating far from the 190mm focal length won't be healthy for portraits, unless I do things like using an extended "top hat" board with a ~ 210 or 240.

Yes, I know Lens & Repro is the easy way out, but if I'm patient and learn what to look for I can probably find a similar lens for 30-50% of the L&R price. I'm not in any big hurry, I just want to have fun and not break the bank (or marriage...)

Have people been successful in adapting the auto-diaphragm hardware to lenses other than the 190 Ektar? Or is that a one of a kind deal?

Thanks again

Jason Greenberg Motamedi
23-Mar-2006, 21:32
Domenico's suggestions are right on, I would only add to his list a 210 or 240 Heliar. Note that the lensboards are pretty small, so make sure they fit before you buy. Also the minimum draw is quite restricting, so a 150 Xenotar won't focus on infinity (or even 10 feet). A 210 Xenotar? Yeah, right. Only eight or so were made.

I doubt you will get the auto-diaphragm to work on any other lens.

23-Mar-2006, 21:47

i have a tessar 21cm f3.8 and love it.
i don't have a super, but a series d ... so i don't know
if it will work or anything about the hardware. maybe seth
at camera eccentric.com has a lens and knows abou the hardware ?
he was selling super d's for a while there ..

good luck!

Paul Ewins
24-Mar-2006, 00:09
I realise you were probably joking about the Areo Ektar, but...

I tried the 178 Aero Ektar on my 4x5 Auto Graflex and couldn't clear the mirror at any sort of sensible working distance. However I think the Series D and Super D might have a more compact mirror and shutter arrangement. I can't get infinity with a 210mm lens, yet yours uses a 190mm.

I was thinking of replacing the bellows with a bag bellows to cope with the extra width of the Aero Ektar. I was planning to build a new front standard out of steel with the lens solidly mounted to it. Have a play and see if it looks like it will work. If you can focus to 8 or 10 feet then it could be an awesome portrait camera. I'd certainly be adding series D to my Graflex stable if that was the case.

Frank Petronio
24-Mar-2006, 05:29
Oh that sounds like too much work!

I'm just going to keep my eyes open for lenses but spend my time on shooting, not shopping. The auto-diaphragm hardly matters -- the whole idea is shoot wide open anyway.

Have many of you upgraded to a brighter viewing screen? I see L & R offers to install a Beattie for only $400 ;-)

I get the impression that only rich Euro fashion togs shop there...

Robert A. Zeichner
24-Mar-2006, 05:38
I have a Super D and love this camera. Mine is equipped with a 190 Ektar with AD. To my knowledge the only other AD lens was a 152 Ektar designed for the baby Graflex. Kodak did make some Anastigmats in 8-1/2" and 10" versions that were f 4.5 and available in barrels. I also happen to have a 15" Tele Optar that was fitted with a rather crude but effective diaphragm actuating lever that was fabricated out of brass and copper. Where the lever exits the camera, there is fitted an aluminum panel with apertures stamped into it and witness marks. About a year or two ago, I managed to acquire several mint 12 exposure bag mags for this camera (in original boxes, no less). I don't know if you have tried these yet, but they can be handy. Along with that acquisition, I managed to find a mint in the box 6x9 roll film adapter. That 190, btw is a wonderful lens.

24-Mar-2006, 06:06
Get a tripod, Frank. And a step ladder or soapbox to stand on so you can see down the chimney.

OT, can you visualize little crippled Dorothea Lange manhandling one of these to take most of her wonderful FSA pictures, including "Migrant Mother." And she didn't have an auto-diaphragm or Ektalite viewing glass!

David A. Goldfarb
24-Mar-2006, 07:18
I use a 210/3.5 Xenar with a B&J aftermarket coating on my 5x7" Press Graflex for low light. It just barely fits the lensboard and doesn't focus to infinity on the 5x7", but I just use that lens indoors.

24-Mar-2006, 09:12
Incidentally, Frank, you can probably get an extra stop or two of GG brightness by removing the GG and Ektalite screens and thoroughly but carefully cleaning them. The front surface silvered mirror used in the Super D is bound to be oxidized, but I have no idea how to clean it.