View Full Version : Hand Held Verito 7in Camera Options

10-Feb-2007, 05:56
Greetings , "Warning, possible silly noob questions approaching Will Robertson"
I am trying to get my head around the idea of utilising my Verito in a hand held camera such as a speed graphic with a coupled rangfinder.I know this involves recamming or grinding the cam to suit the lens but as I intend to use only this lense on the camera its not such a big deal. Being hand held my first concern is weight. Can some of the smaller speed graphics be converted to 4x5 operation forgoing the revolving back? Are there any other options I may not have considered already? I did think about using one of the polaroid 110 converted to 4x5 but I don't think the bellows have enough draw and the weight of the lens would probably pull down the lens board. Thoughts anyone?
Peace and goodwill fergs

10-Feb-2007, 06:54
Another option would be to pick up an earlier Speed Graphic with a side mounted rangefinder. You can adjust it to work with your Verito with a screwdriver and a little bit of time and patience. Having a cammed lens on a newer Speed would be more convenient, but if you don't plan to swap lenses often, it would be the easy way to go.

If light weight is your primary concern, a pre-anniversary Speed would be the ticket. I have a Pacemaker, an Anniversary, a pre-anniversary and a top handle Speed. The Pre-Anniversary is the one I grab the most often to shoot, because it is the lightest to tote around. The caveat here is that it does not have a Graflok back, and you won't be able to use roll film holders. A topmounted Rangefinder (cammed) Pacemaker Speed is also much heavier by comparison.

Per your question about using the Verito on the smaller speeds, I just held my 7-1/4" Verito up to a lensboard from my 2x3 Century Graphic. It would be a very tight squeeze to get this lens mounted on the board. I also doubt you would be able to get in very close to your subject with the limited bellows draw on a 2x3 Speed with a 7" lens. I have never heard of anyone converting one of these to a larger format, but I suppose given enough motivation anything is possible. A 3"x4" Speed might be a better candidate for a conversion like this.

To be honest, I have never mounted my 7" Verito on any of my Speeds. I use it exclusively on my 4x5 Graflex RB Series D SLR. It is a dream to use with this camera. I find it very easy to focus at the larger apertures that you will probably be using for the soft focus effect of this lens. Also, since it is an SLR, you know exactly what your framing is. I can get pretty close with my Speeds, but it is always more of an approximation than an exact science. It also has a revolving back to switch from landscape to portrait format easily. The camera is larger than the Speeds, but it is light and not too unwieldy in use.

One other thing I like about using the Verito on the SLR is that it is easy to attach a roll film back to the camera and really play with the lens to figure out the soft focus effects at the different apertures. I can get 12 shots on one roll with my 6x6 roll film back. It is a quick way to get to know the capability of the lens (and a whole lot of fun). Another caveat I should mention is that the 4x5 film holders and roll film backs for the older Graflex SLR's are a different design than a standard holder. They are not as easy to find, but they are available if you keep an eye out for them.


10-Feb-2007, 07:20
thanks Harold, I forgot all about the graflex, I supposed they were enormous and boxy hence heavy, but slr would certainly be a lot easier. I'll look into it.

peace and goodwill fergs

David A. Goldfarb
10-Feb-2007, 08:35
With a soft focus lens the location of the plane of focus is a subjective matter, and you want to be able to judge the effect as you adjust the aperture, so using a Verito with a rangefinder would be missing the point.

The Graflex SLR is the way to go. The 7" Verito should be perfect on 4x5". They are boxy, but surprisingly light and well balanced.

domenico Foschi
10-Feb-2007, 11:07
The weight difference between a small speed graphic and a 4x5 is not that much, definitely is not worth the work.

Leonard Robertson
10-Feb-2007, 12:31
On my kitchen scale I got these weights, all without lens or board:

4X5 Graflex D - 7 1/4 lb. has an add-on metal plate on the bottom which adds some weight.

4X5 RB Auto Graflex - 8 3/4 lb.

4X5 Anniversary Speed w. spring back - 5 5/8 lb.

4X5 Anniversary Speed w. Graflock back - 6 lb.

4X5 Side RF Pacemaker Speed w. Graflock back - 6 lb.

4X5 Top RF Pacemaker Crown w. Graflock - 4 3/4 lb.

2 1/4 X 3 1/4 Pacemaker Speed w. Graflock back - 3 3/4 lb.

The scale was calibrated with a 5 lb. iron barbell weight, so the figures aren't accurate to the ounce, but they are hopefully close enough to compare weights. Someone might want to weigh their cameras as a check on my figures.

10-Feb-2007, 12:59

That is very interesting, thank you for taking the time to weigh your cameras. I do not own a Crown, but I am very impressed at how light it is according to your findings. My Pacemaker Speed with a side mounted rangefinder "feels" signficantly heavier than my pre-anniversary. My bathroom scale and I have such a disagreement about it's potential for accuracy, that I will pass on trying to replicate your study!

I am surprised that the RB weighs that much more than the speed. I suppose the fact that it is larger and easier to hold has fooled me.


Leonard Robertson
10-Feb-2007, 14:12
Harold - The Graflex D in particular I would like to see someone else's weight on. Mine has some extra metal added. I suspect the stock curb weigh is somewhere under 7 lbs. I don't think my Ohaus doper's scale has capacity enough to weigh Graphics or I'd use it.

Rounding my figures off, a Speed is about a pound heavier than a Crown, and about a pound lighter than a D Graflex. Of course the D is held down at waist level, and the Speed up at eye level, so the perception of the weights will seem different.

11-Feb-2007, 00:48
Greetings Fellas, thanks for all the replies.What sort of money do the graflex slr go for and is there a particular model I should be looking for.

peace and goodwill fergs

11-Feb-2007, 05:42
With a soft focus lens the location of the plane of focus is a subjective matter, and you want to be able to judge the effect as you adjust the aperture, so using a Verito with a rangefinder would be missing the point.

The Graflex SLR is the way to go. The 7" Verito should be perfect on 4x5". They are boxy, but surprisingly light and well balanced.

i agree with david 100%.

the graflex slr is a great camera to use with ( or without ) a verito.
it really doesn't feel like it weighs that much, even though it weighed in at 7-8 lbs.

good luck!

11-Feb-2007, 06:31
The most common Graflex SLR's in the 4x5 format are the Series B, Series D, Super D and the Autograflex. Graflex.org has some very good information available. http://www.graflex.org/articles/series-d/ You might want to look in the help forum on the site if you have any specific questions. They are upgrading the site and it says it is locked, but the archive search still works and folks are still posting there.

Some basic differences that I am aware of:
~Series B - Fixed lensboard
~Series D - Interchangeable lensboard, built in lens shade over lens
~Super D - Flash synch connector on body, auto set diaphragm, simplified shutter speed tension settings and some came with factory graflok back.
~Autograflex - Longer bellows, inerchangeable lens board, drop bed capabilities and rising front standard.

As for prices, they are all over the place on the auction site. I would be tempted to only buy from someone who can accurately describe the camera and the shape of the focal plane shutter. As-is and "I don't know anything about cameras" auctions can be a bargain or a real nightmare. And also look for a camera that comes with a few film holders, as they are not easy to find when you "need them", only when you have already built up your stash do they show up in quantity!

Ernest Purdum
11-Feb-2007, 10:12
I think a "D" or Super "D" would be necessary. The "B" would require extensive surgery to mount the lens and the RB Auto Graflex needs a longer focal length.

Super D's are pretty expensive. Their biggest advantage is the auto diaphragm which doesn't work with other than the standard lens. A plain "D" would seem the best choice unless you find a Super with Graflok back.

Leonard Robertson
11-Feb-2007, 12:53
To add to what Ernest said, I measured from film plane to front of lens board and found:

4X5 D Graflex 6 5/8 inches.

4X5 RB Auto Graflex 8 3/8 inches.

These are very quick and approximate measurements. Richard Paine in "A Review of Graflex" gives "Focal Capacity" for the D as 12 inches and for the RB Auto as 18". The RB would be a good choice if you need to focus close with a long focal length lens. For a lens shorter than 8 inches, I agree with Ernest the D would be the best bet.

I suspect most professionals in the days when Grafllexes were commonly used, had both a Graflex and a Speed Graphic (for use with shorter focal length lenses). Rather as a later generation of photographers used Leica M for shorter FL and Nikon F for telephoto work.

Ernest also mentions flash sync built into the Super D. I believe this only synced for the special long-burning FP flash bulbs, not electronic flash. Someone correct me if I'm wrong about this. I have an after-market flash sync built into my RB Auto, but have never tried to use it.

Finally, maybe I've had bad luck with Graflex shutters, but I've had curtains tear on three of them. I realize these are old cameras, so it is more a disappointment than a huge shock, but anyone getting into Graflexes should be aware of the possibility. I'm not saying don't buy one, just be aware someday you may have to replace the shutter curtain. If you ever take one on an important shoot, having a back up camera would be a really good idea. Or maybe I've bought all the ones with weak shutters, and the rest of you are safe.

12-Feb-2007, 01:56
As my Grandfather used to say "Always with the questions"
Now as my 7 inch Verito is apparently a convertable by removing the front element making it a 'something bigger' inch Verito(anyone know to what?) and as I would like to use both (one as standard and the other as portrait) which would be the better of the graflexes to get. We can chuck out the B (fixed lens board) but now iit gets a little confusing as what is the minimum focal length on the RB Auto, I suppose if its too long you could recess the board as long as you have enough travel for the verito minus the front element. Or will the D cover both situations. Thanks for all the replies, this is turning out to be very informative.
peace and goodwill fergs

Leonard Robertson
12-Feb-2007, 12:00
fergs1 - This page: http://www.cameraeccentric.com/html/info/wollensakcath/p12.html
shows the 7 1/4" FL Verito having an 11" FL using the rear cell alone. As to a recessed lens board for a RB Auto Graflex, keep in mind the board is rather small - 3 3/4" square. The opening in the recess behind the board is even smaller. From the film plane to the front of the mirror as it swings up is approx. 6 3/4", so in theory your 7 1/4" lens could be recessed enough, but I'm not sure the small board has enough room for the recess. Is your lens in barrel mount or shutter? That will make a difference in having room inside a recessed board.

Now on a D Graflex, the 7 1/4" lens should work well, but the maximum extension, film plane to front of lens board is approx. 11 3/4". A normal 11" FL lens would probably focus at infinity, as the nodal point which FL is measured from is usually at about the position of the diaphragm. But with the single cell used behind the diaphragm, I don't know where the nodal point will be located. And to focus very close you need even more extension.

I have a feeling an extended lens board for using the 11" lens on the D Graflex may work best for you. You seem to be right in the area where neither camera will quite do what you want to do. The obvious solution is to buy one of each. That way you will also have a backup camera. Most of the people I know who have Graphics or Graflexes have more than one. Owning a dozen or more isn't uncommon. So you may as well throw caution to the wind and start your collection.

12-Feb-2007, 22:47
Hey Leonard can I show my wife your recomendations about owning several, shes gonna love you! Not!:) Still nothing but good advice about the rest. I will go down the D or Super D path as I'm itchin to use the Verito.Now the real work begins,,finding one in good nick in Australia.I'm lucky in that a good friend of mine is a Leica technition so he may be able to help get one going although its a bit like asking a porsche mechanic to "'take a look at my tractor can you"
peace and goodwill fergs

Leonard Robertson
13-Feb-2007, 07:43
fergs1 - My wife never complains about my cameras since she has a couple of horses. She doesn't have to haul hay for my Graphics like I do for her critters.

You may get lucky and find just what you need over there. I suppose shipping will be expensive if you find one in the US, although that may be what you will have to do. I think there were some British made sheet film SLRs, but I don't know a thing about them. They may be just as rare where you are as Graflex.

As you are Graflex hunting, the odds are you will find a Speed Graphic for sale first. Even though I agree with the other people who say a Graflex is better for use with your Verito, you should be able to use it on a Speed, focusing on the ground glass. Something to fill in until you find a Graflex. But of course you must get the idea past TW (the wife). Try "These cameras are an investment. They are going up in value every year." or "I'll shoot portraits and make money" or "All the other guys have a dozen or more. I only want two (or three)".

17-Feb-2007, 07:03
greetings, ive just been reading the graflex site and I;m abit confused. When you release the mirror does it fly up quickly and then release the shutter like any modern slr(minus the auto return) or do you slowly raise the mirrow until it trips the shutter(which would kinda negate the advantage of having an slr since in the time it takes to raise the mirrow gently you may have inadvertedly moved the camera slightly buggering the composition, or can you do both
peace and goodwill fergs

David A. Goldfarb
17-Feb-2007, 07:29
You release the shutter and the mirror flies up automatically before the shutter opens, just like on a modern SLR.

Leonard Robertson
17-Feb-2007, 08:22
Actually, you have a choice with most Graflexes. Next to the mirror cocking lever on the right side of the camera is a sliding tab. In one position, tripping the left hand shutter release releases the mirror and as soon as it is up, the focal plane shutter fires. In the other position of the sliding tab, the LH release only releases the mirror. Then the shutter is tripped by a lever on the right side, just above the mirror cocking lever. On some Graflexes, this sliding tab is really stiff and hard to move. On this picture: http://www.cameraeccentric.com/html/info/graflexcatc/p4.html
H is the mirror cocking lever, D is the sliding tab, and M is the focal plane shutter release used when the mirror is up.