View Full Version : Speed Grpahic Aero Ektar combo.

7-Jun-2007, 18:47
Has anyone here had much success with aligning the rangefinder? I am starting to think align for the 135mm and just GG the ektar.

Frank Petronio
7-Jun-2007, 19:36
It can be done but it is very marginal at handheld portrait distances because >1" of error will blow the focus when you are using the Aero-Ektar wide open. But for medium distance shots it is the bomb.

Walter Calahan
7-Jun-2007, 19:41
Or put the lens on an old Graflex like it did. You can't focus to infinity, but for portraits it's perfect.

I just wrote about mine on my blog.


The two images on my home page were shot with the Graflex / Aero combo without a tripod!

ps - I also have an Aero on a Speed Graphic with it rangefinder coupled, but I still check the ground glass.

7-Jun-2007, 20:19
You CAN set the rangefinder to work, however as Frank says-it can be tricky up close. Take a look at a friend of mine's work with the Aero/Speed combo: http://ingado.com/other.shtml, most shot handheld. Actually 95% shot hand held. So it can be done.

I had my Speed cammed for my Dallmeyer Super Six 152/1.9 and a friend of mine had his cammed for an Aero and another for a 165/1.8. All are dead on. However I think that when you're shooting with these, especially close, a tripod is key.

Bill Moretz at Pro Camera in Charlottesville, VA (www.procamerava.com) can machine a custom mount for a Speed or a Graflex, install a new ground glass (makes a HUGE difference) and in the case of the Speed cam the rangefinder so it's dead on. Not exactly inexpensive, but if you're going that route you want it done right and he's the guy.

The Aero is a great lens. One other body to consider is the Mentor (a German SLR same era as the Graflex) 4x5. Not only does it have a great shutter mechanism but also it HAS movements on the front standard. There is/was on the auction site, check it out.

Good luck.

Robb Scharetg

Dan Fromm
8-Jun-2007, 02:52
Hey, Robb, a little off topic, but how do you like your 152 Super Six? I ask because in the couple of years that I had a 6" I never tried it out.

8-Jun-2007, 08:01
I have got the Kalart instructions, a metal field rule and long workshop. So hopefully I can get it all sorted out. I think the kalart manual has helped greatly. My infinty focus is the issue so I need to attack the hidden screw first.


11-Jun-2007, 22:40
I've shot with a f2.8 xenotar on a century graphic and those kalart rangefinders can be dead-on accurate. It just takes some patience to get them adjusted. Also remember to double-check the focus every once in a while.

Donald Qualls
12-Jun-2007, 11:46
For whatever it's worth, my Kalart is accurate enough with a 13.5 cm f/4.5 Skopar to get dead-on focus at f/5.6, focused at under six feet; haven't tried it closer and wider open than that. It did take me about a half hour to adjust in, following the procedure that's online at Graflex.org, and will take about that long again if/when I change it to match a different lens (say, if I start using my 150/5.6 Componon for hand held instead of the Skopar).

One important trick is to set up your test object, especially at four feet, so it's lined up with the RF, not with the lens; you can easily focus on the ground glass for an object that's a few inches off axis, but if you can even see an object that far off axis in the RF patch, adjusting for it will be inaccurate.

Worth remembering, too, that if you're hand holding the camera you almost can't avoid moving by more than the DOF between focusing and exposing with a wide aperture at LF focal lengths and close distances -- limits the utility of the RF in low light, but that's just the way the physics works...

I actually had to reset the standard following arm on mine to get it adjusted in -- which was interesting, and took a couple tries to get within adjustment range for the infinity setting in the RF...