View Full Version : Flash sync with Graflex Speed Graphic

3-Dec-2007, 14:34
Dear all ye experts. I have now managed to equip my Graflex Speed Graphic with the legendary Aero Ektar 178/2.5, which for some reason seems like the only natural lens for this camera (not entirely true, but ...). However, due to the natural lack of light during winter here in Norway, I would for obvious reasons love to send some flash light through this massive piece of glass when doing portraits. Hence, the question is: Can this be done? Will it sync on any curtain speeds with an electronic flash? T at least? Or will I have to go for a Kalart bulb flash?

In anticipation of and so on ... Bjarte

Neal Shields
3-Dec-2007, 14:51
I don't think you can. On a Super D you can but you use the swing up mirror as a shutter blind. As I remember (don't trust me on this, there are foil contacts on the Speed shutter curtain that trigger the flash. Those would be set for bulbs and fire while the shutter was still closed.

If it can be done someone at Graflex.org would know how.

I am sure there there is a Speed Graphic manual there.

I think I also remember that there was an aftermarket accessory that mounted on the outside of the camera and was tripped by the wind leaver.


Paul Ewins
3-Dec-2007, 15:21
The flash sync is set up for bulbs, which take 10 - 20 milliseconds to get up to full power. You will need FP (focal plane) bulbs as these are the only ones that burn long enough to cover the whole duration of the shutter sequence. This should work on any shutter speed.

On my (post war) Speed Graphic none of the speeds use a full aperture slit, this is only available on the "T" setting, so even if you rigged a delay so you could fire an electronic flash with the shutter open you would still cut off part of the negative. I guess that on "T" you could manually fire the strobe.

Glenn Thoreson
3-Dec-2007, 19:26
Is your lens in a Supermatic shutter? If so, does it have the bi-post flash connection? There are three Supermatic shutters that these lenses were commonly mounted in. There was the Flash Supermatic that had sync for medium peak bulbs (M) and gas filled Speed Midget bulbs (F). They will sync with electronic flash by not cocking the flash sync lever. Then, the was the Supermatic X, which syncs with electonic flash and will sync with bulbs at speeds 1/25 and, preferably, slower. The last is the plain Supermatic with no sync mechanism. These 203/7.7 lenses are sometimes found in Compur or Graphex shutters, also. If you have a Pacemaker model camera, the rear shutter curtain does have flash contacts. They more often than not don't work though. If you should have one that you're sure does work, it will only sync with No. 6 or 26 focal plane flash bulbs. You can always use open flash in the dark. Open shutter, flash, close shutter. You can't do that if there's ambient light to contend with. If your front shutter does have a bi-post flash connection, you can get a bi-post to PC cord from Paramount Cords. Good luck with our new camera.

Ole Tjugen
3-Dec-2007, 23:52
Glenn, he's using an Aero-Ektar. I don't believe they ever came in shutters...

Mark Sampson
4-Dec-2007, 06:53
Hot lights are the best idea by far for portraits with your setup. That way you'll be able to see the lighting on your subject before making an exposure, and your sitter will be kept warm as well.

Glenn Thoreson
4-Dec-2007, 12:44
Glenn, he's using an Aero-Ektar. I don't believe they ever came in shutters...

Thanks, Ole. I don't know how I came up with a 203/7.7. Senior moment, I guess. Anyhoo, I made another mistake about the flash bulbs. A No. 6 focal plane bulb isn't powerful enough for 4X5. They're only recommended for up to 2X3. The No. 2A (big!) is good for 4X5. It may be a moot point, considering availability.

5-Dec-2007, 01:29
Thanks a lot for all your valuable advices. I managed to connect my flash via a bi-post to pc female cord, and the curtain shutter does indeed release the flash on 1/1000, 1/250 and T (why not on 1/50?). When I trigger the flash on T, the flash fires when the shutter is fully open, so I actually get a full image.

I wonder, wouldn't it be possible to modify a Speed Graphic into a flash only-camera? If I could make the curtain go from pre-T to post-T by pressing the release button just once, I could adjust the tension of the curtain to make the shutter speed pretty fast.

5-Dec-2007, 08:15
I just did a portrait of my daughter with my 178 Aero and flash on T setting. It worked wonderfully. I mounted a cable release on the Speed Graphic body, and then pressed it twice as quickly as I could. The curtain triggered the flash, and the portrait came out razor sharp at f/8.

5-Dec-2007, 13:41
Here's my first flash picture from my Speed Graphic Aero Ektar combo:
I'm rather amazed by the result.

Dan Fromm
5-Dec-2007, 15:20
Your daughter is not amused.