View Full Version : Spring Back Conversion

14-Apr-2009, 05:32
Anyone have experience swapping a Graflex 4x5 spring back on a Speed or Crown with a Graflok back to accommodate a Fuji PA45? Besides readjusting the side rangefinder are there any other problems that could arise?

14-Apr-2009, 06:00
The different Graflex backs do not necessarily have exactly the same molding shape on the surface that mates with the wooden back of the camera bodies. I could express this better if I had any handyman type experience, but I don't so I'll just try to describe the issue. The rear of the wooden camera body is not flat, but the wood away from the edges of the back is raised very slightly and mates with the metal of the camera back. I imagine this serves as a light trap. Anyway, I found out the hard way that a Graflock back that had identical exterior dimensions and screw holes as the original Graflex type back on my Annie would not fit because the raised wood of my camera body was wider than the metal female counterpart of the Graflock back, thus making it impossible to get the Graflock back to fit flush against the Annie body. Scratch one Graflock. Since that experience I have not tried again to find a Graflock back for my camera as I do not know how to tell whether it will fit or not, and I'm concerned that the old Anniversaries that were built with the Graflex back option may be structurally a little different than comparable cameras built with the spring or Graflock backs.
Actually, if anyone knows the answer to that question I would appreciate learning it, as I would still like to get a Graflock back on my camera. Even though I have accumulated a fair amount of Graflex back specific film holders, I would still like to have some kind of instant film capabilities that a Graflock back and the Fuji holders would provide (and as the OP observed, the PA-45 does not fit under a spring back).

14-Apr-2009, 06:15
My Super D Graflex has a Graflock back adapted by Lens and Repro. Polaroid (and I presume Fuji) work fine in the horizontal (landscape) orientation, but if inserted from above in the vertical (portrait) orientation the part containing the developing rollers is too thick, and prevents the Polaroid back from seating properly. It does work all right if inserted (or attached) from below, but then it inteferes with the tripod mount.
What seemed like a great idea turned out to be an expensive disaster. And I can no longer use my beloved bag-mags.
Some of the last Super D's came from the factory with Graflock backs, but I've never seen one of them and don't know how well it worked.

Glenn Thoreson
14-Apr-2009, 11:26
You don't say what model your Speed Graphic is. If it a Pacemaker (1947 & up) all you need to do is take one off and install the other one. Easy. Be aware that on the Pacemaker models there is usually a screw under the focus panel, right where the holder slides in. Some folk don't realize this and end up busting something. Crown Graphics are all Pacemaker series. Pacemakers can be identified by the metal lens board. Anniversary models (1940 - '47) will accept a Graflok back in most instances pretty easily. It depends on the age as to whether you would need to do some light seal work where it mounts on the body. The screws don't always line up very well, either. Doable, though. Putting a Graflok on a Pacemaker will not affect the rangefinder setting. On an Anny, it might.

For ljsegil - I've had to use camera light seal foam to seal up what you describe, on some Annys. Just fit it in the groove in the back, where it misfits the body. The right foam seal will take care of the slight difference.

14-Apr-2009, 12:08
I have a Graflex RB and had the back modified to accommodate an international sinar back, yes, sinar. It works well, wasn't very difficult to mount and didn't cost a fortune.


14-Apr-2009, 17:24
LF members, my bust for not including model, I have two 4x5 Graphics, Speed/Crown and wish to convert one with Graflok back. The way prices are increasing on parts it may be cost effective to find a body for parts that has a Graflok back.

Glenn, thanks for the heads up on the screw. I'm currently shopping for a 4x5 Graflok back.

14-Apr-2009, 17:37
I have a Graflex RB and had the back modified to accommodate an international sinar back, yes, sinar. It works well, wasn't very difficult to mount and didn't cost a fortune.


Can you upload a picture of your modified setup? Iím not sure if this is the right forum for pictures. It would be nice to see images of mods discussed.

17-Apr-2009, 16:11
FWIW, I swapped the original antiquated "graflex" back on a speed graphic for a randomly acquired "graflok" back and it fitted in perfectly.

Wade D
19-Apr-2009, 01:31
I have an Anni that had the Graflex back. I bought a spring back for it and even though the screw holes matched, the back wouldn't seat all the way down. Very carefully sanding the raised area on the wood body solved the problem. The areas that were sanded needed to be recoated with flat black paint. I had hoped that no modifications would be required but the light sanding, being careful of getting any dust into the focal plane shutter, worked well.