View Full Version : Graphic questions

frank miller
2-Apr-1999, 11:53
Hi, I'm considering buying a Super Speed Graphic with a 135 Optar for $385. Is this a good price/camera? What I am after is a 4x5 for field use and am attracted to the Super because it has a revolving back and front swings. I have access to better lenses but (and here's the really dumb question part) I don't know how difficult/easy it is to mount a lens on a new board. The place that I work has a Calumet monorail that I've found too cumbersome for use in the field. What I would like to do is put the 180 f5.6 Schneider and the 90 f8 Niko n we have on the Graphic and back once in a while. How hard is this? Should I be looking at another camera altogether? Any info would be much appreciated. Thanks

Erik Ryberg
2-Apr-1999, 12:56

It's pretty easy. Your Speed Graphic and the cambo take altogether different boards, but it only takes a few moments to switch. It isn't something you really want to do too often in the field, but it's easy at home. You need spanner tool and you will need a few boards for the graphic, which you should be able to find on the web. Both of those lenses will work on the Graphic.

If you are sure you need the revolving back and the swings, I suppose you should go with the Super Speed. If you want to save a hundred bucks or possibly 200 (if you are prepared to do some searching) you could get the regular speed graphic. If you don't need the focal plane shutter you could get the lighter pacemaker crown graphic. I can't remember if the Super Speed comes with a focal plane shutter or not. They add bulk and size to the camera but I really like mine because it will shoot to an honest 1/1000 second and because I can use barrel lenses, which are cheap. But that's me - cheap.

Remember that the movements are fairly limited on these cameras compared to monorails. I have reversed the front standard on my speed graphic to give me lots of down tilt and I use the rise and that works for me. But it sounds like you might be after more.

2-Apr-1999, 19:19
hi Frank, Erik claims he is cheap, but notice he uses a spanner tool. I use needle nose pliers, and on occasion I have used the tips of the scissors with which I cut negatives. However, I agree with Erik about everything else. I've got a Speed Graphic. I would not want to change lens boards standing knee deep in sage brush, but it is fast and easy at home. and although any of the above mentioned cameras are good and fine, like Erik says, the selection of speeds and the freedom to experiment with any old piece of glass you happen to find interesting is something I like about my Speed Graphic. The going price for one in your typical good small camera store that sells used cameras seems to be about $300, with lens, and the whole thing should be in darn nice condition (maybe with a few holders thrown in)and everything working. I figure it's a plus if the camera is original, because I figure that the lens is working with the range finder (I find that point and shoot feature useful). I've noticed some of the stores will put any one of the old standard lens on it to get you out the door (which is accomidating of them and that's good), but-who knows if it syncs with the range finder then? Good Luck

Bob Salomon
2-Apr-1999, 20:05
A Rodenstock Lens Wrench is one of the easiest ways to fasten shutters to lens boards properly.

The Rodenstock Lens Wrench is about the size of a credit card. One edge has the spacing and flange for 0 shutters, one edge is for 1 size shutters, one edge is for Copal/Compur 3 shutters and the 4th edge is for Prontor Professional 3 shutters. It is very inexpens

Tony Brent
2-Apr-1999, 23:26
Be sure to check out the Graflex web site


Excellent articles on all the camera models, info on lenses and shutters, rangefinders, etc. good help message board.