View Full Version : Can you show me how a grafmatic works?

14-Aug-2010, 14:29
First post here on LFF =D.

Anyways, just a curiosity, but I'm wondering if anyone here could link me to or post a video of a grafmatic back? I've read about them and understand that it cycles the septums from front to back, but I'm a visual person and would like to see one in action. Are they really worth the $50-100 dollars people ask for them? Thanks in advance!

tom thomas
14-Aug-2010, 16:24
Hi, Tom here. Welcome to the forum. I'm also a fairly new Graflex user. I have a Grafmatic for the 23 model. Haven't used it though as no film available locally.

Here is a URL for the Grafmatic Operations Manual. It may help you visualize a bit.


If you're not a member, you may want to join the graflex.org site as well.


Bill Burk
14-Aug-2010, 16:48
Welcome blind sparks

They are worth the money. To save money, I took a chance on a couple beaten up ones figuring I'd at least get a few extra septums. Turns out they work pretty well so I use them.

They are worth the weight - about a pound each.

Video shows 1 cycle: 1-2s Unlock safety 3-4s Pull slide out, top sheet snaps to front, Can't see it but a red dot shows film is open in gate. Push slide back in behind the septum with first sheet in it. 5-6s ready to shoot. 7s squeeze to latch cassette 8-9s pull out cassette with 5 sheets in it while first sheet snaps to back. 10s push cassette back in.

Can't see it but counter now shows 2. Sheet 2 is in front but behind dark slide so you can take back off camera.

Great thing about the septums, there is a thumb notch where the film notch code goes (impossible to put film in with incorrect orientation). I have a love-hate relationship with the spinning wheel exposure counter. It's great to see which shot you got by number on the film - but because the frame number is in the image, you risk losing a composition, for example a shot I love otherwise a tree that ends just right with a little sky but to crop off the frame number you have to top the tree.

After 6 shots the wheel spins to X and the dark slide is locked and won't pull out again.

Lousy video made for this post: http://www.beefalobill.com/imgs/grafmatic.AVI


14-Aug-2010, 17:53
Bill, that's helpful. Who did the mod on your polaroid?

14-Aug-2010, 21:09
Thank you for the replies. I haven't seen that page before...thanks for the vid Bill! :D

Brian C. Miller
14-Aug-2010, 21:50
A Grafmatic film holder weighs the same as three two-sheet film holders. Yes, it is more compact, it is built tough, but those septums have to be handle with care when they are being inserted or removed.

16-Aug-2010, 07:29
The only problem I have with grafmatics is that they expose a number on each negative on the far right margin, between 1-6. That can be a problem if you're making enlarged negatives the non-digital way. You'd have to mask it off somehow.

Len Eselson
16-Aug-2010, 12:06
I removed the counter wheel from my grafmatics. Somewhere around there are instructions on how to do this properly,preserving the parts. I merely grabed the plastic wheel, and rippied it out by brute force. No more intrusions into my images,

Len Eselson

16-Aug-2010, 14:22
I use Grafmatics as well. I have 6 of them in various forms of thrashed-ness. Like Len above, I hated the stupid counter wheel and took pliers to all of them to eliminate them. I mostly use them on my two converted Polaroids since they make a great fast shooting convenient pair. A couple of tips for you. The film is only safe when the cassette is seated all the way in, so use the lock on the end to prevent accidents. Also, I had a friend that used them with the dark slide hanging out while making exposures and he complained about soft negs. It is important to push the dark slide back in because it presses the film flat from behind. I would also recommend checking the septums from time to time. The septums need to hold the film tight. If the film comes loose it can jam the holder. The holder can also jam if a septum is bent. If the Grafmatic jams, do not force it since you can ruin the septums. Unfortunately, I know all of this from experience.

How do you guys lubricate your Grafmatics? I have used wax and it works ok.

17-Aug-2010, 01:53
I use Teflon bicycle grease to lubricate the graf. One little drop spread everywhere and a rub with a cloth to remove the excess makes perfect non sticky greasing. Once in a year is more than enough...