View Full Version : Rangefinder or Infinity Stops on PM Crown Graphic? Confused...

10-Jul-2011, 15:29
I'd appreciate any help you all can offer. I've been all over the web, including graflex.org, but I'm confused about the procedure.

I have a Pacemaker Crown Graphic 4x5 with 152mm lens and top-mount rangefinder. I had this camera CLA'd a few years back by Fred Lustig in Nevada, and it's a beauty when I use the GG. I haven't used in much since Fred worked it over, and I hadn't noticed before now that the RF and the GG aren't agreeing. But I'm not sure how to figure out what the problem is and how to fix it.

When I focus on something about a mile away using the GG, the front standard is right up against the infinity stops as it should be. So it seems that the infinity stops are where they should be --- correct?

But at this point (everything locked down) the RF is not coincident, and the front standard is as far rearward as it can go. So it would seem the RF needs adjustment. If correct, how do I do it?

I've removed the top housing from the RF, but I'm unsure what screws to adjust to get everything lined up. All the online instructions I've found about RF adjustments are vague or confusing.

I can't say 100% that the correct cam is installed; not sure how to find out. But there IS a cam in place. I'd like to think that Fred verified this, but....

Any help would be appreciated.

Jim Noel
10-Jul-2011, 15:40
The Pacemaker does not have a cam like the Super does.
It is necessary to focus the camera at infinity (over 200-300 feet will do), set the infinity stops against the front of the upright which holds the lens board. Then the rangefinder must be set internally to match the lens you are using. This is not necessarily something a repairman would be expected to do with a CLA unless specifically noted.

10-Jul-2011, 15:55
So the RF is the problem. I presume I have to adjust something so that the infinity object is coincident in the RF window when it's also sharp on the GG, right?

What do I adjust? Is there a screw or something to turn? This is what all the instructions I've found don't seem to make clear.

Jim Graves
10-Jul-2011, 15:58
Try this link: Link to Graflex.org (http://graflex.org/speed-graphic/) Note the links to each of the 3 types of range finders on the left-hand side.

Oren Grad
10-Jul-2011, 16:25
The top-mounted rangefinder on late model Crown and Speed Graphics does use cams. So you'd need to a) have the correct cam and b) have the rangefinder mechanism correctly adjusted as well. I've never seen instructions for doing this adjustment.

On the Graflex.org site you can find instructions for adjusting the Kalart side-mounted rangefinder, which doesn't use cams. It's pretty fiddly, but doable if you have patience and a steady hand with delicate mechanisms.

Jim Graves
10-Jul-2011, 16:38
Try using this search on ebay: cam (graflex,graphic,crown,speed)

The parenthetical search phrasing (graflex,graphic,crown,speed) in combination with the cam search phrase searches for any title containing the combination of cam graflex, cam graphic, cam crown, or cam speed.

Here's the link to the current result for that search so you can see examples of the cams: Link (http://photography.shop.ebay.com/i.html?_nkw=cam+%28graflex%2C+graphic%2Ccrown%2Cspeed%29&_sacat=625&_odkw=cam+%28graflex%2C+graphic%2Ccrown%29&_osacat=625&_trksid=p3286.c0.m270.l1313) ... [NOTE] Only 127mm and 135mm available right now but the 152s show up occasionally.

10-Jul-2011, 18:25
I'll second that the Pacemaker Speed Graphics have a cam and are not adjustable beyond replacing the cam. Here's my experience: when I got my Pacemaker Speed Graphic, I focused the rangefinder at infinity (something a couple of blocks away in my neighborhood), and found that the focus scale on the bed agreed with this. However, when the lensboard was placed at the infinity stops, the image on the GG was a bit out of focus. I moved the lensboard to where it agreed with both the GG and rangefinder at infinity, and then moved the infinity stops to that position so everything agreed with each other at infinity. After a few more checks however, I discovered that at the close end of the range (6'-10') the rangefinder and GG did not agree. After many failed attempts to get everything to line up, I finally decided to pull out the cam and make sure it was the proper one for my lens (135mm Optar). It was the correct cam, but when I put it back in the camera, it went in with a very solid snap, much more solid than when it came out. After realigning the rangefinder and focus scale, with the GG and infinity stops, everything came out correct across the board.

Ivan J. Eberle
10-Jul-2011, 21:54
It's pretty straightforward with an old Optar or Raptar 135mm (same lens, rebranded). Most of the press cameras of the era had either of these two lenses installed and these 135mm cams are likely the one most often found installed.

As I discovered when I tried to install a 135mm Caltar in a Super Graphic, the seemingly minor actual flange focal length differences of different brands lenses at the same stated length is enough to throw things off kilter.

OP didn't mention exactly what 152mm he has installed. I know there were at least different Ektar and Wollensak lenses at this length (NOT rebranded), maybe others. Could be different enough to require different cams.

What I ended up doing so long as I owned the Super Graphic was easier than calculating and grinding a new cam. I simply used it exclusively with a Wollensak Raptar (and soon mated the Caltar 135mm to a Meridian with a side-mount Kalart Synchronized RF that could be adjusted perfectly!)

tom thomas
11-Jul-2011, 11:37
There is a Service Manual for your later model Pacemaker Crown which includes illustrated adjustment procedures for the the rangefinder.

Check out this site:

This URL should open up the manual itself. It's 6.5MB packed with info.

There is an Operators Manual as well at this site for the top rangefinder model. The instructions for checking/removal/install of cams are in this manual.
Try this URL:

I have a Speed Graphic 45 of the same era. I used the pictures in this manual to locate and reset a small spring tensioner I'd found stuck under the top rangefinder cover. Held one of the focusing mirrors in place. Focus was unreliable before I found and fixed this problem.

Tom Thomas