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Thread: One more question while I'm here - why Large Format?

  1. #81

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    Re: One more question while I'm here - why Large Format?

    That outfit was decades of lugging around a VC, that what the outfit evolved into.

    Speed-Crown Graphics were once the workhorse press-media image making camera. There are LOTs of then around and mostly reasonable camera to use. Due to their age and previous life, most need some kind of service-repair before they can be fully serviceable. This is the kind of stuff that can cause anyone new to VC much grief. One of the key aspects of learning how to use a VC is fully functional and problem free, reliable VC outfit. None of the stuff for anyone new to VC can give much problem as it is difficult enough to go up the VC learning curve as is.

    This is where the recommendation for a known good used Sinar F comes from as they are not expensive, easy to get parts for if needed, very straight forward to use and learn on. While there are plenty of other monorail view cameras, the Sinar stands out as a good value in many ways.

    As a celebrity crow, Ansel Adams used a 4x5 Horseman L monorail for his outdoor Foto classes towards the end of his life.


    Bernice

  2. #82
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    Re: One more question while I'm here - why Large Format?

    I remember we had one student manage to rip out the rear focus track on one of the Crown Graphics, forcing the camera closed without the focus racked in. Luckily I had some spare parts to fix it. By and large I personally haven't seen too many Speeds/Crowns with serious issues, out of the 2-3 dozen I've had through come through my hands.

    PS here's an old photo from 2011 of me and the Toyo GII, hiking up to Clingmans Dome, the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Still have that tripod and use it with my bigger cameras. The metal case had my lenses, loupe, darkcloth, etc. The 15lb Toyo Case stayed home of course!

    Last edited by Corran; 26-Sep-2018 at 12:58.
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  3. #83

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    Re: One more question while I'm here - why Large Format?

    Of all of the 50+ year old cameras I have worked on, I think the Graphic tends to be the camera that wakes from it's slumber the best... Bellows are usually ok, not a lot with the metal or wood, they respond well to restoration and care, and are usually complete enough to shoot (not a lot to fall off and get lost... The FP shutters are another matter, but a good chance can be made to work...

    Too bad there's not a lot of movements available, but it makes up for it by being quite solid...

    Steve K

  4. #84

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    Re: One more question while I'm here - why Large Format?

    Wow, really a lot of great suggestions here, thanks to everyone for being so encouraging.

    Ok, so remembering my previous bad experience with the Graphlex, I also remembered that I still had it somewhere in storage. Dug it out today along with some other stuff (anyone interested in a fully restored Contax IIa with multiple lenses, I'll be posting an ad soon...).

    I remember really not enjoying it when I got it, despite trying it out I couldn't get it to work with me, only against me.

    So I have a "Graphlex Century Graphic" with a Kalart "synchronized rangefinder". The camera has a metal folding viewing hood/shade on the rear that is spring loaded, and came with a few roll film backs (I only found one, it appears to be 6x7cm) by Singer. The two lenses (I thought there were 3, but couldn't find the third one) are Graphlex Optar 101mm f4.5 in an unknown shutter (larger than the other one, but not as large as a #3), and Schneider Angulon 65mm f6.8 in a synchro-compur (guessing #0 by the size).

    The rangefinder doesn't seem to work, but I can focus roughly on the GG with the viewing hood shading the light. I should probably download the instruction manual (again) and familiarize myself with it. It seems to offer front rise as well as tilt, but only tilt upwards and ditto for rise, unless there's some way to drop the bed. I'll need to find a tripod plate for it to attach it to my ball head and tripod (RRS/Arca style).

    Anyway, I suppose I could do a few tests with the camera as it is just to get an idea as to whether I want to get something bigger/meaner, like any one of the many excellent suggestions made here in the last few pages.

  5. #85
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    Re: One more question while I'm here - why Large Format?

    6x6TTL,

    I use 2x3 Century Graphics a lot. I have 4 of them - one of them cut down to an ultralight camera dedicated to ultrawide lenses. I think they are great cameras, especially for travel or hiking due to the size/weight.

    Using them can certainly be a bit fiddly, what with having to switch out the roll back and the ground glass when taking a photo. The ground glass is also of course tiny and a bit hard to focus on, especially with the 38mm I use a lot.

    A 4x5 Graphic is a different animal. The sheer difference in size of the ground glass makes a big difference, and you aren't taking off the back panel to load your 4x5 film, you just slide it under the panel in the DDS holder. The nice thing about a Pacemaker Crown is you can use even a modern 58mm XL on it, up to a fairly long lens if you use a tele lens. It's a pretty versatile camera, but yes movements can be a bit limited. Note that you can reverse the front standard and get forward tilt instead of rear tilt - better for landscapes. But this makes it impossible to drop the bed and correct the lens up to parallel. It really depends on what lenses you use and how you shoot, whether or not you should do it. All my little Century Graphics have the standard reversed, because I don't use the drop bed.

    As with any camera, you really need to know how to use it fully so you don't get frustrated in the field. For instance, yes as I mentioned your camera does have a drop bed. Push the center of the struts that are diagonally between the camera body and bed, and the camera will start to close. Keep the pressure up and straighten them back out and then past where they were, and the bed will push out into the lowered position. Unlock the front standard and correct the tilt back to vertical, and use rise to get back to "center." Note you have a limited range of focus there, and you may have to move your lens on the bed before focusing to get it back into range.

    They are very usable cameras. HERE is a photo I shot with my 2x3 Century and 38mm XL lens a couple weeks ago.
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  6. #86

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    Re: One more question while I'm here - why Large Format?

    OP, I've been a happy user of 2x3 Graphics for years.

    To expand a little on Bryan's comments, be very careful when you close your Century. The focusing rail has to be racked all the way back. If you try to close the camera when the rail isn't racked all the way back -- use the focusing knob to move it as far back as possible, then unlock the front standard and push it as far back as possible, lock it and push on it to be sure -- you risk damaging the links that connect the inner and outer bed rails. Damaging them is a very bad idea.

    I use a focusing aid with mine, a Cambo SF-320 inline viewer. These were, still may be, sold for Cambo 2x3 SF and Ultima cameras, fit all 2x3 Graflok backs. Your Century has a Graflok back. Yes, they're hard to find used.

    Y'r 101 Optar should be in a Graphex shutter (rebadged Wollensak Rapax). If its speeds are off a CLA should restore them and is worth paying for. Your 65 Angulon should be in a Synchro-Compur #00. Same goes for it.

    Unlike Bryan, I've had a really hard time focusing my 2x3 Graphics by eye with the focusing hood erected. When I don't use my SF-320, I use a focusing loupe. My current loupe is a Toyo (discontinued, hard to find), in the past I've used Ednalite Magnifinder loupes. Period correct, not that hard to find (there are 3 up on eBay now), usually inexpensive.

    I agree with Bryan that using clip-on roll holders isn't fun. So I use insertion type roll holders, that slip in like a sheef film holder. The much-despised but very useful Adapt-A-Roll 620, 2x3 size. Not that hard to find, usually not very inexpensive. Read about them on graflex.org. They will feed from a 120 spool, must take up on a 620 spool and (horrors!) don't always wind the film tight on the take-up spool. I unload mine in a changing bag and respool the exposed film in the 120 spool it came from. Not as horrible as it sounds. But since you already have clip-on roll holders, use them unless you absolutely can't stand clipping and unclipping.

    I don't agree with Bryan that using the drop bed to get movements is useful. This works for a narrow range of focal lengths and focused distances. Front rise, all 19 mm of it, is, however, very useful for disappearing foregrounds and shooting tall subjects without tilting the camera and getting (more horrors) converging verticals.

  7. #87
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    Re: One more question while I'm here - why Large Format?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Fromm View Post
    I don't agree with Bryan that using the drop bed to get movements is useful. This works for a narrow range of focal lengths and focused distances. Front rise, all 19 mm of it, is, however, very useful for disappearing foregrounds and shooting tall subjects without tilting the camera and getting (more horrors) converging verticals.
    Dan, I agree! Especially regarding the limited range of useful lenses. My 80mm Xenotar especially doesn't work with the drop bed, as it needs to be right on the ridge of the bed to focus. Anyway, that's why I mentioned reversing the front standard, so that direct forward tilt can be used w/o dropping the bed at all. Again, depends on lenses used.

    Regarding focusing - I have a bad case of near-sightedness, so I look over/under my glasses onto the GG and that works pretty well for me. If I need a loupe I definitely take off the focusing hood and use a darkcloth.
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  8. #88

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    Re: One more question while I'm here - why Large Format?

    Thanks for the ideas.

    Any suggestions as to where on the west coast (Los Angeles) I could get the shutters/lenses checked and serviced?

    I'll look into the Adapt-a-roll, the clip is really tightly springed and a pita to get off the back of the camera, although it clicks nicely into place.

    The bigger problem is the GG, it's horribly dim. I have a loupe, a Rollei 6x6 magnifier designed to also fit onto my 6008i. Alas, it's slightly too big to fit inside the pop-up hood :-(. Typical. I don't want to have to buy another one. I'm nearsighted, and the GG is so dim it's essentially unusable as is. Are there fresnels available? If not, I might just sell it and go back to my search for another camera. There's no way I can focus it as it is.

    Also, do the infinity stops need to be moved when changing from the 101mm to 65mm lens?

  9. #89

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    Re: One more question while I'm here - why Large Format?

    OP, look at the Graflex links in "the list." Here's a link to the list: http://www.largeformatphotography.in...mainly)-lenses

    To clear up a misconception, the Kalart range finder can be calibrated for one lens. When the lens is replaced the RF has to be recalibrated. I've done it, typically takes me around half an hour. Not to be done in the field.

    The way to use multiple lenses on a Graphic with a Kalart is to have an pair of infinity stops and a focusing scale for each lens. Use the Kalart to measure the distance, read it from the scale for the lens the Kalart is calibrated for, transfer the reading to the scale for the lens in use. This is the same procedure used to focus any lens but the normal one on, e.g., a Kodak Retina III. Obnoxious. I just focus on the GG. And I shoot from tripod, not hand-held.

    There are two solutions to switching lenses on a Pacemaker Graphic. Have a set of infinity stops for each lens. Or, have a moveable infinity stop. It is explained in the list's link to "Lenses for 2x3 Graphics", which is under the Small and Medium Format Cameras and Lenses heading. Look in the 2x3 Graphics piece for Chinaman, that's what they used to be called. There are even pictures. Easy to use, a decent machine shop can make one for you if you don't have a milling machine.

    GG dim? Wash it. Or, measure it and buy a replacement.

    Fresnels are available. If your Century doesn't have one -- early ones didn't -- you'll have to mount whatever fresnel you get behind the GG. That's between the GG and you.

    the clip is really tightly springed
    This doesn't sound right. Removing the focusing panel should be easy. Follow the links to a user manual to see how to remove the focusing panel.

  10. #90
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    Re: One more question while I'm here - why Large Format?

    A friend of mine replaced his Century's GG and fresnel with one bought on eBay. He tells me it is way brighter. I haven't seen it, but was going to check it out next time I see him, and maybe get a set for myself if so.

    My GG has nice 6x6 and 6x7 framelines, which is helpful (full frame is 6x9).
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