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Thread: Auto Graflex - manual of arms and tips needed

  1. #1

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    Auto Graflex - manual of arms and tips needed

    Hi, I've avoided buying one of these for years, always wanting the 5x7 one. But this 4x5 was clean and 50 bucks, so I sprung for it.

    The shutter curtain is wrinkled, but seems to travel ok. I'd say is sounds accurate within +/- 50% of the stated speeds! Film is forgiving, I'm not too worried about that. But I'm trying to figure out how to use the controls. The manuals don't help, they seem to concentrate on adjusting the shutter tension and setting speeds. I have a Speed Graphic, so that's not prob.






    Just fiddling with it, it seems like I have it figured out (please confirm!).

    1. Push down the single control on the left side down. That flips the mirror so you can view through the lens. Also seems to be the shutter trip, right?

    2. Wind the shutter where you want it, wind the tension where you want it.

    3. Focus, and press the left side lever once again. The screen goes dark, mirror flips up, and shutter slot runs by the back.

    Is that it?



    I was hoping for a Cook, or a Struss, but it has the lowly Tessar. Clean and iris works fine. Anything else to watch out for, or things to optimize using it? Thanks.

  2. #2

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    Re: Auto Graflex - manual of arms and tips needed

    The shutter release is on the other side low on the camera... On the mirror lever release, there is a small slide marked I or T, I will lift mirror and fire the FP, but T will just pop mirror up, but on top of plate is a slender metal lever when pulled back will fire FP alone...

    Curtain might have pinholes so check, but if you keep mirror down before and after shot, you might miss pinhole exposure...

    Try not using the higher shutter tensions, as the curtain is old, and there is less FP curtain recoil vibration when shooting...

    Vac out entire camera carefully, and remove top GG and wash with dish detergent for better veiwing... Mirror is front surface easily damaged by even light cleaning, so go forward carefully, or leave a little dirty...

    Use a good lanolin based leather cleaner like Lexol on the outside, and repeat application in a couple of weeks...
    Get lubing tips from graflex.org and ask weird questions there...

    The lens should be fine and FL just what the camera likes... Too short of lens might not focus to inf, too long lenses might have cut-off in camera, and lenses with rear element too far back can hit mirror, so check carefully...

    Fun cameras, now you can shoot like Alfred Stiglitz in a snowstorm... ;-)

    Steve K

  3. #3

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    Re: Auto Graflex - manual of arms and tips needed

    Garrett, the list has links to Charles Monday's Graphic/Graflex files. There's a Graflex instruction book. Since it is from Graflex it is poorly organized and the instructions aren't near the picture of the camera with parts tagged but they're there. The list also has a link to Pacific Rim's Graphic/Graflex section. It has another instruction book. Most Graflexes are very similar, so even if neither mentions the Auto Graflex they'll both tell you more than you need to know.

  4. #4

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    Re: Auto Graflex - manual of arms and tips needed

    Thanks both. I'll fiddle with it some more, and need some graflex film holders before I can shoot it. But will give it a try.

  5. #5
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    Re: Auto Graflex - manual of arms and tips needed

    hi garrett

    do your best not to leave it stored for any length of time wound up so use the switch to wind down your tensioner from 2 to 0
    with the little knob/slidy thing to the right of the wind knob, do the same with the curtain shutter.
    if you want to tighten the spring a little bit, this is how i have done it with my series D..., its not hard..
    basically you put the camera on its side with the springs on "0" and you take the nut off and expose the threaded shaft and remove
    the bottom tensioner plate off and you carefully wind the shaft a few turns and put the plate back on. its basically the same operation
    more or less as with a speed graphic if you have done on of those.
    have fun with your new fun camera !
    john
    enjoy your coffee

  6. #6

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    Re: Auto Graflex - manual of arms and tips needed

    It was needed - I have a bunch of 4x5 film in the freezer, but only a Speed Graphic and I think a Korona in that size. I better shoot it more, my usual 5x7 and whole plate are getting too expensive.

  7. #7

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    Re: Auto Graflex - manual of arms and tips needed

    Quote Originally Posted by goamules View Post
    Thanks both. I'll fiddle with it some more, and need some graflex film holders before I can shoot it. But will give it a try.
    I believe bag mags will work too.

  8. #8

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    Re: Auto Graflex - manual of arms and tips needed

    Still want to buy a couple of proper film holders (see WTB ad).

  9. #9

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    Re: Auto Graflex - manual of arms and tips needed

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim C. View Post
    I believe bag mags will work too.
    I find that bag mags seem to be less clunky to use with the camera (over double-sided holders) when shooting handheld.
    Reid

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/rjbuzzclick/

  10. #10

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    Re: Auto Graflex - manual of arms and tips needed

    OK, maybe I'll try them. I found 2 excellent condition ones a couple years ago, and promptly sold them thinking I wouldn't use them.

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