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Thread: Is it worth it to use the Speed Graphic handheld from time to time?

  1. #61

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    Re: Is it worth it to use the Speed Graphic handheld from time to time?

    I believe Frank Thorp V is shooting handheld speed graphic along with a handful of other things. He's in DC covering Congress for NBC News.
    Another of the Congress photojournalists, David Burnett, has a quite intimidating 4x5" SLR that was custom built for him around an Aero Ektar, with apparently some Graflex parts. I imagine he has to use some fast film and some wide apertures, as he isn't pictured using a flash in any of the photos I've seen.

  2. #62
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    Re: Is it worth it to use the Speed Graphic handheld from time to time?

    Quote Originally Posted by RLangham View Post
    Another of the Congress photojournalists, David Burnett, has a quite intimidating 4x5" SLR that was custom built for him around an Aero Ektar, with apparently some Graflex parts. I imagine he has to use some fast film and some wide apertures, as he isn't pictured using a flash in any of the photos I've seen.
    yeah he's using one of john minnicks' aero liberators ( i think that is what its called ) i've used a regular old 4x5series D with a big fast tessar for handheld/street work, its about 300% easier to use handheld than a speed graphic. my rangefinder for my speed G isn't calibrated so i have to either zone focus or do the groundglass focus-close the lens+stop it down-insert the film holder-dance which is a PITA. the graflex slr's you just focus and shoot... ezpz..
    have fun!
    enjoy your coffee

  3. #63

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    Re: Is it worth it to use the Speed Graphic handheld from time to time?

    Quote Originally Posted by jnantz View Post
    yeah he's using one of john minnicks' aero liberators ( i think that is what its called ) i've used a regular old 4x5series D with a big fast tessar for handheld/street work, its about 300% easier to use handheld than a speed graphic. my rangefinder for my speed G isn't calibrated so i have to either zone focus or do the groundglass focus-close the lens+stop it down-insert the film holder-dance which is a PITA. the graflex slr's you just focus and shoot... ezpz..
    have fun!
    I've narrowly missed buying a Graflex SLR at a place in Gulfport before. I didn't know what shape it was in and I was wanting to take a girl out that night, so I didn't spend the money. As it was she got drunk and made me buy her an expensive dessert! I should have bought it.

    Really, though, my rangefinder is not a worry for me. I took a loupe and a very steady tripod and adjusted both the rangefinder cam and the infinity stops using the license plate on my truck as a target, at like 15, 30 and 60 feet. I got it to where at mid-to-close range, it's *razor* sharp. I also customized the rangefinder by taping a bit of color film (from a blank frame in a developed roll of 35mm) inside the top window to make the rangefinder spot show up bright against a dim image. The reason I worry about image quality handheld is camera shake, especially since only the back shutter works on my camera.

  4. #64
    Corran's Avatar
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    Re: Is it worth it to use the Speed Graphic handheld from time to time?

    Oh, I see you added your location, or perhaps I just missed it!

    I travel to the Biloxi / Ocean Springs area often. I've shot a lot of 4x5 and larger along the coast. Lots of great places I'd like to explore on the Pascagoula River.
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  5. #65

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    Re: Is it worth it to use the Speed Graphic handheld from time to time?

    Oh, I see you added your location, or perhaps I just missed it!

    I travel to the Biloxi / Ocean Springs area often. I've shot a lot of 4x5 and larger along the coast. Lots of great places I'd like to explore on the Pascagoula River.
    I was just visiting family in Ocean Springs the other day... there's a cafe there called the Greenhouse that I really like. We also hit a Goodwill there and I found a Soviet m42 lens for 3 bucks! It's seized up but I'm trying to get it apart to relube it.

  6. #66

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    Re: Is it worth it to use the Speed Graphic handheld from time to time?

    Way back in the 70's I got a job at a NASA base as a photographer. I was given a Crown Graphic, a Honeywell flash and a bunch of grafmatic 6 sheet film holders. The strobe was the kind that had an external high voltage battery that was in a pack that I wore over my shoulder. The head was attached to a flash bulb handle that was attached to the camera and provided a nice hand grip. I would load the holders with 4x5 Tri-X and shoot all kinds of PR stuff. Award ceremonies, group shots, grip and grins, etc. I shot handheld with natural light outside or the strobe inside. The leaf shutter in the lens (135mm) synced at all speeds so it was possible to use the flash to fill in the shadows a bit in direct sunlight. Yes, I did use a tripod when it was appropriate and possible. After an assignment the film would be developed in a Kodak Versamat processor and come out dry in about 7 minutes.

    I know that by this time most of this kind of work was being shot on 35mm but our manager was kind of old school. Also, it allowed us to take just a couple of shots, process the film and have it in the print lab very quickly. It also gave our "customers" fewer shots to choose from and streamlined the workflow. Last but not least, the photographs came out a lot better that 35mm. The tones were much smoother and 8x10 prints were grainless and reasonable cropping could be done without loss of quality. It was easy to edit the shots since the negative was so large. I learned a lot and it was a great experience. I've done it some myself over the years and it is a lot of fun and attracts a lot of attention.

  7. #67

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    Re: Is it worth it to use the Speed Graphic handheld from time to time?

    Quote Originally Posted by henrysamson View Post
    Way back in the 70's I got a job at a NASA base as a photographer. I was given a Crown Graphic, a Honeywell flash and a bunch of grafmatic 6 sheet film holders. The strobe was the kind that had an external high voltage battery that was in a pack that I wore over my shoulder. The head was attached to a flash bulb handle that was attached to the camera and provided a nice hand grip. I would load the holders with 4x5 Tri-X and shoot all kinds of PR stuff. Award ceremonies, group shots, grip and grins, etc. I shot handheld with natural light outside or the strobe inside. The leaf shutter in the lens (135mm) synced at all speeds so it was possible to use the flash to fill in the shadows a bit in direct sunlight. Yes, I did use a tripod when it was appropriate and possible. After an assignment the film would be developed in a Kodak Versamat processor and come out dry in about 7 minutes.

    I know that by this time most of this kind of work was being shot on 35mm but our manager was kind of old school. Also, it allowed us to take just a couple of shots, process the film and have it in the print lab very quickly. It also gave our "customers" fewer shots to choose from and streamlined the workflow. Last but not least, the photographs came out a lot better that 35mm. The tones were much smoother and 8x10 prints were grainless and reasonable cropping could be done without loss of quality. It was easy to edit the shots since the negative was so large. I learned a lot and it was a great experience. I've done it some myself over the years and it is a lot of fun and attracts a lot of attention.
    I used to use that same strobe, really liked them until one day the coil cord from the pack to the strobe shorted out and burned my shirt, my pants and my side.
    Switched to Metz the next day!

  8. #68

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    Re: Is it worth it to use the Speed Graphic handheld from time to time?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Salomon View Post
    I used to use that same strobe, really liked them until one day the coil cord from the pack to the strobe shorted out and burned my shirt, my pants and my side.
    Switched to Metz the next day!
    I was warned to be really careful with the strobe. Something about it could be used to "weld steel". I think they were joking but I was careful anyway.

  9. #69
    Recovering Leica Addict seezee's Avatar
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    Re: Is it worth it to use the Speed Graphic handheld from time to time?

    Quote Originally Posted by henrysamson View Post
    Way back in the 70's I got a job at a NASA base as a photographer. I was given a Crown Graphic, a Honeywell flash and a bunch of grafmatic 6 sheet film holders. The strobe was the kind that had an external high voltage battery that was in a pack that I wore over my shoulder. The head was attached to a flash bulb handle that was attached to the camera and provided a nice hand grip. I would load the holders with 4x5 Tri-X and shoot all kinds of PR stuff. Award ceremonies, group shots, grip and grins, etc. I shot handheld with natural light outside or the strobe inside. The leaf shutter in the lens (135mm) synced at all speeds so it was possible to use the flash to fill in the shadows a bit in direct sunlight. Yes, I did use a tripod when it was appropriate and possible. After an assignment the film would be developed in a Kodak Versamat processor and come out dry in about 7 minutes.

    I know that by this time most of this kind of work was being shot on 35mm but our manager was kind of old school. Also, it allowed us to take just a couple of shots, process the film and have it in the print lab very quickly. It also gave our "customers" fewer shots to choose from and streamlined the workflow. Last but not least, the photographs came out a lot better that 35mm. The tones were much smoother and 8x10 prints were grainless and reasonable cropping could be done without loss of quality. It was easy to edit the shots since the negative was so large. I learned a lot and it was a great experience. I've done it some myself over the years and it is a lot of fun and attracts a lot of attention.
    "Never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig."

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  10. #70

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    Re: Is it worth it to use the Speed Graphic handheld from time to time?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Salomon View Post
    I used to use that same strobe, really liked them until one day the coil cord from the pack to the strobe shorted out and burned my shirt, my pants and my side.
    Switched to Metz the next day!
    Um, Bob, my first flash was a Metz Mecablitz 100. Very useful potato masher style unit, with cables from battery box to flash that quickly aged and became very frightening.

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