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Thread: Gowlandflex question

  1. #1

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    Gowlandflex question

    Hello all -

    I just picked up a 4x5 Gowlandflex TLR and cannot wait to jump into it. Iíve read through many of the Gowlandflex and Gowlandflex adjacent threads on here and appreciate everyoneís insight.

    That being said, questions.

    1 - What era is this? I see what I think is PGís serial number (587) and assume that itís late era.

    2 - Any insight into correcting potential focusing issues with this model? Same as here?

    https://www.largeformatphotography.i...g-Strangeness&

    I imagine that at some point Iíll have to recalibrate things. Hopefully later than sooner.

    3 - Any thoughts re the knob sticking off of the back? Itís about half way up on the left.

    I thank you all in advance!

    Click image for larger version. 

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  2. #2
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    Re: Gowlandflex question

    This is an early-style 4x5 Gowlandflex, even though someone put on it a taking lens mounted in a later Copal shutter. Those Ilex Paragons could well have been original with the camera, but the Copal shutter most definitely is not.

    Dunno what the thing that sticks out on the left above the back assembly is for. The 4x5 Gowlandflex in this style that I owned for a while did not have it. Take off the GG panel and see what, if anything, it's connected to inside the camera.

    Test the camera and see whether you actually have any focusing problem before worrying about how to fix it.

    And... find someone to pose for you and have some fun!

    EDIT: looked at your website, I imagine you're used to finding people to pose for you.

  3. #3

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    Re: Gowlandflex question

    Quote Originally Posted by Oren Grad View Post
    This is an early-style 4x5 Gowlandflex, even though someone put on it a taking lens mounted in a later Copal shutter. Those Ilex Paragons could well have been original with the camera, but the Copal shutter most definitely is not.

    Dunno what the thing that sticks out on the left above the back assembly is for. The 4x5 Gowlandflex in this style that I owned for a while did not have it. Take off the GG panel and see what, if anything, it's connected to inside the camera.

    Test the camera and see whether you actually have any focusing problem before worrying about how to fix it.

    And... find someone to pose for you and have some fun!

    EDIT: looked at your website, I imagine you're used to finding people to pose for you.
    Hey there-

    Thank you for weighing in - I appreciate it. I took off the GG panel and was surprised to find the mysterious hardware secured by an interior nut for seemingly no purpose. No connection to anything. A dead end.

    I made a few tests of static subjects that I hope to develop before the weekend is over. I attempted to photograph my son using available light and it was a disaster - he’s too squirrely and the old scuba viewer is difficult to use in open overcast sun. I think that using this with studio lighting (read modeling light) will be much more enjoyable.

    Any thoughts re using a loooong loupe in tandem with the scuba viewer? I see a bunch of intriguing options on the auction site and wonder about sticking a long loupe into the scuba viewer to obtain critical focus. (The scuba viewer is about 5.5” long.)

    Barring disaster I will share uploads soon.

    Again, thank you!

    Re finding sitters, the pandemic has not been kind. It’s a frustrating time to do the kind of portraiture that I enjoy the most - up close and personal, or the approximation of with a long lens.

  4. #4
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    Re: Gowlandflex question

    Quote Originally Posted by joelio View Post
    Any thoughts re using a loooong loupe in tandem with the scuba viewer? I see a bunch of intriguing options on the auction site and wonder about sticking a long loupe into the scuba viewer to obtain critical focus. (The scuba viewer is about 5.5” long.)
    You may have trouble finding a long enough loupe, and the opening in the "scuba viewer" doesn't leave much maneuvering room. I need a pretty strong correction for near-sightedness, and at this point in my life I find the scuba viewer more or less unusable either with or without my glasses. I remove it, drape a BTZS focusing hood over the top of the camera and either eyeball the glass directly from very close with my eyeglasses removed or use the same loupes that I use with other LF cameras.

    Something else to do as you're getting started: set up a test target and compare the view on the top of the camera with what shows up on the GG on the back at typical working distances, so you can get a feel for the magnitude of parallax between the viewing and taking lenses. You may find it helpful to make some simple correction markings on the viewing glass.

    Quote Originally Posted by joelio View Post
    Re finding sitters, the pandemic has not been kind. It’s a frustrating time to do the kind of portraiture that I enjoy the most - up close and personal...
    Indeed. < sigh > Looking forward to better times...

  5. #5
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Gowlandflex question

    There were a few variations made https://www.petergowland.com/about

    Mine came without lenboards, which screwed in like yours

    The upper lens can be adjusted by shimming and moving the mirror

    The front surface mirror is delicate, mine has dust...obviously

    These were studio cameras used with flash, either handheld or...

    GOW 2 (1) by TIN CAN COLLEGE, on Flickr

    GOW 1 by TIN CAN COLLEGE, on Flickr

    I will be rebuilding mine as I now have better parts
    2022

  6. #6

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    Re: Gowlandflex question

    Quote Originally Posted by Tin Can View Post
    There were a few variations made https://www.petergowland.com/about

    Mine came without lenboards, which screwed in like yours

    The upper lens can be adjusted by shimming and moving the mirror

    The front surface mirror is delicate, mine has dust...obviously

    These were studio cameras used with flash, either handheld or...

    GOW 2 (1) by TIN CAN COLLEGE, on Flickr

    GOW 1 by TIN CAN COLLEGE, on Flickr

    I will be rebuilding mine as I now have better parts
    I got mine back when I had a studio in the mid 60s. It came without lenses and I decided to call Peter Gowland the next day to order a pair. So at 9 AM when I got to my office in CT I called Peter. He didnít use an answering machine. I woke him up as he was in CA! He called me back a few hours later.

  7. #7

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    Re: Gowlandflex question

    Does anyone have advice on the thumbscrew mentioned here?

    https://www.largeformatphotography.i...hots-L-bracket

    My Gowlandflex was advertised with portrait orientation Graflok photographs though arrived with it mounted in landscape. Hopefully this is something fantastically obvious.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Thank you in advance.

  8. #8
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Gowlandflex question

    Just checked mine again

    It has 2 thumbscrews that do nothing and the black felt on this one covers the area where it could swivel

    Portraits are usually shot vertically

    Peter Gowland shot a lot of swimsuit models in studio

    Buy one of his old magazines on ebay

    I have
    2022

  9. #9

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    Re: Gowlandflex question

    Quote Originally Posted by Tin Can View Post
    Just checked mine again

    It has 2 thumbscrews that do nothing and the black felt on this one covers the area where it could swivel

    Portraits are usually shot vertically

    Peter Gowland shot a lot of swimsuit models in studio

    Buy one of his old magazines on ebay

    I have
    I am primarily interested - scratch that - only interested in using this for portraiture and in portrait orientation. I’m waiting to hear back from the seller re their experience with changing the Graflok’s orientation though don’t feel any magical thumbscrews in the felt.

    Thanks for weighing in! I’ll check out the magazines, too.

  10. #10

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    Re: Gowlandflex question

    Hello all -

    The friendly folks at Catlabs clarified their success with rotating the Graflok - no tools necessary, just firmly twist from the corners into portrait orientation.

    Beautiful!

    Thanks, all, for the help. You are all incredible.

    V/R,

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