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Thread: 4 X 5 Grafmatics, are there different versions?

  1. #1

    4 X 5 Grafmatics, are there different versions?

    I saw the following statement on a vendor's website:

    "4X5 GRAFMATICS There are 2 versions of Grafmatic filmholders, although they are not differentiated by model number, but by features and performance. Those of you who have learned from experience know the difference; you know that one is worth having and the other is not. I buy and sell only the better Grafmatics."

    Does anyone know what the different versions are and how to tell them apart? Are the differences really all that significant or important?

    Regards,

  2. #2

    Join Date
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    4 X 5 Grafmatics, are there different versions?

    I have a couple of different versions and use them with paying any attention to the differences. They function the same for me.

    steve simmons

  3. #3

    4 X 5 Grafmatics, are there different versions?

    There are also graphmatics that use a leather bag to change plates. I havent used them myself, but you run a risk of leaks in the leather. I heard that they still work well if they are in good condition.

  4. #4
    Whatever David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    4 X 5 Grafmatics, are there different versions?

    I own eight Grafmatics, and I have two types. Earlier ones don't have the pin that locks the holder on "X" after the sixth sheet. If you pull out the box and look on the bottom surface, you will see a hole with a pin in it on the later version, and if you turn the counter with the box out, you will see the locking pin come out on "X". Earlier versions don't have this pin or the hole, and some later ones that once had the pin seem to have lost it, perhaps in the course of maintenance of the holder. Both types are Cat. No. 1268.

    How to tell them apart at sight from a picture? Look carefully at the address line. The older holders that I have say "Rochester8, New York" and the later ones say "Rochester, N.Y.", and even later ones don't have the address at all, but say "A subsidiary of General Precision Equipment Corp." It is possible that this is not an absolutely reliable method of distinguishing earlier from later versions, but it is the case for the ones I have.

    If you have one that doesn't lock (I have three), just be careful when removing it from the camera not to pull it by the darkslide handle but by the body of the holder. I just label the ones that don't lock to remind myself, and I don't have a problem with them.

  5. #5

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    4 X 5 Grafmatics, are there different versions?

    I've had two types of Graphmatics in the past, but now only have one:

    I believe the newer version of the holder completely locks after you've shot the 6th sheet of film, preventing you from accidentally opening the holder without rotating the frame-knob from 'X' to 1.

    The other (original, older?) version does not lock, with the tray able to slide out without pressing any unlocking lever (after the 6th sheet is exposed - you still have to unlock it to advance the film). I sold this particular verion of the holders I had. Nothing wrong with them, but I liked the locking version.

    If you see a photograph of them (as on eBay), you can differentiate between these versions by way the back body is attached with screws at the 'pull' end of the holder. The ones that lock have two screws on each side that are NOT recessed. The backs that don't lock have recessed screws, and I believe there may be three screws instead of two.

    Hope that helps.

  6. #6
    tim atherton's Avatar
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    4 X 5 Grafmatics, are there different versions?

    "There are also graphmatics that use a leather bag to change plates. I havent used them myself, but you run a risk of leaks in the leather. I heard that they still work well if they are in good condition."

    I don't believe that's a Grrafmatic - and you cna't get the film packs for them anymore.

    On the grafmatics, there are also two (?) different versions for different grafic backs - the most common fit the standard graflok type 4x5 back and most other camera backs - the other version doesn't... I think the graflex site has something on differentiating them
    You'd be amazed how small the demand is for pictures of trees... - Fred Astaire to Audrey Hepburn

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  7. #7
    Robert A. Zeichner's Avatar
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    4 X 5 Grafmatics, are there different versions?

    "There are also graphmatics that use a leather bag to change plates. I havent used them myself, but you run a risk of leaks in the leather. I heard that they still work well if they are in good condition."

    I don't believe that's a Grrafmatic - and you cna't get the film packs for them anymore.

    Just to clarify the above, the type of magazine with the leather bag is commonly known as a bag magazine or bag mag. It consists of twelve (or in one case, 18) metal septums designed to be loaded with standard 4x5 film and stacked in a spring-loaded, light tight box that fits onto the camera like a film holder. There were 5x7 and 3-1/4x4-1/4 versions as well. The magazines were generally furnished with the Graflex mounting profile as opposed to the Graflok type. Inside the magazine is a puller that retracts one septum at a time and moves it to the flexible leather bag, which unrolls from its snapped-in-place storage position. The user then physically tilts the septum with the exposed film rearward behind the rest of the stack and pushes it through the bag into place. The spring pushes the next septum into taking position. Each septum has a silver number on it that can be seen through a red celluloid viewing window on the rear of the magazine. So, as you can imagine, this is nothing like a Grafmatic. Just another amazing product from this prolific and innovative manufacturer.

  8. #8

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    4 X 5 Grafmatics, are there different versions?

    Just to add to what has been stated above, There are grafmatics that were made to fit the Graflex back (on the big SLR cameras) as well as the ones for the more common slide in style backs. These holders are wider and will not fit in standard 4x5 camera backs. Sometimes sellers on e-bay are unaware of this and do not note it in their descriptions. The notch near the darkslide end is the give-away.

  9. #9

    4 X 5 Grafmatics, are there different versions?

    Grafmatics were also made under license in UK. I have 3 grafmatics, 2 US made and 1 UK made. Sadly (as a UK citizen) I have to report that the US ones work and the UK one does not but that may just be as luck would have it.

  10. #10

    4 X 5 Grafmatics, are there different versions?

    Many Thanks to all who responded. I now have a more complete understanding of yet another obscure and arcane area of photography. Long live hand-held large format photography!

    Regards,

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