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Thread: Malfunctioning Grafmatic Film Holder

  1. #1

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    Malfunctioning Grafmatic Film Holder

    I acquired a Grafmatic 4x5 film holder, #1268, it needs a little TLC.
    It works, except the silver lever does not ever change it's position, has to be moved manually. It is supposed to jump to the side locking the slide mechanism. I assume that is the reason that when I pull out the dark slide that the holder slides open exposing all the film. Is this 'Terminal', or can it be fixed?
    Anyone experienced in working on Grafmatic's?
    I'd like to get it working again. It looks in great shape. I'd appreciate a little help.
    Bill

  2. #2
    Unwitting Thread Killer Ari's Avatar
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    Re: Malfunctioning Grafmatic Film Holder

    If I understand correctly, and I'm not sure I do, your lever stays put when it's supposed to lock the dark slide.

    On a normally functioning Graf, the lever only locks the dark slide when the counter is on 'X'; on numbers 1-6, you are free to pull the dark slide anytime (unless you engage the manual lock wheel).
    So, don't pull the dark slide unless you intend to expose film.
    Or, if you have 6 exposed sheets, pull the dark slide in a changing bag only.

    I hope I understood correctly, and that that helps.

  3. #3

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    Re: Malfunctioning Grafmatic Film Holder

    Ari,
    Thanks for your reply,
    I watched Eddie's You-Tube video on how to operate it. The silver lever is supposed to change positions, automatically locking and then unlocking the slide. Mine does not automatically change positions, regardless of whether it is on X or 1 or 2... I can change it manually, but when I let it go it jumps back to the locked position.

    The most problematic is that when I pull the dark slide the entire center portion slides out, as if when you want to load the film. It is unusable in it's present state.
    I am sure that something is malfunctioning. Mine does not behave like the one in Eddies video. Too bad, it looks like a nice unit, I'd like to use it.
    Bill

  4. #4

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    Re: Malfunctioning Grafmatic Film Holder

    A good fix for Grafmatics is to remove the septums. Flatten them out if the corners are bent. Then sell the septums for $6 each.

    Problem solved.

  5. #5
    Unwitting Thread Killer Ari's Avatar
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    Re: Malfunctioning Grafmatic Film Holder

    Bill, have a look here:
    http://www.southbristolviews.com/pic...c45service.pdf
    Maybe it's an easy fix.

    At worst, buy yourself a couple more Grafmatics and use the one you have now for spare parts.

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    Re: Malfunctioning Grafmatic Film Holder

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill, 70's military B&W View Post
    The most problematic is that when I pull the dark slide the entire center portion slides out, as if when you want to load the film. It is unusable in it's present state.
    I am sure that something is malfunctioning. Mine does not behave like the one in Eddies video. Too bad, it looks like a nice unit, I'd like to use it.
    Bill
    I just watched the video again, looks to me like after you cycle the whole then you are supposed to push the dark slide ring in before you can pull it out by itself.
    You can't depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus. ~ Mark Twain

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    Re: Malfunctioning Grafmatic Film Holder

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Barendt View Post
    I just watched the video again, looks to me like after you cycle the whole then you are supposed to push the dark slide ring in before you can pull it out by itself.
    This is correct.

    Jim

  8. #8
    Unwitting Thread Killer Ari's Avatar
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    Re: Malfunctioning Grafmatic Film Holder

    When I want to unload exposed film, here's what I do:
    Set the number wheel to any number 1-6, but not X.
    Pull the dark slide ring and the silver lever together; this pulls the whole septum unit out, along with the dark slide.
    Let go of the silver lever, and push the dark slide ring back in slightly.
    This should make a 'click' sound.
    Now pull out the dark slide; it should come out by itself, causing the septums to pop up slightly, allowing for their removal.

    Practice on an empty Graf in daylight first.

  9. #9

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    Re: Malfunctioning Grafmatic Film Holder

    My Graf is broke, I understand how to operate it. Eddie has a good video on You-Tube which demonstrates how to use it. My silver locking lever does not move by itself. I have to manually push it outward so that I can pull out the dark slide. When I do pull out the dark slide the whole septum unit pulls out and exposes the film, does it every time. It does not matter what number I have it set on. The numbers do rotate, and to unlock the dark slide I do have to push on the handle of the dark slide then push the silver lock lever to the side, it does not move on it's own. The septum unit lock mechanism is not engaging, and the silver locking lever always stays in the locked position next to the dark slide handle, it never jumps to the unlocked position. In fact when I push the dark slide back in I have to move the silver locking lever out of the way.

    Does anyone have any experience and spare parts, and would be willing to help me out. I'm sure that there is a broken part inside. I'd be happy to pay for your time and shipping. It looks like otherwise it's in great shape.

    I looked at the diagram that Ari kindly provided and I'm sure that if I took it apart I would not have the replacement part, and I'm also sure that I would never be able to get it back together.

    Thanks,
    Bill

  10. #10

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    Re: Malfunctioning Grafmatic Film Holder

    I used to use Grafmatics quite a bit and owned up to eight at one time. Granted, I think they do keep your film flatter than the normal holders and perhaps they are easier to manage than three conventional holders. But I learned the hard way that while someone mechanically inclined and patient may be able to fix them, they are not built to last forever and guts inside get bent quite easily. For some reason this usually happens to the cosmetically nice ones, whereas the "users" tend to keep on trucking. Their design is based on bent metal and bending that same metal is the death of them too. I had two out of four fail on my last trip with them, and they had been beeswax lubricated and well used/tested previously. I find the odds unacceptable. Also, for doing portrait work, you can overshoot and use more film than intended. I sent one off for repair and the repair person couldn't fix it either (admittedly he wasn't experienced with them).

    But for all those reasons, that's why I would just sell it for parts or keep the septums for spares and move on. Loosing a big headache for $50 is priceless.

    I was much relieved to switch to high quality Toyo double dark slides. They are nicer quality than the Lisco and Fidelities I used to use, and more reliable in the middle of a shoot. My hunch is that they are a little tighter and more consistent too, which helps with film flatness.

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