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GRAFLEX 3x4 ANNIVERSARY SPEED

 
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wrktoohrd



Joined: 07 Feb 2004
Posts: 11
Location: Washington DC

PostPosted: Sat Feb 07, 2004 7:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello,
I am new to large format and am searching for a camera on a budget. I already have a nice 35mm Canon outfit but want to get into a larger format. I found a nice 3X4 Graflex and the price is right and the film even though not as available is still obtainable over the internet for reasonable enough. My question is, would I be making a mistake by purchasing this camera as my first large format? It comes with 5 film backs and for around $100 the price is right. Thanks for any help you can give this newbie.
Colin
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t.r.sanford



Joined: 10 Nov 2003
Posts: 812
Location: East Coast (Long Island)

PostPosted: Sat Feb 07, 2004 8:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I bought a used 3-1/4 x 4-1/4 "Anniversary Speed" in the late '60s, and it is a wonderful camera.

You can get film, in a few emulsions, from Film for Classics (at present), and you always can cut down 4X5 sheet.

Only you know whether the annoyance of doing this, the continual sense of facing the alternatives of extra effort or extra expense, will discourage you from using the camera. If they will, I'd look for a 4x5.

If they won't, I'd go for a 3-1/4x4-1/4 in good working order. It's smaller and lighter than a 4x5, and accessories are likely to be cheaper.
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Dan Fromm



Joined: 14 May 2001
Posts: 1883
Location: New Jersey

PostPosted: Sat Feb 07, 2004 10:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

On 2004-02-07 11:45, wrktoohrd wrote:
Hello,
I am new to large format and am searching for a camera on a budget. I already have a nice 35mm Canon outfit but want to get into a larger format. I found a nice 3X4 Graflex and the price is right and the film even though not as available is still obtainable over the internet for reasonable enough. My question is, would I be making a mistake by purchasing this camera as my first large format? It comes with 5 film backs and for around $100 the price is right. Thanks for any help you can give this newbie.
Colin
t.r. made some good points.

If you want to do "real" large format photography using substantial movements, a Graphic may not be for you. If you want larger negatives and perhaps a little front rise from time to time, a Graphic will do just fine.

Whether a Graphic's limited movements will restrict you too much is for you to decide.

If you want to shoot color and NOT with a roll back, 3x4 is not for you. If B&W is what you want, look into sheet film from J & C at wwww.jandcphoto.com I think they're competitive with Film For Classics.

Cheers,

Dan
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Nick



Joined: 16 Oct 2002
Posts: 494

PostPosted: Sat Feb 07, 2004 11:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Does it come with a lens? If so the lens might be worth most of that price. If the lens covers 4x5 you could always keep the lens and get a new camera later. OTOH $100 will get you a 4x5 camera. It might not be perfect. It might not have a collectable name on it. But $100 can get you a working 4x5 camera. It all depends on how you intend to use the camera and how often.

Personally I've considered picking up a cheap 3x4. But it would have to be cheaper and I'd be picking it up to use along with my other cameras.

A question for everybody. Wouldn't cutting down 5x7 make more sense then cutting down 4x5?
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t.r.sanford



Joined: 10 Nov 2003
Posts: 812
Location: East Coast (Long Island)

PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2004 3:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Starting with 5x7 sounds like a very good idea to me. One would have to do the math to determine whether it would save money and, if so, how much.

I think 4x5 film is somewhat more readily available than 5x7, although the latter format has held on longer than I would have guessed, ten or fifteen years ago.
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RichS



Joined: 18 Oct 2001
Posts: 1467
Location: South of Rochester, NY

PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2004 4:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I haven't checked in a while but as I remember, film cost was pretty much by the square inch. So if you bought 8x10 and cut it to 4-4x5, the cost would be the same as buying 4x5 in the first place.

As for cutting 5x7 or 4x5 for a 3x4, cutting 4x5 is the way to go.

If you cut 5x7 for two 3x4's, you waste 11 square inches of film. 7 along the long edge and then the remaining 4 at the short end.

With 4x5, you only waste 8 square inches. 5 on the long side and the remaining 3 at the short side...


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wrktoohrd



Joined: 07 Feb 2004
Posts: 11
Location: Washington DC

PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2004 10:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the replys, and when I meant on a budget I meant the camera not the film. The camera I was looking at did not include the lens or front shutter and for the ease of film loadind and such I have decided to wait and save up and buy a model with a Graflok back, probably a 4X5. Which model would you recommend that has more movements? I just purchased a sekonic L-358 light meter so I am covered there. Also what lens do you think I should I start with as I will only be able to purchase one to start out with.
Thanks for all of your help.
Colin
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Graflex Sid



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Posts: 221
Location: London,England

PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2004 11:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Colin,
Just to say-welcome to the Quarter Plate section for collectors of the Speed Graphic.
I've 2 models,with a 135mm OPTAR & a 127mm EKTAR. (circa 1949).
Brilliant lenses.
Rather more rare than the other sizes,I use them for b/w only,either with a roll film back or sheet film.

The design is still a work of art...May you have many hours of splendid photography with your 3x4's.
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Nick



Joined: 16 Oct 2002
Posts: 494

PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2004 1:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

Which model would you recommend that has more movements? Also what lens do you think I should I start with as I will only be able to purchase one to start out with.



You don't say what you intend to use it for. Both questions to at least some extend depend on what the final use of the camera will be. The B&J press camera I bought is cheap and other then the total lack of rear movements is very good from the movement point of view. A good monorail would provide all the movements front and rear but will be harder to hike with. But it can be done. OTOH If all you take is portraits then you don't need a lot of movements. I'd guess the big issue would then be longer bellows.

Which sort of lenses will also depend on what you intend to do with the camera. For just general use any of the modern 150mm will be more then good enough. They also aren't that expensive on the used market. The older 150mm,135mm or even 127mm lenses that came with the press cameras will have less coverage but they are even cheaper. But you might want a wider or longer lens depending on what you want to do with the camera.
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Nick



Joined: 16 Oct 2002
Posts: 494

PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2004 1:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

On 2004-02-07 20:24, RichS wrote:

If you cut 5x7 for two 3x4's, you waste 11 square inches of film. 7 along the long edge and then the remaining 4 at the short end.

With 4x5, you only waste 8 square inches. 5 on the long side and the remaining 3 at the short side...




The thing is with 4x5 you end up with 1 sheet of 3x4. With 5x7 you end up with two sheets of 3x4. So while you waste more you also waste less per finished sheet of film. I guess the simplest way to look at it is that a box of 5x7 film isn't twice the price of a box of 4x5 but you'll end up with twice the amount of 3x4 if you cut it down.
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t.r.sanford



Joined: 10 Nov 2003
Posts: 812
Location: East Coast (Long Island)

PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2004 2:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You do have a wider range of choices if you decide to go with 4x5, both in terms of available film and used equipment. As other respondents have observed, the question then is whether having extensive perspective controls is more or less important than ready portability.

The "Pacemaker Speed" and its companion "Pacemaker Crown" (no focal plane shutter, so a shallower body) have decent front rise (and fall, by means of the drop bed) and tilts, and useful but limited front shift. The Burke & James "Speed Press" referenced above has more extensive tilts.

Historically, the American "Meridian" and British "Micro Technical" by Micro Precision Products added limited back movements, as the Linhof press/field cameras do. Their limitation is that you'd have to make some modifications to mount a "Graflok" back on one (and on the B&J, too -- it does have a rotating back, though).

If you have not done so already, it would be well worth your while to spend some time working through this site. There is a lot of material here that you'd have a hard time finding elsewhere, if you can find it at all.
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xyzphoto



Joined: 03 Jan 2002
Posts: 47
Location: Oklahoma

PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2004 9:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you use 5 x 7 to cut 3.25 x 4.25, remember that one piece will not have any notch(s) to identify the side with emulsion and the notch(s) on the other piece will not be in the typical location.
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t.r.sanford



Joined: 10 Nov 2003
Posts: 812
Location: East Coast (Long Island)

PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2004 10:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Right, a code notch is very important! When making some kind of guide or jig to trim the film in the dark, you might attach a small paper punch with a piece of stout cord, for easy access while you still remember which is the emulsion side.

Regarding "real" large format photography, there were several little-remembered cameras available in the '50s -- I remember the "New Vue" and something called the "Brand 17 Universal." There is some discussion of the "New Vue" on the Web; I can find nothing on the "Brand 17 Universal." I believe I saw one once, in the old Columbus Camera deconsecrated church, fifteen or twenty years ago. I have a vague recollection that it was a design that mated two tubular rails with a press-style back, rather like a "Rilex," but larger.

Information about these cameras might be useful and interesting.
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