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National Graflex

 
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t.r.sanford



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

PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2004 1:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The "National Graflex" was still a live memory when I was a youth, and I passed up the chance to buy a clean used one in 1962. I've always wondered whether I made a mistake, although the conventional wisdom seems to be that the shutters in both models were unreliable.

The camera certainly was innovative; I don't know of an earlier design that offered the now-popular 10-exposure format on 120 rollfilm, and I've been told that the "National" had a two-curtain variable-slit focal plane shutter.

Has anyone had any experience with these machines?
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disemjg



Joined: 10 Jan 2002
Posts: 469
Location: Washington, DC

PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2004 1:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have one of these in my collection and it certainly is an interesting camera. It took a while to figure out how to make it work, and while I have played with it I have not put film through it. Your post prompted me to get it out and look at it again.

Allowing for the fact that mine is a bit tired, and may not work as smoothly as one in better condition, I would say that while it would be fun to use on a lark, living with it would be frustrating. It seems slow working and clunky. While it folds into a handy "brick", it does not seem to be anywhere nearly as friendly as say a mini speed. They sold them for many years, so they must have been fairly popular. Most probably wound up in landfills, as you do not see them a lot these days. At the risk of stirring up the ire of those who love 'em, I do not think you missed much by not having one.
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t.r.sanford



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

PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2004 3:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm sure you're correct. If they'd just gone to 12 square exposures, so the need to deal with verticals would not arise, and fitted an automatic diaphragm to it, they might have had something superior to a "Reflex-Korelle"...

When Jason Schneider edited "Modern Photography," he once reported that Graflex patented an automatic diaphragm for SLRs in the 1920s. Why they did not apply this advance to anything earlier than the postwar "Super D," and why they did not produce a "23" version of that camera, I will never know!
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