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Auto Graflex Junior, A Film Back Solution To Shoot 120??

 
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minoltafan



Joined: 20 Dec 2007
Posts: 3
Location: NYC

PostPosted: Mon Dec 24, 2007 3:02 pm    Post subject: Auto Graflex Junior, A Film Back Solution To Shoot 120?? Reply with quote

Ok, maybe there is a better solution out there for putting a 120 film back onto an old Auto Graflex Jr. I'm totally new to this type of camera so forgive me if I'm lacking in experience in the MF/LF format.

I received this Auto Graflex as part of my commission for selling off (and continuing to sell) a large vintage camera collection for a friend's estate.

I knew nothing about this camera beforehand but I knew that it was something I thought I'd like.....and ultimately use. The camera had a 2x3 sheet film back already on the camera with film still inside....from God knows how long ago.

Upon thorough internet research I quickly learned about the Graflex conundrum.....concerning the "Graflok" and "Graflex" backs for the cameras. I learned about the manufacturers' history of Folmer & Schwing and Graflex.

I knew sheet film wasn't going to be practical for me to use. I don't have a darkroom. I don't process my own film. I figured that if I was going to be even slightly inclined to use this camera at all I'd need to use 120 film....due to availability and processing.

There's a specialized photo lab within a 15 minute drive from my work and home that sells, processes and prints 120 slide or negative film.

My solution:

I bought a Graflex RH10 120 film back from ebay for $30 delivered knowing already that it wasn't going to fit the camera. However, there's a machine shop that's next door to my office and I'm friendly with several of the guys there.

So, when I received the Graflex 120, I took it to work with me along with the orginal 2x3 sheet film back that came with the Auto Jr. and asked them to machine the new back according to the old back. They would have to grind off one of the ribs on the Graflex back and then proceed to mill the locking channel.

They did the job in about 2 hrs total since they didn't have a specific "jig" (as they say in machine shop talk) to hold this film back on the mill. Therefore it took them extra time to set up a vice to hold the back to machine half the channel, then flip it over and machine the other half.

Briefly, the back fit like a GLOVE onto my Auto Graflex Jr!!! I can't wait to try it out, I'm so freakin' happy!! Maybe there's a better solution to shoot 120 on these cameras but I really couldn't figure it out through my research......all these backs and adapters and different cameras are all greatly confusing to me.

If anyone's interested in having a back machined, let me know. The machine shop is interested in taking on more jobs like this and if enough demand for modifying these backs grows, they'll build a jig to make the job easier and quicker.

As it stands now, they'd charge $150 to do the job. I have the old 2x3 sheet film back that can be used as the template. No machining is necessary for the width of the back. Only grinding the rib and milling the channel is necessary.

I've written enough......thank you for any ideas or feedback. You guys are the pros, so please enlighten me on anything surrounding these cameras and backs. PM me if you're interested in having a back machined.








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Henry



Joined: 09 May 2001
Posts: 1443
Location: Allentown, Pennsylvania

PostPosted: Mon Dec 24, 2007 6:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Congrats on your film back solution. Can't comment on the price for machining, but $30 for the holder is a bargain for sure. I only wish it hadn't been an RH10 with *gray* leatherette! This is a perfect match for, and intended for, the Century Graphic 2x3 with the red bellows/grey leatherette combination. While not ultra-rare, they are not all that common. I have such a camera and back; the cosmetic effect is impressive, IMO.

Have fun with your Graflex and welcome to the board!
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Les



Joined: 09 May 2001
Posts: 2682
Location: Detroit, MI

PostPosted: Mon Dec 24, 2007 7:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There's one other dirty little secret of Graflex.... The film plane for a Graflex back is in a different position than for a Graphic back...

right now the ground glass on top is set up for a Graflex back, which I think is farther back (and for the ground glass, farther up) than for the Graphic back.

So I suspect you'll have to adjust the ground glass down in order to get sharp images wide open.

Before you do anything take a series of shots with the camera on a tripod at various apertures and see what happens. Better yet make the subject that is near parallel to the ground... like the tops of a picket fence. Mark the one you focused on, that way you'll be able to see if the focus on the film shifted toward the camera or away from the camera.
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minoltafan



Joined: 20 Dec 2007
Posts: 3
Location: NYC

PostPosted: Tue Dec 25, 2007 1:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Henry and Les, thank you for your comments!! Right now, any information is good, since I've never used such a camera nor 120 film.
I've been shooting 35mm SLR's my entire life!

Right now, my Auto is at a shop in Pennsylvania having the entire focal plane shutter curtain remade and fixed. When I got the camera only the 1/8 and 3/8 shutter settings worked. The guy said the rollers and track were completely dried out but is definitely fixable. It's going to cost me $100 but I think it's ok for this beauty.

I showed the repair guy my newly machined back. He said he thinks the register will be fine, but the only way to really know is to shoot a test roll and see what happens.

I should have the camera by late January.
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C. Henry



Joined: 13 Dec 2005
Posts: 359
Location: North East Georgia, USA

PostPosted: Tue Dec 25, 2007 1:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Les' suggestion to make tests at various apertures is appropriate as long as at least one of those tests is wide open. The minimal depth of field when wide open will best show focusing mismatches.

C. Henry
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Henry



Joined: 09 May 2001
Posts: 1443
Location: Allentown, Pennsylvania

PostPosted: Tue Dec 25, 2007 8:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

minoltafan, where in PA is your repair guy?
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minoltafan



Joined: 20 Dec 2007
Posts: 3
Location: NYC

PostPosted: Wed Dec 26, 2007 4:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Henry wrote:
minoltafan, where in PA is your repair guy?


http://www.southernexposurecamerarepair.com/

Southern Exposure Camera Repair
21 N. Main St., Suite 9
Coopersburg, PA 18036
Phone: 610-282-5725
Fax: 610-282-5726
Business Hours: Monday through Friday 8AM to 4PM
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Henry



Joined: 09 May 2001
Posts: 1443
Location: Allentown, Pennsylvania

PostPosted: Wed Dec 26, 2007 4:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ten miles south of my house! Fact is, they restored to useful service my X7A (shutter wouldn't fire) and did a CLA at reasonable cost. At the time I also confirmed with them that they work on view camera shutters. Highly recommended!
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