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Help... "Top Handle" Speed Graphic

 
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Ryan Chambers



Joined: 23 Dec 2011
Posts: 3
Location: California

PostPosted: Fri Dec 23, 2011 2:31 am    Post subject: Help... "Top Handle" Speed Graphic Reply with quote

Hi All,

I recently bought a Top Handle Speed Graphic from Good Will and I'm really excited! But it's been really difficult finding information on this model. I have two questions that I can separate into two posts if I get any of these faces: .

1. What kind of film back do the Top Handle Speed Graphics (3.25x4.25") use? Will they work with 3.25x4.25" being sold today?

2. The knob "A" for adjusting the slit in the curtain seems to naturally rest just shy of 1 1/2 and I can only turn it to 1 1/2 but it doesn't lock or want to stay there. Is there any way to release it so that I can turn it to the marked slit sizes? I saw in a manual that you need to release the shutter lever "M". But it doesn't seem like that changes anything.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Ryan
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45PSS



Joined: 28 Sep 2001
Posts: 3159
Location: Mid Peninsula, Ca.

PostPosted: Fri Dec 23, 2011 5:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've never seen one nor have I had my hands on one.
http://graflex.org/speed-graphic/graphic-models.html

http://cameraeccentric.com/html/info/graflex_18.html
There will be some minor differences but operation should be the same.
The Focal Plane Shutter underwent some changes from its introduction in 1907 through 1946 but they were minor. FPS in this range operate the same whether in a Graphic, Graflex SLR, or Large Format accessory. In 1946 the Super D introduced the first major change in the focal plane shutter and it continued into the Pacemaker Graphic series.

The top handle either came from the factory with a Graphic or Graflex back, the graphic being the most common.
http://graflex.org/speed-graphic/features.html#GraflokBack

If yours has the Graphic (spring) back then standard two sided film holders will work and use currently available film. 3x4 film (as it is commonly called) is limited in supply and emulsions.
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Ryan Chambers



Joined: 23 Dec 2011
Posts: 3
Location: California

PostPosted: Fri Dec 23, 2011 6:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi 45PSS,

Thanks for you quick reply. I had read that there are two different backs but since I haven't seen any other models (and the pictures make it difficult to differentiate), I'm not sure how to tell which of the two backs mine uses. There is a ridge at the top that the lip of the film holder would fit under and there's two screws with a plate at the bottom that slides up to hold the film holder in place. Does that help tell which back it uses?

45PSS wrote:
http://cameraeccentric.com/html/info/graflex_18.html


I read through the manual but it doesn't seem to address not being able to turn the key to adjust the shutters aperture. The key rests a little shy of 1 1/2 and I can turn it to the left until it gets to 1 1/2 but unless I hold onto the key it turns back to the in between space. And I can't turn past that at all. Any ideas?

Thank you
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45PSS



Joined: 28 Sep 2001
Posts: 3159
Location: Mid Peninsula, Ca.

PostPosted: Fri Dec 23, 2011 7:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A Graphic (spring) back has a ground glass focus panel mounted with a flat spring top and bottom over the film gate. The film holder slides between the focus panel and the camera back and is held in place by spring tension of the focus panel. The entry side of the camera back has a V shaped grove that runs along the outer edge of the film opening and the film holder has a rib that mates with the grove when it has been inserted fully into the camera. This forms the light trap. The film holder should have a second rib that fits against the outer edge of the camera body. Some older film holders may have only the inner rib and may cause a light leak.

A Graflex back has on focus panel. A ground glass panel was available as an option and was attached to the back like a film holder. The Graflex back will have a solid bar across one long side of the film opening in the camera back and a movable one on the other side. The right end of the film opening will have a raised edge of the camera back that fits into a grove in the film holder to form a light trap. The film holders will have a single groove along each long side to fit the fixed and sliding bars.

Sounds like yours has the Graflex back.

A Graphic film holder is 4 x 5.565 inches outside ; a Graflex film holder will be wider and the same length.

------------
The manual only covers correct operation, yours is in a malfunction state.
The problem is similar to the one discussed here:
http://graflex.org/helpboard/viewtopic.php?t=6176
Please do not cut or grind off levers, taper pins, or screws.
The screws around the perimeter of the back may be different lengths. Pay attention to what length goes where when removing the back from your camera. The screw layout will be different from the Graflex. There should be 4 to 6 screws holding the back onto the camera. The curtain is either stuck to itself or is reverse wound on one of the rollers. I can unjam it but it may need a new curtain to work and may not work properly depending on the wear on the roller shafts, bushings, gears, and spring condition.

With the back off the camera and pulling with equal pressure on both sides of the curtain pull back on the M lever and coax the curtain off the roller. Pledge Natural Beauty , yellow spray can, softens the curtain. If its stuck to itself spray both sides of the curtain and let it sit for 15 to 30 minutes then try again.
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Ryan Chambers



Joined: 23 Dec 2011
Posts: 3
Location: California

PostPosted: Fri Dec 23, 2011 7:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You're awesome. I'm heading out of town in a few hours so I can't read through everything now. But I just wanted to thank you. That looks like the same problem.
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45PSS



Joined: 28 Sep 2001
Posts: 3159
Location: Mid Peninsula, Ca.

PostPosted: Fri Dec 23, 2011 8:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I will be running a roll of 120 film through this camera in the next day or so.
http://graflex.org/helpboard/viewtopic.php?t=6131
I have modified it to use 120 roll film.
It has shutter issues that I cannot resolve to factory correct but have it to solid usable.

Step 7 applies to your camera's spring tensioner.
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bruiser



Joined: 15 Oct 2006
Posts: 259
Location: Northern NSW Australia

PostPosted: Sun Dec 25, 2011 10:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Ryan,

I have a 3x4 Top Handle Speed Graphic in my collection: http://graflex.coffsbiz.com on the Civilian Cameras page.

Mine has the Graphic (spring) back so it takes the non slotted type of film holder.

Cheers and Seasons Greetings,
Bruce
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