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Storyteller



Joined: 01 Jan 2013
Posts: 7
Location: United States

PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2013 8:35 pm    Post subject: New Century User Reply with quote

Hi, Im Storyteller.

My folks just got me a Camera, which I believe from their description is a Century Graphic with a "23" roll film holder. It has a 103mm Trioptar lens. It has no rangefinder.

I am interested in what this camera can do. I have read the page here on it, and Dan Fromm's list of lenses. It was comprehensive to say the least.

I consider it a 'poor man's Horseman' and intend to use it as a medium format system for 120 film and some plates if I can get a focusing glass.

My interests are primarily landscape, bridges, buildings and such. Old signs. Id also like to do some portraits but not as much.

Id like to get an affordable lens in the 60-90mm range, probably around 80mm or less, to get more out of the 6x9 format the roll holder and plates offer.

Id rather like to get lenses that will grow with me, to a 4x5 system if at all possible, or at least adaptable to perhaps a mamiya RB67 if such a thing can be done.

Thank you, I look forward to using this camera, once its actually in my hands and learning a lot about photography.

--Storyteller
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Dan Fromm



Joined: 14 May 2001
Posts: 1884
Location: New Jersey

PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2013 3:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Affordable lenses in the 60-90 mm range that will cover 4x5? Think hard about what you want to do before spending a penny.

90 mm is very close to normal (=100 mm) for 2x3. On a small budget, getting a 90 wouldn't be my first priority. 90/6.8 Angulons and Raptars, 88/6.8 B&L are probably the least expensive 90s out there. These will all just cover 4x5. 90/8 Super Angulon isn't a happy fit on a Century. I've tried it.

As you'll have read, I'm very happy with my 80/6.3 WF Ektar. These days they seem to be scarce, more expensive than they used to be. Won't cover 4x5.

At 65 mm, 65/6.8 Angulons and Raptars/Optars are probably the least expensive lenses out there. Won't cover 4x5. The 65/8 Super Angulon will just cover 4x5, is more expensive.

I don't know the RB system well, do know (a) that it doesn't like lenses with short back focus and (b) requires lenses in shutter. I don't think any w/a lens for 2x3 has long enough back focus to be adapted to an RB, could be mistaken.

Good luck, have fun,

Dan

Oh, and by the way, I hope y'r new Century has a focusing panel. If it doesn't, you're in for shopping adventures.
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Storyteller



Joined: 01 Jan 2013
Posts: 7
Location: United States

PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2013 11:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

no focusing panel, Im looking around for one, but they are rare.

ok, getting a lens that fits the century and a 4x5 is unlikely at best. You say a 90 is close enough to the 103, so Id say I am really looking for something between 50-75mm. The 65mm sounds about right. Ill look for an Angulon in this range. Sharpness and clarity are desired, in a good shutter. I do not want to fuss with needing to screw things in from the back afer the standard is in place, just a decent lens for outdoor work.

Ill keep looking. I will probably only get a lens or two for this machine, and get a broader collection in 4x5 when I get one.

Will any rangefinder work? It does not have the Kalart, so it will just be an aid. Otherwise, Ill be using the hoop finder at best.
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Dan Fromm



Joined: 14 May 2001
Posts: 1884
Location: New Jersey

PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2013 1:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Storyteller wrote:
no focusing panel, Im looking around for one, but they are rare.

Will any rangefinder work? It does not have the Kalart, so it will just be an aid. Otherwise, Ill be using the hoop finder at best.
A rangefinder, e.g., Kalart, can't be calibrated without a focusing panel. I think you mean viewfinder, not rangefinder. I don't use my Graphics' viewfinders to compose, compose on the GG. For you, finding a focusing panel or modifying a film pack adapter into one (hint, you'll need a shim as thick as the front of the fpa between gg and the fpa shell) is the first priority.

The Kalart and equivalents (next most common is the Meyer) are somewhat poisoned gifts. They're all fine for just one lens, calibrating them for another lens is time consuming and fiddly, one doesn't do it in the field.

There are many auxiliary rangefinders for viewfinder cameras. Using one with a Graphic is possible, requires focusing scales for each lens that's going to be used. Putting the scales in the right place on the bed requires (guess what?) a focusing panel.
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1banjo



Joined: 16 Nov 2008
Posts: 478
Location: kansas

PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2013 8:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey Storyteller

if you are a Ebay er then here is some

Graflex 2x3 (6x9) Graflok Spring Back for Graflex XL, Speed Graphic
Item: 251208049483

Graflex XL / Century Focusing Panel
Item: 290835789865

a 65mm Angulon or 65 Super Angulon

SCHNEIDER 65MM F8.0 SUPER ANGULON LENS..SYNCHRO COMPUR SHUTTER..MINTY
Item: 230903787295

Schneider Angulon Camera Lens 65 mm 134
Item: 271127976219
it has the lens board

I dont see any Kodak Ektar 80mm on rightnow

the only mamiya RB67 things that are adaptable to perhaps a mamiya RB67
you can use RB67 roll film holder on your Century!!

most of all of the 65/6.8 Angulons and Raptars/Optars & Ektar 80mm
work best from f16 to f22

NOW they say that the Graflex 58mm f:5.6 Rodenstock Grandagon is a Great
lens BUT as they are priceeee $$ I have not tryed one yet!!!

Graflex 58mm f:5.6 Rodenstock Grandagon-Beau​tiful 4x5 Lens
Item: 330850997063

it can be fun getting & putting on a Kalart rangefinder as of
now I dont see any on Ebay

banjo
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Dan Fromm



Joined: 14 May 2001
Posts: 1884
Location: New Jersey

PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2013 8:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Banjo, I have a 58/5.6 Grandagon. It has bad separations in both cells. This is very common with Rodenstock lenses of that vintage, R'stock used a synthetic cement that just doesn't hold up. So did Voigtlaender.

Separations notwithstanding, my 58 Grandy doesn't shoot badly.

You didn't tell the full 58 Grandagon/Technikon story, though. These lenses are in Compur #00 shutters with no T setting, no press focus and no cable release socket. They have to be reshuttered to be usable, and getting the cells out of the original shutter isn't straightforward. I fought with mine for a while, eventually gave up and sent it to SKGrimes.

I don't agree with you bout the 80/6.3 WF Ektar. I've shot mine at f/11 with good results. The f/6.8 Raptar/Optar and Angulon do have to be stopped well down, but not WF Ektars.
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1banjo



Joined: 16 Nov 2008
Posts: 478
Location: kansas

PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2013 8:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hey Dan
I have a 180mm (with Separations on my XL) Rodenstock lens notwithstanding,
doesn't shoot to badly

banjo
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45PSS



Joined: 28 Sep 2001
Posts: 3210
Location: Mid Peninsula, Ca.

PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2013 8:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
A rangefinder, e.g., Kalart, can't be calibrated without a focusing panel.


A Roll Film Holder shell or Film Pack Adapter shell can be used to adjust a rangefinder or focus scales by placing a piece of ground glass against the film rails of the shell. Scotch Magic Tape
http://www.amazon.com/Scotch-Magic-Tape-Inches-104/dp/B00005C3YY/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1357158456&sr=8-6&keywords=scotch+tape
can be applied across the film plane opening attaching it to the film guide rails without overlapping in place of a piece of ground glass.
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Dan Fromm



Joined: 14 May 2001
Posts: 1884
Location: New Jersey

PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2013 9:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Charles, I have a 2x3 Film Pack Adapter in front of me, also a 2x3 film pack. The film pack sits on the FPA's rails, the film rests against the inside of the film pack's front. The film pack's front's thickness isn't 0.00 mm or inches.

I'm not curious enough to take the film pack apart to measure how far back the film sits in it, but it is very possible that it is outside of depth of focus in many shooting situations (focused distance, lens' focal length, aperture).

The OP would be much better off using the roll holder he has, with a piece of GG or scotch tape across it, than using the FPA he doesn't have.
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45PSS



Joined: 28 Sep 2001
Posts: 3210
Location: Mid Peninsula, Ca.

PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2013 10:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
The OP would be much better off using the roll holder he has, with a piece of GG or scotch tape across it, than using the FPA he doesn't have.

True.

The 3rd page of this brochure
http://www.cameraeccentric.com/html/info/graflex_7.html
shows a good picture of the Century with all the bells and whistles attached.
Left side of camera (foreground) handle with cable release; top of camera optical view finder; front standard sports finder frame extended, peep site on back up; right side of camera rangefinder ( top window only visible) and flash bracket.
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Storyteller



Joined: 01 Jan 2013
Posts: 7
Location: United States

PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2013 11:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dan Fromm wrote:

There are many auxiliary rangefinders for viewfinder cameras. Using one with a Graphic is possible, requires focusing scales for each lens that's going to be used. Putting the scales in the right place on the bed requires (guess what?) a focusing panel.


I mean an accessory rangefinder, that fits in a shoe on top. So I can get what distance it is at, then set the distance on the rails. I know it wont be coupled, or matched to the lens, but if I understand, will get me in the ballpark. For the most part, I plan to do landscapes, bridges and buildings, so setting to infinity should be fine in most cases. Without it in my hands, I have no idea what focal range this actually has. More specifically, where does infinity start and how tight are transitions from say 4 feet, to 8.

1banjo wrote:


Graflex 2x3 (6x9) Graflok Spring Back for Graflex XL, Speed Graphic
Item: 251208049483
didnt have this one, thx

Graflex XL / Century Focusing Panel
Item: 290835789865
been watching this
a 65mm Angulon or 65 Super Angulon

SCHNEIDER 65MM F8.0 SUPER ANGULON LENS..SYNCHRO COMPUR SHUTTER..MINTY
Item: 230903787295
little more than I can cover now

Schneider Angulon Camera Lens 65 mm 134
Item: 271127976219
it has the lens board

Graflex 58mm f:5.6 Rodenstock Grandagon-Beau​tiful 4x5 Lens
Item: 330850997063
way out of my price range... I can buy a 4x5 with a full kit for that much...



looks like a focusing back is the first order of business, and perhaps an 80mm, or 65mm SA when I can get to it. As for crossing lenses to 4x5, a closeup lens over 125mm, is a better choice going to 4x5, where it would be a wider angle. So, if I get into portraits and smaller things, that might be an option. Thanks for the heads up guys.

Thanks for the tip on using tape as a temporary glass. I believe I can take most any glass and run sand paper over both sides until it will work. My first purchase will be a focusing screen.

Is there a difference between a spring back and a focusing hood?
I ordered some double sided holder, under $5 for 4 of them... pretty good deal. Can I use these as it if I take the roll film holder off, or do I need a focusing back to use them?
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Dan Fromm



Joined: 14 May 2001
Posts: 1884
Location: New Jersey

PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2013 12:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Storyteller, please read the FAQs. Also go to http://www.largeformatphotography.info/ and read the FAQs there too.

I make this suggestion because you need to learn the Graphic dialect of the large format dialect of English.

Scale focusing a Graphic (using an uncoupled accessory RF to measure the distance to the subject, then somehow positioning the lens so that it will be in focus at the subject distance) requires putting the front standard (this hold the lensboard, the lensboard holds the lens) at the right position on the focusing rails and then using the focusing mechanism to put the front standard at the right distance from the film plane.

Bed stops, also called infinity stops, are used to position the front standard on the rails so that, usually, it is a hair closer to the film plane than the infinity distance. When this is done and the focusing scales -- there are two, they act as a vernier -- are set to infinity (or any other distance) the lens will be in focus at that distance. Focusing scales are focal length-specific. Lenses' actual focal lengths usually aren't exactly what's engraved on the lens. For this reason, Graflex Inc. made more than one focusing scale for each nominal focal length.

Where does infinity start? Far, far away. For the lenses typically used on Graphics, the infinity position is approximately (great stress, approximately) with the diaphragm one focal length from the film plane.

How far does the lens travel between two focused distances? That depends on the lens' focal length and the two distances.

I can't speak for anyone else, but I focus on the ground glass. As I've told you, the Kalart rangefinder can be set up for just and only one lens at a time. I use more than one lens.

Learn the language. You want a focusing panel for a 2x3 Graflok back. Your Century has an integral Graflok back that can't be replaced with a spring back without major major surgery to the camera. Don't buy a spring back, you'll be wasting your money.

Focusing panels that attach to Graflok backs usually have a folding hood. The hood is detachable, I've seen loose hoods offered and focusing panels without hoods offered. A spring back is a kind of back with integral focusing panel that can't be removed. A sheet film holder slips in between the back and the focusing panel. I have one of these for my 2x3 Cambo; as shipped from the factory it has no folding hood.

About lenses. Take one step at a time. Get your Century working, learn to use it, find out how a normal lens' (for 2x3) view of the world suits you. Then you can think seriously about shorter and longer lenses.

You used the words closeup lens. Um, in our language we say macro lens and by that we mean a lens that's optimized for shooting closeup. Some of these are very good at all distances, others aren't. Educate yourself about these things before spending any money. Go slowly.
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45PSS



Joined: 28 Sep 2001
Posts: 3210
Location: Mid Peninsula, Ca.

PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2013 12:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I mean an accessory rangefinder, that fits in a shoe on top. So I can get what distance it is at, then set the distance on the rails. I know it wont be coupled, or matched to the lens, but if I understand, will get me in the ballpark

Yes it will.
Quote:
I have no idea what focal range this actually has. More specifically, where does infinity start and how tight are transitions from say 4 feet, to 8.

Hand held or shoe mount auxiliary rangefinders are not focal length dependent, they only tell how far from the position the rangefinder is being held the focused object is.

Lens infinity is determined by the distance from the lens rear nodal point to the film plane. This is usually the lens focal length from the aperture blades to the film plane but many lens have a shorter back focus than their marked focal length and the actual optical focal length may be 1 to 3 millimeters either side of the marked focal length. How the focus of a lens transitions from one focused distance to another varies from lens to lens. As for an accessory rangefinder not coupled to the camera test infinity by focusing it on an object at least 5000 feet away. Once infinity has been established check closer distances by measuring from the subject to the focused plane of the rangefinder. The accessory rangefinder will have a focusing knob and a distance scale that shows what distance the rangefinder is focused on.

Quote:
I believe I can take most any glass and run sand paper over both sides until it will work.


No, it won't. Ground glass is ground on one side only and that side faces the lens. Valve grinding powder or similar fine grounding powder is commonly used as acid is very difficult to obtain and handle.
Quote:
Is there a difference between a spring back and a focusing hood?

A spring back is a camera back that has the focus panel attached with leaf springs while a focus hood is the device that surrounds the ground glass and blocks out stray light so that you can see the image on the ground glass.
Quote:
I ordered some double sided holder, under $5 for 4 of them... pretty good deal. Can I use these as it if I take the roll film holder off, or do I need a focusing back to use them?

The Century has a molded in Graflok back. Attach a double sided film holder to the camera in the same manner the RFH is attached.

The Century is very similar to a Crown Graphic therefore the guide book for a Top RF Pacemaker will apply except for format and rangefinder.
http://www.cameraeccentric.com/html/info/graflex_4.html
The RFH guide book
http://www.cameraeccentric.com/html/info/graflex_13.html
and Shutter guide book
http://www.cameraeccentric.com/html/info/graflex_12.html
may be of use also.
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Storyteller



Joined: 01 Jan 2013
Posts: 7
Location: United States

PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2013 1:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ok,

thanks Dan. Ive read the faqs and a lot of other pages. Im sure
Im stll getting some terms mixed up with others. I about have the different backs figured out. I gathered the Grapflok back I have is the newer one, and uses some kind of locking mechanism, the chrome levers I see at the top and bottom of the backs.

What it looks like, and this is from the manuals, the pictures and the faqs, is that you remove the focusing panel and put on a rollfilm back. The sheet film holders look like they go under something, I am guessing this is the focusing panel. So, I need a focusing panel to use sheet film holders, correct? These sheet film holders do not look like they lock on in any way.

45pss, thanks for the tip on ground glass, I had misread something.


I will be looking for a focusing panel (not hood) and an accessory finder first.

I agree just getting this in my hands, sometime this month, and running a roll of film through it is first up. Everything Im reading tells me its a great camera, and something I will get a lot of use out of. Thanks for the help, I think Im getting it.
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45PSS



Joined: 28 Sep 2001
Posts: 3210
Location: Mid Peninsula, Ca.

PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2013 3:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
What it looks like, and this is from the manuals, the pictures and the faqs, is that you remove the focusing panel and put on a rollfilm back.

Correct.

Quote:
The sheet film holders look like they go under something, I am guessing this is the focusing panel.

The focus panel is spring loaded and pulls back allowing a film holder to be slid in between the focus panel and back with the spring tension of the focus panel holding the film holder in place OR with the focus panel removed on a Graflok back the graflok sliders can be used to secure the film holder in place.
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