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Care of exterior covering on 1951 Speed Graphic? etc...

 
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beng



Joined: 27 Aug 2014
Posts: 4
Location: USA

PostPosted: Thu Aug 28, 2014 3:58 am    Post subject: Care of exterior covering on 1951 Speed Graphic? etc... Reply with quote

Hello all,

This is my first post, and this is my first large pro-camera, as all I have had in the past are roll-film 35 and 120 cameras.

It is a near-mint 4x5 Speed Graphic and it is covered with the black leatherette type stuff. I was wondering if there is any sort of preservative that can be put on it so it might not degrade in use so much, or should I just look for a "beater" camera and let the mint one continue sleeping?

Also I was wondering how hard it should be to turn the ring on this camera to change front shutter speeds. Although the shutter on the camera seems to work well, it takes a bit of effort to turn this ring. I have to use at least two fingers and a thumb, should it be a one-finger and thumb job?

Rangefinder does not seem to match vernier scale, and when you bring the images together they do not merge perfectly side-to-side. Is the offset normal or is it time to adjust?

Pack of film in case is B&W and says develop by January 1967, should I try to use it? No it was not in a fridge.

Were the later Speed Graphics sold with Strobe flashes? And if so will they fit right onto my 1951 Pacemaker without modification?

I am sure that is enough for now, thanks in advance for any help,

Benjamin
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beng



Joined: 27 Aug 2014
Posts: 4
Location: USA

PostPosted: Thu Aug 28, 2014 12:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Did some reading on this forum and one thread said that the cameras were covered not with a synthetic material but "morroccan leather" and should be treated with leather preservative, preferably neatsfoot oil. I guess I will try some on a small part of the camera and see how it goes. I know leather will soak up neatsfoot quickly, but I doubt plastic based synthetics would do so.

I have experience working on mechanical watches so maybe this winter while the snow is high I will take the shutter apart and cla it, it can't be more difficult than working on a swiss wrist-watch.

I am supposed to meet up with an old photographer who used to be a neighbor of my parents back in the 60s, he said he has five 4x5 cameras he has not used for decades, two of them are graflex, so it will be interesting to see what sort of accessories, film, bulbs etc. he might have laying around.

I have some old developer etc. laying around that I can mix up so maybe I will try the old film and chemicals for the fun of it.

I have always been a history buff, and I have always seen the graflex cameras in old movies and tv shows and in use in the pre-digital days. I am sure they are important historical artifacts.

I mess around with old British bikes and tools and books too, always trying to preserve "analog" technology from before computers and animation, things from when I was young. I guess I don't like change.


Benjamin
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45PSS



Joined: 28 Sep 2001
Posts: 3255
Location: Mid Peninsula, Ca.

PostPosted: Thu Aug 28, 2014 5:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

All cameras made by Folmer and Schwing Manufacturing Company from 1898 through all cameras made by Folmer Graflex Company through 1946 use XXX Moroccan leather on the bodies. All cameras made by Graflex from 1947 through 1973 use Naugahyde aka Leatherette for the body covering. Pledge furniture polish in the Yellow can works very well on the Leatherette keeping it shinny and soft.

What shutter do you have? Speeds being accurate is more important than the force necessary to turn the speed dial.


Film that expired in 1967 will require some special handling to be useable. What ASA is it? Faster film will be worse than slow ones. You will most likely have to over expose it by 1 or 2 stops. Developing at 65F helps reduce base fog and HC110 is one of the better developers for very old film.


Old liquid chemicals should be discarded except for HC110 or its Ilford equivalent which may be good for 10+ years from date of manufacture and Agfa Rodinal which reportedly never dies. Any powder chemicals that have turned brown are no good. Powdered chemicals should be white.
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beng



Joined: 27 Aug 2014
Posts: 4
Location: USA

PostPosted: Fri Aug 29, 2014 2:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks 45 for your help.

The shutter on my Speed Graphic is a Graphic Supermatic X, the lens is an f4.7 Ektar. It seems to work well, maybe a little sluggish at one second but I have not tested it with a stop-watch. The focal-plane shutter seems to be in great shape and work well too.

I think I lucked out buying this camera as I knew nothing about them when I bought it, but it turned out to be a Pacemaker 4x5. I already have a 6x6 and a 6x9 camera so I am glad to have something to take a larger negative. I have saved old flash-bulbs for years, and some of them fit right into the Graflite flash reflector.

The old box of film I have is Plus-x pan B&W, which I think is between 85-125 speed, so I imagine it might have fared better than old color film, and be easier to process to boot.

I will take your advice and overexpose a few sheets of it and see what happens. I recently shot some old yard-sale film through a Rolleiflex 35 and although it was 400 speed film it did not work well treating it at that speed, instead it worked perfectly when I treated it as 200 speed!

All my old chemicals laying around are powder, so I will check if they are still white or have turned brown. One is an old Kodak tri-chem pack, the others are GAF vividol developer and fixer. My local camera shop has new stuff in stock, but if the old powders I white I will give them a go.

I have some old paper too, so I may be able to do some contact prints.

I got an extra King Sol flash unit with the camera, which looks like a quality item but is not made to fit the camera, maybe it is for an older or different model.

They all look alike, but here she is:




Last edited by beng on Sun Aug 31, 2014 2:22 am; edited 2 times in total
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45PSS



Joined: 28 Sep 2001
Posts: 3255
Location: Mid Peninsula, Ca.

PostPosted: Fri Aug 29, 2014 6:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Graphic Supermatic=Kodak Supermatic rebadged.
Position the shutter so you can see the shutter blades and a second hand on a clock/watch simultaneously. A sweep second hand works best. Set the speed to 1 second. Cock the shutter, trip the shutter as the second hand reaches a second mark. The shutter should open then close as the second hand reaches the next second mark. Tolerance is .8 seconds to 1.2 seconds, basically the width of the second hand either side of the second mark. Next set the shutter to the 1/2 second speed. Repeat the test. The shutter should open and close as the second hand reaches the mid point between the second marks. Tolerance is .4 to .6 seconds. All shutter speeds are based on the same delay gearing and the 1/2 and 1 second times are easiest to test. If these speeds are off all others will be also.
See http://www.cameraeccentric.com/html/info/graflex_11.html page 12 for the Supermatic operating procedures if needed.

My 1981 Kodak Professional Photoguide shows all versions of Plus X to be ISO/ASA 125. Probably best to shoot it at EI50 or EI25 with a 25% to 50% increase in development time in controlled test.


Quote:
I got an extra King Sol flash unit with the camera, which looks like a quality item but is not made to fit the camera, maybe it is for an older or different model.

Just change the flash bracket on the side of the Kalart or attach the correct style bracket over the Kalart and connect it as you would the Graflite.
Watch ebay for adapters for the flash bulb style(s) that do not fit to the Graflite socket as they were made at one time.


Camera instruction manual: http://www.cameraeccentric.com/html/info/graflex_5.html

Kalart manual: http://www.cameraeccentric.com/html/info/kalart_1.html

Kodak Ektar lens info: http://www.cameraeccentric.com/html/info/kodak_4.html

Graflite manual: http://www.southbristolviews.com/pics/Graphic/manual-pdf/GrafliteManual.pdf
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beng



Joined: 27 Aug 2014
Posts: 4
Location: USA

PostPosted: Sun Aug 31, 2014 2:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks again for your help 45. I will probably not ever use the King Sol as long as the Graflite works, it is just an interesting artifact.

I looked at the paper that came with the film and it is indeed 125 speed.

Today I discovered that four sheets of it are already loaded into holders so I am ready to shoot it and fiddle with it in the darkroom to see if anything useable will come out of it. In the meantime I will be on the lookout for more cheap expired film, or some current, nice slow and fine-grained B&W.

Thanks for the links to the manuals etc.. After seeing Graflex cameras in use by pros and in media since I was a little kid in the 60s all I can say is that I am thrilled to have found one to experience personally. I have some professional 35mm cameras laying around such as Leicas and Nikon F etc.., but to me the 4x5 Graflex is the top of the heap historically and as a tool for real work.

Benjamin
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45PSS



Joined: 28 Sep 2001
Posts: 3255
Location: Mid Peninsula, Ca.

PostPosted: Sun Aug 31, 2014 3:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.freestylephoto.biz/category/2-Film/Black-and-White-Film?attr[]=1-4

I've been using Arista EDU Ultra ISO400 to test cameras with after repair. Not a bad film.
I have some ISO100 along with Delta 100 and TMax 100 waiting for the drought to end or something interesting to happen. Smoggy skies and brown hills are not that inspiring. I was not up to driving to Napa to shoot the spilled wine even though I was rudely awakened by the shaking.
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