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Speaking of Impulsive Purchases....

 
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wilkidm



Joined: 17 Feb 2003
Posts: 27
Location: Kentucky

PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2003 11:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have seen Graflex XL ******* from a variety of sellers, and they have always caught my eye as interesting. However, is there really anything that an XL would do that my 2x3 Century Graphic doesn't? Besides having a new toy, what are the advantages to having one other than the interchangable lenses and modular construction? I also have been looking at a Mamiya Super Press for the same reason, it just looks neat. Any help would be appreciated.
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Les



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

PostPosted: Sat Apr 05, 2003 2:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Advantages of the XL over the Century

1. Easier to set up out of the box (no door, bellows)
2.tube mounted lenses allow for push button adjustment of the rangefinder
3. Polaroid back
4. Originally had a wider range of lenses (I'm not sure some of the longer lenses in the XL line would fit the small board of the Century, I know you can't fit a 58 grandagon on a Century)
5. A rare accessory allowed 4x5 film to be used (you didn't get a full image)

Advantages of the Century over the XL
1. The XL needs spacers to shoot in macro

2. The pins on the tubes are fragile and break
easily. Without the pin you can't RF

3. You need a seperate body for the 47mm lens on the XL
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wilkidm



Joined: 17 Feb 2003
Posts: 27
Location: Kentucky

PostPosted: Sat Apr 05, 2003 2:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmm....
Thaks for the help, I guess it depends on what kind of photography you intend on doing. Then again, buy both, and share the RH backs!

The idea of a modular camera just appeals to me, even if I don't get an XL, may get a Mamiya press, the one that takes the Polaroid backs, or then again, I could get one of those and a Graflex XL and a Century! Gee, there goes my money...
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Dan Fromm



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

PostPosted: Sat Apr 05, 2003 2:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

On 2003-04-04 15:06, wilkidm wrote:
I have seen Graflex XL ******* from a variety of sellers, and they have always caught my eye as interesting. However, is there really anything that an XL would do that my 2x3 Century Graphic doesn't? Besides having a new toy, what are the advantages to having one other than the interchangable lenses and modular construction? I also have been looking at a Mamiya Super Press for the same reason, it just looks neat. Any help would be appreciated.
Before you buy, try to play a little with an XL and a Super. Also look at the Koni-Omega/Rapid-Omega too. Before I went up to 2x3 I tried focusing and composing with examples of each at camera shows. Yes, I was also thinking about 6x7.

I'm left eyed, found that the K-O mashed my nose badly when focusing and composing. Of the three, the Super 23/Universal fit my face best. This is very personal, you really have to try the cameras out to see how obnoxious you find each to use.

Les left out one thing the XL does that the 2x3 Graphics don't. It accepts the RH-50 back, so can be used with 70 mm film. If you don't want to reload so often and can live with the limited range of emulsions available in 70 mm, that's a plus.

Last point, when I was considering what to get I asked the photo group on Interlink (this was a set of BBs that exchanged posts, it died when the Internet became generally available) about XL, Super/Univesal, and K-O. Every reply that addressed the XL was negative, they all complained about the focusing mechanism's fragility, especially at low temperatures. I don't know if that's been solved, please keep asking around and bring the news back here. You might ask Bob Hutchinson, I think his site is http://www.bigcameras.com

Cheers,

Dan

I adusted the link
Moderator

[ This Message was edited by: Les on 2003-04-05 07:02 ]

[ This Message was edited by: Les on 2003-04-05 07:03 ]
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antjam65



Joined: 27 Dec 2001
Posts: 42
Location: MA, USA

PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2003 3:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In terms of the XL vs Mamiya Press, I actually bought both cameras at the same time for my first medium format purchase. That may sound extravagant, but they were part of a consignment lot from a retired wedding photographer and my friendly, local camera shop back in the good old USA sold me both cameras with normal lenses and 5 Graflex 120 backs for $125! What were they thinking?
After using both a few times, I really much preferred the XL. The Mamiya seemed too big and bulky compared to the XL, although it also took nice photos. I was just way more confortable with the Graflex and ended up trading the Mamiya with 100mm lens and a film back for a 58mm Grandagon for the XL and never looked back.
As has been mentioned, the XL lenses are really great!
Comparing using the XL and Century, I'm more apt to use the Century indoors for still life/close-up shots focusing on the ground glass, but when I'm heading outside I choose the XL with a normal lens and usually the Grandagon, and maybe a tele, as well. Being able to quickly change lenses and have RF coupling, parallax correction, brightlines, etc, is very nice. I started out using 35mm, and I'm still partial to using different focal lengths, shooting quickly, etc, and the XL beats the Century in this area. By the way, I do have the Graflex grip for the Century, which makes it very easy to hold, but the separate viewfinder & rangefinder, and inability to quickly adjust the RF for different lenses relegates it to mostly a 'house camera' for me.
Also, although I think the Graflex roll backs are just fine, the XL does take the Wista and Horseman backs, which are super nice. And I'm not sure about a Polaroid back for the Century - is there such a thing?
I have a few XL bodies now and some of them do have the stiff focusing problem, but I find that keeping them clean and using just a drop of this very light camera oil that I buy here in Japan on the focus tips makes even the stiffest ones fairly smooth. Still, I do wish I could say that focusing the XL is silky smooth, but it aint. BUT, I have never had a focus tip break or 'wear out' as people claim they do - that would clearly take some real abuse, or a bad accident, etc. Oh, the myths that plague the XL... well, maybe they keep the prices down. In that case, "yes, the focus system is crap - sell your XLs immediately!"
By the way, you can mount a 58mm Grandagon on a Century and I have the pictures to prove it! You do have to unscrew the rear element to mount it on the camera and make a little spacer and attach it to the lens board to hold the cable release connector, but if I can do it, anybody can. I assume it would make infinity focus no problem, but come to think of it, I've only used it for interiors, so I'm not sure about that.

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[ This Message was edited by: antjam65 on 2003-04-09 08:33 ]
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Dan Fromm



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

PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2003 5:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

On 2003-04-09 08:31, antjam65 wrote:

Also, although I think the Graflex roll backs are just fine, the XL does take the Wista and Horseman backs, which are super nice. And I'm not sure about a Polaroid back for the Century - is there such a thing?


_________________
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[ This Message was edited by: antjam65 on 2003-04-09 08:33 ]


Wot? Don't the Wista and Horseman backs go on the Century too?

On another topic, just got 10 more 38/4.5 Biogons for remounting. They're the last, alas. They can be adapted to the XL, although I'm not sure about rangefinder coupling.

Cheers,

Dan
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antjam65



Joined: 27 Dec 2001
Posts: 42
Location: MA, USA

PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2003 5:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, I just tried it again and the Wista can sort of be finessed on, but the Horseman just doesn't fit. I only have one of each back - maybe mine are mutants? I think the decisive difference is that the slide locks on the Century are at an angle, whereas on the XL they move straight up and down. Maybe that's a little hard to understand, but if you compare them you'll see what I mean.

Also, in terms of the 58mm Grandagon on the Century, I'm sure it will make infinity focus, because the rear element protrudes far enough to the back to probably go through the ground glass if you're not careful!
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antjam65



Joined: 27 Dec 2001
Posts: 42
Location: MA, USA

PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2003 5:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ps- A 38mm Biogon on an XL would be outstanding! I don't think RF coupling would be an issue given the depth of field you'd have. I wonder about getting the lengh of the XL lens Barrel right? Could any of the existing tube/body combinations work? How about the thin XLSW body with the 58mm Grandagon tube (with it's 'recessed' lens disk). I guess it would be pretty lucky to get a proper fit...
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Dan Fromm



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

PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2003 11:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

On 2003-04-09 22:33, antjam65 wrote:
Ps- A 38mm Biogon on an XL would be outstanding! I don't think RF coupling would be an issue given the depth of field you'd have. I wonder about getting the lengh of the XL lens Barrel right? Could any of the existing tube/body combinations work? How about the thin XLSW body with the 58mm Grandagon tube (with it's 'recessed' lens disk). I guess it would be pretty lucky to get a proper fit...

I think it requires the thin body. Don't know which tube should be used, or how it would have to be modified.

You might want to take a look at Steve Grimes' site. http://www.skgrimes.com . He's taken up Bob Hutchinson's (spelling?) XL modififications.

A propos of Steve, I just heard a rumor, unconfirmed, that he's had a heart attack. He has to pull through, we all need him.

If the rumor is false or if he makes it and resumes work, ask Steve about it. He remounted the Biogon I'm shooting with. Took the cells out of their dead AGI shutter, machined 'em some and made spacers to put 'em in a Copal 0. Beautiful work, and it works well.

Cheers,

Dan
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Les



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

PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2003 12:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would think you'd need to shave down a 47mm tube. The 47mm SA is not retrofocus and the shortest tube available and its still 9mm too long. The scale of couse would be useless but all you'd need it to find the hyper focal point for say f11, 16 and 22 and you'd be done.
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Dan Fromm



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

PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2003 3:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

On 2003-04-10 05:40, Les wrote:
I would think you'd need to shave down a 47mm tube. The 47mm SA is not retrofocus and the shortest tube available and its still 9mm too long. The scale of couse would be useless but all you'd need it to find the hyper focal point for say f11, 16 and 22 and you'd be done.
Hmm. The flange-to-film distance at infinity of the 38/4.5 Biogon that Steve Grimes put in a #0 for me is around 38 mm. That info should make thinking about how to put one on an XL easier.

Thinking of Steve, yes, he has had a heart attack and is in the hospital. No prognosis yet.
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