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Ebay Graflex Series B

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Joined: 19 Feb 2004
Posts: 41
Location: Southwest Michigan

PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2004 7:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I recently bought this Series B on ebay:

I've got a few questions. One is that the lens glass appears to be a little foggy, or it may be due to the electronic flash on their digital camera. Is it possible to have lens fog removed?

Question 2: Theres a cord attached. I'm guessing that's for flash syncronization via a Graflite/Graflex flash unit, but i'm not sure.

Note: I can't answer anything physical about it. It's not going to be here for another week.

"Graflex cameras are like get one and you just can't stop." - Me
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Joined: 28 Sep 2001
Posts: 3560
Location: Mid Peninsula, Ca.

PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2004 8:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, you have a project ahead of you!
1). Lens looks a little cloudly. Yes and at least half of that is reflection from the surface the camera is setting on and light glare. As lens age a white film froms on the inside surfaces of the glass elements. Barell lens are easy to disassemble and clean. Pay close attention to the position of each cell in the barrell before removing it. Some of these old Kodak lens have set screws holding the retaining rings in place, making it easier to get them back correct. Any cloudiness after cleaning is seperation of cemented elements or other glass deteration problems.
The lens is the least of your conserns at this point.
2). There is an aftermarket flash synchroizer attached by the wind key. Replacing the wire on it and cleaning the contacts inside the cylinder may be difficult.

Read the RB user manual available on this site. It covers all you need to know to operate the camera.
The flash synchroizer is next to the wind key, below the wind key is the mirror lock and trip levers. On the mirror lock lever is a wheel with two indents or holes in it with one marked I for instanteous and T for time. With the wheel in the time position the shutter curtain will only wind to the widest opening. Triping the shutter the wind key trigers the flash sync when the curtain is fully open. This is the only way the flash will sync. It is called "Drop Curtain". Some older flash bulbs may have burned long enough for flash exposure on some of the other slow speeds.
With the wheel on the mirror lock lever set to Instanteous all shutter speeds are selectable.

According to the sellers description, the curtain around the front torn could be the bellows. Many post on this site about test/repair, use the search feature for "bellows repair".

It is a 3x4 camera, you will have difficulity finding film, few sources available.

It has a Graflex back. Older style are wider than newer type on 4x5's and should be the same on the 3x4's. Roll film back to fit will be a rarity but exists.

Serial number is on the lip of the view hood opening.

Look up any post by Bret Saunders to get his email and request his disassembly/shutter repair information.

While a picture may be worth a thousand words, a quality photograph is worth a million.

[ This Message was edited by: 45PSS on 2004-07-20 13:18 ]

[ This Message was edited by: 45PSS on 2004-07-20 18:24 ]
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Joined: 10 Nov 2003
Posts: 812
Location: East Coast (Long Island)

PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2004 8:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You really can't tell about the lens until you have a chance to examine it close up. Sometimes there's a layer of crud on the inside surfaces (probably lubricant, evaporated from the iris and condensed on the glass, mixed with airborne fugg). This cleans off nicely with Kodak Lens Cleaner or methyl alcohol. Other times the surface of the glass itself appears to have roughened (perhaps through oxidation), and only repolishing will solve the problem. If that's the case, looking for another lens would be cheaper, although having the work done and a modern coating added might well give you a superior optic.

It's hard to tell about the cord. From where it seems to originate on the body, it may be attached to an aftermarket synchronizer (Kalart made one; there are some interesting posts here by Micah in NC about his).

In my youth, people also added a sort of synchronization to "Series B" and similar Graflex reflexes by installing one contact on the mirror and another at the top of the mirror box, running one wire along the side of the mirror and another back from the fixed contact, and bringing them both out to a connector through a small hole drilled in the body. This works when you set the shutter at "O" with the mirror down -- then, when you press the release, the mirror goes up, the contacts "make," the flash fires, and the curtain closes. It works, but it's kind of a kludge.
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