4X5 Lives - All hail the Speed Graphic

Discussion in 'Photographers' started by Eric Rose, Feb 10, 2004.

  1. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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  2. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Boy, wait until he discovers what that thing on the side with the two holes in the front can do. Then the fun starts!
     
  3. KenM

    KenM Member

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    Eh? Could you enlighten me? I'm a Speed Graphic neophyte, so I'm not sure what the two holes are for. Or were you referring to the Rollei? I'm so confused!

    And that story was great! Glad to see a bit of the 'old' technology still being used. Any sort of print we can get is a good thing these days, with Kodak going through their restructuring...too bad that most people viewing the cover won't know it was taken with a 4x5...
     
  4. juan

    juan Subscriber

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    He's referring to the two holes on the front of the rangefinder - and commenting on the photographer's seeming problems with focus in the article.

    I've shot my Speed handheld in a fast moving situation. I was very surprised at how difficult it was to keep in focus. Too much time shooting with easily focused TV cameras, I guess. But I would think focusing on a politician giving a speech at a lectern would be simple - if one knows how to use a rangefinder. I'm glad to see someone, though, is still using Graflex cameras as they were intended.
    juan
     
  5. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Juan has it. The great thing about a rangefinder camera is the rangefinder for situations like the one's he's shooting in. Otherwise, why not just shoot 8x10"?
     
  6. Alex Hawley

    Alex Hawley Member

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    Jdef has it right for hand-held shooting. The range finder is fine for a slow moving or stationary object.

    That was a great little article. Thanks EricR. Graphics Still Rule!!
     
  7. ian_greant

    ian_greant Member

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    great article. I'm gonna have to go looking for some of his photos.

    Rather timely I'd say as just this last weekend I decided (with some coaxing from Eric and Erna) to try using my old speed graphic handheld for a while.
    I've got a few sheets to develop. If they look good I'll probably use it for a shoot I've got this weekend (as well as my Rollei)

    Cheers,
    Ian
     
  8. ian_greant

    ian_greant Member

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  9. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    At last - someone else using real cameras!

    [​IMG]

    The weight and momentum of a moving Technika 5x7" should not be underestimated.
     
  10. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Zone focusing, a small aperture, and flash are the thing for something that is really moving around, but many of these shots are of candidates giving speeches, moving enough that it's helpful to be able to check focus with the rangefinder, but not so much that zone focusing is necessary, and he's using mostly wide apertures to isolate the subject.

    On the other hand, that picture in the article shows the lens tilted way back for even tighter selective focus, so in that case, groundglass focusing is the only option.
     
  11. CraigK

    CraigK Member

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  12. glbeas

    glbeas Member

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    FWIW I drppoed him a note and helped him with information on grafmatics, seems he had one but didn't know enough about using it. Hopefully he will be able to get some more good pictures with less restriction from being weighed down with filmholders. He seems to be a nice guy.
     
  13. Bruce Osgood

    Bruce Osgood Membership Council Council

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    I'm going to be adding 4X5 my system this spring and find this thread very interesting. Hadn't thought much about hand holding a 4X5 but wondered if anyone uses a monopod?
     
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  15. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    No reason not to use a monopod with a press camera as one might with any other kind of camera, if that's the most convenient thing.
     
  16. ian_greant

    ian_greant Member

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    All hail Ole!!

    ...but we want to know how manly you really are.. Just how many film holders do you really carry at once? :wink:

    Cheers,
    Ian
     
  17. Robert Kennedy

    Robert Kennedy Member

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    If you want fast focusing for a Graphic do this -

    1 . Take the cover off the collimation hole on the top of the viewfinder.

    2. Get a cheap laser pointer and tape the on button down.

    3. Using electrical tape, tape the laer pointer so it shoots DOWN into the viewfinder. Adjust it so that you see two dots on the wall from the viewfinder. One from the bottom "hole" and one from the top "hole".

    4. To focus, just rack the lens until the two dots line up next to each other or appear as one.

    Voila! Tack sharp focus at wide open apertures (assuming proper viewfinder colimation), and it is fast too.

    Plus it looks wicked.... :smile:
     
  18. fingel

    fingel Member

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    Hey Robert,
    That is a good idea, although it might not fly following presidential candidates around. Could you imagine what the secret service would do if they saw 2 red dots show up on the forehead of the guy they were protecting? :smile: It wouldn't be pretty.
     
  19. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    jdef -
    you might look for a junker speed / crown graphic with a focus spot and see if you can find a battery that works with it ...
    pull it off of the one camera and stick it on your 'dorff

    http://graflex.org/speed-graphic/kalart-focuspot.html

    "watch the birdie ..."

    - john
     
  20. glbeas

    glbeas Member

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    But then you would need to concoct a cam linkage to go with your lens as wel as a cam. Fun huh?
     
  21. ian_greant

    ian_greant Member

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    bitchin!!! I've got one of those Kalart spots on my speed but hadn't been bored enough to try to figure out what it was or how it worked....

    guess I'll have to clean up the old contraption, get some power to it and just have me a good old time! :wink:

    Cheers,
    Ian
     
  22. doughowk

    doughowk Subscriber

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    Here's a continuation article on the news photographer who switched to a Speed Graphic. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/photo/essays/vanRiper/index.htm
    I recently added a Crown Graphic to my photo tools, and have been making stupid mistakes with it. Each camera has its own idiosyncracies even within the Graflex 4X5 offerings. Ed Weston, in his Daybooks, uses a Gaflex in a fashion similiar to a digital snapshooter - for those quick shots of Tina sunbathing, etc.. It's sobering to think of a Graflex as a hand-held, easy-to-use camera.
     
  23. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    If it's any consolation, Weston was using a Graflex SLR, not a Graphic press camera.
     
  24. doughowk

    doughowk Subscriber

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    A Graflex SLR in 1924? Quote from "A personal Way of Seeing" tour:
    Though a 3X4 Graflex is smaller than a 4X5, any Speed Graphic is not light.
    Btw, does anyone know what enlarger Weston used ( Steve Anchell, in recent Camera Arts article, mistakenly said Weston only used a lightbulb for all his prints)?
     
  25. juan

    juan Subscriber

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  26. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Yes, a Graflex SLR in addition to his 8x10" camera. If I remember correctly, there is even a picture of him using it in v. 2 of the Daybooks. To enlarge his 3x4 and later 4x5 negs for contact printing he made enlarged negatives with the 8x10" camera. He did not use an enlarger. As far as I know, Weston never used a Graphic press camera.