5x7 Speed Graphic

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Shootar401, Nov 11, 2012.

  1. Shootar401

    Shootar401 Member

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    I have a 5x7 Speed Graphic that I shoot with a few times a year. It's an odd ball size camera and the lack of movements really don't allow much control. I use it like a point and shoot honestly.

    But for the life of me I haven't been able to find ANY info about them online. I know mine was made in 1933 by the serial number, but it seems like the 5x7 is the model Graflex wanted to forget. Why was the run so short on these cameras? Seems like I'm the only one who uses one based on the lack of into online.
     
  2. DBP

    DBP Member

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    I suspect the preference for 4x5 film in news photography made sales weak.
     
  3. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    Have you visited www.graflex.org? If you haven't, you should.

    There's a mythical non-existent Graflex serial number book. The latest 5x7 Speed Graphic serial numbers I could find in it were assigned 8/1/1940. It appears that very few 5x7 Speeds were made. The reason has to be very weak demand.

    War-time production was entirely for the War Department, which seems to have bought no press cameras or Graflex SLRs larger than 4x5.
     
  4. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I have a 5x7" Press Graflex (SLR), which I understand was a very popular camera for news gathering around 1915 or so, and it was made until around 1920. There were plate and film holders for it, and I suspect it would have been an attractive format for contact printing purposes in a typical American broadsheet, which would have been 15" wide (so a 5x7" is half the page width, allowing for margins), plus the negs could easily be retouched. 5x7" rangefinder Graphics in the 1930s might have held out the same appeal for newspapers that were set up to work in this way.
     
  5. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    i worked for a portrait photographer who shot weddings in the 30 / 40s.
    she used 4x5 pre annys for candid shots and for the formals she used
    her 5x7 speed. 5x7 was one of the ideal portrait formats, easy to
    proofs, easy to retouch with leads and easy to enlarge.

    probably after the war when color film was more commonplace ( and mf used more )
    the need 5x7 speed graphics became a relic of the past.
     
  6. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Look for this book: The All-American Cameras, a Review of Graflex®, Richard P. Paine, A Photographers Place, Inc. 133 Mercer Street, New York, NY
    It is discussed and includes a photograph on page 58.
     
  7. Jim Rice

    Jim Rice Member

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    When I was a teenaged photo rat (long long ago), I knew Mr. A. B. Miller, a crusty former photographer for The Jackson (MS) Daily News. He told me of shooting one of the many delta floods with a 5x7 Graflex SLR. The part I remember most was: "The only @$%$$%^ thing I liked about that *^^$$%^$## was you could fold it up and sit on it."
     
  8. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    And indeed one can sit on it. It's surprisingly well balanced for such a big box, and very quick to focus with it's rack-and-pinion focusing track.

    I haven't been using it lately, but here's an old favorite with the Press Graflex:

    [​IMG]
     
  9. 2bits

    2bits Member

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    Excellent photo!
     
  10. werra

    werra Subscriber

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    Well, I have and use earlier 5x7 speed, the one with smaller lens board. Great compact camera on the go, if I don't feel like hauling Ansco Universal around. As the FP shutter is working OK, I can use whatever old glass that fits onto tiny lensboard.
     
  11. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    Richard Paine's book noted by Sirius Glass claims the 5x7 Speed Graphic was produced as early as 1912, discontinued by 1926, and reintroduced with slight modifications from about 1932 to 1941. The 4th edition (1942) and 7th edition (1944) of Graphic Graflex Photography by Morgan & Lester mentions it as available with either Graphic or Graflex back, and using 4" square lensboards. The 8th edition of 1947 mentions it in past tense.
     
  12. Len Robertson

    Len Robertson Member

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    Looking at Paine's book, the main difference between the two models is the earlier version has the handle on top of the body, and the later one uses a side handle much like the Anniversary Speed. Also, the early camera has a 3 3/4" square lens board, rather than the 4" square board of the later model. Not much difference as far as mounting lenses, but a real inconvenience as far as switching lenses with a 4X5 Anny. I have a "Top Handle" 5X7, pretty much like the one Enno shows on page 2 of his Flickr pages. I recall it being the oldest Graphic I have, but can't really remember the approximate year it was made. 1920s I think. While searching for information on 5X7 Speeds this morning I found a couple of interesting pictures: http://www.shorpy.com/node/13932 and http://www.flickr.com/photos/97974762@N00/2684701250/in/set-72157606266836904/

    Len
     
  13. Shootar401

    Shootar401 Member

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    Mine is the later, side handle version. Luckily I have about 4 adapter plates that allow you to mount the 4x5 SG lens boards to the 5x7. I haven't used them yet, since none of my 4x5 glass covers 5x7 very well.
     
  14. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    Len, if you post y'r 5x7's serial number I can look it up. Understand, though, that the date Graflex assigned a serial number may be long before the actual date the s/n was used.
     
  15. Dave Wooten

    Dave Wooten Subscriber

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    :smile:!
     
  16. Len Robertson

    Len Robertson Member

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    Dan - I dug the old beauty out and checked the serial number. It sure looks to be 160,5xx. From the serial number list I have, that should be about 1928. According to my copy of Paine, the Top Handle 5X7 was discontinued in 1924. He specifically states that "By 1926 only the 4X5 'Special' was available; other sizes had been discontinued."Paine is not so specific as to when the later model was introduced. On the page for the side-handle 5X7, he shows the year range as "c.1932-1941". But mine is very much a Top Handle with the smaller lens board. I'll be interested in what your number list shows for a year.

    In my previous post I mentioned a picture of a 5X7 Speed on Enno's Flickr pages. I should have said werra, his ID on this forum, although he is Enno on Flickr. Either way, I love his work.

    Len