Graflex View Graphic - Good Choice?

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by ambaker, Apr 10, 2012.

  1. ambaker

    ambaker Subscriber

    Messages:
    667
    Joined:
    May 6, 2011
    Location:
    Missouri, US
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I have an opportunity to pick up a Graphlex View Graphic in the $250 range, with a couple of lenses. The camera is in decent shape and everything is working. Not being familiar with these, I'm wondering if the price is in the reasonable range? It is the original View Graphic, not the II.

    Thanks off any advice.

    -alex
     
  2. LoganCAdams

    LoganCAdams Member

    Messages:
    41
    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2012
    Location:
    North Dakota
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Does it have the tripod block?
     
  3. fotch

    fotch Member

    Messages:
    4,813
    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2005
    Location:
    SE WI- USA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    What lens?
     
  4. Doremus Scudder

    Doremus Scudder Member

    Messages:
    1,322
    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2002
    Location:
    Oregon and Austria
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Graphic View cameras are well-made, serviceable monorail cameras. They have 16" of bellows draw and have axis swings and tilts plus front and rear shift and front rise. The movements are not geared, but do have zero detents. In my opinion, it is a fine camera unless you need more bellows and more bells and whistles (like geared movements, etc.). My first view camera was a Graphic View II, which I still have (as well as the 203mm Ektar that came with it - great little lens).

    The weak spot in the Graphic View design is the dedicated combination tripod block and pan/tilt head. It was designed to mount directly to a tripod and serves as the tripod head. Unfortunately, it has no side-to-side tilt capability. Also, unless it is in good shape, it can have a tendency to slip a little.

    The solutions are 1) to simply mount the Graphic View mounting block on a regular tripod head and use that for your pan/tilt needs or 2) have a special mounting block made by a machinist, either from scratch or by cannibalizing the Graphic View block. I had one made for me many years ago for about what the cameras are selling for now on eBay...:pouty:

    That said, with the custom block, the camera works really well. I still use it for still-lifes and indoor work at my Vienna location, but years ago carried it and its gray "suitcase" around in the outdoors a lot too.

    So, my opinion: If the lenses are good and the camera specs meet your needs, and you can come up with a solution to the tripod block, or live with it, then go for it. The price seems reasonable (even good) to me if the lenses are any good.

    If you can inspect the camera and see if the tripod block works well first, that would be a plus. A big minus would be if the block were missing.

    Good luck,

    Doremus

    www.DoremusScudder.com
     
  5. ambaker

    ambaker Subscriber

    Messages:
    667
    Joined:
    May 6, 2011
    Location:
    Missouri, US
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    It has the tripod plate, 3 lens boars, two lenses. 1 a 3.5 inch f 4.5 Wollensak. 2 a Wollensak Cetax no 3. The camera and I are not in the same place, so it's hard to read a couple of the pictures.

    I really want something useable with some ril/shift capability, that can produce a halfway decent picture. I don't expect to be Adams at the end of this. But don't want to overpay either.
     
  6. Doremus Scudder

    Doremus Scudder Member

    Messages:
    1,322
    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2002
    Location:
    Oregon and Austria
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    I'm not familiar with the lenses you mention. Hopefully someone will comment on them (the second lens you list, you list only the shutter, not the focal length...). However, they are not modern lenses. Search eBay in the completed items to get an idea of what the lenses go for. My quick check turned up a 3 1/2" Wolly that went for $35... Graphic View cameras are selling in the $125-$150 range except for a couple of exceptions.

    I might try to get the seller to lower his price a bit.

    That said, if the camera is in good shape, it is very serviceable and able to do most everything you will need for general photography and would be a good value. It certainly has more movements and bellows draw than most field cameras.

    Best,

    Doremus

    www.DoremusScudder.com
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 11, 2012
  7. darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,466
    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2003
    Location:
    Sacramento,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    fwiw i really dislike the graphic views. I think the toyos, cambos, or even earlier calumets are much nicer to use.