Grafmatic Backs

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Eric Rose, Apr 14, 2003.

  1. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    I just received my 3 Grafmatic backs. I'm so excited! Does anyone who uses these little babies have any helpful hints they would like to pass along?

    Eric
     
  2. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Download the instruction manual from www.graflex.org.

    One thing I've notices is that some lock automatically when the counter is on "x" and some earlier ones (or later ones with the locking pin mysteriously removed) don't lock automatically after the 6th sheet. If yours don't lock, just be careful to remove the holder from the camera by the body, rather than by the handle, so that you don't inadvertantly expose the edges of the sheets at the bottom of the stack.

    You can slip them under the groundglass if you have enough clearance, but I find that if I'm not in a hurry, I remove the groundglass and use the Graflok slides to avoid moving the camera.

    Grafmatics are great for studio portraits. Just be sure you've got enough light so that you can stop down so the subject won't move out of the DOF range, and it's just like using rollfilm.

    Inspect the septums for flatness. If you have one that's bent, you'll have focus problems.
     
  3. BobF

    BobF Member

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    I love my Graphmatics.

    Look at that site David gave you, it is the best info available. The only advise I can give that David hasn't is to practice with them in camera and if you don't lock them on with the Graflocks you should learn to move the film changing drawer without pulling away from the camera back.

    I found that I had to ALWAYS use my hand too hold the Graphmatic tight to the camera to keep from allowing light leaks. It is very easy to pull back on the film drawer when shuffling to next film sheet.
     
  4. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    Thanks guys. I've been practising. One of the backs came with film in it. To bad I dodn't know before I started messing around. Hey 6 sheets of free mystery film I could have had.
     
  5. Richard Boulware

    Richard Boulware Member

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    The Graphmatic film holder is a wonderful piece of gear, but does not suffer fools gladly. The key is positive and easy loading. FORCE NOTHING....and constantly eyeball your individual septums. A bent septum will not only throw your focus off, but could screw up your push/pull operation.
     
  6. glbeas

    glbeas Member

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    Okay, I've been reading this for a week and I still have no clue what a Graphmatic is, never seen one, don't know what it smells like. Anyone care to give me a technical overview? If they are that good I might get one.
     
  7. glbeas

    glbeas Member

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    I've read the instructions on the recommended site, how the heck does it change the film around?
     
  8. BobF

    BobF Member

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    I've got six of them and have watched it work many times and am still not sure how it works. But I don't understand focal plane shutters, light meters, sewing machines, computers....................

    But it does work and work well for me. Others have had a lot less luck than I have.
     
  9. Aggie

    Aggie Member

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  10. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    yes, mine will work in my wood field camera. they are just a bit thicker than a regular holder.
     
  11. BobF

    BobF Member

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    Aggie

    I use mine under a spring back of a Linhof IV. They work well on the Linhof but I also have a Busch Pressman and they won't work at all on that camera as the spring back is too tight and it doesn't have a grafloc back. So I guess the answer is, it depends. [​IMG]
     
  12. Robert Kennedy

    Robert Kennedy Member

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    I too wish to know the mystery of the Grafmatic. Serious strange stuff. I can figure out how my PC works, but technology from the 1950s baffles me....

    I have heard that the rule of thumb for Grafmatics is that if you can fit a roll-film holder under your ground glass, you can fit a Grafmatic. I have no idea if this is TRUE or not, but it seems like it would be.
     
  13. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    You need an inch of clearance under the groundglass to fit a Grafmatic. If you don't have enough room, it may be possible to add washers or spacers or a larger spring to the back to accommodate a Grafmatic without compromising the spring pressure for regular filmholders.

    Here's how they work. You've got six septums in a box covered by a darkslide, and that box slides in and out of a larger box that remains stationary in the camera. When you're ready to expose a sheet, you pull the darkslide and push it back in. The septums are under spring tension, so the darkslide automatically slides under the top septum and in the process moves a small metal piece to reveal a red dot, showing that the film is ready, and you shouldn't remove the holder from the camera, or you will expose the sheet. You take the picture. Now you pull out the inner box, but the top sheet remains inside the larger box, inside the camera, and the darkslide is now on top of the stack, so that the new sheet on top of the stack is not exposed when the inner box is pulled out of the camera. Springs push the top sheet to the back of the holder, and you push the box back in, so it goes on top of the exposed sheet, which is now at the bottom of the stack, advancing the frame counter in the process.

    It sounds complicated, but it's ingeniously simple, and once you get the hang of it, you can shoot at the blazing speed of 1 fps with your 4x5" camera.
     
  14. Aggie

    Aggie Member

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  15. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    You could just call Wisner and ask if the back will take a Grafmatic. They should know. I would bet that a Wisner would. They are very well thought-out cameras.
     
  16. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Truer words have not been spoken...
    </span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (Richard Boulware @ Apr 17 2003, 03:47 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'>The Graphmatic film holder is a wonderful piece of gear, but does not suffer fools gladly. The key is positive and easy loading. FORCE NOTHING....and constantly eyeball your individual septums. A bent septum will not only throw your focus off, but could screw up your push/pull operation.</td></tr></table><span class='postcolor'>

    Bent septums can jam, scratch emulsion and if you force it it will bend more. Every once in a while you may wish to invert (opening towards the ground) and run the film holder through all six septums. Inverted or tilted downward (where gravity can get at it) is when bent septums and weak side springs are most noticable.
    I love my grafmatics. I wish they were still made.
     
  17. KenM

    KenM Member

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    Eric: You SUCK!

    (inside joke folks).
     
  18. fhovie

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    One thing I might add to this very fine post is not to forget to vacuum them out before reloading them. Like regular film holders, they get dust inside. I have a bunchof them and they are all pretty worn. I have had to gently squeeze the sides so they will still grab the film. I have been pretty successful in keeping them flat. I have one with a broken spring that I repaired with epoxy - It lasted through five reloads. I'll fix it again. If you only shoot a few and want to develop and reload the ones you shot - just remember that they are the ones on the bottom of the stack. I have done this several times and it worked fine. I can't get up to 1FPS with mine. Slow and carefull is the key - I listen carefully to the sound of the front septum shuffling to the back. You get used to the sound. A rapid shuffle is a good way to bend and malfunction. I lost a pack of color sheets in one from being to quick with it. A $12 lesson. I gently push on the groundglass to be shure not to let the pack shift while advancing the next frame. - They are certainly worth the effort though! - Frank
     
  19. glbeas

    glbeas Member

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    I just won a Grafmatic back on Ebay for $47. There seems to be quite a few Graphmatics up for bid lately. Thanks for letting me in on the neat peice of equipment!
     
  20. glbeas

    glbeas Member

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  21. glbeas

    glbeas Member

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  22. Shmoo

    Shmoo Member

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    I think one of the side benefits of the Grafmatic is that I've never had static discharge effects on my film...metal septums are a wonderful thing...
     
  23. glbeas

    glbeas Member

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    Seems to do pretty well on infrared film too, dark slide never comes out so no worries about light leaks.