Help with Speed Graphic

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Cheryl Jacobs, Jul 6, 2004.

  1. Cheryl Jacobs

    Cheryl Jacobs Member

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    Got my Speed Graphic today. Too cool!! The serial number dates it to 1941, which, to my hopelessly romantic nature, is enough to give me goose bumps. :wink:

    So, my first question...... am I actually supposed to *see* something on the ground glass? LOL. Not sure what I need to do. Something with the lens? Something with the focal plane shutter? Hell, I don't even know enough to know what my question is. I did download a manual, which was quite helpful, however I believe it's from at least twenty years after my particular model's manufacture date.

    - Clueless in Denver
     
  2. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    I have a Speed as well. Really funky for sure. I don't really use the shutter so just use the usual open and close mechanism on the lens. Where did you get the manual from as I want to download one too.

    Thanks,

    Eric
     
  3. Cheryl Jacobs

    Cheryl Jacobs Member

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    Eric, and that open-and-close mechanism would be....where? LOL.

    I got the manual from ManualsRUs.com .

    - C
     
  4. Alex Hawley

    Alex Hawley Member

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    Congratulations Cheryl and welcome to the world of large format. Been too long since I was around a Speed, but, if I remember right, you have to open the lens and the focal plane shutter to see through the GG. That's assuming the lens has a leaf shutter on it.
     
  5. Cheryl Jacobs

    Cheryl Jacobs Member

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    Alex, yeah, I figured. :wink: My problem is that I've got no idea how to do that. LOL. My camera is slightly different than the one shown in the manual, so I'm a bit lost as to how to open the focal plane shutter.
     
  6. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    hi cheryl

    speed graphics are alot of fun!
    not sure if you know about graflex.org ... they have a ton of info on speed graphics & other graflex / graphic cameras ( maybe you got your manual there?)

    anyways, look on the side of your camera. ( the side with the wind-key )
    you should see a little window with numbers in it. with the number on "0" the focal plane shutter is de-wound and wide open so you can use a shuttered lens. if it is on "T" it is blocked by the cloth - just depress the shutter button ( same side as the little window ) until it is on "0" :smile:
    not sure what lens you have, but if you put the shutter on "T" it will be open for a timed exposure and you can focus on the ground glass ... you can also do the same thing with a cable release and the shutter on "B" ...

    welcome to the world of LF !

    - john
    ( 54 pacemaker speed graphic :smile: )
     
  7. Cheryl Jacobs

    Cheryl Jacobs Member

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    Ahhhh. OK, I'm getting this now. My lens is a Supermatic, which means there's a little button on the left side of the lens which I have to press to keep the blades open. When I do that, set the O, and coax just a little (looks like the curtain tension spring has seen better days) I can get the image on the ground glass. And thus a monster is born! LOL.

    This is cool. I did manage to figure out that this is an Anniversary model.

    Here's another stupid question for you. Um... where's the shutter?? This camera came with a cable release on it, and I'm not sure where the 'shutter button' is. There is a shutter button, no?
     
  8. Jim Chinn

    Jim Chinn Member

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    Cheryl,


    the shutter has 2 levers. The one that is bigger in diameter and is knurled (I am assuming your shutter is similar to the two supermatics I have for my ektar lenses.) is the cocking mechanism.

    The other lever trips the shutter.

    The silver ring or front plate controls your shutter speed. If it is an older flash supermatic it will have two sets of speeds. 1/25th-1/400th in black and 1/10th-T in red. The whole ring turns. Set the camera on various speeds, cock the shutter and trip it. you will get an idea how accurate the shutter is on the longer times.

    The pointer on the bottom moves to set the F stop.

    Set the shutter on T, cock and trip the shutter. The shutter is now open and you can now focus and compose. Move the f stop marker back and forth and you can see the aperture change through the ground glass.
     
  9. photomc

    photomc Member

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    Cheryl, ISN'T it GREAT!!!!! I have a Crown Graphic that I picked up a couple of years ago. Really have not had to enjoy it yet, but hope to soon. BTW the Crown differs from the Speed in that it is a little smaller because it does not have the rear shutter, just the one for the lens. Which lens did you end up with? Oh! and did you get a few film holders?
     
  10. juan

    juan Subscriber

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    Cheryl, I've posted a manual for the Anniversary Speed Graphics (that's what yours is) on my site.
    http://simmonsphotos.com/Graflex/Anniversary/Ann1.html

    As for the shutter curtain on the focal plane shutter, they usually just need exercise. I've loosened them by repeatedly firing them on the lower tensions and gradually increasing the tension. Setting the tension is covered in the manual, too.
    juan
     
  11. Mark Wangerin

    Mark Wangerin Member

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    I have '41 and a later model Speed Graphic with the rotating graphloc backs. I've used it several time for beach portraits when I don't want to take the 8x10 or my Hassey. I would really like a Horseman instead. The graphics are good entry level work horses.
    It would be a good idea to get the range finder calibrated if you are going to hand hold and shoot the way they were designed to be used. You also have to make sure that it is calibrated for the lens' focal length. I have one for the 127mm Ektar which is what was typically used on these.
    Steve Grimes in R.I. does a lot of my Large Format equipment work. He's one of the best.
     
  12. Shesh

    Shesh Member

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    Cheryl,
    Welcome to LF, from another newbie. I bought a Crown Graphic less than a month ago. One modification I did was to make an "architectural grid" on the ground glass. It helps in composition and in my case to keep the horizon horizontal. I found it very useful on my 35mm cameras (Nikon makes these focusing screens) and found it would be useful with LF also.

    If you want to try that - make the grid on a piece of cardboard the same size as the ground glass, splitting the horizontal into 3 equal parts and the vertical into 4 equal parts, fix the ground glass on the cardboard, with the reflective side facing you and trace the lines with a thin marker.

    You may also want to get the shutter speeds caliberated. Exercise the shutters at various speeds a few times and take it to a camera repair shop. They should be able to provide you with the expected range at each shutter speed and the actual speed. I found that my shutter was way off at 1/200th of a second and out of tolerance limits at 1/5th. The rest of the speeds were within the tolerance limits. Mine is a compur shutter, BTW.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 7, 2004
  13. Mark Wangerin

    Mark Wangerin Member

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    Cheryl,
    also... you will want to do a good cleaning out of the bellows' interior as well as the shutter curtain. The dust from time and the fibers from the aging curtain will be attracted to the film as soon as you pull the trigger. Those big negatives are excellent magnets for dust. That was a lesson I learned on "me onesy".
     
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  15. jimgalli

    jimgalli Subscriber

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    Welcome to Large Format Cheryl. What a nice addition. Exercise that old focal plane shutter so you can play with some of the different "portrait" lenses from the same era. Most don't have their own shutter so you use the one in the camera. You have 2 shutters right now. One is a leaf shutter built into the Kodak Supermatic. I'm assuming it's a 127mm f4.7 Ektar. And the other is the focal plane shutter built into the Speed with the little number windows. Lenses with built in leaf shutters work best for most things. Especially if you want to sync a flash. Later when you're comfortable with the old girl, ask me about Heliar's and Verito's.
     
  16. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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  17. Dave Miller

    Dave Miller Member

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    Check out www.graflex.org
    You will find the answer to your questions, even those that you haven't thought of asking yet!
     
  18. Cheryl Jacobs

    Cheryl Jacobs Member

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    Thanks for all the great info.

    Juan, many thanks for the manual!

    Dave, I found the graflex.org site last night, and got some very useful stuff there, too. Fabulous resource.

    Mark, yeah, I need to have the whole thing cleaned and adjusted. I can already see some quirks that need to be ironed out. Twenty years in storage probably wasn't the best for it. The dust thing would definitely drive me nuts. (Learned it all on your onesy, eh George Jungle?)

    Photomc, yup, got a few holders to start off with. I've got the Ektar 127 Supermatic lens, and will have fun accumulating some 'new' ones. Maybe Jim can give me some helpful hints on those old portrait lenses -- the older the better. Shesh, yeah, still have to figure out the calibration 'shtuff.' I'm at the base of the learning curve here, but my obsessive compulsive tendencies ought to get me moving pretty quickly. :wink:

    Thanks, again. Expect some bonehead questions from me in the weeks to come.
     
  19. Mark Wangerin

    Mark Wangerin Member

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    Cheryl,
    you have your talkies mixed up... it's Capt. Jack Sparrow. Remember?
     
  20. Cheryl Jacobs

    Cheryl Jacobs Member

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    Of course I remember.... but I figured you must be George Jungle, since 'only here to help.' :wink:

    (Maybe George Jungle impersonating Capt Jack...)
     
  21. Mark Wangerin

    Mark Wangerin Member

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    Ahh... one more thing if you are out in the field and the shutter gets sticky on the Ektar. A small bottle of Ronsinol (cigarette lighter fluid) is handy to get you through the shoot. It frees up the shutter then evaporates. This is used sparingly. If you dump it in... it can get to the lens coating then it's lights out.
    Obviously the best thing to do is to have Steve Grimes CLA it. But working in the cold, it's going to get draggy. I've used this trick for a long time on all my old lenses. My Commercial Ektar, Imagon and #5 shutter for the 14" Verito are the exceptions as these I keep tuned up regularly. It's the little ones that can be a problem.
     
  22. glbeas

    glbeas Member

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    After you've had time to play with the Speed and want to shoot faster you might want to look for a Grafmatic or a Kinematic film holder or two. The Grafmatics hold 6 shots and a fairly easy to find, I have 6 or 7 of them now, and the Kinematics hold 10 shots and are harder to find, I've only seen two listed on Ebay. They allow rapid shooting with the 4x5 camera, able to change a film out in about a second once you get familiar with using them. I like them because I can pack more film in a smaller space in my camera pack.
     
  23. Dorothy Blum Cooper

    Dorothy Blum Cooper Member

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    Way cool, Cheryl! Bobby has a Crown Graphic and loves it! Just one more camera for his ever growing collection. You'll love it once you get going with it. Look forward to seeing what you get with it.

    Dorothy--
     
  24. John_Brewer

    John_Brewer Member

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    Welcome to the wonderful world of LF Cheryl. These older LF cameras are great, I use the British equivalent, an MPP. They're wonderful pieces of engineering built to last.
     
  25. Alex Hawley

    Alex Hawley Member

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    Cheryl, another thing I just thought of since you specialize in photographing children. I grew up sitting in front of my Dad's Graphic (I can even remember him buying it and Mom can't) and I was always totally fascinated by the routine of actions and sounds that he went through in the process of making a shot. Maybe its just my inclination, but it held my attention and eased the "pain" of being posed.

    All that being said, I have never missed flash bulb spots in my eyes.
     
  26. fingel

    fingel Member

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    Hi Cheryl,
    I just posted some photo's that I shot with my speed graphic in my personal gallery. I think you will find it fun to play with. I had a good time with mine on the 4th. When you take it out in public, you'll get all kinds of looks and comments. :smile: Get yourself a grafmatic or two and have a ball.