How much for a pristine Super Graphic?

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by pbromaghin, Jul 20, 2012.

  1. pbromaghin

    pbromaghin Subscriber

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    I am in the long-term market for 4x5, meaning I am not prepared to start shooting and so can wait years for a pristine camera to fall into my lap.

    How much would you pay for this Super Graphic, assuming it is in as good shape as the guy says?

    http://denver.craigslist.org/pho/3151926174.html
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 20, 2012
  2. rjs003

    rjs003 Member

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    It is worth whatever you are willing to pay
     
  3. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    If it is really that clean, no light leaks, and the shutter works. Check for scuffs on the leather, they are signs of abuse or wear.

    The shutter may be slow if it really is that unused. Offer less if the shutter does not cock and fire because you will need to get a CLA.
     
  4. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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    Or more, if someone pays more.

    I paid about $130 for a similar one that is in terrible, ugly shape, without a lens, but working perfectly. The clean condition of this one might attract someone who values that but as Sirius said something that nice looks hardly used. Not always good for such an old camera. If you do not need a pretty camera wait and find one from a reputable source that might look more used but works and might be cheaper.
     
  5. pbromaghin

    pbromaghin Subscriber

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    As a faithful follower of Adam Smith, I am aware of price theory. Note that I asked not what it is worth, but what others would be willing to pay. What I would be willing to pay is undetermined and is hopefully to be influenced by answers to this question. What knowledgeable people would pay for an object is valuable information to have before entering into a transaction.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 20, 2012
  6. Alan Gales

    Alan Gales Subscriber

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    Assuming it is as nice as he says it is and the shutter works, it is probably worth what he is asking if he sold it on Ebay. I don't know what Denver is like but in St. Louis large format equipment seems to go for less on Craigslist.

    Shoot him an offer. The worst he can say is no.
     
  7. waynecrider

    waynecrider Member

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    I wouldn't put off not shooting just to wait for a camera. Seize the moment. What is here today may not be here tomorrow. From a historical standpoint, many people get involved in the format and drop out due to one reason or another. You'll never know if it's for you until you buy something and get going. The camera is just a box to hold a lens and film holder. Buy film, shoot, keep it alive.
    I owned a Super Graphic, nice camera but limited in movements. Get something with more options like a true field camera. Just my POV.
     
  8. Ralph Javins

    Ralph Javins Member

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    Good morning, pbromaghin;

    An interestingly phrased question.

    In my case, I was sent a damaged Super Speed Graphic. No charge for the camera or the shipping. But it did have some problems. So, a little over $400 later, I have a fairly nice working camera. However, in this case, I must admit that there is a personal relationship involved here, and the equivalent sentimental value of the camera has not yet been assessed.

    So, yes, I do have a very nice working Super Speed Graphic, but I still prefer using my "Joe Rosenthal" camera more; a 1945 Anniversary Edition Speed Graphic.
     
  9. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    If it truly is mint, and depending a little on the box condition, it's not an unreasonable asking price.
    However, if you're in the market for a user, this may not be the best choice if you're concerned about preserving its value.
     
  10. Brian C. Miller

    Brian C. Miller Member

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    Snag it! These don't show up very often at all. A few years ago I watched a similar Super Graphic go for the price of a new Toyo 45AX on eBay. If you want a pristine camera, this is it. Do it!
     
  11. Alan Gales

    Alan Gales Subscriber

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    The guy is asking $650.00 for it. I'm sure he will take $600.00 cash money.

    If I was able to examine it and everything looked great as he says and I was able to check the shutter speeds with my shutter speed tester and they were reasonably accurate and I was allowed to check the bellows in a darkened room with my flashlight and the bellows were good, I would buy it for $600.00.

    But that's me. I own both a 4x5 field camera and 4x5 monorail. I also own an 8x10 field camera.

    There are three main types of 4x5 cameras, monorail, field and press. This is a press camera. You really need to learn about the differences between the three before you decide to buy anything. Just because something is a good deal doesn't mean that it's a good deal for you.

    I'm not trying to preach, just trying to help.
     
  12. hoffy

    hoffy Member

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    Re, the Super, my local second hand camera shop has one that is in what I would call EX+ condition for $495, with a Rodenstock lens (I am pretty sure). I was curious to see if this was a good price as well. Compared to yours, it sounds like it could be.
     
  13. cyberjunkie

    cyberjunkie Member

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    I am not a Graphic expert, i don't own one... but i am pretty sure a Super has NO shutter.
    Just an all metal construction and marginally improved movements.
    Considering that i am going to sell a good "user" Technika III (last version, with graflok back), for about 370 euros, a Super Graphic for 650 USD is quite expensive, bordering the unreasonable, IMHO.
    When i am done selling some of my old "toys", i think i will start my personal patient search for a Pacemaker Speed Graphic with graflok back, in perfectly working conditions, with a price limit of no more than 250 USD.
    I would prefer finding one for 200 euros, from within the EU, to avoid expensive shipment charges, but the chances are slim.
    Probably i am biased (what i need is a focal plane shutter - any Graflex reflex fitted with a graflok back would do as well), but i can't find any good reason for buying a Super Graphic for more than 300 bucks.
    If you spend more, then the price approaches the cost of other second-hand cameras with far better features.
    I have seen korean copies of the Wista, selling for about $300, but with more bellows and more movements, not to mention the cheap lensboards.
    Even a true Wista, or Horseman, would cost just a little more.
    The Graphic's have rangefinders though, and that feature made them the queens of "press" cameras.
    Nowadays very few Graphic owners use their cameras handheld.
    I would do it, if i had one... well, sometimes :smile:
    I would prefer an adjustable side-mounted Kalart viewfinder instead of the interchangeable cams of the Super Graphic, which are almost impossible to find, even for common focals.
    As a matter of fact very few people use their camera that way, and some extremist even strips the rangefinder casing from the camera, to save weight :sad:

    There are good reasons for being a Super/Crown/Speed Graphic fan, one of them being the price.
    That reason is slowly becoming irrelevant, as more and more people decide that "i want it NOW", after reading a Flickr post, or after paying a short visit to graflex.org.
    On top of that, too many people want to get vintage equipments in "as new" conditions, without realizing that most cameras and lenses were actually used to take pictures, for all those years.
    Most Graphic cameras were professional workhorses, sometimes overused or even abused.
    Whatever their aesthetical condition, if they were serviced, or still are in perfectly working state, the pictures they take won't be any different from those made with a spotless camera.

    I feel that doing your homework, and becoming aware of market prices (which are different from "asked prices" ), is not only a boon for your own wallet, but also a kind of service to the large format community (which is largely made by amateurs, since a good number of years).
    I've just stopped browsing a Christie's "photographica" auction catalogue (year 2000): vintage large format stuff was incredibly cheap, compared with present day prices.
    I think that the "i want it now, and i can pay for it!" attitude played a major role in the escalation of prices.
    Of course i may be wrong... so i am curious to find out if other people have different answers

    have fun

    CJ

    Sent from my Android tablet
     
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  15. hoffy

    hoffy Member

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    Once apon a time, you could also buy a running VW Beetle or Mini for not much more then scrap metal cost as well. With vintage equipment, they are worth what the market is prepared to pay.
     
  16. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    Where else are you going to get a rangefinder 4x5 in like-new condition for $650. I'd grab if it is as described.

    B&H price on new Wista: $6,959.99
    B&H price on new Linhof: $9,975.95
     
  17. pbromaghin

    pbromaghin Subscriber

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    Thanks for all the interesting opinion and good recommendations.

    I am in no hurry to make a purchase because moving to large format is almost a change in lifestyle. To do it right would mean building a dedicated darkroom and getting a 4x5 enlarger and dip-n-dunk processing equipment. I only started exploring medium format 3 years ago and still haven't become familiar with all my lenses. My darkbag and bathroom setup is perfectly satisfactory for that.

    It's probably just GAS.
     
  18. Prof_Pixel

    Prof_Pixel Member

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    The metal Super Graphic came in two flavors: the Super Speed Graphic (with a leaf shutter capable of 1/1000 sec) and the Super Graphic (the same body without the 1/1000 sec top shutter speed).
     
  19. Alan Gales

    Alan Gales Subscriber

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    Cyberjunkie is correct. The Super Graphic does not have a focal plane shutter.

    Prof_Pixel is also correct about the two versions, Super Graphic versus Super Speed Graphic.

    A very good friend of mine has the Super Speed Graphic and I have been trying to trade him out of it. I posted a question about it on Large Format Photography Forum and learned that even new the Super Speed Graphic could not reach the claimed 1/1000 of a second shutter speed, more like 1/700th. Also the shutter is not very reliable.

    What I like about the Super Graphic is that it is a metal camera and it has a rotating back. Of course these features are not important to everyone.

    Just a little information that I recently learned. :smile:
     
  20. graywolf

    graywolf Member

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    Here we go again with the "Leaf shutters are not as fast as they are marked" crap.

    A properly serviced leaf shutter should be within 1/6th stop at all speeds. Where this they don't work as advertised comes from is people checking out old gummed up shutters, and people using a cheap shutter speed tester incorrectly.

    Speed of leaf shutters is measured at the 70% open point. It takes a shutter about a milli-second to reach that point and another milli-second to finish closing from that point. That is 2 milli-seconds. Now a 1/500 second shutter speed is open for 2 milli-seconds, that is a total of 4 milli-seconds from start to finish. If you do not fallow the written instructions with your Calumet, or whatever, shutter speed tester you will get a reading of 1/250 second. But if you use a dimmer on the light so the tester does not start counting until that 70% open point then you will get a reading of 1/500 of a second, as you should.

    Very expensive shutter speed testers, like the shutter and lens makers use, do all that automatically, but not many, if any, of the under $1000, much less under $100, do so. With my cheap Calumet tester, every properly working shutter I have tested, doing it correctly, has been within 1/6th of a stop at all shutter speeds.

    Why do folks not see that error at slower speeds? No matter what shutter speed you have the shutter set for it is still going to have that 2 milli-second of lag, only at 1/100 sec that is a 2% error, hardly noticeable. With a 1/1000 sec shutter it is a 200% error in your reading (except that Graphic lens gets it speed from having less lag, and you will see only 100% at most.)

    An easy way I use for quick shutter checks is to simply subtract those 2 milli-seconds from the reading on the tester, that gives an in the ball park shutter speed that is close enough to tell you if the shutter needs servicing.

    If your shutter is actually a stop or two slow at its top speed, it needs servicing.

    I am tired of this stupid old myth!
     
  21. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    One *Super Speed) with original boxes etc went for about £400-£500 recently here in the Uk and it was mint, possibly inder what you'd expect so $600 seems fine.

    I paid far less for mine but time and effort getting it back to scratch adds up

    Ian
     
  22. Alan Gales

    Alan Gales Subscriber

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    Tom, I think that you misunderstood me. I am not talking about leaf shutters in general. I am talking about the particular leaf shutter that came with the Super Speed Graphic.

    I have never used one. I have never checked the speed of one with my Calumet shutter speed tester. All I did was ask a question about it on Large Format Photography Forum.

    What I learned from people I trust was that this particular shutter is unreliable and expensive to repair. It was just a bad design from the beginning and never as fast as claimed.
     
  23. pbromaghin

    pbromaghin Subscriber

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    I'm a shooter, not a collecter, so i don't give a rats ass about resale value.

    As large format goes, I am preferring either a Graphic View or a press camera. I've never had movements, so I won't miss them.

    Quite apart from the condition of the shutter, I would love that everything else be in pristine condition, because it probably works better. A shutter CLA is no problem. I've just done that this spring on my 1948 Zeis Ikonta and it works beautifully.

    I'm 55 and anything I buy will probably end up as part of my estate, so I don't give a shit about resale value.

    i'll probably just give everything photographic to Laostyle17 if they ever decide to get married. I offered to pay for a week at Sandals or Hawaii, instead of a wedding:
    http://www.sandals.com/
     
  24. pbromaghin

    pbromaghin Subscriber

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    So I guess I neither give a shit. nor a rats ass.
     
  25. Discoman

    Discoman Member

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    Given all the electronics and what I've heard is a fiddly shutter, I'd pay no more than $450 for one in good condition. For $600 I can pick up a used but still good condition field or monorail camera. I've seen very nice view cameras go for as much as that person wants for the graflex. If I wanted a portable LF camera, I'd buy a different graflex, probably a top rangefinder crown. If I wanted as much bang for my buck as possible, I'd be going for a used monorail for that $650.
    Might be worth $650 to a collector. It isn't worth that to me as a user.

    Looking closely, this one doesn't even seem to have the correct lens board or shutter on it, so while it may be in pristine condition, it sure isn't all original, and that would lower the collection value. So $650 is a bit much for even a collector, given the contents.
     
  26. Alan Gales

    Alan Gales Subscriber

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    Discoman, the camera that the OP is looking at is the Super Graphic. It's the Super Speed Graphic that has the fiddly shutter.

    I know it's a bit confusing. :smile:

    You are right that you can get a much better deal on a Crown Graphic. I like the Super Graphic for the metal body and the rotating back. Of course the Crown's wooden bodies are very sturdy and a rotating back is unnecessary to a lot of people.

    My point is that pristine later model Crowns go for an easy $500.00. To me it would be worth paying an extra $100.00 for the metal construction and the rotating back.

    Yes, a 4x5 field or monorail would be more practical to a lot of people. I think that a Super Graphic would be great for outdoor portraiture. Robust, fast to set up, and the rotating back would be quicker then moving your tripod head.