I just picked up an even NEWER hobby

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by JMC1969, Feb 5, 2009.

  1. JMC1969

    JMC1969 Subscriber

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    It's been quite some time since I got into 4x5 and punch drunk love is all I can say about it. I've had a great time learning and every outing is something new. I have yet to get really great shots, but certainly some keepers I love. However, today I went out for lunch and when I came back, an old client of ours dropped of a present "for Jody"

    [​IMG]

    I know absolutely nothing about Speed Graphics and I'm already in love. They need some work and I will now be searching Apug for a whole new set of information. 3 for free. I'm giddy.

    Jody
     
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  2. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    How fun! Vaughn
     
  3. archphoto

    archphoto Member

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    Wow, what a present !!!! Enjoy it !, Peter
     
  4. John Kasaian

    John Kasaian Member

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  5. Toffle

    Toffle Member

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    Postage to Canada should come to just over $25... I'm good for it. :D

    Enjoy your new toys. Let us know what you learn... I've got GAS for LF.

    Cheers,
     
  6. JMC1969

    JMC1969 Subscriber

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    Thanks for the link John, Bookmarked.

    I'm still at work so not too much learning so far except that I thought I had three Speed Graphics, but one seems to be a Meridian 45 and has a number etched in "B 2075" it has a Hugo Meyer range finder on it. Not that I know what that means. But it does have front standard shift.
     
  7. Joe VanCleave

    Joe VanCleave Member

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    This is a great gift!

    The two on the ends have coupled rangefinders. They are setup via a linkage arm that moves as you focus. You have to extend the bellows to a preset stop on the rail, then the rangefinder should be accurate. There's a calibration procedure on graflex.org for calibrating your rangefinder. This calibration only works for one focal length of lens.

    I have an Anniversay Speed, and use it for "adapted optics" experiments, like alternative glass lenses, pinhole, etc. The curtain shutter is great for this use, since it'll still time exposures from 1/10 sec to 1/1000th.

    I don't know what lenses you have, but the Kodak Ektar 127mm, commonly found, is a great lens.

    Good luck with these babies, hope to see many images.

    ~Joe
     
  8. Pupfish

    Pupfish Member

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    That's a great friend you have! Your Meridian is indeed the 45B model, which is rather rare and quite desirable. (Mine is S/N 2569. I don't know of any that number >3000). These date from ~ c.1947, were made in New York, and are among the most wide-angle friendly of folding technical field cameras, due to the inner focusing rail and 90˚ drop bed. The knobs release the back for technical movements in the manner of a Linhof Technika, hence the Meridian's being nicknamed the "American Linhof". I'll dig out up some links for you...
     
  9. Pupfish

    Pupfish Member

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    A quick-start user tutorial on the Meridian 45B:
    http://www.largeformatphotography.info/meridian/meridian.html

    Great article on the Meridian 45A and 45B by Brian Wallen:
    http://www.prairienet.org/b-wallen/BN_Photo/LFN/CamProf_Meridian1.htm
    (but I'd hesitate to do a Graflok conversion that didn't preserve the rotating V/H back, or required irreversible modifications-- and I have a machine shop at my disposal!)

    Nice little comparison chart by B. Wallen showing weights and movements of a few field cameras, incl the Meridian 45B:
    http://www.prairienet.org/b-wallen/BN_Photo/LFN/CamProf_Shootout.htm

    How to tighten the back posts if they slip, even with the knobs tightened:
    http://photo.net/large-format-photography-forum/00HVS4

    The lens board on yours appears to be non-stock; Graflex Graphic View 4" boards are purported to fit. I milled a couple myself, made a slightly recessed one to in order to shoehorn a Caltar II-N 210mm f/5.6 (Rodenstock Sironar-N) and still get the camera to fold up. A Nikkor SW 90mm f/8 on a flat board also fits (though I had to scrounge a skinnier than stock front lens cap to get it the bed to to latch shut).
     
  10. JMC1969

    JMC1969 Subscriber

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    Thanks,
    Joe, I think the lenses o them are going to be usable once I clean them up 203mm on both cameras w/ range finders. The one w/ a curtain shutter is confusing right now, but w/ a little research I'm sure it will start to make since. It has a very sticky shutter, but I have a little bit of experience w/ fixing them because I have been working on TLR cameras lately. The frustration has been enough there that I really should have learned something by now.

    Pupfish, Wow, these are some great and very specific links and I thank you. It is going to take some time to take it all in, but you make this camera sound like it could be a golden nugget dropped in my lap. The rear screw in pegs that hold the back tight are loose, but I had no idea that this feature meant it would allow rear standard movements. I don't know how I am going to sleep for the next few nights I am so excited about these. and to think the man that gave them to me was embarrassed because he thought they were junk. At the same time, he really didn't want me to just dump them and was kinda letting go of his babies. I am going to do what I can to restore these well enough to take some pictures. I can't vouch that the pictures will be great in themselves, but it will be fun and maybe I will inspire other to get back to basics of film.

    I'm so excited. I feel like I am talking to myself though. Kinda "preaching to the choir" you know?
     
  11. DBP

    DBP Member

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    Middle one is almost certainly an Anniversary Speed Graphic. If the one on the left doesn't have a focal plane shutter it is a Crown Graphic. And the Meridian is a great find because of the extra movements.
     
  12. Pupfish

    Pupfish Member

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    If the Meridian turns out to be salvageable you got lucky alright-- the one I found was the result of nearly a year's worth of looking!

    Couldn't quite make out from the pics but did you just hint that it came with an Ektar 203mm? What shutter?
     
  13. Pupfish

    Pupfish Member

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    (Whoops, double post)
     
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  15. JMC1969

    JMC1969 Subscriber

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    Quick, and first things first, Pupfish, Yes it has a Ektar f7.7 203mm in a Graphic name plate, synchro-compur shutter

    I am unfamiliar w/ his lens, apparently, its a good thing?
     
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  16. JMC1969

    JMC1969 Subscriber

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    DBP, I'm not sure what makes it a Anniversary, but maybe so. Like I say I know very little about these. And the one on the left does have a focal plane shutter equip w/ a Kodak Compur shutter and Kodak anastigmat f7.7 203mm.
     
  17. Pupfish

    Pupfish Member

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    Ektar 203mm f7.7 is a legendary optic... as good or better than most anything modern, with a large image circle for shift/tilt/swing moves.

    Say, have you noticed yet how that the 45B back also rotates from portrait to landscape?
     
  18. JMC1969

    JMC1969 Subscriber

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    No, I hadn't noticed that yet. It is a true Field camera isn't it? All three were apparently left open on a shelf for a number of years and dusty like crazy. I thought there might be an issue with oxidation, but, I'm not sure that is the case. it seems like it might just be dirty and paint chipping off. They came from an old orthodontist, so outdoor exposure should be minimal.

    The Ektar seems to be in good shape, but dusty.
     
  19. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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  20. Pupfish

    Pupfish Member

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    Mine had 60 years of funk but the naugahyde cleaned up well with just mild solvents like Windex and isopropyl alcohol. Yes, there could be some oxidation. On the Meridian, the case casting is an aluminum/copper alloy, stronger and lighter than aluminum alone. I brightened up the exposed metal case edges with a nylon brush in a Dremel tool but don't expect miracles here. You won't get the same mirror bright shine out of this case casting alloy as the bright shiny clear anodized aluminum parts like the front standard uprights or the block that holds the wire viewfinder hoop. The back is painted cast aluminum that isn't anodized and may have paint chipping off where this is occurring underneath. One such spot was causing a light leak on long time exposures within the film holder gate, until I disassembled the sprung halves, to find the little bump. Light leak disappeared once I smoothed it out.

    Meridian synthetic bellows hold up better than most but you won't find a new replacement set off the shelf anywhere. It'll be an expensive custom job to have done if they're shot. To test, get or borrow one of those 3 D cell Maglites. Take off the lensboard and extend the bellows in a darkened room with the flashlight stuck deep inside. You're looking for pinholes so pay attention both to the corners that flex the most near the front and at the attachment to the articulating back standard.

    Another light-leak test is to take the whole assembled camera on a tripod set in the sun. Put film in a holder and pull the dark slide for 15 or 20 minutes without taking an actual exposure with the lens. You're just exposing for any light leaks. Hopefully your film turns up blank and unexposed.
     
  21. JMC1969

    JMC1969 Subscriber

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    Yeah, I have cleaned a lot of shutters with isopropyl alcohol and Naptha. Last time I cleaned bellows with the alcohol I questioned myself because I was afraid it would further dry them out. I started a thread about the subject, but it really turned out to be more for after care than cleaning. It's here http://www.apug.org/forums/forum147/56694-care-cleaning-old-bellows.html Some time last week I can across a thread about Agfa/Ansco cameras and there a user posted he uses 50% ammonia, 50% peroxide as a cleaning solution. I think I may give that a try. I'm a little nervous about getting into them, but I have to start somewhere and this weekend will be a good one to do so.
     
  22. JMC1969

    JMC1969 Subscriber

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    So I started with the easiest one first and cleaned up the middle camera so I could test one out. This is by no means a restoration, just a little TLC so I could fire a couple off. The Lens is a Ilex - Calumet Series - S Caltar no.269 8 ½" (215mm) and the coating is pretty marred up so it is giving a soft look to everything. I'm a bit at a loss though because after looking around at some of the sites I am having trouble identifying this one. It seems to be "Anniversary" but every picture I see has a range finder, view finder and a low rear knob at the back (left side if you are looking @ the front of camera). There are no holes in the leather (it is leather because I removed the front door piece) around the four sides of this camera as though it is missing something. Just the two tripod inserts. Anyway, here are a couple of shots of it after the clean up and one quick shoot I took w/ it last night.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  23. JMC1969

    JMC1969 Subscriber

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    # 2 clean-up

    Well, I went deep on the second camera I decided to start cleaning up. The Meridian on the right was probably the one that needed the most work, but I couldn't bring myself to start on the Speed Graphic on left because the focal plane shutter scared me. So, The Meridian got my attention and before I knew it, I was breaking it down for a full overhaul. I took this camera down to the frame piece by piece, wire brushed each part and the heads of screws, then painted all parts that had paint on them. My "New" look to this camera is probably going to get on some peoples nerves, but I wanted to make it my own when I started the project. At one point or another I questioned it, but I was just to far into it to change at that point. Overall, I am happy with it and very proud of myself for doing what I will consider a restoration, even if the leatherette is different. It took a long time to do and a lot of patience I was unaware that I possessed.

    I still could use a small bit of help. I seem to be missing a small piece that fits into two small holes at the rear of the bed rails. It is were the actuator arm for the rangefinder should connect to the bed. In the speed graphic it is on a small wheel on the rear bed rails, but on the Meridian the rear rails and front rails are not connected to one another, so the arm comes out of the camera housing to this spot on the front rail. I have found no detailed pictures of this camera on the internet, so if you have one, all help is appreciated.

    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
     
  24. doughowk

    doughowk Subscriber

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    Jody, John Simmons aka JUAN on this forum is very knowledgeable on
    Speed Graphics. I have a Crown Graphic & Century Graphic, and rely on
    John's expertize when using those cameras.
    Btw, we have a LF group in the area; and frequently meet for outings. Let
    me know if you want to be included in our email list.
     
  25. JMC1969

    JMC1969 Subscriber

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    Absolutely Doug, I would love to be on the email list. I will shoot you my address in a PM. Thanks.
     
  26. Pupfish

    Pupfish Member

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    Jody, your Meridian 45B looks great! Is that naugahyde simulated ostrich or simulated emu (Si-mu?) Did you get the rangefinder coupling issue sorted out?

    I found another good read that references the Meridian Camera Co. (It's the obit for Paul Klingenstein):
    http://www.peterlanczak.de/Memory_Paul_Klingenstein.html