Just received my B & J Press 4x5 & have questions?

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Brad Bireley, Apr 12, 2006.

  1. Brad Bireley

    Brad Bireley Member

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    I just received my B & J 4x5 Press camera with a Kodak Ektar 127 lens.
    I have no idea how to use this thing! Any help would be appreciated.
    Thanks,
    Brad
     
  2. Len Robertson

    Len Robertson Member

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    Brad - This page http://www.cameraeccentric.com/html/info.html has scans of B&J catalogs which will show the "features" of your camera. Also there is an instruction book for a Pacemaker Graphic that is similar enough to your B&J it should help you figure out most of what you need to know. And then http://www.graflex.org/ has tons of information on Graphics. Again, your camera isn't that different than a Graphic.
     
  3. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    How far have you gotten?

    1) Have you opened the front? Don't laugh you wouldn't be the first who couldn't

    2) Opened the back to expose the ground glass?

    3) Opened the lens shutter so you can see? I don't know if that lens has a preview mode or not. If not you might have to use a cable release to hold the lens open.
     
  4. bob01721

    bob01721 Member

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  5. Brad Bireley

    Brad Bireley Member

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    I've been able to open the front. I've exposed the ground glass.

    It has a Busch flash supermatic shutter. This I'm not sure on how to operate.
    Where would you hook the cable release?

    I'm just excited to get out & use this camera.
     
  6. Len Robertson

    Len Robertson Member

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  7. Brad Bireley

    Brad Bireley Member

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    Thanks for all the info. What's the object in the upper left corner by the lens?
     

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  8. Lachlan Young

    Lachlan Young Member

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    I think it's a solenoid for firing flashbulbs - there's one on my Speed Graphic too - I don't know how you would go about making it operational though...

    Hope this helps,

    Lachlan
     
  9. jimgalli

    jimgalli Subscriber

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    Brad, the object in the upper left is a solenoid. It trips the shutter and also completes a circuit that would fire a flash. It was an aftermarket accessory. Typically it would use the same voltage as the batteries in the flash bulb holder. 2 or 3 size "D"'s. You can disconnect it and simply use the cable release threads behind it on the shutter. The cable release socket is simply a flat hole with threads on these shutters. BTW the Ektar 127 is a very nice sharp old lens. When you "cock" the shutter, push the button and it should open for focusing. When looking at something far away it should focus when the lensboard area is about 5" away from the ground glass. That would give you a place to start anyways. Then get a dark sweatshirt and stick your head in the hole backwards, wrap the waist around the back of the camera and enjoy the view. Upside down yes, but you'll be surprised that your brain doesn't tell you that for too long. Now roll the front board in and out until things get sharp. That's all there is too it except for a lifetime of learning the rest. :D
     
  10. DBP

    DBP Member

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    One more thing. On the top left (photographer's left) corner of the body near the back there may be a very small catch, which allows you to release and rotate the back. I don't know if all B&J Press cameras have a rotating back, but mine does.
     
  11. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    Brad, the device in the upper left of your photo is , like Jim Galli says, a solenoid to trip the shutter. The solenoid doesn't fire the flash. A switch on the flashgun fires both the solenoid and the flash. There are also contacts in the shutter to fire a flash. An adjustment at about the 5 o'clock position of the face of the shutter changes a delay in the shutter for either F or M class flash bulbs. The shutter wasn't designed to fire electronic flash, but altering it to do so is fairly easy. The two posts near the flash adjustment are the flash contacts.
     
  12. Brad Bireley

    Brad Bireley Member

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    Thanks everyone!
    More questions to come!




     
  13. Lachlan Young

    Lachlan Young Member

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    Having gone away and looked at the shutter on my Speed Graphic I have discovered it is a SUPERMATIC X shutter - ie strobes only yet it has the same style of flash contacts. According to the CAMEROSITY (1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,0) system the lens on my camera has the letters ES on it - meaning the lens was made in 1947 - if it is the original lens on my camera then it dates it to the first year of Pacemaker Speed Graphic production! Using the CAMEROSITY system it should be possible to find out the age of the lens as well as finding out approximately when the Supermatics changed from F or M sync to X sync.

    Hope this helps,

    Lachlan
     
  14. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    You are certainly right. I misread X for M. The old F-M and X shutters may have been produced concurrently for some time. The X shutter might be preferred for studio strobes, but the F-M sync was still needed for photojournalism.
     
  15. Jim_in_Kyiv

    Jim_in_Kyiv Member

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    Mine doesn't. BTW, I do prefer it over the Speed Graphic I used to have. The metal body is much more useful in an emeregency - wheel chock for a 747, for instance, and it will leave a bigger dent when dropped on pretty much anything.

    On a more serious note, if yours is like mine, you'll find out that the front can drop about 15 degrees below horizontal. This is good. Ignore it for now - use it as a big point and shoot for the first little bit, then play with the movements.
     
  16. MattCarey

    MattCarey Member

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    I don't really know what the drop bed is used for. I put a 75mm lens on my B&J Press. The bed was not in the view even in the normal position.

    Matt
     
  17. scott k

    scott k Member

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    Drop bed

    I've never seen one of the B&J Press cameras but maybe the drop bed is used for front fall. btw I should be getting my Crown Graphic today. I think I'm feeling ill-I better go home this afternoon, I don't want anyone I work with to get sick:smile:

    Scott
     
  18. DBP

    DBP Member

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    The lens date may not be a good indicator of when the synch changed. The Supermatic my 1944 Ektar is in is also X-sync, but was probably adjusted at some point in its life. Has a PC contact too, so apparently there were many options, including no synch, which is what the rest of my 1940's shutters have.
     
  19. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

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    My Busch has a drop front for fall, as in rise/fall, it's a great feature. It allows for "forward" tilt of the front also on mine as my front standard has backward tilt. You drop the front and you get the "fall" and "tilt" controls.

    Have fun

    Curt
     
  20. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

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    I forgot to mention that "shift" left or right is available on some by moving the front upright, at the base, by hand to the right or left. Mine has a phenolic "brake" so it's just a physical sliding movement with no locks. When adjusted properly, as it is now, it stays in place when moved. Suprising that these cameras have the movements they do.

    Curt