Lens suggestions for Graflex R.B. Super D 4x5

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by GeorgeDexter, Nov 19, 2010.

  1. GeorgeDexter

    GeorgeDexter Member

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    I'm getting into 4x5 for the first time with a Graflex R.B. Super D 4x5. I have a 190mm lens on it now, but I'm looking for a suggestion for a portrait lens. I want an old-timey soft look. I'm thinking maybe an old brass lens. Also, what's the widest lens I can use on this camera? I'm also looking for a developing tank suggestion for B&W processing.
    Thanks in advance.:smile:
     
  2. alanrockwood

    alanrockwood Member

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    I hope this isn't hijacking the thread too badly, but where does one find film holders for these cameras? I understand they use special film holders. I have one of the old graphlex SLR cameras, but I have never used it.
     
  3. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    George, 190 is about it. Ain't no retrofocus lenses for LF cameras and anything much shorter than 190 will get in the mirror's way.

    If you want the old-timey soft look, think about film, paper, and processing. That's usually what did it, lenses have been quite good forever.

    Alan, to learn how to recognize film holders that fit Graflex (as in Graflex SLR) backs, visit www.graflex.org. Then look for 'em on eBay. They turn up there.
     
  4. erikg

    erikg Member

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    Dan is right, 190 is about as short as you can go, if focusing to infinity is required. You can often use lenses in the 165 range as long as you are focusing closer, as you often will when shooting portraits. There are true soft focus lenses out there, and you certainly can try out various barrel lenses. Since you are focusing with the viewing hood (usually) with the Graflex the speed of the lens can be a factor. One of the strengths of these cameras is the ability to focus a fast lens wide open even when photographing people. Part of the look becomes a shallow depth of field. You can look for faster Tessars, Pentacs, some people have adapted Aero Ektars. You can spend small money or big, if you want a true soft focus lens that might set you back a bit, but on the other hand an older uncoated Tessar wide open (like a 4.5 or 3.5) may give you just what you are looking for and not cost very much. And Dan's advice about film, paper and processing is also good.

    The holders are out there, lots of times the sellers don't know what they have so you have to study the pictures. I got two grafmatics that way. If I hadn't bought them it's likely that some buyer would've been very confused and upset. Lucky I came along. :wink: The other option is to have the back converted to take standard holders. SK Grimes does a great job with that.

    Have fun!
     
  5. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    I have a custom made adapter plate so that a Graflok back is fitted to my Graflex Model D. Hence I use Grafmatic 45 film magazines.

    Steve
     
  6. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    aside from conventional lenses that are made for large format ..
    you might consider experimenting with lenses harvested off of
    folding cameras and box cameras. one of the beautiful things about
    your camera ( and other graflex slrs ) is the focal plane shutter.


    alan,
    look for film holders with slotted sides,
    they are larger than "regular" film holders ...
    besides ebay, places like equinoxphotographic and pacificrimcamera
    tend to have those sorts of things ..

    - john
     
  7. amac212

    amac212 Member

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    I know a local photographer who loves shooting portraits with a Kodak Aero Ektar 178mm attached to his Super D. I use the same lens on my Speed Graphic and love the effect. SK Grimes or Jo Lommen can make a lensboard.
     
  8. darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

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    The aero ektar will not fit on a Super D 4x5 without modifacation. The rear element dips too far back and impedes the mirror.
     
  9. darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

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    to answer your question, just about any barrel lens from 200-300mm will work great on a super D.
    One thing to look out for is really large lenses may not fit in the throat of the camera. but its hard to say unless you have it. But many large shuttered lenses may not fit.

    Some other lenses that would be good on a super D.. Heliars, xenars, ektars (in barrel), kodak anastigmats, dagors, some symmars came in barrels.

    I personally have the 190mm ektar on mine and its a good one. I also have a 210mm and 240mm f4.5 Xenar.

    One lens I highly reccomend is the 15" tele-raptar/optar. This lens is right at home on a graflex SLR. It often comes in a barrel and goes for crazy low prices.

    If you want a cheap alternative to a barrel lens, get a +1/+2/+3 close-up lens set in a large diameter. Glue an extra filter ring on a peice of cardboard and stack 2 or more of the filters in front. There you go, a double or triple meniscus lens.
     
  10. Simon Benton

    Simon Benton Subscriber

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    I have an 8 3/4 in Verito that I use on my Super D. Lovely lens. I also have a variety of old brass lens I use that give different effects. I hardly ever use the 190mm Ektar that is standard on these cameras.
     
  11. cmedwards

    cmedwards Member

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    Re: the holders
    I have some slotted holders for the Super D I'd be willing to sell. I am having my camera converted to a Graflok back, which I would not be inclined to do if I didn't have an abundance of regular 4x5 holders from the good old days. The Graflex holders work fine...I found four that were never used in the box!

    Also, I found a Dallmeyer Pentac 1.9 with a barrel that will not fit into the recess of the original lens so I screwed a small bracket into the front to hold the lens/lens board in place. It works in theory, however I need to test some more with film as virtually all the frames were totally out of focus wide open. Don't know if I'm going blind, the ground glass is too dim...probably user error.
     
  12. erikg

    erikg Member

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    Hard to imagine the ground glass too dim with a 1.9 lens! What is the focal length? Sounds like it could be a promising lens. I'll watch the classifieds if you decide to sell the holders, they could be handy.
     
  13. GeorgeDexter

    GeorgeDexter Member

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    It must be an f9

    I don't think anybody ever made an f/1.9 lens for large format. It would be enormous. It must be an f9, sometimes written as 1:9.
     
  14. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Creative Graflex Photography by Jay Allen [jay10allen@msn.com] lists 16 lenses for Graflex Model D on page 21 and discusses lens design and choices for Graflex cameras of all sizes.

    Steve
     
  15. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    George, Dallmeyer made the f/2.9 Pentac in many focal lengths. The longest is 8". You're responding to a typo.

    Dallmeyer made their Super Six at f/1.9 in focal lengths up to 6", f/2.0 at 8". I've had a 6"/1.9 Super Six, sold it long ago. Too valuable to keep in the closet. Super Sixes cover their focal lengths so the 6" and 8" were normal lenses for 4x5 and 5x7 respectively. The 8 incher might work on a 4x5 Graflex.
     
  16. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Jay Allen lists a 15".

    Steve