Ready for the plunge... Graflex View 4x5?

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Toffle, Jul 5, 2009.

  1. Toffle

    Toffle Member

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    Hello, folks;
    I've been wishing and hoping and weighing my options and I have finally made my decision. (I think :rolleyes: ) I have the opportunity to purchase a Graflex Graphic View sans lens or holders for what I think is a pretty good price. (Under $200 US) Are there any caveats I should heed before jumping in?

    I eagerly await any advice you may offer.

    (I do not have a 4x5 enlarger at this time, though I do have access to one if need be. I am not averse to contact printing 4x5 either.)

    Cheers,
     
  2. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    Sounds expensive at $200. I assume itàs a 1 and not a II?

    Caveats? It's not a field camera so if that matters understand the trade offs. Being 50+ years old condition is everything. Is the tripod mount included?
     
  3. Toffle

    Toffle Member

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    Yes, my understanding is that it is a model-I. Tripod mount is included. (and quite necessary, as I understand) As near as I can tell, the camera is in good condition. I have seen less complete outfits on the auction site for substantially cheaper, but the camera I am considering is in Canada, saving a LOT on shipping. In that regard, it is essentially an apples and oranges comparison as far as final cost is concerned.

    Thanks for your input; it has become part of the equation. :D

    Cheers,
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 5, 2009
  4. Ria

    Ria Member

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    I have a Graphic View and I have been quite happy with it. It has more movements than I am ever likely to use and I believe it to be very well built.
    It is not, as noted above, the sort of camera one can easily fold up, throw into a backpack and go traipsing for miles through the countryside; however, you can take a boat load of photos within easy walking distance of your vehicle or in your own backyard.
    As for the age-old question of "What's it worth?"...What's it worth to you?
     
  5. KenFretz

    KenFretz Member

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    Tom –

    It’s been 40 years since I used a Graflex Graphic View camera but I never thought of it as a “field” camera. After looking at your portfolio, I’m guessing you will want to use this camera outside the studio.

    Have you considered a Graflex “press” camera? The reason they were called press cameras is that they were able to take a fair amount of abuse in the field. They have the same general features as the studio view camera with only one major negative, is you lose the back (film holder) movements. You still have the front movements, protection for the bellows and the added bonus (on all except for the last ones produced) of a focal plane shutter. This gives you the ability to use any lens you can get mounted on the lens board or no lens at all (pin hole).

    Ken
    Up north in Sterling Heights, Michigan
     
  6. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Have to agree a mon0rail isn't the easiest camera to use outside a studio situation. I own and use 3 Graphics, oa Crown & 2 Speeds, these are OK for handheld work but lacking in movements. I use the Graphics where tripods are banned.

    A better bet is a Super Graphic or the Toyo equivalent they have better movements more like their European equivalents MPP's and Linhof's.

    You should go out with another LF user and see what suits you, I've helped out 2 APUG members by giving them an opportunity to try Monorails, Field & Press cameras, see who on APUG is near you that could help you choose.

    Ian
     
  7. Toffle

    Toffle Member

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    Thanks for the input, all.
    It's starting to look that as sexy as it appears, this might not be the camera for me. Thanks for taking the time to look at my portfolio, Ken and making a recommendation based on what you can guess of my photographic process. (Welcome to APUG, by the way)

    Thank you Nick and Ria, as well. Ian, I'd be happy to stop by Turkey (or West Midlands) some time to try some cameras with you. :D Though I am quite experienced with 35mm and medium format, (and I would like to think, somewhat accomplished) I have no experience in large format whatsoever. As I doubt I will be buying more than one LF camera in the forseeable future, I am hoping to grab one "everything" camera which will have the most features and least drawbacks. I am hoping that the camera I choose will be flexible enough to accept more modern lenses and shutters or hand-mounted "Jim Galli Specials". :D

    I am still open to suggestions, though, and will probably put this idea on the back burner for awhile, as I am off to South America for a couple of weeks. When I return, I will have enough processing and printing lined up to keep me busy for most of the summer. I am determined to make the move to LF sooner than later, but do not wish to jump in too quickly or ill-advisedly.

    Cheers,
     
  8. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    I have that very camera. Purchased it a few years back with the case, a lens, and a couple of film holders for a little more than $200 USD. It is a heavy beast, and lacks the finesse of some other large format cameras, but it is sturdy and fully capable of doing what you need it to do. You get use lenses as short as 90 mm. without too much trouble if you can score a recessed lens board, and it has more than enough in the way of movements so that you won't be restricted there either.
     
  9. archphoto

    archphoto Member

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    Dear Tom I like to add a couple of things about 4x5:
    I have a mono rail for the studio and lately a wooden field camera to make things a bit easier on me.
    That much for not more than one 4x5 camera....

    There are pro's and con's to both the mono rail and the field:

    I love mono rails for their ease of use, its full movements both front and back and what is important in the studio: a focussing back.
    They are heavier than most fields but I used a heavy Sinar P2 in the field for over 20 years photographing architecture.

    I love my Shen Hao for its compactness and ample movements, the Shen Hao TZ45-IIB has even focussing with the back standard and exangable bellows (standard bellows and wide-angle or bag bellows)
    I have the Shen Hao HZX45-IIA, by the way and am thinking about building a field my self based on the SH.

    A Linhof Master Technika is a sturdy walk around field camera, a joy to use and expensive, think about $ 2000,- to $ 3000,- or more used.
    Earlier versions can be bought for less.

    Having your lenses mounted on Technika plates has the advantage that you can use your lenses on the field and the mono rail, the mono rail will just need an adapter plate for the Technika plates. My Sinar has one.

    I agree with the idea of first visiting somebody that has either a mono rail or a field, or even better both and to try these camera's out.

    Have fun, and a great trip to South America.

    Peter
     
  10. Toffle

    Toffle Member

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    Well, thanks to the generosity of APUG-ers, I have an offer to test a monorail, so this will give me an opportunity to get a feel for the camera. (I haven't even considered how I will go about processing my prints... looks like I'll be wasting a few frames learning tray development :D )

    I'll jump into this pond when I return from my big trip.

    Cheers, and thanks for all the suggestions.
     
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  11. Wade D

    Wade D Member

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    If you could find a Graflex Crown View in good condition it is much more portable than the Graphic View. It's the older brother to the Graphic View. All wood and no monorail so it folds up into a nice compact size. I've had mine since 1979 and have taken it on many extended treks through the woods. I don't know how many are still around but it would be a cheap alternative to more modern field cameras.
     
  12. darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

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    Just say NO NO NO to the graphic view. you will be much better off with just about anything else.
     
  13. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

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    I'm in Saskatchewan and I'll be selling a Pacemaker Speed Graphic and a Calumet CC404 soon, once my Shen Hao arrives. If either of those tickles your fancy, let me know and I can get you more details.

    (My wife told me she was okay with me buying a new 4x5 if I sold the other two, and I thought that was a pretty fair deal.)

    I have an Optar I can include with the Graphic (125-130 mm-ish, I'd have to look it up) and spare lens boards. The Calumet will be the naked camera, plus at least one lens board (not sure if I have a second or not).
     
  14. John Kasaian

    John Kasaian Member

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    I have a Graphic View II and IMHO it is a superb camera! It is quite portable in it's suitcase---but it isn't a tiny suitcase. It has more movements than you would probably ever need, plus they aren't ridiculously expensive. I think Graphic Views and Calument 400 series are excellent cameras to test out the LF waters.

    Yes, you could get a nice Tachihara or Shen, which are excellent clamshell woodys which you could easily stash in a day pack (and if you want to do the Ansel Adams thing, that indeed might be a worthy consideration) but be prepared to spend over $500 more.
    $500? Yikes!
    That $500 could easily buy you a lens, a bunch of film holders, a tripod, an Omega D-2 enlarger and a large stock of sheet film.

    You could be off making photographs with your Graphic View.

    Or you could be still surfing the on line auctions looking for all the parts you'll need to get you're wooden camera up and running.

    I'd go with the Graphic View.
    Good luck!
     
  15. EASmithV

    EASmithV Member

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    I feel like I just have to throw in a plug for the good old Pacemaker speed graphic... You can easily take it backpacking, and they are built like tanks. Plus you have the option of shooting hand-held.
     
  16. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    And you're right. A Speed or a Crown Graphic makes a very nice field camera if you don't need very short or very long lenses. It's lightweight and rugged. The Speed's advantage lies in it's focal plane shutter allowing the use of shutter-less barrel lenses. Using lenses shorter than 90 mm is problematic because of the extra depth of the body to accomodate the shutter mechanism. The Crown's advantages come in the form of a smaller and lighter package, and the ability to use short focus, wide angle lenses. Barrel lenses are not a practical option. Models with user adjustable, side mounted rangefinders are nice to have because you can calibrate the rangefinder for almost any lens you mount onto the camera. But if you need anything more than the bare minimum of movements, you're pretty much out of luck. You can get rise and some back tilt from the front standard and not much else.
     
  17. Toffle

    Toffle Member

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    Well, thanks folks for the input. (I've been out of the country for the last couple of weeks... well, out of the hemisphere, to be more precise, but I've been following the respones here.) Nonetheless, I am now the proud owner of a cc400. (Thanks, Jeff :smile: )

    The learning curve not too daunting at this stage, but then again, I haven't actually loaded it with film. (I've got some coming in next week) Still, I've been composing and focusing and learning the movements. I think this camera will be at the least a very stable learning tool. I think my only lens is a little on the short side, at 105mm, (a Staebel Magnogon process lens) but I'm certain it will be joined by other more suitable lenses in the fullness of time.

    Thanks again, I will probably revive this thread if I can't plunder necessary information from elsewhere in the forums. Any hints and suggestions are always appreciated.

    Cheers,