Refurbishing a pre-1927 Speed Graphic

Discussion in 'Camera Building, Repairs & Modification' started by Fotoguy20d, Mar 30, 2009.

  1. Fotoguy20d

    Fotoguy20d Subscriber

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    I just won a top handle speed graphic in 3 1/4 x 5 1/2 size (is this "postcard" size?). It looks to be in pretty good shape over-all (we'll see how bad the shutter is) but is minus the lens. Anybody know what a "standard" lens would have been for this camera when it was new - by which I mean, what brand/length/etc would it have been sold with? In shutter or not? Also, what sort of film holders do I need for it? I have a bunch of metal ones in postcard format from an ICA Trix - would those work?

    Thanks,
    Dan
     
  2. PHOTOTONE

    PHOTOTONE Member

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  3. Fotoguy20d

    Fotoguy20d Subscriber

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    Don't really see what other choice I have. I figured I could try with paper negatives first. It'll probably be on display most of the time but I can see wanting to go out with it once in a while.
     
  4. freygr

    freygr Member

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    I would think the normal lens would 150mm-170mm or about 6 1/2 inch lens, in a shutter.
     
  5. Fotoguy20d

    Fotoguy20d Subscriber

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    Probably on the longer side of that range. Diagonal of the film is 162mm. Here's the front cover of the "manual" - the text itself is not very informative. I just remembered that I have an old McKeown's (1992) - he says it's a barrel lens (but no further specifics).
     

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  6. Akki14

    Akki14 Member

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    Aw that picture looks like my 1912(ish) top handle speedgraphic but it's a 4x5 so I can't really help you with an appropriate lens size for your format.
    Maybe you should ask the people over on graflex.org's message board. they're very smart and helped me ID my camera.
     
  7. Fotoguy20d

    Fotoguy20d Subscriber

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    I'd hope so since that's the manual for that era of Speed (I think 1912-1927, which is when the pre-Anniversary models came in) and otherwise I didn't buy what I thought I did (see photo). :wink:

    Can you tell me what lens is on yours? At least it might put me in the ballpark. As of right now, my best option in my collection is a 160mm-ish f7.7Kodak Anastigmat in Diomatic shutter, but it's probably a good 15-20 years newer than the camera. Otherwise it's the RR off a No1 Film/Plate Premo. I'd really like to make it look as original as possible.
     

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  8. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    My pre-Anniversary Speed Graphic was partially restored last years, it was in terrible shape when I bought it, the leatherette was to far gone and missing, so the box-wood is now naked, the modifications are original, Graflex used to release part finished camera to outside workshops to make Police/Prison cameras and other specials, mine must have ben as a Wide-angle camera but I've no idea what lens it would have used but I'll try it with a 90mm, the range-finder cam is for a WA.

    [​IMG]

    Ian
     
  9. Akki14

    Akki14 Member

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    "4x5 Bausch & Lomb-Zeiss Tessar Series 1c. Pat. Feb 25, 1903" is what my lens says. What that means is it's approximately 130mm :smile: At least by my estimate at measuring.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    a "willysmb" on graflex.org said
    "The B&L Tessar Ic was one lens poposed in the original configuration. but in Barrel (I have a Press 5x7 with the same configuration 5x8 lens + ACME)
    Since the ACME adaptation come later "

    So maybe that'll help a bit. I guess they weren't too keen on confusing people with focal lengths in press cams back then, since they were suppose to be more or less point & shoot with a little distance range on the baseboard.
     
  10. Fotoguy20d

    Fotoguy20d Subscriber

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    I looked at the serial number and it was 28xxx (i forget exactly what but in the upper half of the 28000s). From the serial number list, I found: "28207 - pre introduction speed – 1911" What does "pre-introduction" mean? In any event, I'd say mine dates 1911-1912.
     
  11. tkevans

    tkevans Member

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    I recently got a top handle postcard-format Speed Graphic. Paine's Graflex book lists three lenses that the camera was available with: a Zeiss Kodak Anastigmat #4, a Bausch & Lomb Anastigmat and a Cooke Series II. I am reciting from memory so I could be mixing these up a bit, but the B&L listed was the 15a, which had a 7 1/2 inch focal length. The Speed Graphic was introduced in 1912, but some appear to have been made before they were produced for general sale, which is what "pre introduction" must mean. I am figuring that my 29xxx serial number dates from 1914-15. Regards, Thomas
     
  12. eworkman

    eworkman Member

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    Hmmmm- Not a 3A graflex or Compact Graflex but postcard Speed? COOL
    Is it a spring back?
    The Compact took film/plate holders or a roll film back that used 5 1/2 in wide [or so] rolled vertically.
    My 3A graflex has a B&L VIIa double 11 3/8 +/- [ 122 roll film ]
     
  13. tkevans

    tkevans Member

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    Fotoguy20 - a correction: Richard Paine, on page 39 of "A Review of Graflex", lists the lenses for all of the sizes of the earliest Speed Graphics. For the postcard size, the B&L was the f:4.5 Zeiss Tessar Series Ic #15a, which has a 7 1/2 inch focal length. The Cooke Ser II, f4.5, was #21 1/2. The Zeiss Kodak Anastigmat was f6.3.

    eworkman - yes, a 3 1/4 x 5 1/2 format Speed Graphic. It would take a dual cut film holder that is about 4 7/16 x 7 1/2 inches, outside dimentions, but I have never seen one of these. ( A regular 4x5 CFH is 4 3/4 x 7 1/4 or so).
     
  14. eworkman

    eworkman Member

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    I guess all you can do is see if any holders come up on ebay or Pacific Rim Camera, or see if a graflex back will fit, then a rollholder, then film....... I purchased a ground glass back and holders for the Kodak 3A, cuz I had, by mistake, got 200 ft of 3 5/8 x too thick- and compounded that mistake by seeing that 122 film isn't the same width as postcard cut film, so that won't work and the Kodak plate/film holders are very much thinner than graphic/graflex anyway. I wish you the best of luck
    regards
    Ed