Speed Graphic Prices

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by JohnRichard, Jul 21, 2013.

  1. JohnRichard

    JohnRichard Member

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    Is a speed graphic really worth $600 - 800?
    I picked mine up in case with mint flash, holders, extras for less that $100.
    I mean, I guess they are worth that because they routinely sell in that range.
    I am baffled. Or, am I just totally oblivious to the cost of these cameras?

    So what is happening to the price of these machines?
    Also, why are people thinking they can get $1800 or more for a speed with an aero-ektar attached?
    Negative.

    I should mention that I do also see the cameras available for sub-hundred prices.
    Just wondering what is going on?!
     
  2. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    UK/European prices for Graflex cameras are very much higher than the US this must be having a knock on effect, so yes somer are fetching $600+ but often to people who don't really know what the more realistic prices are.

    Ian
     
  3. fotch

    fotch Member

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    Condition, location, and confidence in the seller. Comparing to what they sold for when new with adjustment for the value of the money, then & now, $600 to $800 sounds cheap for a top condition camera. JMHO
     
  4. VPooler

    VPooler Member

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    I've been wanting a Speed/Crown Graphic for a long time now but the cost has prohibited it. And yes, I live in Europe.
    While browsing the fleabay I noticed that some go for completely insane prices, not to mention the venerable Graflok back that often costs more than a functioning camera.
    And turning this into unpopular opinion thread: Aero Ektar is rubbish, it has a cult fame but as a taking lens it is nothing special IMO, except for the highly radioactive rear elements.
     
  5. gleaf

    gleaf Subscriber

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    Fleabay prices often reflect whatever a crazy person will pay. Patience is often rewarded. I paid $500 for my Crown and received 8 good film holders, the Crown was in excellent shape, the 135mm was clean, unscratched and shutter works at all speeds. Several other bits in the case, lens brush, cable release viewing cloth. All around some watching time brought one across my sights.
     
  6. pgomena

    pgomena Member

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    Crown graphics turn up on our local Craigslist on occasion at reasonable prices. You just have to be patient.
     
  7. Alan Gales

    Alan Gales Member

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    I bought a nice Crown with Xenar off Ebay for $400.00. It came with a few very lightly used Toyo film holders.

    Yeah, I can't believe what some sellers are trying to get for them. The demand for the aero-ektar I suspect is a fad.
     
  8. JohnRichard

    JohnRichard Member

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    I would like to use one (aero-ektar) but I don't know that I would use one enough to OWN one...
    I would like some kind of regular lens that was faster than my 127 / f4.7.
    I would also like to play around with some barrel lenses since I have a focal plane shutter.
     
  9. Ken Nadvornick

    Ken Nadvornick Subscriber

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    A while back I purchased a semi-beater 4x5 Crown just to see if we got along. I loved the camera. And the huge handheld RF negatives. So recently (within the last few months) I purchased a second identical model intending it to become the real day-to-day user, relegating the semi-beater trial camera to donor status if ever needed.

    The new Crown is pristine, both in functionality and cosmetics. Every feature works correctly. Every control is silky smooth. Every metal piece glistens. None of the usual wear points are worn. Clean, like-new black crinkle paint still covers every corner and edge. Even at that point where the locking bed supports attach to the bed there is no dried and peeled back leatherette.

    The serial number indicates a manufacture date of May, 1968, right near the sale to Singer. I believe this camera had only one previous non-professional trial owner who purchased it out of storage from Graflex follow-on WD Service in Carson City, Nevada, gave it a whirl, didn't like it, then just packed it away. The seller said he had bought it for his son who ended up settling on a Hasselblad instead.

    Cost?

    Only USD $350, plus a little shipping. This was an eBay auction purchase. I was the only bidder and corresponded at length with the seller regarding provenance before bidding. Add in another $77 plus shipping for a wonderful Carol Flutot CLAC service on the shutter and I have essentially a brand new camera.

    There are reasonable deals to be had out there. I waited probably 6-9 months for this one to show up. I would never have paid more than USD $500 for a nice used Crown. Those guys asking for USD $800-900, or more, are just crazy.

    Unless, of course, they can get it..

    :wink:

    Ken
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 21, 2013
  10. mwdake

    mwdake Member

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    The classifieds on APUG often have Speed?Crown Graphics for sale at better prices.
    I bought my Super Graphic from a APUG forum sale for $275 and it was a full kit in great condition; that was about 4 years ago though.
     
  11. shutterfinger

    shutterfinger Subscriber

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    Come on, don't you know everyone is a collector in need of that model to complete their collection and are willing to pay beyond top dollar to get it?
    Check http://www.keh.com/ they usually have a few bodies for reasonable prices. $200 for a body only in good condition; $400 for a body with lens in shutter that may be in need of a CLA; $600 for a body with a lens in shutter that has been recently serviced and or some accessories.

    A Crown Graphic Special came with a 135mm Xenar, had Special on the lens board lock, and sold for $20 less than a Crown with a 135mm Optar when new. Ebay sellers price the Crown Graphic Special significantly higher than the regular Crown. I am not clear on whether the Xenar is a lower preforming lens than the Optar (Wollensak) or if it was offered at a lower price to Graflex as a customer getting ploy or if it was less costly to produce and import.
     
  12. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    I paid $70 or $80 for two Speed Graphics (from the US) about 6 years ago sold as parts cameras to make one good one, only problem was when they arrived one was pre-Anniversary the other Pacemaker, no parts at all are interchageable. It appeared to have been a distasterous purchase.

    However the Pre-Anniversary was modified from new as a wide angle camera and I was able to fully restore it although I left of the leatherette, I rebuilt the shutter. No costs other than some shellac (french polish) and other paints.

    The Pacemaker had no shutter it had been removed the bellows were rotten, the inner rails for the focus track badly damaged, I bought two new off ebay, recovered the body after filling in the cut out for the shutter controls, patched the belows using a thin invisible mend tape, and it now looks like a Crown Graphic.

    I would rebuild more if I found them, however I'm currently making a new camera based on Speed Graphic parts I bought off the LF forum, essentially a new box wider to allow a 6x17 back, I'm usinga Super Graphic front standard modified to fit which gives me far better movements on the front. I'll be posting details once I get started.

    Ian
     
  13. NDKodak

    NDKodak Member

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    Maybe I should sell the one I have.
    1 Super Speed with case, flash,film holders
    1 Super Speed w/lens
    1 Crown Graphic in its original packaging
    1 of the smaller sized 3 x4(?) also with case ,120 film back, film holders, flash,

    One of these days I will have to take them out and see if everything works on them, maybe I could finance a trip to Europe off them.
     
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  15. JohnRichard

    JohnRichard Member

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    Those should be worth at least six or seven million. . . ! $$
     
  16. tessar

    tessar Subscriber

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    Hi JohnRichard: The reason for the high prices -- although $1800 is excessive -- on a Speed + Aero Ektar are a) these lenses are getting hard to find, b) the lenses are currently much desired for their shallow DOF effects, and c) a fair amount of modification is needed to mount an Aero Ektar. Jo Lommen's informative website gives the details:
    http://lommen9.home.xs4all.nl/
    An example of Aero Ektar results:
    http://www.rangefinderforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=93933
    The photographer David Burnett has used the Aero Ektar to great effect.
     
  17. shutterfinger

    shutterfinger Subscriber

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    "I was able to fully restore it although I left of the leatherette"
    Folmer and Schwing cameras made from 1890 through cameras made by Folmer Graphic to 1946 were covered with XXX Moroccan leather. Cameras made by Graflex from 1947 through 1973 are covered with leatherette (naugahyde).
    Cameras made from 1890 through 1923? use brass hardware plated with .0005 inch silver. Cameras made after 1923? use brass hardware that is painted gray or black.
    1890-1905 Folmer and Schwing Manufacturing Company
    1905 purchased by Eastman Kodak
    1907-1926 Folmer and Schwing Division Eastman Kodak Co.
    1917-1926 Folmer-Century Division Eastman Kodak Co. but name plate may say Folmer and Schwing Division Eastman Kodak.
    1926-1927 Folmer and Schwing Department Eastman Kodak Co.
    1928-1944 Folmer Graflex
    1945-1973 Graflex Inc.
    Self owned, Division of General Precision Corp., Division of Singer Co.
     
  18. Colin Corneau

    Colin Corneau Subscriber

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    This is a great point. I've bought almost all my used gear off of APUG, and have never had a problem...it supports a great website and a great community.

    And I'll chime in for the Crown Graphic -- I got one with a working rangefinder and Schneider lens. Fantastic camera for travelling -- tough, compact and travels well. And yes, those 4x5 negatives are very sweet.
     
  19. clayne

    clayne Member

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    Picked up my 1957 Crown with 1953 Ektar 127/4.7 some years back for a couple hundred dollars. Is quite clean with no serious flaws. I think SGs are being jacked up in price due to the whole Aero-Ektar thing - which is of course yet another "you'll never need anything else!" rathole for people to get wrapped up in.

    I've personally never had a need for anything other than a Crown. Lighter too.
     
  20. frank

    frank Subscriber

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    The advantage of a Speed Graphic is that the focal plane shutter allows the use of interesting/funky lenses in barrel.
     
  21. Salem

    Salem Member

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    Maybe you better come to Europe first and sell them here. You would get much more for them.
     
  22. clayne

    clayne Member

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    Agreed. But so does a hat.

    I don't need that feature often enough to want to have it by default.
     
  23. Ken Nadvornick

    Ken Nadvornick Subscriber

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    I'm curious. 4x5? Do you know what year?

    Ken
     
  24. NDKodak

    NDKodak Member

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    Or you could look at the other extreme. 3 or the 4 Graphics I have were given to me for free, $0.00.
    I have found this to be true about old photography equipment there is always someone wanting a ridiculous amount of money for a item with the Buy Now/Bid option on Ebay and no ever bids because it over priced. Then there is the group of people that say you can have it for free, local pick up only. They just want the stuff gone out of their basement or garage. I recently scored 3 Alpa 35mm bodies with their fancy German and French lens, 3 LF Graphic cameras, Kowa MF system, enlarger, lights and more, just because I was willing to remove it from their property. The old lady said."Once it leaves it doesn't come back".
    As I have started up doing film photography again my goal was to set up my darkroom using only free equipment. Now I have several enlargers, bunches of trays and developing tanks. I will most likely wait till I find someone worthy and gift them a darkroom set up and hopefully help keep film photography alive.
     
  25. Tom1956

    Tom1956 Inactive

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    A Graphic is the perfect camera for a dunderhead like me to develop blank film. After 47 years since I got my first Instamatic 104, and all the photographic knowledge I have; it is my very nature of my knucklehead boob negligence to leave the rear shutter closed, or let it get that way unintentionally.
     
  26. VPooler

    VPooler Member

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    I am keeping my eye on the 'bay constantly for a cheap Crown Graphic. I don't even need it to have a lens and the bellows can be shot since I have practically new Crown Graphic bellows here that I will more likely use in my own build because I won't wait for years to start shooting 4x5. Unfortunately, even the moldy, lensless ones are quite highly priced and some even marketed as in working order. And living in the middle of nowhere means no Craigslist for me. I don't know if I have said it in this forum before but the analog gear aftermarket here is pretty much Smenas and Zenits going for hundreds of Euros. Sold by old ladies as relics from the Soviet occupation.