Speed Graphic to buy

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by George Collier, Nov 1, 2010.

  1. George Collier

    George Collier Member

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    A friend wants to sell a Speed Graphic set (see below) for $160. He used it as a journalist, but was more a writer than a photographer, so my guess is it is in good shape. Does the price seem ok?
    Also, if I want to use some of my view camera lenses (a couple of Caltars - 90 and 210) and a 135 W Nikkor, how hard would it be to adapt them to the Speed Graphic? Are boards available? I've always wanted something smaller than my Cambo for field use, and as I get older, the smaller camera is more appealing.
    Some of this stuff I'm not interested in, or have, and would sell off cheap.
    His gear:
    4x5 Speed Graphic
    f/4.7 Graflex Optar lens, with hood
    Cooke 15-inch telephoto lens (with lens board and lens hood)
    2 4x5 cut film holders
    Film pack adapter
    Polaroid back
    Flash gun with 5-inch and 7-inch reflectors
    Solanoid shutter trip
    Graflex vulcanoid carrying case
     
  2. alexhill

    alexhill Member

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    Jump on it
     
  3. juan

    juan Subscriber

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    Grab it. There's not a lot that can go wrong with one.
    juan
     
  4. okto

    okto Member

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    If you don't want it, I do!
     
  5. BradS

    BradS Subscriber

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    with regard to the price...as with all used cameras, the fair market value depends very much upon the vintage and condition. If it is a late model, is complete and in good working order, then that price seems quite reasonable. Without seeing some photos however, it is difficult to say. Old beat up speeds go for as little as $40. Late model speeds can fetch upwards of $400.

    Yes. Lens boards are available. MPEX still sells them brand new (for the Pacemakers) and decent reproductions and nice used Graphic lens boards are readily available in the usual used marketplaces.

    My mom was a writer who carried a camera. I don't think it is a good assumption that just because a journalist is primarily a writer...that the camera is in good condition. To her, the camera was just a tool...one that she wasn't particularly fond of. Some of her used gear ended up in the "for parts" bin at the newspaper. I think the greater proportion of it though, ended up in the big "unrepairable" bin behind the building.
     
  6. brian d

    brian d Member

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    Uhh second dibbs?
     
  7. okto

    okto Member

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    OT: brian, if your sig is serious, I have a stash of #22 bulbs I can't possibly use all of. PM me.
     
  8. C A Sugg

    C A Sugg Member

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    If that's who's I think it is -- then trustworthy seller.
     
  9. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    For that price it's a bargain. Don't hesitate :D

    Ian
     
  10. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    There are Speed Graphics, and there are other Speed Graphics. Graflex.org has much useful information. The pre-anniversary model (prior to 1940) is less versatile than later models. It and the Anniversary model (1940-1946) both use 4 inch square lensboards that are easy to make from plywood, hardboard, etc. The Pacemaker series Speed Graphic and Crown Graphic (1947-1973) use the stamped boards that BradS mentions. They have the advantage of fold-down infinity stops, useful when two or lenses are regularly used. If you use the rangefinder, the top rangefinder model lets you swap cams for different focal lengths, while the side rangefinder can be adjusted for only one focal length. The Crown lacks a focal plane shutter, but is slightly lighter and more compact. Unlike earlier models, both have somewhat inconvenient front tilt capabilities. The Vulcanoid case is a valuable asset for anyone on the road. Another valuable asset is Graphic Graflex Photography, by Lester and Morgan or Morgan and Morgan. The 8th edition covers up through the early Pacemaker cameras. The 11th edition even covers the Super Graphic.
     
  11. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Jim at that price and with all the extras it would still be a real bargain even if it was a pre-Anniversary Speed Graphic.

    Ian
     
  12. nsurit

    nsurit Subscriber

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    I even pay the postage to Texas and send him a Christmas card. Bill Barber
     
  13. George Collier

    George Collier Member

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    Well, Ya'll convinced me. I already have a serious GAS problem, just making it worse.

    Thanks for the replies.
     
  14. premo

    premo Member

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    If my experience with these means anything, they are very good and easy to use. I would definatle keep the 5 inch flash reflecter and there should be a converter somewhere in the goodies that lets you use no. 5 or 25 bulbs, which are much easier to find than the screw base bulbs. Look the camera, bellows and shutters over carefully for abuse. By the way, when I was hired by a newspaper as a "photo-journalist" I told the editer I was a photographer, not a journalist. His response was they found it easier to teach a photographer to write than the opposite. We used to call the press 25's "lightning in a bottle."
     
  15. George Collier

    George Collier Member

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    Well, I'm in process of getting this stuff. I didn't mention it before, but I used this gear in the mid 60s in the Army, so I'm familiar with it, just didn't know the current value. I may sell off some of it.
     
  16. djacobox372

    djacobox372 Member

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    Jump on it! that's a good deal.

    You can buy lens boards on ebay; they're not that hard to find.
     
  17. alexhill

    alexhill Member

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    Or you can make lens boards. Its gotta be one of the easiest things to make that everyone buys. Save your self the 15$ and buy film instead
     
  18. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    Terrible price. Rotten camera. Third dibs........:whistling:
     
  19. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Even if the camera body was beat to hell and an early model, you'd be able to get your money's worth from all the other stuff. $160 is a good deal for that kit. The film pack is useless, unless you have expired film packs to use. The Polaroid back is useless, unless you have some stockpiled 4x5 Polaroid to shoot. The flash with both reflectors is something you could sell for at least fifty to a hundred bucks if you have no use for it. The telephoto lens would sell if you do not want to use it. The Optar lens (135mm, I am assuming) is nothing special. They are as cheap and as common as dirt. It is a fine lens, but was designed to shoot straight on, with no movements. If you were to sell it, you'd probably get under $40, so I would just keep it. It is probably already set for use with your rangefinder, so it will let you shoot hand held without too much monkeying around with calibration. The cases often have to be tracked down separately, which is a P.I.T.A., and not terribly cheap to do. The shutter solenoid will allow you 1) to fire the front shutter from the flash handle, which makes for a smoother and more stable release, 2) to use the flash handle as an electronic shutter release when on a tripod, making for one of the smoothest shutter releases you can have, on any camera, and 3) allows you to use class M bulbs with X synch shutters, by setting the proper delay between when the flash fires and when the shutter opens. I use my flash handle as a cable release 100% of the time with my Speed when using its Ektar lens, for all three of these reasons. Add on to all of this that the camera is likely quite usable, and may be a later model, and you have scored. If it turns out to be a later Super Graphic or Super Speed Graphic, then you've basically got an American-made Technika-type camera with a two way back, swings, etc.
     
  20. George Collier

    George Collier Member

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    Well, with distractions going on in my life right now, I'm going to pass on this, but I would like to help my friend sell the kit.
    The equipment is not as pristine as I thought it would be, but in good serviceable condition, with a bit of "weegee ware".
    He doesn't want to ship it, but I travel to the DC area frequently and can drop off.
    Let me know if you are interested.