What's happening with the Speed Graphics?

Discussion in 'Antiques and Collecting' started by ragc, Jul 1, 2007.

  1. ragc

    ragc Member

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    [​IMG]

    I just got my 4x5 1943 wartime black Anniversary Speed Graphic in perfect working condition with a Graphic back not two months ago for around $60.00.
    Now I look in eBay and the very few I find are being priced at more than ten times that amount! It's a very common camera and should be plentiful and cheap, as it was when I got mine! Has the supply run out? Is someone hoarding them (that was my plan..!)? What are LF newbies to use now?!
     
  2. David Brown

    David Brown Member

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    I think that $60 and $600 are both extremes. They (should) go for somewhere in the middle. But Ebay is a "it depends" barometer of fair prices. You got lucky and got a bargain at $60. Others are uninformed (to put it nicely) and pay well over what something is worth.
     
  3. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    It's Ebay. Some things go for too much. Some for not enough. I'm glancing at a lens that is already 80+% of the brand new price. This lens is likely 20 years old. If you add in a CLA plus shipping it's almost hit the brand new price. But it's got days to go still. Then some times you buy a camera and lens for half the value of the lens. If you start looking for sanity on Ebay you'll end up bald :tongue:

    Plus the newbie factor I guess. Everybody used to suggest press cameras to start out with.
     
  4. ragc

    ragc Member

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    But... I am bald already! :sad: Hehe (I am)

    Yes, they still suggest press cameras for beginners. I really don't know how many stay in large format after lugging the press camera around. I sarted with a 5x7 Korona and fell in love with the process and the look of the wood. I still prefer 5x7 over 4x5, although I shoot both. The Anny I got so I could use my barrel lenses, and I am glad I found it at that price (less than a Packard shutter). It is a fantastic mechanism. I adjusted my Kalart for my 127mm Ektar and will be using it occasionally. As I said, I still prefer my much lighter woodies!

    As for the price, I know I got a good deal...I always do my best on eBay to get one. I agree $150.00 is a fair price for an Anny, but $900.00? (I saw one selling for that recently) Geez!
     
  5. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I got my Anny for $56... And for the same reason, too. Add a 150 Tessar I happened to have lying around, a stack of lens boards and a small iris mount I found in a $40 box of miscellaneous "stuff" I bought for the nine cable releases that were also in it, and I have a great camera for just about any situation.

    I started with 5x7" too, but in my case it was a 13x18cm Linhof Technika. Comared to that even the 4x5" Carbon Infinity is lightweight - and so is the 8x10" Gandolfi!
     
  6. ragc

    ragc Member

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    Ole, with that iris mount and the Anny's curtain shutter you are set! I know you have a bunch of lenses, so you must be in photo Valhalla!
     
  7. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Yes, it's fun to switch from an ultra-sharp Zeiss Doppel-Amatar to a really funky Thompson casket set... :smile:
     
  8. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    If my B&J press camera had rear movements I think it would be a fair user camera. The problem with the press cameras is you out grow the feature set. OTOH if you can live with the features they do some things well. I wish my B&J took Linhof boards. I'd use it more.
     
  9. k_jupiter

    k_jupiter Member

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    I'm cornfused. You always have them who list prices way out of bounds for these cameras. They never get them. Something can be posted for 400 bucks all you want. The would be seller just pays the listing fee and hopes they find a sucker. I just looked at auctions ending today in LF 5x7 and under, searching on Graflex. 100 to 200 bucks for cameras with single lens only and had bids placed on them. A nice setup with two lens and case, lots of stuff to go with it, 305 bucks.

    Nothing out of the ordinary.

    You got a good deal at 60 dollars. It happens.

    Now try collecting something esoteric, like a Kalart Press Camera. You will see prices all over the place (not many I admit), and sometimes people get them. I have written to people asking them what pricing structure they use to ask 800 dollars for a non-working 3x4 press camera in only marginal shape.

    By the same token, I have one of the few working KPCs I picked up for a paltry 225.00.

    Old cameras are weird. Pick them up cheap when you can. Make outrageous offers to people who don't sell their overpriced jewels.

    tim in san jose
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 1, 2007
  10. ragc

    ragc Member

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    I told this story somewhere recently: Last year I bought an ultra-rare Carl Zeiss Jena Universal Palmos, in good working condition, for around $30.00. The camera is from the first year of manufacture, 1903, only 15 serial numbers after a presentation camera I saw auction for over $600.00. The eBay seller didn't know what he was selling; he advertised it as a B&J because someone had grafted a grey-painted wood 5x7 B&J back to it. I was the only bidder!

    I rebuilt the back (the original frame was there but had been modified to accept the B&J back) as a 4x5 (it was originally a 6x9, I believe) and put a nice Zeiss lens on a dial-set Compur on it, and took it out to take. It's built like a tank and weighs just as much. Otherwise I would use it a lot more.

    I've asked several people for information on the camera, including the Zeiss website people. It was probably made by Palmos for Zeiss. Strangely enough I have two Zeiss catalogs that feature the camera, but know of no other examples except for the $600.00 auction camera. It is not mentioned in any of the Zeiss collectors lists posted on the web.

    [​IMG]
     
  11. Murray@uptowngallery

    Murray@uptowngallery Member

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    2x3 Speed with 101/4.5 Ektar in Supermatic shutter with uncoupled (missing parts?) Kalart RF. Got for US $32 yesterday on eBay. That made up for the $12.50 local shipping price.
     
  12. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

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    Murray, you'll have a lot of fun with that one, I have a Busch 2x3 and put a Graflok or is that Grafloc back on it and it's a very versatile camera. How's the bellows on it? No rust or bent and missing parts?

    Have fun,
    Curt
     
  13. dferrie

    dferrie Member

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    It's not just LF stuff. I had been toying with idea of getting into MF for a while and as I have been a Minolta user for 28 years I thought I'd pick up an Autocord, to discover that the prices have gone mad. I mentioned this on another list and was immediately offered an Autocord at $325 (which proved my point). Got a Mamiya M645 +80mm & 45mm for less than cost of Autocord. I do wonder if alot of these classic cameras end up gathering dust on a speculators shelf, rather than in somebodies camera bag, get to do what they were built for.

    David
     
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  15. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    As ragc says there are strange prices being paid on ebay, both ebay.com the US/International version and ebay.co.uk.

    Graphics and here in the UK MPP's are sometimes selling for way over their market value. I nearly bought a baby Graphic for $77 last week, don't know how I missed the one Murray bought :smile:

    It pays to sit and wait, let others pay the silly money, there's plenty left coming onto the market. People are reluctant to just throw equipment away and it will find its way into our hands eventually.

    Ian
     
  16. Murray@uptowngallery

    Murray@uptowngallery Member

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    I've given up on a couple things and came back later. Last time I gave up on 2x3 Speeds, they kept closing >$100.

    Sometimes people list in the wrong category, or have awkward payment requirements or closing times not during the work day......various things that discourage other bidders, nice weather etc, people who have another life :O) will be less inclined to shop.

    Also, the guy who paid too much on the last one is less likely to be getting on your nerves at the next one.
     
  17. ragc

    ragc Member

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    My Kalart looked like it was missing parts too. Had a mirror insead of prism and no arm on the top mirror. I fiddled with it using the instructions I downloaded as a general guide, even though they didn't correspond to what I had. Turns out I found all the adjustments, up/down and lateral by testing the different screws. It is now adjusted to the 127mm Ektar. Don't be afraid to open yours up and try: if it is like mine it may be a wartime rf and may be of simpler construction, but it will work.
     
  18. Murray@uptowngallery

    Murray@uptowngallery Member

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    I will see condition & features when it arrives. I forwarded pics to someone who warned me about back/filmholder incompatibilities and he concluded it was not one of the uncooperative ones and that the seller didn't recognize the RF linkage when decribing it as uncoupled.

    It would be nice to have a working coupled RF. My 4x5's RF's have all been butchered by previous owners.

    I've never figured out how to assess age of Graflex stuff (has anyone?), but at least Kodak's CAMEROSITY code may give me a clue.

    Luckily I bought a box of Graflex 2.25x3.25 holders previously thinking they'd fit a mystery back I got. (Turns out it was a Mamiya Universal back, needed proprietary sheet film holders, & I put it right back on eBay! Luckily at this point I identified it so the next guy came along & paid an embarassing amount for it...funny how that works...but I have gotten my share of crap I can't or will never use also...only gamble what you can afford to lose....
     
  19. ragc

    ragc Member

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    There is a list of serial numbers in a post at graflex.org that dates the cameras. That's how I know mine is from 1943. The post is titled something like "partial" or "unnoficial" serial number list. I believe they keep it accessible even though it's old because of it's usefulness and the work that went into it.
     
  20. athanasius80

    athanasius80 Member

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    Does anyone think part of it may be fashion? I've seen how various collector markets will zoom in one one thing at one time, the prices skyrocket and then either plumet or go down about halfway. In camera stuff I remember a period when everyone seemingly wanted to buy a Ciro-Flex...
     
  21. k_jupiter

    k_jupiter Member

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    Part of what? NOBODY is selling 600 dollar Speed Graphics! What you ask and what you get are two very different things. I can ask for a 1000 dollars for a Zorki 4. Does that mean that's the going price? The price on Speeds and Crowns is still very reasonable. Do your homework before you all jump in.

    Damn.

    tim in san jose
     
  22. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Tim, it might surprise you but people are paying $600 and more for Speed and Crown Graphics. The value of the dollar is very low so the cameras are relatively cheap for buyers outside the US.

    You do have to ask why, my guess is some people think they are good full feature 5x4 cameras, and they are first time 5x4 buyers. They aren't getting value for their money.

    Ian
     
  23. walter23

    walter23 Subscriber

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    I saw a JOBO 4x5 reel and 2521 drum go for more than the new price from B&H last week. I almost bid on it but decided I should go check out the new price just in case.... and was glad I didn't :smile:
     
  24. walter23

    walter23 Subscriber

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    I was bidding on an old brass lens the other week (it had a cracked rear element at that, but an interesting serial number of No. 666 :wink:). It was ultimately won at far too rich a price for what it was by a bidder who's name sounded like an antiques shop (bobsantiques or something like that).

    Collectors piss me off. I wanted to shoot with the thing, cracked element and all.
     
  25. darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

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  26. k_jupiter

    k_jupiter Member

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    Amazing. Strip an Anniversary Speed, sand and finish the wood, put upholstery tacks in the bottom of it, and sell it for near 600 bucks?

    Where is my Porter Cable 333 sander?

    tim in san jose