FS: Graflex Pacemaker Crown Graphic - Post-1955, Lighted Rangefinder, VF Condition!
I have a very nice Pacemaker Crown Graphic for sale. The Crown Graphic was manufactured 1947-1973, and is almost identical to the Pacemaker Speed Graphic. However, it lacks the focal plane shutter, which reduced weight and increased access to wide-angle lenses shorter than about 65mm. This is a post-1955 specimen (serial number 910486), as evidenced by the top-mounted rangefinder (more on that later). The following is from the Graflex website (www.graflex.org):
"The Crown Graphic was manufactured 1947-1973. It is almost identical to the Pacemaker Speed Graphic, but made without the focal plane shutter, which reduced weight, and increased access to wide-angle lenses shorter than about 65mm.
Just like the Speed Graphic, the Crown Graphic was sold with an optional side-mounted Kalart rangefinder until 1955 (as shown above), and with a top-mounted Graflex Rangefinder after 1955. The 1955 and later Top Rangefinder version of the Pacemaker takes interchangable cams."
The camera has a Wollensak Optar 125mm/f4.7 lens mounted in a Graphex (X) Synchromatic shutter. The lens is in very fine condition; no scratches, fungus or separation. The shutter appears to fire accurately, though I would be cautious at the slower speeds. The shutter leaves are free of nicks or oil that would indicate improper handling.
A Graflex Flash Sync Solenoid is also mounted on the lensboard. When using flashbulbs with an appropriate flash (such as a Heiland), pressing a trigger on the flash handle would start the flashbulb to burn. At the same time, a signal was sent to the solenoid which would provide a 20 millisecond delay, allowing the flashbulb time to get to full brightness. After the delay the solenoid would trip the shutter at full flash brightness. All in all, a very interesting solution to a problem that no longer exists, unless you're still using flashbulbs! I don't have a Heiland flash for this camera, so the Sychronizer doesn't really do anything for you. Still, to me it looks neat and will draw some interest. You can read more about these units here: http://www.johndesq.com/graflex/grafsync.htm. You can also use the Search feature on the Graflex.org website for many discussions of the various solenoids and flash handles available (Note: fans of Star Wars will occasionally spend big money to purchase a Heiland flash handle, which they then "convert" into a light sabre! Such a waste!)
The Crown Graphic sports the desirable "Graflok" back, a relatively late enhancement to the Graphic line of camera. The Graflok has a removable focus panel, a Fresnel screen, and and locks to hold various film backs.
The Crown Graphic was sold with an optional side-mounted Kalart rangefinder until 1955, and with a top-mounted Graflex Rangefinder after 1955. The Graflex top-mounted rangefinder features interchangeable cams and Parallax Correction. It also has a red button on the side which causes the rangefinder to project two beams of light, much like the Kalart FocusSpot. The cams are tricky to locate and are set up for specific lenses (a caveat if your camera has a mismatched cam). The rangefinder on this specimen does project the two spots, but the half-silvered mirror inside has lost a good portion of the silvering, reducing the effectiveness of this feature (see photos below). I'm going to look into replacing that mirror with a new piece of half-silvered glass (or I'll pass the info along to you should you with to do so).
The bellows was in poor condition when I got it, with several holes on the corners of the pleats. The bellows is made of a rubber/plastic material; I repaired the holes by covering them with cloth patches infused with a synthetic rubber/latex material called "Flex Seal". I then gave the entire bellows a light covering of this product. In case you're unfamiliar with the name, you might have seen it advertised on TV, where a screen door was mounted in a row boat, the entire screen sealed with this product, and the pitchman rows around in the boat to prove its sealing abilities! When allowed to sit overnight, the initial roughness and slightly bubbling smooths out nicely, leaving behind a lightly pebbled effect. The holes were completely sealed, and the bellows is now light-tight!
Here are some photos of the specimen, including the lighted rangefinder in action (2nd row):
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This is a very nice, desirable specimen of a post-1955 Graflex Pacemaker Crown Graphic! I'm asking $200 OBO for it, considering that the rangefinder is essentially in working condition! You likely won't use it that often, but for collectors, it's critical that as much as possible about the camera is original and working. True, the bellows have repairs, but I doubt you could find an original synthetic bellows at a reasonable price. Besides, the repairs are not obvious; you have to look pretty closely to see them!
A nice addition to your Graflex collection, and I'll even throw in two (2) 4" x 5" cut film holders!