Re, the Super, my local second hand camera shop has one that is in what I would call EX+ condition for $495, with a Rodenstock lens (I am pretty sure). I was curious to see if this was a good price as well. Compared to yours, it sounds like it could be.
I am not a Graphic expert, i don't own one... but i am pretty sure a Super has NO shutter.
Just an all metal construction and marginally improved movements.
Considering that i am going to sell a good "user" Technika III (last version, with graflok back), for about 370 euros, a Super Graphic for 650 USD is quite expensive, bordering the unreasonable, IMHO.
When i am done selling some of my old "toys", i think i will start my personal patient search for a Pacemaker Speed Graphic with graflok back, in perfectly working conditions, with a price limit of no more than 250 USD.
I would prefer finding one for 200 euros, from within the EU, to avoid expensive shipment charges, but the chances are slim.
Probably i am biased (what i need is a focal plane shutter - any Graflex reflex fitted with a graflok back would do as well), but i can't find any good reason for buying a Super Graphic for more than 300 bucks.
If you spend more, then the price approaches the cost of other second-hand cameras with far better features.
I have seen korean copies of the Wista, selling for about $300, but with more bellows and more movements, not to mention the cheap lensboards.
Even a true Wista, or Horseman, would cost just a little more.
The Graphic's have rangefinders though, and that feature made them the queens of "press" cameras.
Nowadays very few Graphic owners use their cameras handheld.
I would do it, if i had one... well, sometimes
I would prefer an adjustable side-mounted Kalart viewfinder instead of the interchangeable cams of the Super Graphic, which are almost impossible to find, even for common focals.
As a matter of fact very few people use their camera that way, and some extremist even strips the rangefinder casing from the camera, to save weight
There are good reasons for being a Super/Crown/Speed Graphic fan, one of them being the price.
That reason is slowly becoming irrelevant, as more and more people decide that "i want it NOW", after reading a Flickr post, or after paying a short visit to graflex.org.
On top of that, too many people want to get vintage equipments in "as new" conditions, without realizing that most cameras and lenses were actually used to take pictures, for all those years.
Most Graphic cameras were professional workhorses, sometimes overused or even abused.
Whatever their aesthetical condition, if they were serviced, or still are in perfectly working state, the pictures they take won't be any different from those made with a spotless camera.
I feel that doing your homework, and becoming aware of market prices (which are different from "asked prices" ), is not only a boon for your own wallet, but also a kind of service to the large format community (which is largely made by amateurs, since a good number of years).
I've just stopped browsing a Christie's "photographica" auction catalogue (year 2000): vintage large format stuff was incredibly cheap, compared with present day prices.
I think that the "i want it now, and i can pay for it!" attitude played a major role in the escalation of prices.
Of course i may be wrong... so i am curious to find out if other people have different answers
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Getting back from digital to LF (mostly 5x7" and 8x10")
selling Linhof Technika III 4x5" (fifth version, graflock back), Mamiya Press outfit + lenses, plus many LF lenses
trading for soft focus lenses with 8x10" coverage - EU users preferred
Photographica Flickr sets
Once apon a time, you could also buy a running VW Beetle or Mini for not much more then scrap metal cost as well. With vintage equipment, they are worth what the market is prepared to pay.
Originally Posted by cyberjunkie
Where else are you going to get a rangefinder 4x5 in like-new condition for $650. I'd grab if it is as described.
B&H price on new Wista: $6,959.99
B&H price on new Linhof: $9,975.95
Thanks for all the interesting opinion and good recommendations.
I am in no hurry to make a purchase because moving to large format is almost a change in lifestyle. To do it right would mean building a dedicated darkroom and getting a 4x5 enlarger and dip-n-dunk processing equipment. I only started exploring medium format 3 years ago and still haven't become familiar with all my lenses. My darkbag and bathroom setup is perfectly satisfactory for that.
It's probably just GAS.
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The metal Super Graphic came in two flavors: the Super Speed Graphic (with a leaf shutter capable of 1/1000 sec) and the Super Graphic (the same body without the 1/1000 sec top shutter speed).
Originally Posted by cyberjunkie
Cyberjunkie is correct. The Super Graphic does not have a focal plane shutter.
Prof_Pixel is also correct about the two versions, Super Graphic versus Super Speed Graphic.
A very good friend of mine has the Super Speed Graphic and I have been trying to trade him out of it. I posted a question about it on Large Format Photography Forum and learned that even new the Super Speed Graphic could not reach the claimed 1/1000 of a second shutter speed, more like 1/700th. Also the shutter is not very reliable.
What I like about the Super Graphic is that it is a metal camera and it has a rotating back. Of course these features are not important to everyone.
Just a little information that I recently learned.
Here we go again with the "Leaf shutters are not as fast as they are marked" crap.
A properly serviced leaf shutter should be within 1/6th stop at all speeds. Where this they don't work as advertised comes from is people checking out old gummed up shutters, and people using a cheap shutter speed tester incorrectly.
Speed of leaf shutters is measured at the 70% open point. It takes a shutter about a milli-second to reach that point and another milli-second to finish closing from that point. That is 2 milli-seconds. Now a 1/500 second shutter speed is open for 2 milli-seconds, that is a total of 4 milli-seconds from start to finish. If you do not fallow the written instructions with your Calumet, or whatever, shutter speed tester you will get a reading of 1/250 second. But if you use a dimmer on the light so the tester does not start counting until that 70% open point then you will get a reading of 1/500 of a second, as you should.
Very expensive shutter speed testers, like the shutter and lens makers use, do all that automatically, but not many, if any, of the under $1000, much less under $100, do so. With my cheap Calumet tester, every properly working shutter I have tested, doing it correctly, has been within 1/6th of a stop at all shutter speeds.
Why do folks not see that error at slower speeds? No matter what shutter speed you have the shutter set for it is still going to have that 2 milli-second of lag, only at 1/100 sec that is a 2% error, hardly noticeable. With a 1/1000 sec shutter it is a 200% error in your reading (except that Graphic lens gets it speed from having less lag, and you will see only 100% at most.)
An easy way I use for quick shutter checks is to simply subtract those 2 milli-seconds from the reading on the tester, that gives an in the ball park shutter speed that is close enough to tell you if the shutter needs servicing.
If your shutter is actually a stop or two slow at its top speed, it needs servicing.
I am tired of this stupid old myth!
One *Super Speed) with original boxes etc went for about £400-£500 recently here in the Uk and it was mint, possibly inder what you'd expect so $600 seems fine.
I paid far less for mine but time and effort getting it back to scratch adds up
Tom, I think that you misunderstood me. I am not talking about leaf shutters in general. I am talking about the particular leaf shutter that came with the Super Speed Graphic.
I have never used one. I have never checked the speed of one with my Calumet shutter speed tester. All I did was ask a question about it on Large Format Photography Forum.
What I learned from people I trust was that this particular shutter is unreliable and expensive to repair. It was just a bad design from the beginning and never as fast as claimed.