I've been interested in the 4x5 format, but because of the expensive nature of the film and equipment needed, I never ventured into it.
However this morning, I was talking with our city mayor. He and his wife are photographers and we got on the subject of me shooting film. He stated that he has a full 4x5 setup including a 4x5 enlarger, a Speed Graphic, and a drum processor (which I am assuming is a Jobo because he said it was automated and rocked back and forth.)
In his words "if I knew anyone interested he'd like to sell it for 'real cheap'." T'was about this time that I about nearly fell out my chair and startled the man by yelling "ME ME ME!"
I don't know what his asking price will be but I told him to make a list, let me know, and I'd come and check it out.
My questions are:
-What should I look for on the Speed Graphic to determine condition?
-What are the average going rates for SG's in useable condition?
-What should I expect to pay for a 4x5 enlarger and possible Jobo processor?
Why not just ask him what he wants out of the "kit". Anything less than $500 would cause me to snatch up the package.
What is a master but a master student? And if that's true, then there's a responsibility on you to keep getting better and to explore avenues of your profession.
Well he came in at 5:45am, and he and his wife were heading out to do some shooting. At the time he was pressed to get out before the sun rose.
Im going to talk to him about it a little further tomorrow.
Be interesting to see what he thinks "real cheap" is.
He commented on how he felt it was cumbersome to deal with and that he didn't enjoy it anymore.... So I'm hoping that he just wants to offload it. I can't wait to talk to him tomorrow.
Originally Posted by rich815
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do a flashlight test on the bellows ( they are probably OK )
check to see if the rail the front standard slides out on is bent or missing teeth ( does it focus easily ? )
check to see if the rails afixed to the box inside the camera are damaged ( was a close attempted with the focus not totally retracted ? )
is the ground glass broken ?
is it a graflock back or spring back ?
was the fresnel lens removed ? ( if so the camera won't focus right )
i know nothing about jobo processors, sorry ...
does it have the condensers ( all 3 ? )
what cones if any does it have?
is it a d3v ( auto focus ) and if it is, does it have the metal tracks in back to extend and retract the bellows?
does it come with any lenses ( and appropriate cones + tracks or just cones )
does it have any negative carriers ?
does it have the omegalite cold light head ?
was it wall mounted so it no longer has the baseboard, if it has the baseboard, is it complete ?
separately an enlarger is either a give away, or maybe 1-200$ depending on what is included with it ..
carriers usually trade for 15-25$ depending
omegalites, not sure ...
the in head condensor ( variable ) for smaller than 4x5 is usually lost
lenses for the enlarger ... anywhere from a give away to $$$ ( for like a gclaron )
speed graphics depending on age and condition go for anywhere from 50# to 300$
lenses, well, you see in the classifieds how much they go for ...
as rick said anything less than $500 might be a good deal,
unless it is all molded, moth-eaten and trashed then keep away,
it will travel to your other equipment ...
have fun !
ps. go to graflex.org and read stuff there, and for other LF stuff you might want to check out largeformatphotography.info
I'd be inclined to tell him you are interested in expanding your work into large format if you could find a deal that would work for you . . . and also work for him, you would like to get started. I would probably then ask him, "What do you need for me to take this gear out of your home and put it in mine and start using it?"
You do need to know what he has.
My bet is Momma wants it out of her house. He wants it out of his house and it really isn't about the money. He would also like for someone to be using that which previously was his treasured equipment. Depending on what he has, I would agree that somewhere around the $500 mark could be a win/win and I'd ask him first what he needed before I made any kind of offer. If his needed number was in my comfort level, I'd agree to his price. You have to work with this guy. I don't feel obligated to negotiate a price when someone gives me one that I think is fair and in my comfort zone. I've bought and sold a bunch of photographic equipment over the past 10 or 12 years.
$500 without seeing the list sounds like a lot to this old cheapskate. The last working (but rough) Speed Graphic I bought on ebay was under $100. Some 4x5 enlargers are not worth hauling away unless they can be converted to copy stands. Others cost a small fortune when new, but can be found for very little now by a patient scrounger. Some also work well for smaller formats. My 4x5 DeJur required improvised additions to be useable for 35mm. A drum processor is a convenience, not a necessity. I gave mine away long ago and develop in trays.
Speed Graphics vary widely in desireability. I wouldn't consider anything earlier than the Anniversary model (1940-1946). Even it has limitations for some photography. More desirable is the Pacemaker series of Crown and Speed Graphics, especially when more than one lens is used. They were made from 1947 to 1973. The most versatile for many purposes is the Super Graphic, made near the end of the company's life. The original lenses fitted to all of these cameras, if in good condition, are decent performers for general use.
4x5 film is indeed expensive, but often a small fraction of the investment in time and travel. I sometimes spend an hour or more for just one shot, but try to make that one shot perfect. When image quality is paramount, LF photography is worth the bother.
I'm with the old cheapskate. Some people are still paying (and asking) way too much for old Graphics, enlargers, etc. I'm a patient scrounger too, but I won't bore you with the details of my past Graphic deals. But one was a fully-functioning SuperGraphic (missing the fresnel and GG) with an Omega D-2 (or II) enlarger for $100, and a fully-functioning Anny with all the accessories for $24+ shipping.
A processor that rocks back and forth could be a non-Jobo, like a Beseler or other.
Not that it wouldn't serve the purpose, but might not be a goldmine.