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  1. #11
    Patrick Robert James's Avatar
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    As long as this thread has some legs. Here are the problems I have run into over the years.

    Light leaks are pretty uncommon with Grafmatics. One thing to watch out for is the felt pad at the end of the chamber can come loose. I had one that folded over. When I figured out the problem it was a quick fix but there was some head scratching before then. The light leak will show up in the shape of the cutout of the septi.

    The septi can bend so look at them before you load film You want them to be as straight as possible. I use my fingers if there is a problem. I wouldn't use pliers as mentioned above. You don't want to mark them and cause scratches/wear on the mechanisms.

    Make sure the film fits snugly in the septum. I have had film come loose before and it jams the mechanism. I adjust them so that the film is just difficult to load. Also, check that the film goes under the end of the septum. If you have strong hands this can all be done with your hands and not tools. There are two kinds of septi that I have encountered. One has the folded over edge go the full length of the holder and the other has a kind of friction pressing and the far end. Neither is better than the other in my experience. They both should be adjusted appropriately.

    Don't forget to push the dark slide back in. The septum rests against the darkslide to position it properly for the exposure. I had a friend for whom I had built a Polaroid conversion complain to me about unsharp images with the Grafmatic. It turned out he was leaving the darkslide open since that is what he was used to doing to avoid light leaks while shooting with regular holders.

    Every so often I lube the channels in my Grafmatics with wax. It keeps them running smoothly. The first time I did it made a big difference. You could probably use other lubes as well. Obviously you would want something that is dry.

    If you ever get to a point when you are out shooting and the Grafmatic jams or the darkslide is met with a lot of resistance, tilt the camera back and try to jiggle it a little to let gravity do its work. Never force anything with a Grafmatic. I have only had one jam in the years I have been using them and it turned out to be a loose sheet of film as I mentioned above.

  2. #12

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    I would take at least a few regular holders as backups if you take the grafmatics. The grafmatics are nicer to walk around with. On the other hand, if a grafmatic fails, it's 6 sheets possibly damaged or 6 sheets worth of space out of commission rather than just one or two.

  3. #13

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    This is great feedback! Thank you guys very much. Now I'm a lot more confident. I will take both and use some regular holders as a backup.

  4. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by anikin View Post
    This is great feedback! Thank you guys very much. Now I'm a lot more confident. I will take both and use some regular holders as a backup.
    Anikin, I bought one G-matic in the late 80s to use while hiking, or when I need to reload fast. I lucked out and got a good one in as-new shape for $25.
    I've never had a single problem with it, ever. They're that good, if in good condition. They also have exemplary film flatness and registration if the septa are good.
    Just make certain yours are in good condition and you are familiar with their use/operation.

  5. #15

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    Dear anikin,

    If you're still watching this, my best advice is to hold the camera in the normal shooting position when advancing to the next sheet. When pointed down, the odds of jamming seem to go way up. Otherwise, I have few if any problems with my 6 Graphmatics.

    Neal Wydra

  6. #16

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    Hi Neal,

    What do you mean by pointed down? Do you mean that the holder would be flat horizontally?

    Eugene.

  7. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by anikin View Post
    Hi Neal,

    What do you mean by pointed down? Do you mean that the holder would be flat horizontally?

    Eugene.
    If the septa are flat and straight, and the springs good, it will work in any position.

  8. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by anikin View Post
    Hi Neal,

    What do you mean by pointed down? Do you mean that the holder would be flat horizontally?

    Eugene.
    Yes. Exactly.

    Neal Wydra

  9. #19

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    Got it. Thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by Neal View Post
    Yes. Exactly.

    Neal Wydra

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