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  1. #1

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    Opinions on speed graphics?

    Hi all,

    I am getting really tempted by a 4x5 speed graphic camera I have seen, what are they like to shoot? I like the fact it has a focal plane shutter as it means I can use older barrel lenses as well, just wondering what peoples opinions are of them as they seem pretty user friendly.

  2. #2
    Sirius Glass's Avatar
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    I like them. I have a 1953 4"x5" Pacemaker Speed Graphic. Check out www.graflex.org


    ... and a 1928 4"x5" Graflex Model D
    Warning!! Handling a Hasselblad can be harmful to your financial well being!

    Nothing beats a great piece of glass!

    I leave the digital work for the urologists and proctologists.

  3. #3

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    for standard 4x5 work they are perfect
    just some issues adding "long lenses" to them

  4. #4

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    I once saw the Speed Graphic described as the "Harley Davidson of cameras." They were designed for press work so, as shooters, they're better than most 4 by 5 cameras you will encounter. Later models with a body release are a titch easier to use, but nothing a small cable release can't compensate for.

    They're chick magnets, too.

  5. #5

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    Cool, I have decided to treat myself and go with it, its from someone who restores them and its now basically mint, it seems to be a pacemaker speed graphic so 1947-70, has a 135mm Schneider Kreuznach lens, all shutter speeds work and bellows are light tight and flexible.

    Once I get the camera and serial number I will find out when it was made but it looks in really good condition with everything working as it should with a nice clear bright ground glass, I might get myself another large format camera at some point but this seems to be perfect to start with - its under half the cost of the camera I was going for but this will allow me to also mount barrel lenses as well.

    I will post up some photos of it when I get it

  6. #6

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    My speed is a wreck - really battered up old thing, but I love it. I've renovated the shutter so it is reliable (if hardly accurate) and use it with a huge range of barrel lenses. It is a lot of fun and tends to attract attention - although not always good :-o
    The most popular comments is "That's a serious looking camera!" - but I've also had "What a stupid old diniosaur", too
    Not sure if that weas me, or the camera?
    Steve

  7. #7

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    Aug 2012
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    yeah please do put up some photos

  8. #8

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    the graflex cameras are great ( press and slr models )
    if you don't need any camera movements. they are basically
    like a big 35mm or MF camera with maybe a little bit of rise
    and a smidgen of tilt if you get a pacemaker speed graphic.
    if you can get over the fact they don't offer shift,, tilt, bend like a pretzl
    and rotate the back a little bit, and THEN swing the lens plane and film plane in opposite directions
    they are a great camera. the focal plane shutter is a HUGE advantage over most large format cameras sold.

    i have and have used one since about 1988 ... and use it often.

    best of luck with your quest !
    john

  9. #9

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    Apr 2006
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    There is much to like in a speed graphic. It is a fairly rugged camera and thus if you purchase it at a low price, it is not a camera that you need to worry about damaging. The ability to use barrel lenses depends on the focal plane shutter. If that doesn't work right, then it is not such an attractive package.

    They came with a rangefinder and if that works correctly with a lens that is on the camera, it is a plus. Some are for sale without a lens or without the original lens. This is less attractive. If you will put your own barrel lens on the camera, then you will need to verify that the groundglass is present and correctly installed (generally requires a test print of two to be sure that this works).

    The drawback that you will note soon, if what you want is movements, is that they are very limited on a graflex.

    Another point to note is whether it is a graphic or a graflex (entirely different type of back) and if it is a graphic whether it has spring back or a graphloc back (more versatile, especially if you will use a roll film back).

  10. #10
    Paul Goutiere's Avatar
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    I was a "cub" photographer in the early 1960s. I used a Crown Graphic and a Speed Graphic. I preferred the "Crown Graphic", because the focal plane shutter was never accidentally in the way.

    Since I used the things after school, when it was darker. I often used it with an "electronic" flash, consisting of a large power pack on a neck strap, and a great coiled wire going from that to the camera.

    So, put a handle on a large cuckoo clock, a lens and film back......you got a Speed Graphic.

    Very nice pictures though.

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