120 Film on Graphic View Camera
I have started to develop a curiosity in view cameras to the point I am considering buying one. I have never dabbled in large format or with any cameras with movements for that matter. I would like to find a used inexpensive camera that has the capability of using 120 film... One thought is to go with a mini (2x3) Crown Graphic or other Graflex camera with a Graflok back. But as I have considered further I wonder if it would make better sense to get a 4x5 camera which would open the door to 6x12, in addition to 6x9. If I were to go with 4x5, I wonder though if a 130ish mm lens would be too long for medium format? I notice that the 2x3 versions typically utilize a 100ish mm lens.
Also, the 2x3 has some size advantage I presume, but any idea how much?
At this point I have no LF film, nor ability to process, scan, or print... I am able however to process and scan MF film - hence my interest in 120.
Thoughts and advice appreciated. Thanks.
One thing I know is that I'm your man. I just happen to have some 2x3 Centuries that I'm using for some projects and hence have left over standard lenses that came with them (Graftar 103/4.5); I have several 4x5 Crown Graphics with either Graphic or Graflok backs and either side mounted Kalart or top mounted range fingers, with their original lenses (yes, 135mm-ish Optars), AND I have a 6x9 roll film back for the 4x5 backs.
If you're interested in all of this, PM me, we can discuss a deal.
I love my 105/2.4 on my Pentax 67II, so 135mm on 6x9 isn't too long.
In terms of size, you will definitely save by going 2x3, it's like half-size.
Another thing you should remember about the 2x3, though, is that there is no simple way to shoot instant film, as there never was a Polaroid back for the 2x3. For 4x5, there's both 3x4 pack film adapter (with current film being made by Fuji), 4x5 pack film adapter (unfortunately all discontinued but still available), and the old peel apart 4x5 instand film from Polaroid (expired film available on Ebay).
I was in the exact same place as you - a medium format shooter who could develop and scan 120 film, but wanted to try a view camera. I found a wonderful 2x3 Century Graphic in great shape. It had the Zeiss 100/3,5 on it. I bought a 6x7 roll film back, and I have been blissfully happy for the last few months. At some point I'll go LF, but until I can this is a fantastic middle step. And that Zeiss lens, I don't really want to use anything else right now. Go for it.
If you want to play with movements you will not get many with a Graphic type camera. You do get something that's easy to carry, can use a variety of lenses and is fairly cheap. The cheap entry camera with lots of movements is a mono-rail type. They are also easy to find. But not very portable if you want a camera to carry around. Just compare what a Century Graphic will get you that a Pentax/Mamiya 6x7 SLR doesn't have. I would step up in price and buy a 4x5 field camera like a Toyo or Wista with more movements. Don't forget the resale will also be higher if you hate large format.
I use a Graflex View II with Grafloc back, and Graflex roll film holders whenever I am doing copy work, to get a negative from print that no longer has a negative. Works great.
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If you want movements you don't want a Graphic, you want a proper view camera.
If you want to shoot roll film on a view camera, not much problem, roll holders with nominal 6x7 and 6x9 gates that will attach to 4x5 Graflok (also called International) backs are fairly common, and at a broad range of prices. If your view camera has a spring back instead of a Graflok back, there are a few roll holders with 6x7 or 6x9 gates that will slip into a spring back like a sheet film holder. These include the Adapt-A-Roll 620 (made in sizes to fit 2 1/4 x 3 1/4, 3 1/4 x 4 1/4, and 4 x 5 cameras) and Calumet C2n, Linhof Rapid- and Techno-Rollex, Sinar and Toyo roll holders. The Linhof, Sinar and Toyo holders are thick, won't fit in all spring backs. The Calumets are thinner, but word on the 'net is that old ones (C2 without the "n") are troublesome. The AAR 620 must take up on a 620 spool but will feed perfectly well from a 120 spool. I use 2x3 AAR 620s with my 2x3 Graphics.
If you can get by with only a little (19 mm) front rise and no other movements the Century Graphic and its slightly (not enough to matter, I have both and use the Century) fancier brother the 2x3 Crown Graphic are very useful little cameras.
The normal focal length for 6x9 is 100 mm, sees the same as 35 mm still's normal focal length (43 mm). The shortest lens that can be used on a Century Graphic is the 35/4.5 Apo Grandagon. The longest focal length I've used on my Century is around 250 mm. To get some idea of what can be done with 2x3 Graphics, see my lens diary at: http://www.galerie-photo.com/telecha...2011-03-29.pdf
About Rawhead's offer. I recently bought a 4x5 Cambo monorail from him. The transaction went smoothly, the camera was as described, the price was very right. I'd buy from him again.
On shooting Polaroid/Fuji Instant Film on 2x3 (6x9cm) cameras your statement is incorrect.
Originally Posted by rawhead
There was a Polaroid back made for the Horseman VH/VHR that can be used on other 6x9 cameras if they have a Graflok back. I used one on a Horseman VHR and later used the same back on a Gowland 6x9 view camera. I'm sure that it won't fit all 6x9 cameras, but will fit a lot of them.
If you buy one it's important to get the ground glass spacer with it. There was also a rangefinder spacer included with it so you could use the VHR hand-held but this would probably be a moot point on anything else.
The obvious advantage with the slide in film holders is that it's more convenient than switching the film back and GG back.
As to size advantage, I think it's significant. I have a 2x3 Century, a extra lens, a film back, a few sheet film holders, and a meter all in a bag you'd expect to use for a 35mm system. You couldn't do that with a 4x5 unless using a much larger bag. I don't have anything here to measure, but I would guess that a 2x3 press camera is about 1/3 the volume of a 4x5 press camera.
Also, with respect to Graflex type backs (which were made in 6x6, 6x7, and 6x9), there is an outer shell and an insert. I've seen them mismatched where the shell doesn't match the insert so, if you buy one, make sure they match. There is also a whole discussion around film flatness with the Graflex backs with some models supposedly better than others. You can Google and learn about this if you go this route.
"Far more critical than what we know or do not know is what we do not want to know." - Eric Hoffer
mgb74, we share a common language so there's no need to reuse perfectly good words in surprising ways.
What you call a GG back is usually called a focusing panel. Graflok backs' focusing panels are removable, spring backs' focusing panels aren't removable, are pulled back to allow insertion of a film holder. Your Century has an integral Graflok back; you may not be familiar with spring backs.
"Graflex type backs" is a terrible neologism, in part due to Graflex Inc's (and sucessors and predecessor's) extremely confusing nomenclature. A Graflex back, strictly speaking, was standard on Graflex SLRs; a Graflex back has a fixed bar on one side of the gate and a sliding bar on the other, does not have a focusing panel.
What you seem to be thinking of is a roll holder made by Graflex Inc. (and successors). A roll holder isn't a back. It attaches to a back. Most of the rollholders that Graflex Inc. made attach to Graflok backs; the focusing panel is removed and the Graflok back's sliders hold it in place. Some, however, attach only to Graflex backs. These are marked Graflex 23. Early Graflex 23 roll holders will also attach properly to Graphic backs, later ones won't. I have both flavors.
Similar roll holders that attach to Graflokish backs are made by a number of makers, Horseman for one. I've never tried a Horseman roll holder on my Graphics, have it on good authority that the backs' edges are too thick for them to be used on Graphics.
About film flatness with roll holders that Graflex made. Some users report film flatness issues with older ones whose shells lack the pin rollers that are in newer shells but hot with the newer ones. Other users report film flatness issues with all vintages. And others still report no film flatness issues with any of them. The new type shells are marked RH- (-8 for 6x9, -10 for 6x7, -12 for 6x6), were delivered with film carriages that have advance levers. Older types, marked Graphic 23, were delivered with film carriages that have film advance knobs. There are some intermediate shells, marked Graphic 23, not RH-8, that have the pin rollers. These sit at the ends of the gate; shells with pin rollers have gates ~ 3 mm shorter than shells without. SKGrimes will add pin rollers to a Graflex roll holder's shell.
You're right about the risk that a carriage for one format can turn up in a shell with a gate for another format. These bastards can be recognized by comparing the largest number on the frame counter dial (8, 10, 12) with the gate.
You didn't mention that when Graflex folded the roll holder tooling was sold to a company called SubSea. I have a SubSea RH-8. Its frame counter goes to 8 but the counter gearing was for an RH-10 when I bought it. Armatos put the right gears in for me.
How much trouble is it to swap out the screen with the film holder and back compared to inserting flat film. Is it relatively simple to swap out?
Originally Posted by mgb74